Libby Mahoney

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Bearwood Gardeners – Gardening Competition

Wow – the entries for 2019 Bearwood’s Front Garden Competition are really coming in thick and fast now, and things are building up to make this their best year ever for their front gardens competition!

The aim of the Competition has always been to encourage and inspire everyone with a front garden, however small, to make that space as green and beautiful as it can be, both for yourself and everyone else walking past. Since the Competition started in 2013, more and more people have been joining in, making walking around Bearwood roads a real pleasure, with so many different and imaginative styles of front garden to admire.

If you haven’t put your entry in yet, please do!

You can enter the competition by emailing, or by dropping your completed entry form off at Thimblemill Library or the Warley Woods shop.

If it’s your first time, don’t forget, they have a special First Timer Award this year, as well as Awards for Most Sustainable and Young Green Fingers (under 16s.)

Entries close on 21 July 2019.

Therapeutic Drumming Sessions – Beat It Percussion

Beat It Percussion is a small Community Interest Company founded in 2013 with the aim of bringing music based activities to people in the community. They would like to invite you to attend their Therapeutic Drumming Sessions starting Tuesday 11 June 10-11.30am at Myra Harris Community Room, Brickhouse Lane, West Bromwich, B70 ODZ.

These sessions include simple rhythm and group rhythm building activities for you to enjoy the healing nature of ancient rhythms.

Benefits to health and well-being can include:

  • reduced stress and anxiety
  • Reduced muscle tension and physical pain
  • Increased well-being and positive mood
  • A chance to recharge for those with busy lives and caring responsibilities

Hand drums and percussion instruments are provided for participants with no prior knowledge or experience needed.

Dementia friendly.

Booking is essential as spaces are limited, to book call Lynn 07875 090946 or email

NCVO Overhauls Digital Maturity Benchmarking Tool

The NCVO charity digital maturity benchmarking tool has undergone a major overhaul to increase the focus on user-centred approaches, leadership and strategy.

The tool has already been used by over 800 charities to help them set goals in different areas of digital strategy and track their progress against them.

The interactive checklist is designed to help identify gaps in their capabilities and processes, prioritise areas for development, benchmark themselves against other organisations and help report to senior managers and trustees.

A revised version has been launched which includes new sections on security and data protection strategies and on using user research to design better content and services. It has also had an overhaul to ensure it is more inclusive of organisations at all levels, and allows charities to add their own notes.

The new version follows consultation with a group of around 60 charity technical and content experts over the last six months. It was originally created by the digital team at Breast Cancer Care in 2016.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source:Charity Digital News article

Charity Commission Reform Vital for Civil Society Strategy to Work

The Government has just closed consultation on its plan to help create a stronger civil society in the UK. It’s an opportunity for the social and charitable sector to make demands of legislators while looking at itself and being honest about what it can do better for the causes, people and places it serves.

New Philanthropy Capital have made 21 recommendations on the civil society strategy across a wide range of topics, but there are a couple of key things the government could do to make a massive, positive impact on the sector.

First, reform the Charity Commission. It is an organisation full of dedicated people, but is straining under the weight of limited resources and an increasingly conflicted remit. It should be the regulator the sector needs, not its cheerleader. The sector should investigate whether the support it offers charities should be spun out into a new, independent organisation dedicated to sector-led improvement.

They also think what the commission regulates should change. It is too focused on financial stability and organisational survival at the expense of whether charities are having an impact for beneficiaries. They want to see a toughening up of annual impact reporting as part of the commission’s processes. Many charities already do this, but many don’t – if we can get them seriously thinking about their impact, the people they serve stand to benefit.

To read the full Guardian Voluntary Sector Network article click here.

Source: Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

Volunteers and Community Cycle Clubs Needed!

Do you want to set up a community cycle club or would you like to volunteer for a community cycle club in the Black Country?

Cycling UK can help you on your journey!

If you are a community group that already provides activities and want to add cycling to your programme then Cycling UK can help. Cycling UK can support you with  funding, training and admin support until you feel happy to go it alone.

We need you! – If you are an individual who has cycled for a long time and would like to help others learn to ride or get back into cycling, we need you! Cycling UK can provide volunteers with the relevant training that makes a volunteer confident to help others ride.

Cycling improves health and wellbeing, helps people develop new skills and it`s FUN!

Mental health support, older people’s groups, health organisations, youth groups, workplaces, refugee charities and veteran groups are just some of the settings in which Cycling UK has delivered community cycle clubs.

We would love to hear from you.

For more information please email

Five Ways Charities Need to Assess the Ethical Impact of Digital

Data, Digital and Technology (DDT) continues to rapidly transform the ways in which business, government and civil society operate. There is no doubt that it has brought many benefits –  it’s harder to get lost when you have a mobile device with access to Google Maps! But there has been increasing recognition that the consequences of applying DDT without proper review can lead to harm, entrenching or exacerbating existing societal biases.

This has led to an explosion of codes of conducts and principles on how to develop ethical tech products and services. Though this is a good sign that the tech industry has recognised the importance of ethics, this proliferation has created a bewildering landscape for charities wishing to understand the key considerations needed for digital ethics.

So how can you navigate the maze? Here are our five top tips, based on our work with the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to help their members to discover which ethical principles are relevant to them and how to ask questions of tech partners to ensure they are on board.

