Stuart Ashmore

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Funding Opportunity – Black Country Community Grants 2019-2021

What are Community Grants? The ESF Community Grants Programme is jointly funded by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and provides small grants to be distributed in the Black Country region between 1 April 2019 and 31 July 2021. The aim of the Programme is to engage with local communities and enable people to make progress towards and enter the jobs market. The administration of the Programme is managed by Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council (WMBC) who has been selected by the ESFA to act as the Grant Co-ordinating Body.

How much can I apply for? Grants of between £5,000 and £20,000 are available. The grant will need to be fully accounted and evidenced against the costs of delivery and cannot be used to match any other funding source.

Who can apply? The Programme is designed to assist small community and voluntary groups, charities or not-for-profit organisations based in and providing services in the Black Country (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton). The eligibility criteria is outlined in the guidance (the link is at the bottom of the page).

What kind of activities will Community Grant Fund? Any activity that will help an individual’s progress towards employability/access to employment will be considered.

How to apply: Before considering an application, please fully read our Application Guidance which can be accessed along with the application form on the BCTA Website

Should you need any further assistance or wish to discuss your initial proposal then please contact deadline for the next round is 6th September.

A workshop for organisations wanting to know more about Community Grants and how to apply will be held at SCVO Monday 15th July 10am-12pm: please email to book a place.

Venue: SCVO, 1st Floor, Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8ER.

FREE Cyber Security Seminar for Voluntary and Community Organisations

(Without wishing to appear alarmist…) YOUR organisation is being targeted by cyber criminals RIGHT NOW!

Join our seminar to learn how to fund and protect your organisation.

This seminar, principally prepared for senior leadership individuals, (but open to everyone with a remit to tackle cyber security in their organisation), will provide a crash course in cyber crime and how it is destroying voluntary and community organisations in these dangerous times.

You’ll come away knowing:

  • That cyber-crime is second only to terrorism in terms of threat to the UK economy (that includes your oeganisation) … AND
  • A 16 step practical plan to protect your organisation
  • How to receive free police-approved training to protect your organisation.
  • The support and services you can get from SCVO
  • How to move the Cloud for free – providing you with the best security, functionality and disaster recovery available
  • What funding might be available to you to cover the cost of IT upgrades.
  • A chance to ask any questions you may have.

Speakers will include security experts Prompt PC, Staffordshire Digital PCSO Matt Hough-Clewes and SCVO who provide services and support to Sandwell’s voluntary and community sector.

When: Thursday, 4th July from 09:15am to 12:30pm

Where: SCVO Office, 1st Floor, Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich. B70 8ER.

To book your FREE place (1 per organisation in the first instance), visit our Eventbrite page:

Workshop: An A-Z of ABCD

When considering your local community, do you take the ‘glass half full’ or ‘glass half empty’ approach?

Asset-based community development (ABCD) is a bottom-up way of working with communities that focuses on community strengths and assets rather than on deficits and problems.

ABCD focuses on the half-full glass. The half-empty glass represents the notion that communities are deficient and have many needs. The half-full glass represents the notion that communities (and the people who live there) have many strengths, capabilities and assets.

This workshop will introduce you to the principles of ABCD – a mix of the theory and some interactive fun – and help you to explore how you might consider a different approach to working with your local community in order to build capacity and long-term resilience.

Whether you are new to community development, or you are a well-established practitioner, this workshop has something for everyone.

Sandwell-based groups are able to attend for FREE. Groups from outside the borough are also welcome to attend, but are subject to a charge of £10.

Date: Wednesday, 10th July 2019

Location: SCVO Office, 1st Floor, Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8ER

Time: Refreshments & registration from 9.30am for a PROMPT 10.00am start (with conclusion by 12.30pm)

To book your place, visit:

Do you know your CIO from your CIC? Let us help you choose the right legal structure for your project.

People who are passionate about making a difference in their community will, at some stage, be faced with the fact that they will have to form an organisation to make progress.

Choosing a legal structure can often reveal a lack of knowledge or understanding of the advantages/disadvantages of those on offer.

The purpose of choosing a structure should be that it is an “enabling structure”.

At this stage, the temptation can be to treat the matter like buying a car – “I’ve heard that Toyota makes reliable cars, so let’s buy one!” (Irrespective of whether Toyota has a suitable range of vehicles to choose from).

So do you know the difference between a CIO and a CIC, or a Community Benefit Society and an unincorporated association?

This seminar on legal structures will provide ‘food for thought’ to those at the very start of their journey and existing/established organisations.

There will be an opportunity to consider the factors to take into account when choosing a legal structure – either for the first time or when considering a change.

Those looking to make decisions about choosing the ‘right’ structure will find information and support to help them and, in some cases, revise the thought process.

If you are an established organisation, you can examine whether your current structure serves you as well as a legal structure should… and there will be an opportunity to undertake a considered critique of current circumstances.

It is FREE to attend for Sandwell VCS groups. For attendees outside the Sandwell Borough there is a £10 fee. To BOOK YOUR PLACE visit:

The Church on the Rock

1. Tell us what you do.

The Church on the Rock (in Oldbury) is a church, but also a warm and welcoming place for the local community to get together and support each other in many different ways – bringing together people from often quite diverse backgrounds, but in an environment that is safe, warm and welcoming. For example, a “mums and toddlers” group helps to create stronger family bonds; youth groups on Tuesday evenings include activities such as football and crafts, which help young people to be more involved and active in the local community; coffee mornings , on the second Saturday of every month, help to bring local people together on a social basis, and regular Alpha courses explore the basics of the Christian faith.

2. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?

