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Proposed Polling Places Changes for May 2021 Elections

Several venues where residents can vote are due to change for this year’s May elections.

Sandwell Council has been informed that the venues listed below are unavailable, and has made recommendations for alternative venues.

The venues changing are:

  • Blackheath Central Methodist Church, High Street, Blackheath; proposed new venues Blackheath Library, High Street or Temple Meadows Primary School, Wrights Lane, Cradley Heath, depending on voter’s postcode.
  • Smethwick Fire Station; proposed new venue Holy Trinity Church in Church Hill Street, Smethwick.
  • Akrill Memorial Methodist Church, The Uplands, Smethwick; proposed new venue Dance Studio at Harry Mitchell Leisure Centre, Broomfield, Smethwick.
  • Brandhall Golf Course (Coffee shop) Heron Road, Oldbury; proposed new venue temporary hut on land at the corner of Heron Road and Brook Road, Oldbury.
  •  Temporary hut on the car park of Ron Davis Family Education and Training Centre, Ballot Street, Smethwick; proposed new venue Community Action Project in Windmill Lane, Smethwick.
  • Committee Room A, West Bromwich Town Hall; proposed new venue Ground floor of 1, Providence place, West Bromwich.

Accessibility has been considered at all new venues.

If anyone would like to make any comments on the proposals, please e-mail david1_king@sandwell.gov.uk no later than Wednesday 3rd February 2021.

FREE Funding for Your Organisation!

SCVO is now working with fundraising website easyfundraising to provide voluntary organisations in the region with a source of free funding. While traditional face to face fundraising is on hold, we think this offers a good online alternative and it’s free too.

As part of our aim to provide funding support to voluntary groups and charities in these difficult times, SCVO are now working in collaboration with fundraising website easyfundraising to help your organisation generate additional income. Click here for frequently asked questions.

How easyfundraising can help your organisation

easyfundraising turns the everyday online shopping of your staff, members, volunteers and supporters into funds for your organisation. When they use the easyfundraising website or app to shop with leading retailers, the retailer sends your organisation a free donation at no additional cost.

It’s free to register and use. With many more people shopping online these days and traditional face to face fundraising methods on hold, this is an easy way for your volunteers and supporters to raise money for your organisation safely from home through their normal online shopping.

There are over 4300 retailers involved including Amazon, eBay, Argos, John Lewis, Trainline, Booking.com, Currys, Aviva, M&S, Viking, Waitrose and Direct Line. It means that no matter what your supporters are buying online, they can earn free donations. They can even raise money for you when they buy their Friday night takeaway from Just Eat.

easyfundraising has enabled good causes to raise £34m to date, including £4m in 2020 alone. Your organisation does not need to be a registered charity to use easyfundraising and it is open to voluntary organisations of all shape and size.

Getting started

All you need to do is create an easyfundraising page for your organisation. It’s free and quick to set up and requires very little ongoing management.

Once you’ve set it up, you’ll get support from easyfundraising to help you get the message out to your supporters, and you can also book a free advice call with one of the Fundraising Coaches.

What do other organisations think?

“Having such a simple and effective way of fundraising has been a big boost to our Centennial project; to place a defibrillator in each of Stoke’s six towns.” Bill, Stoke on Trent Lions.

“I cannot help but recommend it to all charitable organisations. It is such an easy way to raise funds. We have raised over £800. Register and start benefitting.” Derek, Treasurer, RPSB, Macclesfield Local Group.

“We would highly recommend it. It’s fantastic that supporters can help make a significant difference to people’s lives simply by doing online shopping.” Just Caring Midlands

About easyfundraising

A member of the Institute of Fundraising, easyfundraising has helped UK good causes raise over £34m to date. Founded in 2007 by Walsall based businessman Ian Woodroffe, easyfundraising is still proudly Midlands based, with offices in Lichfield.

Click here to get started!

Save the date!

SCVO in partnership with easyfundraising will be running a Virtual Meet the Funder Webinar on Tuesday 13th April 2021, 10am-11.30am via a Zoom Conference Call. Sign up to our e-bulletin at www.scvo.info to ensure you don’t miss out when the booking goes live.

Mistakes to Avoid with Digital Fundraising

Are you making errors with your digital fundraising? Mistakes happen however there are a number of mistakes that charities tend to make, and opportunities they commonly miss, when approaching their digital fundraising  that could be avoided.

You may need to rethink your digital fundraising strategy and in Charity Digital News article they discuss common mistakes, what you should be considering and solutions to them. You can read the full article by clicking here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Kaleidoscope’s Complimentary Wellbeing Taster Workshops

In order to support businesses and their employees during this difficult time in lockdown, Kaleidoscope are currently offering on-line Complimentary Wellbeing Taster Workshops.

