Stuart Ashmore

Author Archives

Sandwell Prevent Team – Canada Attack

The Sandwell Prevent Team writes, “We are getting in contact due to the awful attack in London, Ontario, Canada where 4 people from the same family sadly died with another family member injured.  Sadly, this attack on the 6th June involved using a truck, a short distance from the city’s oldest mosque, and was targeted on the Muslim family.  Our thoughts are with the victims and the victim’s family member, the wider family and the community.  We know that this awful attack will have an effect on many of us, especially our Muslim community, their loved ones and the wider community.”

As always, the Sandwell Prevent Team want to offer their support to anyone affected.  If you are aware of any colleagues, friends or communities who need support please contact any of the Prevent Team.  If you have been affected in any way by a terrorist attack, emotional and practical support is available here – Support for Victims of Terrorism – Information on where to seek advice and assistance following a terrorist attack. (

Please be vigilant of any concerns related to this attack and let the Prevent Team know.  There could be a lot of talk and discussion on online platforms and social media, so please ensure children and the vulnerable are keeping safe online.  If you need any advice, guidance or resources on online safety, please contact Justin Nixon – or 07790396643.

Below, you’ll find some useful information, websites and resources that are used in educational settings.  If you would like any further advice, guidance or support, please speak to Justin (above).

Educate Against Hate

The following briefs and frameworks from the PSHE Association contain guidance on discussing a terrorist attack for primary and secondary schools and provides opportunities to process what has happened in the safety of a classroom.



Advice: please read

Reassure your staff/beneficiaries – this attack can undoubtedly be really unsettling for members of staff and your beneficiaries. Try and reassure them that the chances for any member of the public to be caught up in a terrorist attack continue to be low.

Discourage staff/beneficiaries from the sharing of video footage and imagery from the attack or from sharing the attackers name – terrorists aim is to gain notoriety for themselves and their unspeakable acts of violence by traumatising communities and spreading fear and a hate-filled ideology. Not sharing such content is taking a stand against terrorism.

Do not speculate – only use facts and reliable sources of information when explaining the incident and be clear on what is not yet known to avoid false rumours from spreading.

Address and challenge possible blame culture – no child, young person or individual should be made to feel isolated or like they have to ‘defend their community’ as a result of such a hateful act. Terrorists want to divide communities through their acts of violence. Focusing on a message of love and unity will undermine their efforts.

Vision 2030 Community Mental Health grants – applications now being taken.

Vision 2030 sets out the ambitions towards making Sandwell (in 2030) a thriving, optimistic and resilient community. Central to this vision is the message of closer partnership working between all sectors and communities across the borough.

The aspiration is for Sandwell (now and in the future) to be where we call home and where we’re proud to belong – where we choose to bring up our families, where we feel safe and cared for, enjoying good health, rewarding work, feeling connected and valued in our neighbourhoods and communities, confident in the future, and benefiting fully from a revitalised West Midlands.

SCVO is delivering this grant programme, on behalf of and in partnership with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, to enable voluntary and community groups to deliver activities in Sandwell, and to Sandwell residents, to support the following priority:

Purpose of the Fund – Improving Community Mental Health

The Covid-19 pandemic has had significant and wide-ranging impact across the borough and its communities, particularly in the area of adult mental health.

In line with Sandwell Council’s ‘Stronger Sandwell’ approach to improving health and wellbeing, and in order to complement existing mental health provision and targeted interventions, this grant programme focuses specifically on the area of promoting positive community mental health with funding being available to support early help/preventative activities; that are run BY local people FOR local people. This programme provides both funding to resource activities and in-kind support (e.g. guidance, training, information, etc..) to build the capacity of the organisation and its staff around positive mental health.

