Stuart Ashmore

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SCVO is Recruiting for a Community Partnerships Coach

Are you a real ‘People Person’ with a passion for working with local people and communities in order to build and grow individual and community resilience?

SCVO seeks to appoint a high-calibre, creative individual to join our Development Team who will play a key role in supporting our aims of building the capacity, sustainability and resilience of the local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS).

SCVO is an independent charity that takes a lead role in strategic representation on behalf of the local VCS, and provides a range of development support services to sector organisations within the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell.

This important role within the SCVO Development Team will focus on bringing together individuals, community groups and voluntary organisations to consider community needs and develop new projects, services or activities to address these needs; looking at new ways of building capacity and confidence amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised in our local communities and growing community resilience.

SCVO is looking for a self-confident, creative and adaptable individual, who is able to create effective engagement amongst people and communities of diverse backgrounds. The successful candidate will likely have experience as a trainer/facilitator and can adapt their training/facilitation style to that of their audience – delivering bespoke training and support that meets the identified needs of the audience.

Remuneration: a competitive package that includes:

  • Salary: NJC SCP 31 – 34 (£27,668 – £30,153) plus 6% employer contribution stakeholder pension.
  • Working hours: 37 hours per week (with flexible, regular out-of-hours working).
  • Holidays: 28 days per annum, plus bank holidays.

You can request an application pack by emailing or by calling Debra Hill at SCVO on 0121 525 1127.

If you wish to have an informal discussion about this opportunity, please call Stuart Ashmore at SCVO on 0121 525 1127

Deadline for applications is 9.00am on Monday, 13th November 2017. Please ensure that your application is received within the stated timescale. SCVO cannot be held responsible for postal and/or email system failures.

Interviews will take place on Monday, 27th November 2017.

Click here to download the job description and personal specification.

Click here to download the application form (Word version)

Click here to download SCVO’s 2017 Annual Review.

Click here to download SCVO’s 2016/17 Annual Report & Accounts

Click here to ’11 Facts about Sandwell’s VCS’

Applications can be emailed to SCVO at or sent to: SCVO, 1st Floor, Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich B70 8ER.

SCVO strives to be an equal opportunities employer. Registered charity no. 1071514


‘Positive Change for a Positive Future’…SCVO’s AGM Round-up.

Thursday, 19th October 2017 saw the gathering of 64 delegates for SCVO’s 2017 AGM at Hawthorns House in West Bromwich.

39 Member organisations were represented across a wide range of voluntary and community sector delivery, with delegates enjoying an informative mix of ‘SCVO News and Developments’, formal AGM proceedings and an engaging keynote address from Gary Topp, CEO of Culture Central.

Stuart Ashmore, SCVO’s Operations Manager and Deputy CEO opened proceedings with a round-up of ‘News and Developments’ that included:
 ‘Meet the Funder 2017’ (book your place HERE);
• Development Support Surgeries at the Dorothy Parkes Community Centre (more information HERE);
• SCVO Breakfast Meetings: next one is Thursday, 23rd November 2017 at the Ebeneezer Church in Langley (further details available on our website shortly);
• Healthy Sandwell Micro Grants: awards of £500 available for ‘Engagement Activities’ that promote the services of Healthy Sandwell and the NHS Health Check programme (more information HERE);
• Children and Young People Forum: Networking event (with Jacquie Smith and Audrey Williamson). Reserve your place HERE;
• Leaders’ Survey: your opportunity to let us know about your experiences and views on issues relating to working within the Sector and supporting communities in Sandwell. You can complete the survey online HERE (closes 22nd November 2017);
• GDPR Implementation Workshop: scheduled for Tuesday, 5th December 2017 to look at practical steps to complying with the forthcoming GDPR in May 2018. More details to be released soon;

…followed by a couple of ‘bigger’ announcements…

• Community Partnerships Grant Programme: designed to encourage the development of new and/or different ways of working or engaging with people that has a focus on increasing self-help within communities over the long-term. Full details to be released shortly;
• Esmée Fairbairn Partnership: forged through discussions over the last 12 months and culminating in a new partnership for the next 5 years that focuses activity on building resilience at an individual level, within local communities, and across the wider sector. Full details of the programme are still being developed, but this partnership is a strong endorsement of the Sector; a long-term commitment that underpins the Foundation’s recognition of the work already undertaken by the Sector and partners and our desire to build capability and confidence amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised in our local communities and grow resilience.