1. Understand your environment

So we want to build an ethical digital product or service. How we get there requires us to understand the context in which we operate, so we can tailor our principles to that context. For example, for AMRC members, the context is data and digital health research, by charities and their partners, in the UK. It’s less catchy than just saying ‘digital health’ but it provides a useful frame to explore where other ethical work has been done and what might be different to this particular context. What is the context that you are working in?

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel

AMRC sought to assess what was out there already – rather than simply add to the ever expanding DDT ethics field. In the absence of a perfect fit to the specific context, we aimed to signpost to the most relevant high-level principles. This meant acknowledging what was distinctive, and also common about their context, identifying relevant principles, and connecting them to best practice and existing requirements. Can you use an existing framework?

3. Plan your route

With a clear understanding of our environment, we identified the relevant ethical principles for AMRC members through undertaking a review of literature, speaking with experts working in the field of ethics and AI and speaking with AMRC members who have the deep expertise in the fields they work with and quickly. The field of digital ethics is still evolving and we found people were willing to discuss and share their work. One key finding is that more guidance is needed to help all organisations really embed ethics into practice. Who should you involve?

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Office 365 vs Office Desktop: Which is Really Best for Your Charity?

Software and services of all kinds have been moving to a cloud-based subscription model, and Microsoft have been no exception. But many charities and non-profit organisations are still assessing the benefits and risks of ditching their traditional desktop-based versions of programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint and embracing Office 365 – Microsoft’s cloud-hosted version. In this article Charity Digital News takes a step back and weigh up some of the pros and cons of Office 365 for charities.

Pro: You can access all the main apps

With Microsoft Office 365 you’ll be able to access all the core productivity apps that belong to Microsoft Office, including Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Outlook, plus some extras. Even the free donated versions of Office 365 (Business Essentials and E1) have access to web-only versions of these apps, along with document storage, sharing and collaboration services like OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. For more on what you get with the different Office 365 Nonprofit versions,  go to the Microsoft website.

Con: You don’t get downloaded apps with the free version

With the free (donated) version of Office 365, all the apps included are browser-only versions, so you may not get access to the full features (plus you will need to have a decent internet connection at all times). You will need to invest in one of the paid subscription Nonprofit plans to be able to download the full version of the apps to your computer.

Plus, the free versions of Office 365 don’t include Access and Publisher. If you need those for your charity, PC users will be able to use Access and Publisher via a paid Office 365 subscription, or you can purchase Access separately through the tt-exchange catalogue.

To read the full Charity Digital News Article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Call for Artists – Open Media Exhibition

The Art Yard would like to invite you to submit work for our open all media exhibition. This exhibition will run alongside the Blast Festival exhibition in the Gallery as part of the Cradley Heath Arts Festival, which will occupy the front and centre galleries.

For this exhibition we have to limit the entries to one piece per artist at a reduced rate of £4.00. There is no special requirement on the type of art or subject, all work is very welcome.

Submission forms are to be returned by Saturday 18th May 2019 to the Art Yard and are attached below:-

1. Submission Form
2. Labels.

Can you please ensure that your work is ready to hang and has cord or fixing plates fitted to the rear of the work. Also, can you please attach the labels provided to the rear of each piece of your artwork.

If you have any questions regarding exhibiting at The Art Yard, about hiring the Gallery facilities for future events, we would be pleased to discuss your requirements, please call Martyn on 01384 910968.

We look forward to seeing your work and sharing this with our community.

Showtime Community Productions Curtain Call for a Charity Secretary

Showtime Community Productions are a newly formed amateur dramatics group based in Wednesbury. They work with like-minded individuals from their local community interested in developing their skills in performing arts, which they put to good use by developing and putting on community pantomimes, for the benefit of the local community.

They are seeking a volunteer to join their management committee to undertake the role of the secretary. The role would include:

• Calling meetings of the group (with the Chair) and preparing the agenda.
• Circulating the agenda, minutes and other relevant papers prior to meetings.
• Noting the decisions of meetings for future action and compiling the minutes.
• Dealing with the group’s correspondence and, where necessary, presenting it to the group.
• Keeping the groups files, minute book and other essential records.

If you would like discuss the voluntary position or have any questions, please contact Linda Pearsall on 0121 5256459 or email

Friends of Tividale Park Needs You!

Are you a Tividale Resident?

The Friends of Tividale Park Group support plans to improve the facilities in the park, organise and develop a range of community activities and events, to bring people of all ages together to have fun and enjoy the park.

The Friends of Tividale Park Group are seeking community minded individuals to join them on their committee (on a voluntary basis). Don’t worry no prior experience is necessary, as access to training and support will be provided and you can give as little or as much time as you can spare (as a guide you need to be prepared to spare approximately 1-2 hours every week for attendance at meetings and on an occasional basis a few hours in between meetings as required).

The friends of Tividale Park are a residents’ community group who work to improve the park in various ways, including fundraising for new play equipment or improvements to the park, volunteering at community and social events held in the park. So why not get involved and help them to make Tividale Park a real hive of community activity.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn new skills with like-minded individuals, support the development of the facilities and community activities taking place within the park.

If you would like to become a friend or for more information, please email

They would love to hear from anyone who is interested in making a positive difference within their community or would just like to find out more about what is involved.

The Friends of Tividale Park want to bring Tividale Park back into the heart of their community making it a community facility that everyone can be proud of!

Why not take a look at their website at www.friendsof

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