This programme of funding seeks to support organisations that meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Have a high profile within the community and strong engagement with local residents;
  • Are motivated to improve the mental health offer across Sandwell (i.e. interested in offering universal activities for all, not targeted interventions);
  • Can identify a mental health need within their organisation and/or community;
  • Can identify development/learning needs for improving their organisational approach to mental health;
  • Are prepared to work in partnership with the Community Mental Health Task Force (CMHTF – see guidance notes);
  • Are committed to receiving and benefiting from the non-financial support available;
  • Have expertise to offer to the wider sector.

and will:

  • Support the community response to Covid-19 and the impact on adult (aged 18+) mental health;
  • Promote a ‘build back better’ approach – helping to develop existing ‘community assets’ to support longer term community resilience;
  • Be available to support new or existing client groups, which can also include organisations’ employees and volunteers;
  • Be available for organisational delivery, training, and learning activities – both internally and externally;
  • Focus on outcomes. For example, increasing awareness and health literacy, reducing stigma, embedding preventative approaches, supporting organisational culture change, enhancing the early help offer, and improving access to community services.

Grants are available between £500 and £5,000

The closing date/time for the receipt of applications to be considered in this round is Thursday, 15th July 2021 at 10am.

For further information please download the Guidance Notes (pdf) and then contact SCVO’s Community Partnerships Coach, Liz Webster – email: / Tel: 0121 525 1127 or 07923 259821 – for a discussion about your idea (after which you will be sent the relevant application form).

Creative Black Country are looking for a Maternity Cover Programme Coordinator

Creative Black Country are looking for a Programme Coordinator (Maternity cover) to support the delivery of their programme, which is about ‘Making the most of the Black Country through arts, culture and creativity’ and includes activities, events, general operations, reporting, arts and cultural sector development opportunities with and for communities across the Black Country.

The role will provide administrative support to the Directors and, where relevant, the CBC team. It will also act as a key link and liaison with the CBC extended team of arts advisors and creatives, creative partners and stakeholders and the wider community. A key element of the role will be to create and develop online content to increase CBC profile. This will include, but not be limited to, maintaining, creating and delivering administration systems such as finance, marketing, recruitment, schedules, databases, evaluation and research.

Job Title: Programme Coordinator (Maternity Cover)

Contract: 9 months

Preferred start: early August 2021.

Probation Period: 1 month

Salary: NJC spinal points 18 – 20 (£24,982 – £25,991) depending on experience; 6% employer contribution pension (When matched by employee).

Location: Main office facilities will be located at SCVO (Landchard House, Victoria St, West Bromwich, B70 8EX) and occasionally at Black Country Living Museum offices (Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ). Remote and/ or working from home will feature as part of the role.

Responsible to: Director of Operations and Development (DOD)

Hours of work: 37 hours per week. This team will operate a flexible hours policy with a “Time Off in Lieu of overtime” (TOIL) system. The role will require some flexibility, e.g. occasional evening and weekend work.

Holidays: 19 days plus bank holidays. The holiday year runs April to March.

You can find out more information, including how to apply and the key closing / interview dates by downloading the following documents:

Emerging From Covid Lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented organisations (across all sectors) with an unprecedented set of delivery challenges.

In this seminar, we will explore how mindsets may have changed with respect to some key factors in organising the delivery of services by the Voluntary and Community Sector in Sandwell as we emerge from lockdown.

We will explore the experiences being reported (that SCVO has collected during its support activities) and the advanced planning that would be helpful to address the following areas:

1. Finance and funding

e.g. challenges and opportunities for both funders and delivery organisations.

2. New Markets & Needs 

including: emergent needs – what might they be and how can they be approached/delivered in new ways?

3. The changed mindsets on working patterns and using staff resources to meet client needs:

including: working patterns and staff resources (to meet client needs) … what might these look like? What creative opportunities might be presented regarding staff work-life balance? What resilience capability might be needed in order to prepare for any pandemic re-occurrences?

This seminar is FREE to attend and you can book your ticket by visiting our EVENTBRITE page.

Development Officer Vacancy at One Walsall

One Walsall provides infrastructure and support for Walsall’s voluntary and community sector organisations, and brokerage for people seeking volunteering roles. It is an independent charity providing support to help local voluntary and community organisations develop and sustain their activities and engage residents in voluntary action. They are a small, energetic team committed to our aim of supporting a strong voluntary and community sector and inspiring local social action.

