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Applications are Now Open for China Plate’s First Bite 2021 Programme!

Applications are now open for China Plate’s First Bite 2021 programme! They are looking for submissions from theatre makers based in the Midlands to develop new work and showcase ideas to audiences and industry at the First Bite online micro-festival in September 2021.

This opportunity will provide 10 artists/companies from the region with the following:

  • £700 towards the development of a new idea/project
  • A chance to share and pitch the work as part of the First Bite online micro-festival
  • Support from China Plate and the First Bite partners to develop the work
  • Two of the programmed artists will be selected to receive a commission of £3000 to further develop the work and present it at its next stage, alongside a showcase of new performance work, during Bite Size festival at Warwick Arts Centre in April 2022.

Deadline for applications is: 10am – Monday 7th June 2021.

More information, including how to apply, is available on our website: https://chinaplatetheatre.com/opportunities/

SAFL’s New Courses for May

Learning new skills is more important than ever in today’s work place. To support continuous development, SAFL have responded with a range of new courses, on-line and in their centres, delivered Covid safe.

Maths for Parents
This course is designed to develop the basic maths skills of parents and carers. It will help you gain confidence with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in everyday situations.

For many adults it has been a while since they’ve done any maths (perhaps not since school days!), and skills are easily forgotten along the way. If you struggled with maths when home schooling during lockdown, this is the ideal starting point to refresh those skills.

Paediatric and Adult First Aid
This course will enable you to provide safe and effective first aid treatment an emergency before professional medical help arrives.

Step into Care
This course is for adults who want to up-skill or gain employment within the care sector and will focus on the skills and knowledge needed within the sector.

E Safety for Parents
This short (two hour) on-line course will help you feel more confident and support you in keeping children safe on line.

Painting & Drawing
Hobbies are an important part of maintaining your mental health and wellbeing. Hobbies are enjoyable, give us something to be passionate about and can help to cope with worry and stress.
This course is suitable for complete beginners.

For more details and course dates, click here.

Contact SAFL on 0121 557 0837 or email contact_SAFL@sandwell.gov.uk

“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: support@scvo.info or call 0121 525 1127.

Sandwell Sports Clubs and Activity Providers Re-start Workshop

With restrictions easing and a return to most sport and physical activity sessions possible from early May, Sandwell Council would like to invite you to a workshop that will give lots of practical information, examples and ideas on plans you need in place.   Things to be aware of and how to deliver your sessions as COVID safely as possible.

The Council is conscious that there are lots of information and guidance being published, so that will not be the focus of the workshop.   The focal point will be what it means for coaches and instructors delivering activity in Sandwell and what do you need to do now, so you can re-start safely.

The workshop takes place on Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 6.30 pm – 8.00 pm.

You will also learn where to go for local help and support plus an opportunity for questions and answers.

To book your place please contact PHCovid19Community@sandwell.gov.uk.

Showtime Community Productions Drama Group calling for new members

Showtime Community Productions are a newly formed amateur dramatics group based in Wednesbury. They work with like-minded individuals from their local community interested in developing their skills in the performing arts, which they put to good use by developing and putting on community pantomimes, for the benefit of the local community.

They are looking for new members to join their group, all abilities welcome and no prior experience required, as sessions aim to teach participants the drama skills they need to be able to put on a live community production.

The group meets on a Monday evening in Wednesbury, for more information or to join the group please contact Tammy by email at ShowtimeCP@mail.co.uk

YMCA Family Matters Offer

Family Matters is one of four projects within Building Better Opportunities, working across the Black Country in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton to help people move into, or closer to, employment, by developing their skills and confidence.

The YMCA Family Matters Mentors work one-to-one with individuals to understand their goals and their challenges, and then offer all the support that’s needed to help them achieve their goals.

If you are aged 16 or over, and out of work, then Family Matters could help you. Family Matters also works with young people aged 15 or over who are not in education, employment or training.

Family Matters programme can help you with the following:

• Family support
• Confidence building
• One-to-one mentoring and support
• Information, advice and guidance
• Help with CVs and application forms
• Job search support
• Training
• Volunteering opportunities

Contact the Sandwell Job Club at YMCA, 38 Carters Green, West Bromwich, on 0771 252 2431. Visits by appointment only.

Further information


JustGiving Launches Free Charity Processing Service

JustGiving has launched ‘Giving Checkout’ a free donation processing service for its charity customers, enabling them to collect direct donations via their own websites, social media and other digital channels, plus promote it offline with a web address or QR code.

A direct donation is recognised as a payment from a donor intended to be paid directly to a specific charity. JustGiving aren’t charging charities with a payment processing fees, as donors using this service will be given the opportunity to cover the payment processing fee or JustGiving will cover the payment processing fee for charities using Giving Checkout where donors opt-out of covering the fee.

Charities are also able to access to all donor data.

To read the Civil Society’s Article in full click here.

Source: Civil Society News

Free Fab Lab virtual tour for your organisation!

The Fab Lab at Sandwell College is currently offering free loan of amazing 360° cameras, along with support to help you make your own virtual tours and videos of your organisation.  The package is completely free and is open to groups and charitable organisations in the West Midlands until the end of July.

Fab Lab says it’s a great way to showcase your space online in a really immersive way to potential newcomers and supporters, particularly at the moment if you are unable to host face-to-face visits.

Fab Lab assistants will help you film your interactive videos, which can be watched on YouTube via a computer or smartphone. Fab Lab may also be able to help you with editing your videos, depending on your requirements.

For more information, please contact fablab@sandwell.ac.uk

To see one of the 360 films check out a tour of the Dorothy Parkes allotment, click here.

Inspired by Captain Tom – Do It Your Way!

Inspired by Captain Tom? From Friday 30 April to Monday 3 May 2021, you can take on a challenge of your own or with a friend as part of the Captain Tom 100 Challenge. Alternatively, you can make a donation to the cause.

Comic Relief is joining hundreds of charities around the UK to celebrate the life of Captain Tom, and you can too!

Walk 100 steps. Score 100 goals. Bake 100 cakes.

Choose a challenge to suit you – indoors or out – and celebrate Captain Sir Tom Moore’s amazing achievements while raising vital funds for Comic Relief.

To find out how to get involved click here.

Source: Comic Relief

A British Sign Language Guide to COVID-19 Vaccination

A British Sign Language guide to COVID-19 vaccination, filmed at Tipton Sports Academy, is available on YouTube.

The guide, a collaboration of the Black Country and West Birmingham CCG and Sandwell Deaf Community Association, has featured on national breakfast news.


Watch the guide here

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Email: support@scvo.info
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