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New Scheme proving successful in recruiting BAME carers across the Black Country

National charity, Camphill Village Trust, is leading the way in recruiting BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) carers to its innovative Shared Lives scheme on behalf of Dudley Council, which offers adults who need support, the chance to live with an ordinary family.

Having only been operational since September 2018, the scheme has drawn on the strengths of the diverse communities throughout the region and recruited nineteen new households already, including seven from the BAME population. There are also many other households registering genuine interest in wanting to become Shared Lives carers given its recent raise in profile across the UK by all local authorities.

Although figures for the local scheme are relatively small in comparison, their upward trajectory is a reflection of wider national statistics according to Skills for Care (2019), where the BAME population represents 21% of the adult social care workforce in England.

Shared Lives is a unique model of personalised support and accommodation, with a very strong track record of transforming lives, going back many years. Shared Lives is extremely flexible, and the person is carefully matched to live or stay on either a live-in, short-break or day support basis.

Married couple, Caroline and Gary Reid from Sandwell, who were approved as Shared Lives carers by the Camphill Village Trust scheme just over a year ago, have after several introductory visits now been matched with Meg, who has a learning disability and was previously living in residential care after her mother passed away some time ago. ‘The scheme was very clear from the start that we wouldn’t necessarily receive BAME referrals, which was never a concern anyway.’

The assessment process can take between three to six months before being approved by an independent panel. By being part of a registered scheme, Shared Lives carers are paid according to the level of support they provide, up to £570 per week, and because of their self-employed status, also qualify for tax relief.

Candy and Derrick Foster from Tipton and who were previously foster carers before recently moving over to be approved with Shared Lives added, ‘Shared Lives provides a great opportunity for individuals with the right values and commitment, to develop a social care career, in what is such a rewarding role. It really does challenge the assumptions of what people who require extra support can achieve whilst living within the comfort of an ordinary home, but with extra-ordinary carers.’

To find out more information about becoming a Shared Lives carer with the Camphill Village Trust scheme, please call on 01384 441505 or go to www.camphillvillagetrust.org.uk


Unlocking the Power of Community for Our Common Good

At Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) we want people in Oxfordshire to have better lives. For us, this means that no-one should have to sleep rough on our streets and everyone should have a place to call home; where every child has aspirations and the opportunity to thrive; and no-one has to experience the despair of loneliness, but instead can enjoy a true sense of belonging.

To make this a reality, we believe in unlocking the power within our communities enabling charities, businesses and the public sector (city, district and country councils) to work collectively in shared endeavour to improve opportunities for those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Therefore, with the new year 2020 almost here, I am delighted with the progress Oxfordshire Community Foundation has made during 2019 which has seen the launch of two key strategic programmes Growing Minds – a school readiness project to reduce educational disadvantage and Oxford Homeless Movement – a partnership of 38 organisations working to ensure that nobody should have to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford.   What better evidence of how Oxfordshire Community Foundation is already working in collaboration with others to unlock the power of community and starting to build an unstoppable movement for Our Common Good.

We believe OCF has a role to play at the heart of such social transformation, providing a voice for the community and the space for partnerships to come together.

We acknowledge that our aspiration to find local solutions to national problems is simply beyond the capacity of any one organisation. However, the real challenge we see is often not a lack of money but more a lack of co-ordination between all our various efforts as individuals and organisations.

Whenever, I talk about OCF, I am always minded to mention Our Common Good and the collective priority we share to inspire more “place making” by enhancing the role of national and local philanthropy to renew and empower communities to seek out ever more collaborations and cross-sector partnerships.

In 2020 Oxfordshire Community Foundation will be celebrating 25 years working across Oxfordshire looking to find local solutions to the national problems that are holding our communities back – homelessness, educational disadvantage, inequality and loneliness.  With this experience behind us we are becoming increasingly outspoken, seeking out every opportunity to share our knowledge and insight, adding our voice and influence to achieve greater impact.

To read  the full UK Community Foundations Article click here.

Source: UK Community Foundations


Ideal for All Service Recognition

Local Charity Ideal for All are delighted to announce they have been shortlisted in the prestigious national ERSA Employability Awards 2020 as one of only four Disability and Health providers.

Ideal for All (IFA), which is run by and for disabled people, recently celebrated National Employability Day 2020 by showcasing their integrated health, wellbeing and specialist employment support across social media, in collaboration with Future Excel, the Business Development and Employability Specialist.

