Stuart Ashmore

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EU Settlement Scheme – Supporting EU Communities

In line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement, EU citizens* and their family members (including children) will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020. This allows them to get a new UK immigration status that will protect their rights in the UK once the UK leaves the EU.

The Home Office is putting in place a series of arrangements to accommodate the diverse needs of EU citizens who will require support. To ensure support is available, we want to enable community groups to play a vital role in supporting vulnerable or at-risk communities. We are doing this by providing guidance, a suite of communication materials and regular engagement activity for community groups. We are also providing grant funding for eligible voluntary and community sector organisations.

To support you in raising awareness and delivering activities around the EU Settlement Scheme, we have created a community leaders toolkit to provide accurate, timely and accessible  communication materials for your use and to share with vulnerable or at-risk communities. Further details on the materials available are provided in this pack. You can also find
these on GOV.UK.

This pack introduces you to the community leaders toolkit. It will help you to use the communications materials and share them with EU citizens and their family members in your communities. These materials will also help increase your understanding of the EU Settlement Scheme and the important role you can choose to play in supporting EU citizens.

The information in this pack is about the EU Settlement Scheme in line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement. This information relates to the scheme when it fully opens by 30 March 2019 and does not reflect conditions in pilot phases.

(* EU citizens used throughout refers to EEA and Swiss nationals, who are all eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.)

Do you offer free public access to computers? Get listed on Find My Nearest…

Find My Nearest‘ is an online directory, operated by Sandwell MBC, that lists a range of different services available across the borough.

One of the services listed is that of free access to computers and support – simply enter your postcode and select ‘Computers’ from the dropdown menu to see what’s available near you.

But the listings are only as good as the information available to SMBC…and that’s where YOU can help!

SMBC has created an online survey to collect details of new locations offering FREE computer access and support, and for those organisations already listed to update their details.

You can complete the survey HERE

In an increasingly connected world, we want to see the best possible access for Sandwell’s residents…and this is a great way to help that happen.

Brexit Update

Whilst we’re still none the wiser about the outcome of ongoing Brexit negotiations, there is an ever-increasing amount of information being distributed along the lines of “what to do if…“.

Sandy Adirondack (, in her regular newsletter (to which you can subscribe via her website), has helpfully summarised a number of such sources of information as follows…but it’s not definitive by any means (by her own admission!):

And if there is No Deal…

National Lottery Funding for Community Spirit Celebrations

This funding opportunity to support the Mayor’s Community Weekend is offered through a partnership between the West Midlands Combined Authority and The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. The aim is to bring people and communities together, to celebrate the experiences they share and make new memories.

Grants of up to £500 will be on offer to groups across the region including Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Herefordshire, Sandwell, Shropshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire.

Events supported will:

  • Encourage people from all walks of life to build stronger community bonds, embrace community spirit and celebrate diversity and may include, for example, a street party, a sports festival or a picnic in the park.
  • Be led by people i.e. people in the community are part of the design and delivery of the event.
  • Be community focused, bringing people together who wouldn’t usually interact
  • Have a long-term vision, with plans for what will happen afterwards, looking at how relationships will be sustained.

Anyone can apply – fully constituted organisations, small informal groups that already exist, or even just a few people from a local community coming together for the first time.

Events will take place in one of these areas within the West Midlands: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Herefordshire, Sandwell, Shropshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton, Worcestershire.

To apply for funding either submit a short video (up to three minutes) or a written online application (up to 500 words).

Applications open at 9am on Friday 22 February 2019 and close at 9pm on Sunday 17 March 2019.

Useful Links:

Events in 2018

Are you involved in marketing or comms at a charity or beyond profit?

Are you involved in marketing or comms at a charity or beyond profit?

Then Lightful needs you! 

Lightful is a UK-based technology company for social good and is looking to run user research and testing sessions from February to April 2019 in and around Birmingham.

These sessions will help Lightful to further develop its software platform and services for the charity and beyond profit community. Participants will receive a £50 Amazon e-voucher for one hour of testing as well as compensation for reasonable travel expenses.

The aim of the sessions will be to further understand current ways of working as well as potential challenges and needs that you might experience with marketing or comms at your charity or beyond profit.

If you’re interested in participating, please complete this brief form HERE and a member of the Lightful team will get in touch. The information you provide through the form will be sent directly to Lightful.


‘Do you have what it takes to join us’ – CVT Shared Lives looking to recruit Paid Carers to an innovative new Scheme across the Black Country.

National charity, Camphill Village Trust, has recently been awarded the contract to deliver a Shared Lives Scheme on behalf of Dudley MBC, and are looking to recruit paid Carers to significantly expand this innovative service across the wider Borough and surrounding Black Country areas over the coming years.

