Mazeline Hemmings

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Return to Play: Community Asset Fund

Return to Play: Community Asset Fund invites sports clubs, local authorities, schools, and community organisations to apply for grants. Funding of between £10,001 and £50,000 is available to help clubs and community groups through the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic to return to play.

Capital funding can help local sports clubs and organisations to adapt and open important places and spaces so people within their community can return to play and physical activity, safely. The focus is on responding to the immediate challenges of sports and physical activity returning to play.

Please note, priority will be given to:
• Projects located in areas of high deprivation
• Organisations working with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, people on lower incomes, disabled people, people with long-term health conditions and people experiencing a greater burden of care because of coronavirus
• Organisations that don’t have a significant level of reserve funding available to utilise.

Applications can be submitted at any time.

More details

Call to Promote Take-up of Covid-19 Vaccinations

Work is now underway to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations across the country in what is being called the biggest immunisation programme in history. Staff and volunteers from the NHS, local authority and voluntary sector are all involved in a combined effort to bring closer the end of the current pandemic through protecting our population from the virus. A call is now going out across Sandwell to ensure that every person in our borough has the opportunity to benefit from this vaccination.

We know from experience that take up of seasonal flu vaccinations in Sandwell is often lower than other areas and that several challenges get in the way of residents accessing vaccinations. We also know that our local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) is excellently placed to help with the vaccination effort – in fact, the involvement of VCS organisations will be absolutely essential to ensuring that everyone in Sandwell understands the opportunity that vaccination presents and can take up the offer.

SCVO, Sandwell Council and Sandwell Public Health would like to support your VCS organisation to get involved. We know many community groups and voluntary organisations are already doing what they can to encourage, inform and support residents accessing vaccinations and others are making plans to do so. We are particularly looking to engage our faith and community leaders, who are able to reach those in our communities who are more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Activities vary widely, but can include:-
• Proactive calling or writing to service users or local community members encouraging take-up of the vaccine, or doing this in the course of current activities
• Culturally appropriate messaging or sharing information about vaccinations in different languages
• Practical help to support people accessing the vaccination programme
• Focus groups and consultation with the communities to ensure that issues and fears about the vaccine or Covid-19 can be fed back.

To ensure no residents are missed out, we are looking to form an accurate picture of what VCS organisations across Sandwell are doing, or are planning to do, to support vaccination take-up. Consequently, SCVO would appreciate hearing from you about your activities – specifically what you are doing/ have done, how many people will be/ have been reached, and who your target audience is. Please email us your information at

To support this, a new strand of the current Vision 2030 grants programme has been created which will enable applications to be made for small grants which can meet expenses (which are not already being met by existing funding) for future planned activities. For further information, please send a brief outline of your plans and expenses requests to Liz Webster at

Sandwell Public Health team remain on hand as ever also to support with information, guidance and resources for your organisation, staff and volunteers. Please contact Katie Deeley at for further information.


Fircroft College Free Online Short Courses: January – 15th February 2021

Due to the third COVID-19 lockdown and the college building being closed to students, Fircroft College is offering online courses up to 15th February. These short courses are all free to applicants. Should the current lockdown be extended, details of adapted offers beyond 15th February will be advertised.

The course brochure, Your Future Starts Here, give information of courses after 15th February, the majority of which are residential at the college in Birmingham. Many of these short courses are open to people nationwide and are fee, or offered at a much reduced rate, depending on financial circumstances.

For IT Users – the ITQ in Social Media Level 3 course is intended to be residential (3 days, 2 nights) at the college starting 22nd February. There is an online Open Day session for this course on 26th January: details attached.  This course is available to people in certain West Midlands postcodes only.

The Free Thinking programme starts in April (again, certain West Midlands postcodes only).  The programme is aimed at people from new communities who have been victims of modern slavery, trafficking and torture: details attached.

Amendments to Jan and Feb courses

If you have questions about a course, or to find out about postcode eligibility, please email



Join Camphill Village Trust’s free Opportunity TV Sessions

Camphill Village Trust ran daily interactive Zoom sessions for its community members throughout 2020. With the closure of day services and not being able to access other activities, the Zoom sessions proved to be extremely successful over the last lockdown.

Due to its popularity, the charity is opening Opportunity TV to everyone, whether or not you are part  of  the Trust community. Camphill Village Trust has decided to share it with social care colleagues across Dudley, The Black Country and West Midlands.

The virtual interactive sessions run Monday to Thursday, 10 am and 3 pm. Fridays 10 am and 2 pm.

To find out how you can join Opportunity TV, click here.

Watch recordings from previous sessions on the website.

Please direct your questions or feedback to Phil Gibson, Project Manager, on 07824463798.

Unemployed and 18 – 29? Generation UK can help you back into Employment

Generation UK is a charity that offers free training courses and qualifications to young people, aged 18 to 29, who currently live in Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Dudley or Walsall. The next five week programme will launch on 22 February, 2021.

• Learners should be available for five weeks, 9 am – 5 pm
• Remote delivery
• laptops and Wi-Fi access can be provided for free
• Learners can still receive benefits during programme
• Expert instructors

For further information about the programmes, click here.  Please direct questions to

OPPC Victims Fund 2021 Now Open

The OPPC Victims Fund 2021 is now open and will be taking applications until 5 pm on the 16th February 2021. The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner would like to urge organisations across the West Midlands that support victims of hate crime, to apply to the Victims Funds. Financial assistance is available to pay for services for people to cope and recover from the effects of crime. In 2020, the number of hate crimes recorded had risen by 39% in the West Midlands.