A great end to the day’s events, Ideal for All were announced as just one of four shortlisted organisations for the ERSA Disability and Health provider of the year sponsored by ICONI software.

The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the representative body for the employment support sector. The award recognises an employment services provider who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting job seekers with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment. CEO Khatija Patel said, “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for such an acclaimed national award for our specialist support, delivered in partnership with Disabled people. It means so much to all of us to be recognised for the difference we make against such strong competition. A huge well done to all of those shortlisted this year, please join us in celebrating our combined achievements.”

The winners of the Awards 2020 will be announced Wednesday 22 July, 5 pm-7 pm via online video conference compered by Lucy Clayton, entrepreneur and author of  ‘How to Go to Work’. More information about ERSA’s Employability Awards 2020 can be found here.


Charity Commission Issues Insolvency Advice

Charities in financial distress will have access to new rules on insolvency, which have been rushed through parliament in the last month.

The Charity Commission has issued guidance reminding charities that the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act, which was passed into law on Friday and aims to address financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will apply to voluntary organisations as well as private companies.

New rules The new rules include giving charities the right to apply for more time to avoid debt enforcement action, and limits the rights of contractors to terminate supply agreements with charities. The Act also temporarily suspends some provisions in order to reduce the risk that trustees are personally liable during the crisis, and places restrictions on winding up petitions where a charity cannot pay its bills as a result of the pandemic. It also introduces new procedures to help viable charities restructure if they are struggling with debt.

Charities under pressure The sector could lose £12.4bn in income over the year as a result of coronavirus, according to estimates by the Institute of Fundraising. The Small Charities Coalition has previously warned that several dozen small charities faced going out of business because of the impact of the coronavirus. –

Source: Civil Society News


Black Country Festival 2020 – ‘Hold Still’ Photo Project

Sandwell Libraries and Sandwell Archives service are launching a new photo project for Black Country Festival 2020 this July.

This year, the theme is inspired by the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Hold Still’ photo project.
The ‘Inspired by Hold Still’ project aims to capture life in Sandwell during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Wasim Ali said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is a once in a generation event and has changed life for us all. This project is a chance to chronicle this period in our lives as a record for the next generation. I want as many people as possible to get involved.

“We want your photos showing life in lockdown and throughout the pandemic, covering ‘Everyday Life’, ‘Family’, ‘The Outdoors,’ ‘Isolation’ and ‘Shielding’. They will serve as a record showing how Sandwell came together as a community to help and support each other.”

Sandwell Archives will put the photos into an online gallery. The service would also like any other records residents have of life in lockdown, including video, audio recordings or in writing.

Anyone interested can email their contributions to Archives_Service@sandwell.gov.uk, each contributor will be sent a deposit form so the material can be kept in the archives for the years to come. If anyone is sending several contributions or the file size is especially large, they can be sent via WeTransfer.

Other online events will be held during Black Country Festival, including the Black Country quiz on Black Country Day (Tuesday 14 July), on the Sandwell Libraries Facebook page.

For more information on the Black Country Festival and all other online projects visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/libraries or follow Sandwell Libraries on Facebook www.facebook.com/SandwellLibraries


Shoppers and traders to return to West Bromwich Indoor Market from Monday, 22 June

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader Councillor Wasim Ali said: “We are all eager to get back to as close to normal as we can including shopping, but Covid-19 is still around and poses a real risk. In order to protect traders and residents, we have put in place a series of new safety measures.

“These include a new one-way system around the market, with markers on the floor to show direction and social distancing. There will also be staff on the doors to regulate the number of shoppers entering.

“We have also installed new hand sanitiser stations and a new programme of enhanced cleaning by the market staff.”
The indoor market also has new amended opening times – 10am to 4pm.

At present, the markets will be open for trade to regular traders only, no casual traders will be accommodated.
Other Sandwell Council markets will be fully re-opening in the coming weeks.

• West Bromwich High Street Market: Monday 22 June, Monday – Saturday
• Oldbury Market: Monday 22 June, Monday – Saturday
• Great Bridge Market: Wednesday 24 June, Wednesdays and Saturdays
• Wednesbury Market: Tuesday 30 June, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays

Social distancing will be required on all sites. If people have any questions they should contact the Markets Office on 0121 553 3074 or email contact_markets@sandwell.gov.uk


Local Musicians Wanted!