As a starting point, Shared Lives is sometimes described as being similar to providing ‘foster care for adults with additional/complex needs’…but it’s so much more than that, as you support the Person to make choices and decisions, maximise independence and lead an ordinary life at the heart of the community just like you and me. Being a Shared Lives Carer, you encourage the Person to develop practical skills, build self-esteem and develop new friendships and social networks in the neighbourhood, which creates a sense of belonging.

CVT Shared Lives will provide a comprehensive induction programme and on-going support to ensure that the highest quality of care is maintained throughout each Shared Lives Arrangement. An Enhanced DBS Check and references are also required. Training will take place in your own home, via e-learning and also as a group at our community hub in Stourbridge. The Assessment process can take between 3-6 months. Once approved by an Independent Panel, you are carefully matched with a Person who comes to stay/live with you on either a live-in, short-break or day-support basis…it’s such a rewarding role!!!

96% of all Shared Lives Schemes inspected by the Care Quality Commission are rated as Good or Outstanding as people are known to lead longer, healthier, happier lives when living in the community. Not only is Shared Lives more cost effective but it also provides a viable alternative to other long-term settings such as hospital or residential care.

Registered Manager for CVT Shared Lives, Kate Morgan, said “We already have 38 households in the area supporting people with a learning disability, mental ill health, autism and physical disability. The recent demand for the service, means there is a continual need to recruit dedicated Carers and by joining our Scheme, caring people can build a paid career from their own home, doing a role they love and which is very much valued by all those involved.”

You must be over 21 years of age and don’t need any qualifications or experience, just the right values, commitment and of course…..a spare bedroom. If you don’t own your own home, you will need to ask your landlord’s permission to use your property as a Shared Lives Arrangement.

As a Shared Lives Carer you can be paid from £370 – £560+ per week, depending on the level of support you provide to the Person who comes to stay/live with you. That works out between £19-29K annually, as well as qualifying for tax relief and receiving four weeks respite.

To find out more about becoming a Shared Lives Carer , please go to Call 01384 441505. Email or follow us on Twitter: @CVTSharedLives

Rowley Regis Community Awards 2019

Friday, February 8th 2019 saw the Rowley Regis Community Awards 2019 take place in Cradley Heath, attended by 260 delegates.

Anam Choudhury, of Sandwell Community Hubs, writes:

On behalf of Sandwell Community Hubs and Sandwell Council, I would like to thank everyone for coming together to celebrate the Rowley Regis Community Awards 2019, which took place on 8th February 2019 and was attended by 260 delegates involving representatives of the local council, community sector, local businesses, the nominees and the finalists of the community awards. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Independent Awards Panel Members- Cllr Susan Eaves, Prabha Patel (SMBC Neighbourhood Manager), Paula Cope (TESCO) & Sergeant Cheryl Reed (WM Police) for their involvement in the awards process.

 Please follow the link to view pictures from the event.

 Following the event, we have had a number of emails and phone calls with positive feedback. Cllr Julie Webb said “this event was so special to so many people.  It was long overdue.  I look forward to next year’s event”.

“A huge thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in arranging such a splendid evening. Receiving the award has done wonders for the volunteer team who are justly proud of being recognised for their efforts to support artists in the community”, said Harry Bloomer from the Art Yard.

“Just wanted to say a big thank you for the awards ceremony, which we attended on Friday, and was awarded the Community Partnership Award,” said Pauline Withey from Agewell.

 “Thank you for an Amazing Evening at the Rowley Regis Awards Ceremony. It was an absolutely fabulous event – so good to see so many outstanding volunteers praised for their hard work. The finalist Certificates were well received. Many thanks for organising this event” said Norma Hyde from Special Olympics Sandwell.

“I would just like to show my appreciation for a lovely evening. It was a very enjoyable evening” Tracy Lowe, the winner of Outstanding Volunteers Award.

Councillor Susan Eaves, town chair for Rowley Regis, said: “This awards ceremony has been excellent in giving a big thank you to people who have gone the extra mile for the area.”

The winners and (runners-up) of the Rowley Community Awards 2019 were:

  • Outstanding Volunteers Award: Tracy Lowe (Ernie Locke)
  • Partnership Working Award: Agewell Kingfisher Buddies & Your Health Partnership Living Well with dementia (Haden Hill Leisure Centre & Old Hill Cricket Club)
  • Good Neighbour Award: Mrs Balbir Kaur and Mr Shinda Singh (Kelvin James and Pat James)
  • Community Project Award: Student Voice (The Art Yard)
  • Community Organisation Award: The Friends of Haden Hill Estate (Cradley Heath Community Link)
  • Young Persons Award: Jordan Goodridge (Student Voice)
  • Community Special Award: Daya Singh Nagi (Christine Smith).