Application forms are available on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website. Only on-line applications will be accepted.  Individual groups can apply or organisations can join together to form a consortium.

The specification has been informed by feedback from partners who attended the West Midlands Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) Hate Crime Symposium (in June 2020) and through ongoing work as part of the OPCC Hate Crime Working Group.

The competitive fund has over the past seven years supported victims and survivors of all priority areas.
In line with the increasing need for support services for hate crime, the 2021/22 fund will only accept applications for hate crime support services.

Please direct queries regarding the application to Tara Muchemenyi at

Completed applications should emailed to Tara or to

New Creative Connections Commissions invited for 2021

Last year, Creative Black Country (CBC) created a new strand of commissioned work to share creativity during lockdown and social distancing.

The commissioned projects were so successful, CBC are bringing Creative Connections back for 2021 and offering small commissions of £500 – £2000, for projects that develop creative activity with and for local communities in the Black Country.

Creative Black Country are looking for creative, socially distanced/lockdown activities which bring fun, joy and creativity to local people in the Black Country, and keep them connected.

For more information and details on how to apply, please click here.

The deadline for submissions is mid-day (12 noon) on Monday, 25 January  2021.


Kaleidoscope’s Complimentary Wellbeing Taster Workshops

In order to support businesses and their employees during this difficult time in lockdown, Kaleidoscope are currently offering on-line Complimentary Wellbeing Taster Workshops.

The workshops consists of Mental Health and Wellbeing Training, including Mental Health First Aid; Mental Health for Managers; Menopause Awareness and Mindfulness, along with a wide range of other options which can be tailored to suit your needs and requirements. The Trainers are happy to discuss your options in more detail and are now able to book spaces up to December 2021.

The following on-line workshops are being offered in January:

• Staying well while working from home. Tuesday 26th January, 10 am -12 pm
• Mindfulness – An Introduction. Tuesday 26th January, 6 pm – 8 pm
• Staying well during a lockdown. Thursday 28th January, 1 pm – 3 pm
• Supporting family and friends with mental ill health during a lockdown. Thursday 28th January, 6 pm – 8 pm.

If you would like to know more about the training packages, please email or call 0121 565 5605.


On-line Workshop to Prevent Radicalisation available to Community Groups

Sandwell Council are pleased to be able to offer community groups the opportunity to receive a free workshop from provider Nicola Benyahia. Nicola is an accredited counsellor who lost her son to radicalisation in 2015 as he fought for ISIS in Syria and sadly died whilst in the process of being de-radicalised.

Nicola set up her organisation, Families for Life, as a result of this experience, and she now runs workshops about online safety, boundary setting, communication, healthy relationships and mental health – all of which are of huge importance during this current lockdown.

The workshops aim to provide empowerment and resilience-building and Nicola can tailor her sessions to match the needs. of your group.  The session can be delivered either to the members of your group, or as training for your staff.

Given the current situation, sessions will take place online, so you must be able to access online video platforms such as MS Teams, Skype or Zoom. Sessions typically last an hour and are free for community group to access. However, places are limited so it will be first come first served.

For further information, or to book a session, please contact Lauren Bond on 0121 569 2894 / 07739489241 or email

Free on-line after school Digital Music Productions and Minecraft courses

Does your organisation work with young people? If so, did you know that Creative Active Lives, which provide inclusive activities and entertainment, is offering free on-line after school courses, courtesy of funding from the West Midlands Police Proceeds of Crime Fund.

The Community Interest Company may also be able to help with a loan device and/or access to internet data.

The on-line courses are available to families in the Soho and Victoria, Central West Bromwich and Princes End Wards.

Digital Music production for 11 to 16 year olds
• A 10 week course suitable for beginners. You will learn the basics of Soundtrap and how to put a tract together.
• You will need to access the software on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile.
• Free one year Soundtrap license.
• Attendees will need to attend all 10 sessions. as
• The course start on Thursday, 28th January: 5 pm to 6 pm, and every Thursday for the following 10 weeks.
• The course will be delivered via Zoom.

What is Soundtrap?
Soundtrap enables you to make music or any type of audio recording online. You can plug in your own instrument, use the software instruments available in Soundtrap or just record a song directly with your computer microphone.

Soundtrap is a digital audio workstation (DAW) owned by Spotify. It’s easily accessible on your browser from a variety of devices, such as Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Linux, smartphones, and tablets.

The platform’s goal is to give easy-to-use, collaborative, music-making capabilities to anyone with a passion for music and an electronic device.

Minecraft Redstone with Club Minecraft for 9 – 15 year olds
• Join Matt of Club Minecraft for one and a half hour sessions taking Minecrafters through the world of Redstone.
• Learn the basics of Redstone and make automated machines to level up your Minecraft sessions in this 10 week course
• The sessions will also cover automated systems and farms, command blocks, target selectors scoreboards and timers. Enough knowledge will be covered to add to your SMP games or even make your own mini-game.
• You will need the PC version of Minecraft, Java edition to take part in this course.
• The course starts on Tuesday 26th January: 6.30 pm – 8.00 pm, and every Tuesday for the following 10 weeks.
• The course will be delivered via Zoom.

What is Redstone?
Redstone is the Minecraft equivalent of electricity. It can be used to create amazing inventions, once you know the basics. Redstone is one of the more advanced concepts in Minecraft.

For further information and to book a place, please email

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