The more ‘formal’ element of the AGM heard Mark Davis, SCVO’s CEO, talk about the achievements of the last 12 months together with the re-election of Mohammed Loan (Chair & General Secretary, Oldbury Jamia Mosque) and new election of Vicki Fitzgerald (CEO of Citizens Advice Sandwell) to SCVO’s Board of Trustees. You can see more detail of the year’s activities in the following documents:
• Annual Report and Accounts: Financial Year Ended 31st March 2017
• Annual Review 2017

The morning was concluded with a keynote address from Gary Topp, whose theme was ‘The world is changing – how can we work together to create a better future?’ Gary’s thought-provoking talk was well-received by the audience, and certainly generated a number of talking points in the post-talk Q&A.

The year ahead looks to be an interesting, and exciting, one – join us again in October 2018 to see how it all pans out.

How Vulnerable Young People Experience Digital Exclusion

The year-long #NotWithoutMe pilot programme challenge the assumption that younger generations are ‘digital natives’ and have basic digital skills or access to learning opportunities.

Carnegie UK Trust provided £40k to fund the pilot programme and partnered with local projects in Glasgow, Cumbria, Belfast and London to run over 80 practical sessions which saw 100 vulnerable young people get involved to improve their skills.

Report participants came from a variety of backgrounds and faced different barriers to digital inclusion.

The combined outcomes highlight the challenges society faces in tackling the perception that all children and young people have equal opportunities in developing the required digital ‘life’ skills.

The combined outcomes highlight the challenges society faces in tackling the perception that all children and young people have equal opportunities in developing the required digital ‘life’ skills.

The pilot programme has prompted the Carnegie UK Trust to outline key recommendations:

  • Digital participation strategies should take specific consideration of vulnerable young people.
  • Existing long-term skills development programmes in formal and informal education settings should embed digital skills learning.
  • Young people should be involved in shaping digital skills projects.
  • Appropriate ongoing training should be provided for the family and professional support networks for young people.

Gina Wilson, Carnegie UK Trust, said: “As a society we are guilty of assuming that young people are digitally proficient and have access to the benefits that digital skills can bring. Digital exclusion, particularly amongst vulnerable young people, is an important and often overlooked issue.

“These four pilot projects highlight the need to invest in young people facing extra challenges in life, whether that be their background or the fact they have a learning disability. In supporting vulnerable young people to develop relevant digital skills and understanding, we can also empower them to access more opportunities, and in turn improve both their social and mental well-being. This week is ‘Get Online Week’ and, as we encourage more people to explore the digital world, we should be mindful of those who are at risk of exclusion and how we can facilitate much needed support.”

To read the full Charity Digital News click here.

The New Charity Governance Code

The Charity Commission are delighted that the charity sector’s governance code is now in its 12th year and its 3rd edition. The Commission has supported and endorsed the code since its inception. The latest edition has raised the bar in response to the challenges that the sector has faced over the last two years. And awareness of the code is also growing. It’s good news that the consultation on the updated code received over 200 responses including from key players in the sector.

It’s vital that charities get their heads around governance. Following good governance practices, not just paying lip service but really understanding and applying them, could have averted many of the bad headlines of the last two years. It’s more than ticking the boxes. It’s about attitudes and culture, whether a charity puts its values into practice. It’s about how trustees make decisions and how well they understand what’s going on. We have seen the consequences of failing to do that.

But more than avoiding bad, it’s about realising potential, understanding and maximising the difference you make. Everything in good governance should point to your mission and your strategy for achieving it.

In other sectors – the corporate sector, housing, sport, there are potential financial consequences for not complying with the relevant governance code. The Charity Governance Code doesn’t work like that. It’s not enforced by the regulator. The rule is not ‘comply or explain’ but ‘apply or explain’, recognising the diversity of the sector. The same core principles apply to all charities, but they apply in different ways in terms of tailored good practice.

The code starts with a ‘foundation principle’; it should be a ‘given’ that all trustees understand their legal duties (as explained in The Essential Trustee) and are committed to their cause and good governance. We don’t take trustees’ commitment for granted, but it should be reasonable to expect commitment to translate into finding out about their responsibilities. In practice this is not always the case, and it’s an area where we continue to focus our efforts.

The code then develops seven principles – leadership; integrity; decision making, risk and control; board effectiveness; diversity; openness and accountability; all underpinning organisational purpose. Why these qualities matter should be self-evident. Many of them are also key drivers of trust and confidence, and can help to demonstrate to beneficiaries, funders and donors that a charity is trust-worthy.

To read the full Charity Commission Article click here.

Care Act – Community Event

What is a Care Act Advocate?

Who is eligible for a Care Act Advocate?

How can I refer someone?

If you want to know the answers to these questions, come to our POhWER Sandwell community Care Act event. We will be starting with a short background presentation and then opportunity for discussions. Please come and network, promote your services and find out more.