Brexit and The Implications for the Third Sector…

Brexit (in one form or another) has been a constant news headline since the outcome of the referendum back in June 2016…and ‘Brexit Day’ is fast-approaching: 29th March 2019.

What’s clear is that matters, and a way forward, are still very unclear, but the clock is ticking…so what might some of the implications be for the Third Sector given some of the possible scenarios that might play out?

To try and respond to that question, SCVO attended a recent briefing organised by the WM Funders Network , hosted by Brewin Dolphin, 9 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2BJ. The focus of the briefing was to provide an update and offer some assessment of what this might mean for the Sector.

There is still much to be clarified, such as the agreement on how much money the UK ‘owes’ the EU, what happens to the Northern Ireland border and what happens to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK. There has also been agreed a ‘transition period’ to put in place the necessary arrangements for the UK to leave the EU. The speakers considered what this might mean for the Third Sector:

Ian Burrows, Brewin Dolphin, Investment Managers started off the briefing by looking at the implications for the economy and investment income for charities.

Mick McAteer, The Financial Inclusion Centre provided evidence from various data sets on the particular impact on households in the region with higher financial vulnerabilities;

Jill Rutter, BritishFutures focused on the likely changes to immigration policy and implications for obtaining settlement status for EU migrants in the UK, and

Andy Churchill, Chief Executive, Network for Europe looked at European Funding  and its replacement by the Government’s proposed’ Shared Prosperity Fund.’

If you would like to get a sense of more of the detail covered by each speaker, you can find a copy of their PowerPoint slides HERE.

In a nutshell, despite the level of uncertainty regarding a certain way forward, the answer is NOT to be like an ostrich, but be aware of the every-growing plethora of publications and resources regarding Brexit, some of which are below. However, a key item to watch out for is the impending consultation regarding the Government’s proposed ‘Shared Prosperity Fund’. It had been hoped that such consultation would have taken place before the end of 2018, but a question posed in Parliament and answered on 3rd December 2018 elicited the following response:

Jake Berry, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

“We are continuing to work on the design and priorities of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the composition of which will be decided at next year’s Spending Review. Decisions will be informed by a consultation and will be published in due course, which will give all interested parties an opportunity to convey their views directly to Government.”

Basically, “Watch this space!”.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here is the resources list:

Department for Exiting the European Union: How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal:

Home Office: Immigration from 30th March 2019 if there is not deal:

The Treasury: The Government’s guarantee for EU- funded programmes if there is no Brexit deal

The National Agency: Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps Programme – Updated guidance from Government

The Brexit Civil Society Alliance:

NCVO: Brexit updates

Learning and Work Institute:

Birmingham City Council: The Impact of Brexit on Birmingham and the West Midlands

Smethwick Community Awards 2019: Nominations now open.

Nominations are now open for the Smethwick Community Awards 2019.

This is an opportunity for local people and community organisations to be recognised for their outstanding contributions to the Smethwick town and its people. The Smethwick Community Awards 2019 is organised by the Sandwell Community Hubs in partnership with the Sandwell Council.

Nominees are being sought for seven categories of awards. The categories open for submissions are:

  • Outstanding Volunteer Award: Someone whose volunteering makes a huge impact on the local community.
  • Outstanding Young Person Award: A young person who makes a positive contribution to the local community.
  • Outstanding Good Neighbour Award: Someone who helps their neighbours & makes a difference to someone else.
  • Outstanding Community Project Award: A community project that makes a difference to the local community.
  • Outstanding Community Organisation Award: A community project/organisation that makes a difference to the local community.
  • Outstanding Partnership Working Award: A Group has shown that partnership working has had a positive impact.
  • Community Special Award: An individual that has contributed positive lifelong service to the area.

To enter, all projects or services must take place in the town. All entries will be judged by an independent panel involving local councillors and businesses.

Deadline for the Smethwick Community Awards 2019 is Friday 1st March 2019 at 11:30 pm.

Please visit to submit your nominations.


All Nominees will be invited to an Awards Ceremony to be held on 15th March 2019 from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm.

Save the Date! Briefing: EU Settlement Scheme

You are invited to attend a briefing with the Home Office Settlement Scheme team
Date: 25th February 2019
Location: Birmingham (venue TBC) Time: 1.30pm – 4.30pm

The briefing, aimed at those from frontline/voluntary and community groups will provide an overview of the scheme. In addition, an update on the vulnerability strategy and the additional support the Home Office is making available for more vulnerable or at-risk EU citizens and their family members.

During the session, there will be an opportunity to look at local needs in relation to the scheme, and to discuss what actions are required to address these issues together. Attendees will also be presented with the communications tools and resources the Home Office has developed for frontline organisations to help them inform and reassure EU citizens.

Confirm your attendance at: 

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