One Walsall is seeking an individual who is passionate about supporting the voluntary and community sector to develop, grow and remain sustainable. The Small Groups Development Officer is responsible for:

  • providing information, advice and training to existing and emerging small voluntary and community groups (typically with an income of under £100,000 per year).
  • Upskilling management committees, trustees, volunteers and paid staff so they can become more sustainable and effective in delivering their activities.
  • Building links and providing opportunities for networking and shared learning between organisations and groups.
  • Supporting them to identify and access grant funding and other resources to aid their sustainability.

The successful candidate will also support organisations to go through One Walsall’s Development Tool, which measures areas of strengths and weaknesses within the group, and deliver training that compliments this Tool (no formal training qualification required).

Salary: £26,000 per annum – pro rata, (plus 3% pension contribution when matched by employee)

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Experience of working with grassroots community sector organisations and knowledge of their structures and working arrangements.
  • Experience of securing funding for community activities
  • Experience of delivering effective training and advice on a one-to-one and group basis.
  • An open, friendly approach and ability to build strong, supportive relationships
  • A flexible working attitude that supports the smooth running of a busy team.

For an informal discussion about the role, please contact Dave Benge, Development Team Manager on 01922 619 840 or


Closing date for applications: 5:00pm on 28th June

Interviews to be held on 7th July. Please note that, unless restrictions change, these interviews will be held face-to-face.

NB: Due to limited resources, feedback to applicants will only be supplied to those candidates who are interviewed.

Digital Boost Offers Free Mentoring, Advice and Training for Small Business & Charities

Digital Boost Free Mentoring & Advice for SMEs and Charities: to help small businesses and charities recover and build back better, Digital Boost is offering free, personalised mentoring calls, advice, and workshops from digital and business experts. Over 1,800 volunteers from organisations including Google, BT, and Visa are on hand to help.

Digital Boost experts can help small businesses and charities with a wide range of issues, including business strategy, digital marketing, e-commerce, data protection, payments and money management. Help is given through one-to-one 60 minute virtual calls, scheduled at a time that’s convenient for the small business or charity. Workshops on topics such as SEO, Google Ads, and B2B Sales are also available.

Getting started is easy. Small businesses and charities simply need to register at

Interested in volunteering to share your expertise? Sign up at

Café provision at ‘new’ Oldbury Library – delivery opportunity.

Sandwell Libraries and Archives is about to open a ‘new’ library at Sandwell Council House to replace the previous one based at Jack Judge House.

There is a newly fitted kitchen in the library space from which café provision could be offered to library customers. This is a great opportunity for a voluntary group to partner with Sandwell Libraries and Archives in the delivery of this.

The library will normally be open 6 days per week, but the café could operate for less time. Other terms to be negotiated.

If you are interested in the exciting opportunity, please contact Jean Fenn (Library Manager) on or call 07768 988033.

EPIC Funding (Round Four) – Grant Application Window Closes 21st June 2021

SCVO is working in partnership with the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to help build long-term resilience within Sandwell Communities.

The purpose of the EPIC Grant Programme (Empowering People In Communities) is to enable local voluntary and community organisations to access funding that supports the following broad outcomes:

  • Increased resilience within communities
  • Increased self reliance
  • Improved and stronger relationships within the community
  • Residents are involved in the design and delivery of activities that make a positive change in their communities
  • Asset and strengths based – building on what exists in communities

Extensive community conversations have helped to shape the elements of this programme.  EPIC is a three year grant programme aimed at improving the wellbeing of communities, and tackling isolation and loneliness. It does this by developing stronger relationships and building on what exists within communities. This could include making the most of community spaces, improving access to transport and using people’s skills, talents and experience.

Grants up to £80,000 will be available for projects that are aimed at people (of all ages) who feel lonely or isolated, and projects that aim to improve the wellbeing of communities.

There are three tiers of funding available:

  • under £10,000
  • £10,001 to £40,000

Applications for Round 4 are currently being accepted until Monday, 21st June 2021 at 12 noon.