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning (SAFL) are taking a leap in to becoming more digital including the production of videos to share across their Website and Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts. In the production of these videos, they thought it would be nice to get the wider community involved in helping them to be more musical in their digital promotions. Whether your an established musician or aspiring one they are interested in supporting everyone.

They are therefore inviting musicians to come along with them on this exciting ride, where they would like to use your music on some promotional materials and in return you would fully be credited and referenced in any material they use. What’s better is you can choose how we reference you whether it be your YouTube, Soundcloud, Website, Facebook, Spotify, etc.

Please remember SAFL are government funded and not a profit-making organisation. The material produced would be to increase enrolments on courses to raise funds that would be reinvested in teaching materials, new teachers and new equipment. By growing as a business, they can help more people in Sandwell, develop their centres and increase the courses on offer.

So, if this is something you may be interested in or want to find out more please email SAFL at contact_SAFL@sandwell.gov.uk


CCG Patient Experience Survey – COVID-19

Over the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives considerably. It has transformed our views of what is important and posed a considerable challenge to our health and care services.

As part of the ongoing work to respond to the pandemic, Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG are asking you to share your experience of the pandemic and the impact it is having on you and your family’s access to health services locally, by completing an online survey. Please note the CCG will not be producing paper copies of this survey due to changes to staff working and limited resources.

The feedback you share via this survey will help the CCG to make decisions and design new ways of working. The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your feedback is very important.

At the end of the survey, personal details, such as age and gender, will be asked for to help with the analysis. Your postcode and GP practice will be needed to help pinpoint the town or city you live in. Your house number or house name is not asked for.

The information will be kept secure. The CCG will not be able to identify you through your answers and will not share your personal data with anyone else.

The survey will close at 11.59 pm on Tuesday, 23 June 2020.


Dawn Austwick to Step Down from National Lottery Community Fund

National Lottery Community Fund CEO Dawn Austwick has announced that she will be leaving the organisation at the end of this year.

Her announcement follows seven years leading the National Lottery Community Fund’s work, during which time she has led the creation and implementation of its Strategic Framework: People in the Lead.

Austwick decided to step down earlier this year, but put her plans on hold to steer the Fund through the onset of Covid-19.

Tony Burton, Chair at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“I am sure I speak on behalf of us all in recognising Dawn’s immense service in strengthening the Fund over her seven years. Her passion and commitment has paid dividends and never more so than in the way we have been able to respond to communities in the midst of a national crisis. Her leadership will no doubt leave a positive mark on communities across the UK as the country emerges into recovery and rebuild.”

Dawn Austwick, CEO of The National Lottery Community Fund, commented:

“After seven years at the helm, and with a significant birthday approaching, it is time for me to seek out new adventures and a different lifestyle.

“I will leave the Fund at the end of the year in excellent shape and will be very sad to leave my wonderful colleagues and Board, but excited about what might lie ahead. I remain passionate about the work we do helping people and communities to thrive and fully and energetically committed to leading the Fund through the next few months.”

Source: UK Fundraising


Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick receives the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Volunteers from Guru Nanak Gurdwara, a Sikh spiritual centre based in Smethwick, West Midlands have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Established in 1961, the Gurdwara is one of the oldest and largest in the United Kingdom and voluntarily provides a very diverse range of services for the whole community. In 2018 Historic England chose the Gurdwara amongst the top 10 places which bring England’s extraordinary history of faith and believe to life.

The array of activities provide benefit both for those who attend the Gurdwara and the wider community.  Benefits range from spiritual uplift through initiation and nurturing of Sikh practitioners; capacity building of individuals, families and communities with values-based education; engaging in civic activities; providing support to the elderly through youth participation and healthcare; and environmental enhancement and heritage conservation both in Sikh and British heritage.

These projects enable community involvement through voluntary donations coupled with facilitating the provision of physical labour through a planned and professional approach. Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick is one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

Representatives of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick will receive the award from John Crabtree OBE, Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands later this summer. Furthermore two volunteers from Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick’s president, Jaswinder Singh says: “We are absolutely delighted with this wonderful award, it serves as great recognition of the amazing work of all the volunteers (Sevadaars) at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick. The Gurdwara provides a high standard of diverse services to meet the needs of the local community.”

“On behalf of the management committee I want to say a huge thank you to all involved since the establishment of Guru Nanak Gurdwara for making it so welcoming, engaging and impactful for the diverse communities we serve in the name of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.”


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