Going forward, the Church on the Rock would like to develop further, both as a church and in terms of how it can support children and young people in the local area. The hope is to promote a ‘can do’ attitude in the community. There is also the desire to provide English Language classes given the significant migrant population arriving in Sandwell from countries where English is not the first language. These classes would be invaluable for community cohesion as language is often a barrier in populations from diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds . Furthermore, almost 30% of Sandwell’s population have no qualifications so providing these easy access, free course would be invaluable to the community and their future job prospects.

3. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

A number of SCVO’s services are very beneficial – the Funding Digest in particular – and networking opportunities are always helpful. These help the Church to gain more funding and ‘spread the word’ about the services on offer. As a result, the Church on the Rock will be able to help more people in the local area to grow and develop, helping to create a sustainable community.

Employment Opportunity – Black Country Near Neighbours Coordinator

Looking for rewarding work that makes a real difference?

Near Neighbours brings people together from diverse backgrounds and faiths, building co-operation, to change places and communities for the better.

Established in 2014, we are looking for a new Near Neighbours coordinator for the Black Country to further develop this work.

You will be a natural networker, familiar with faith motivated community development projects, and have a passionate commitment to promote positive attitudes to religious and ethnic diversity.

For further details of the post, and how to apply, download the Job Description and Person Specification details from the link below:



Closing date: 10th June, 10am,  Interviews: 17th June, Walsall.

FREE Training Opportunity…Bid Writing for Charities and Community Groups

The Course

Get Grants’ popular “Introduction to Bid Writing for Charities & Community Groups Workshop” is aimed at organisations who are interested in increasing their income through grant funds.

Whether you have a wealth of experience in fundraising or are new to applying for grants our Introduction to Bid Writing Workshop supports attendees to explore how to identify opportunities with a range of grant programmes whilst providing advice on writing successful applications and exploring the common mistakes made by applicants.

Topics covered include:

– Finding Grants
– Finding the ‘Right’ Funder
– Completing Application Forms
– Need & Outcomes
– Top Tips

Date & Time: Tuesday 18th June 2019, 1pm to 3:30pm

Venue: The Moseley Exchange, 149-153 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham. B13 8JP.

 Booking Process: To book a place on this workshop please contact Get Grants via

Early Intervention Youth Fund – Grant Funding Available

An exciting opportunity has arisen for providers to bid for grant funding of £26,000 as part of the Sandwell EIYF provision of the wider West Midlands project. The funding is administered by Sandwell Council on behalf of the West Midlands PCC.

Providers would be expected to deliver targeted interventions to provide support to at least 15 young people over until end of March 2020 who have been assessed as Tier 2, and are displaying risk factors associated with violent crime, in particular those at risk of exclusion from school.

Successful providers must be in a position to start working with 5 young people from the cohort immediately.

Tier-2 working with YP that are identified as being at risk due to them being siblings or friends of known gang nominals /YOS families

The aims would be:

  • Equip young people with life skills
  • Divert them from crime
  • Develop resilience and coping skills
  • Raise aspirations

Support would be take the form of:

  • One to one mentoring and group sessions
  • Working with schools to ensure that the young people are receiving the necessary support
  • Working with parents to equip and support them with the necessary parenting skills to sustain the work done with young people
  • Introducing young people to positive role models

For an informal discussion, please contact Denise Hooper or Rebecca Low on 0121 569 3352 or 0121 569 6374

You can download the application form HERE. (Word format)

 Please email completed application forms  by 10th May 2019

Are you a Sandwell-based Charity, Community Group or TRA and Need a Website…but can’t afford one?

So, you are a Sandwell third sector organisation, you are the lifeblood of community work in Sandwell and you just want to concentrate on the excellent work you do without having to worry about raising funds for marketing materials such as websites or stressing through having to bodge one out yourself.

We hear you!

It is actually really important to have a professional website if you are third sector as it’s the first thing people will look at from a distance; everyone from potential volunteers to funders (we knew that one would resonate).

That’s why, as part of the iSandwell Digital Festival, we have enlisted the help of digital experts Data Brew to design you a brand new website and offer you professional advice, all in 15-minute sessions across the whole of Sandwell.

Wait?!?!?! 15 minutes, how is that possible?

After you have picked where is best for you and signed up via this form:

…you will receive an email with a time-slot and a form to fill out requesting information such as your logo and text for certain sections of your website. This will then go to Data Brew, who will put it together, so when you attend your session you will be talked through you brand new website along with how to get the best out of it and get the word out there.

Even if you have a website but you think it just doesn’t cut the mustard, we are happy help.

We will even pay for your hosting and if you need a logo, we can help you with that as well.

This is a great opportunity to get something that will usually cost thousands of pounds so make sure you book your slot, spaces are extremely limited.

So what are you waiting for, sign up before it is too late!! BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL!!

Available sessions are as follows:

Thursday, 16th May 2019:

  • Oldbury Library: 10am – 11.30am
  • Blackheath Library: 12 noon to 3.00pm
  • Glebefields Library: 3.00pm – 5.00pm

Friday, 17th May 2019:

  • Smethwick Library: 10am – 12 noon
  • Tipton Library: 1.00pm – 2.00pm
  • West Bromwich Library: 3.00pm – 5.00pm

Celebrating Community-focused Digital in Sandwell

Do you have a great digital project that you want everyone to know about?

May 13th – 18th will see a celebration of ‘all things digital’ in Sandwell via the iSandwell Digital Festival. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about using digital for social good in the region and meet other people who are interested in using tech.

During the week of May 13th – 18th, Sandwell Council and partners will be holding a series of events, which will range from art, community journalism, digital ‘making’ to helping social entrepreneurs and community groups to set up their own websites.

How can you get involved?

You can come along to one of the featured events that will run from Monday to Saturday, write a blog on how you are using digital or even run your own event, which we will help you promote over the week.

To learn more about the festival or get information on how to get involved, email: or telephone: 0121 569 3556

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