Stuart Ashmore

Author Archives

Help make Sandwell a Place of Sanctuary

Join Brushstrokes and Bearwood Action for refugees to find out more about making Sandwell a ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ and how you can support a local community sponsorship project – welcoming a refugee family into our local community.

When: Tuesday, 28th January 2020 from 6pm

Where: Brushstrokes, 253 High Street, Smethwick, B66 3NJ

For more information and to register your interest, please email:

Can You Help Mesty Croft Allotments?

Mesty Croft Allotments are wondering if there’s anyone out there who might be able to help them with some ‘building’ requirements?

They’re looking for some roofing materials to construct a roof on their steel-structure gazebo, together with  an outdoor-type table(s) – for example, like a wooden picnic table (or similar).

If you’re able to help, then let us know and we’ll put you in touch with the relevant person at the allotments – ‘thank you’.

Project Aspie – Open Space Initiative meetings in January 2020

Project Aspie is an award winning organisation geared towards raising the profile of people with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism within the community.

Project Aspie was created and developed to improve and inspire people with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism to live healthy and independent lives within the community.

Project Aspie also delivers Campaign Events and Community Projects including the Community Initiative The Open Space Initiative, which is geared towards offering Confidence, Motivation and Opportunities for people with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism.

National Lottery Community Fund kindly funds The Open Space Initiative.

The next TWO Open Space Initiative events are open for bookings:

15th January 2020 – visit – – for more information.

25th January 2020 – visit – – for more information.

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.

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

Free Enterprise Masterclasses

Gecko Programmes, a Wolverhampton-based training company, is offering free of charge Masterclasses to enterprises and the self-employed in the Black Country.

The offer is also open to voluntary and community groups where their delivery includes an ‘enterprise’ element.

All the courses are offered over three days – there are NO assignments, and all learners are certified by Gecko on completion of the Masterclasses.

The programme is:

  • Leadership and Motivation
  • Managing Projects
  • Business Development
  • Marketing and Social Media
  • Mentoring
  • Event Preparation and Management

To find out more and engage in the programme, contact Jay Hunting: / 01902 837402 / 07805 401264.

Skills for Growth in the Black Country is supporting eligible business to develop and implement bespoke training programmes, helping to meet growth ambitions by satisfying the workforce’s immediate and long-term needs. This initiative is supported by the Black Country LEP.


Spotlight on Home School Social Enterprise

Homeschool is a registered Christian Charity with a strong Christian ethos.  We run a Primary School with the central aim to educate and support children with a rich and varied education along with strong Christian Values.  Though Homeschool is our Trade Mark, the school is a registered Independent School.  We also offer a diverse range of services for all age groups including Tuition, Childminding and care for the Homeless.


Find out more by viewing our ‘Spotlight Video’ below:

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