Application paperwork (in Word format) and guidance notes (in pdf format) are available for download as follows:

For applications under £10,000:


For applications over £10,000:


If you would like to discuss any proposals before submitting an application, or you have any general queries, please contact Liz Webster, Community Partnerships Coach, T: 07923259821 / E: or Stuart Ashmore, Operations Manager, T: 07703 823226 / E:


“Understanding Extremism” training – FREE to attend

The Sandwell Council Prevent Team are pleased to offer FREE Understanding Extremism training for community groups & staff.

This training explores issues relating to the ideology of global jihadism and the Extreme Far Right and also covers: The Prevent Strategy, including case studies of extremism and radicalisation.

There is also the opportunity to hear from two guest speakers:

Dave Allport – Founder and Director of REWIND UK
Dave has been challenging racism and extremism for over 25 years in Sandwell. He specialises in the Extreme Far-Right and has worked as a Home Office intervention provider, working with over 200 individuals including members of the EDL, National Front, and many more. His organisation, Rewind UK, now delivers training to schools and organisations.

Sarfraz Khan – Sandwell Childrens Trust Prevent Youth Officer
Sarfraz has been at the forefront of Sandwell’s Prevent work for over 10 years, working as the Youth Officer across the Council and the Children’s Trust. He specialises in ‘Islamist’ and ISIS- inspired terrorism and its ideological foundations and has worked with numerous young people in Sandwell. He also delivers Prevent training to organisations across the borough.

The training takes place on Wednesday 2nd June 2021 at 15:00 – 17:00 and will be delivered online via Microsoft Teams (no software required!)

If you are interested, please email:

“Can we still hold our AGM online?” and other such matters – updated Charity Commission guidance

As we are all aware, the government introduced a national lockdown across England  in January 2021. (In Wales, the government introduced alert level 4 restrictions in December 2020.)

These restrictions mean if you can, you should hold trustee or member meetings online or by telephone (see the section below on how to do this). However, if you cannot do this, you can hold trustee or members’ meetings in person if this is necessary to provide voluntary or charitable services.

The Charity Commission has updated its Covid-19 guidance for the charity sector and some of the headlines are as follows:

AGMs and other meetings: postponing or cancelling meetings

With the current restrictions in place (under the government’s ‘roadmap’), trustees need to consider how and if they can hold meetings.

Trustees need to check if their charity’s governing document allows them to hold meetings online or by telephone. Where it does not, an alternative may be to amend it to allow meetings to be held in this way.

The Charity Commission does recognise that for some charities virtual meetings are not a viable solution, nor are socially distanced face-to-face meetings. In such instances trustees may consider they have no choice but to cancel or postpone their AGMs and other critical meetings.

If such a decision is considered necessary, trustees should follow any rules in their charity’s governing document that allow for postponement, adjournment or cancellation. If there are no such rules, but they decide that this is still the best course of action for their charity in the current circumstances, they should record the reasons for this decision to demonstrate good governance of their charity. This is particularly important if it is not possible to hold an AGM, which may make it difficult for the annual reports and accounts to be finalised.

Holding meetings online or by telephone

As outlined above, it may be difficult to hold face-to-face meetings in the current circumstances. Some charities have clauses in their governing documents that allow them to meet virtually or to use telephone facilities, so trustees are advised to check their governing document and see if they can make amendments themselves to facilitate changes as to how or when meetings are held.

Generally, if there is no such clause in the governing document and they decide to hold meetings over the phone or using digital solutions, the Charity Commission will understand. However, any such decision(s) should be recorded in order to demonstrate good charity governance. This is all the more important because the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 provisions, which permitted charitable companies and CIOs to hold AGMs and other members’ meetings online regardless of their governing documents, ended on 30 March 2021.


If you are unsure of your own organisation’s position, why not get in contact with SCVO to see if we can help resolve your query/situation? Drop us a line to: or call 0121 525 1127.

Page 1 of 8123...Last

Contact Us

Tel: 0121 525 1127

1st Floor, Landchard House
Victoria Street, West Bromwich
B70 8ER