Limited spaces please book a place. Contact Chris Watkins, 0300 456 2370 before 29th August 2017.

The results of our GDPR Poll are in…

‘Thank you’ to everyone who took part in our recent poll regarding the implications of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to come into force on the 25th May 2018.

The GDPR is a new set of rules, laid down by the European Commission, governing the privacy and security of ‘personal data’ and will be adopted and implemented despite the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union.

We asked the question: “What impact will the new GDPR have on your organisation (particularly implementation)?” and the results are as follows (click the pie chart image to see it in more detail):

In summary:

  • 29% of respondents said it would have a lot of impact;
  • 42% said it would have some impact;
  • 16% said it would have little impact; and
  • 13% selected “What’s GDPR?



The fact that 87% of respondents are aware of the GDPR is very encouraging, particularly as there are still some 10 months until the Regulation comes into effect – it’s never too early to start planning for something as important as this – the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years!

Whilst the 13% who selected the ‘What’s GDPR?” is relatively modest, it is still a sizeable percentage given the amount of coverage the matter has had via third sector news outlets and, indeed, information that SCVO has disseminated.

And for the 16% who suggest it may have little or no impact…the legislation applies to anyone who handles ‘personal data’ – so, for example, if you hold personal details about staff or volunteers then you’ll need to be aware of the GDPR (indeed, you should already be aware of the current UK Data Protection legislation).

So, how can you find out more?

There is a wealth of information available on the Internet, but some places you might like to try are:

And, last, but by no means least…

  • SCVO’s Lunchtime briefing (13th Sept 2017): – FREE tickets now available (limited to one representative per organisation).


3rd Sedgley St Andrew’s Scout Group – 50th Anniversary Reunion

2017 marks the 50th year since the Group was formed and they are hoping to hold a reunion by way of celebration on Saturday, 4th November 2017 (times to be confirmed).

Visit our Events Calendar for more info:

Project Aspie’s ‘Alphabet 12’ Session – July 2017

On Saturday 29th July 2017 session of ‘Alphabet 12’ will be focusing on exploring the experience of ‘ASD, Parents and Siblings’. The session will comprise of Lead Guest Speaker Gurleen Manku, followed by 2 Special Guest Webinars from T.Lynn Lewis from Canada and Shawna Hardaway from USA aimed at raising awareness and understanding of how Autism affects Parents and Siblings.

More details at:

The Big Sleuth launches in Sandwell next week!

Six grrrreat bears will be unveiled in Sandwell on Monday (10 July) at the launch of The Big Sleuth public art trail.

The 10-week project supporting the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity will see decorated bear sculptures on display in the region’s streets, parks and open spaces. Sandwell has three bears in West Bromwich and three in Bearwood.

Visitors will be able to visit the bears along the trail which includes Sandwell, Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and Resorts World. A sleuth is the collective noun for a group of bears.

The first week of the trail in Sandwell will be filled with activities including Blind Dave Heeley joining Sandwell Council staff and bear sponsors on a fun run along the trail between the Sandwell bears. The Mayor will also be visiting all six bears on the day of the launch.

Members of the public can support the children’s hospital charity by raising funds and awareness using the trail and by attending events organised around it.

Anyone is welcome to come along to:

  • Teddy bears picnic, Monday 10 July 12-2pm Lightwoods Park bandstand, with free drawing competition and storytelling, bring a rug and some snacks.
  • The Big Sleuth Family Tennis, every Monday 6-7pm on the tennis courts at Sandwell Valley – present a selfie with a bear to join in!

More events to be announced over the summer.

For a map and more information, go to The Big Sleuth website.

We’d like to hear your views on…

We’d like to hear your views, via our next poll, regarding some forthcoming legislative changes that have far-reaching implications for all organisations that handle ‘personal data’ (think UK Data Protection Act…and then some!).

Hardly a month seems to go by (well, that’s what it feels like!) without a headline that tells of the latest data breach – I’m sure we can recall a number of the more high profile ones…Tesco Bank had details of 40,000 of their account holders compromised, with 20,000 of those having money stolen from those accounts.

Then there was TalkTalk (back in 2015) when 157,000 personal records were compromised (and this was the second such breach in a year!).

And, of course, how could we not mention Yahoo and its two data breaches – the first in 2013 when 1 billion (yes, 1 billion!) user accounts were breached and then again in 2015 when a further 500 million accounts had their details stolen.

It is against that backdrop that European-wide legislative changes are afoot, which will be implemented in 2018.

So, our poll question is as follows (click the link if the graphic isn’t visible):

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