The workshops consists of Mental Health and Wellbeing Training, including Mental Health First Aid; Mental Health for Managers; Menopause Awareness and Mindfulness, along with a wide range of other options which can be tailored to suit your needs and requirements. The Trainers are happy to discuss your options in more detail and are now able to book spaces up to December 2021.

The following on-line workshops are being offered in January:

• Staying well while working from home. Tuesday 26th January, 10 am -12 pm
• Mindfulness – An Introduction. Tuesday 26th January, 6 pm – 8 pm
• Staying well during a lockdown. Thursday 28th January, 1 pm – 3 pm
• Supporting family and friends with mental ill health during a lockdown. Thursday 28th January, 6 pm – 8 pm.

If you would like to know more about the training packages, please email training@kaleidoscopeplus.org.uk or call 0121 565 5605.


Tips For Successful Fundraising

Directory of Social Change talk you through their five tips to writing applications that gain the attention of Grant-making Trusts & Foundations and other grant funders.

Getting the attention of funder has never been so important as now as many charitable organisations are looking to survive and thrive during the pandemic.

There tips include:

  • Research – A vital part of the process.
  • Make it personal – Write in their tone, share how you fulfil their objectives and reflect back some of their language.
  • Don’t waffle – People involved in shortlisting and final decision-making have to read a lot of applications/ proposals. So make it concise and punchy!
  • Change your shoes! – So often fundraisers approach the process from this position: an organisation wanting money. Change it round! Wear the funders’ shoes and think like them.
  • Submission deadlines – Some funders only start to look at applications after the closing date but others start the sifting process as they come in.

To read the full article click here.

Source: DSC

Charities Expect Innovation and Digital Growth to Outlast the Pandemic

Civil Society News in their latest article discuss the findings from their Charity Charity Tracker research which was produced in partnership with Charity Finance Group and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. Charities that participated in the survey said they plan to build on the innovation borne from the Covid-19 crisis.

The research also highlights the challenges facing the sector as a whole, with income under pressure and demand rising, with sector leaders emphasising that the ability to be innovative was underpinned by financial sustainability, which continues to be under threat for many charities.

To read their full article click here.

Source: Civil Society News

Free on-line after school Digital Music Productions and Minecraft courses

Does your organisation work with young people? If so, did you know that Creative Active Lives, which provide inclusive activities and entertainment, is offering free on-line after school courses, courtesy of funding from the West Midlands Police Proceeds of Crime Fund.

The Community Interest Company may also be able to help with a loan device and/or access to internet data.

The on-line courses are available to families in the Soho and Victoria, Central West Bromwich and Princes End Wards.

Digital Music production for 11 to 16 year olds
• A 10 week course suitable for beginners. You will learn the basics of Soundtrap and how to put a tract together.
• You will need to access the software on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile.
• Free one year Soundtrap license.
• Attendees will need to attend all 10 sessions. as
• The course start on Thursday, 28th January: 5 pm to 6 pm, and every Thursday for the following 10 weeks.
• The course will be delivered via Zoom.

What is Soundtrap?
Soundtrap enables you to make music or any type of audio recording online. You can plug in your own instrument, use the software instruments available in Soundtrap or just record a song directly with your computer microphone.

Soundtrap is a digital audio workstation (DAW) owned by Spotify. It’s easily accessible on your browser from a variety of devices, such as Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Linux, smartphones, and tablets.

The platform’s goal is to give easy-to-use, collaborative, music-making capabilities to anyone with a passion for music and an electronic device.

Minecraft Redstone with Club Minecraft for 9 – 15 year olds
• Join Matt of Club Minecraft for one and a half hour sessions taking Minecrafters through the world of Redstone.
• Learn the basics of Redstone and make automated machines to level up your Minecraft sessions in this 10 week course
• The sessions will also cover automated systems and farms, command blocks, target selectors scoreboards and timers. Enough knowledge will be covered to add to your SMP games or even make your own mini-game.
• You will need the PC version of Minecraft, Java edition to take part in this course.
• The course starts on Tuesday 26th January: 6.30 pm – 8.00 pm, and every Tuesday for the following 10 weeks.
• The course will be delivered via Zoom.

What is Redstone?
Redstone is the Minecraft equivalent of electricity. It can be used to create amazing inventions, once you know the basics. Redstone is one of the more advanced concepts in Minecraft.

For further information and to book a place, please email rachel@creativeactivelives.org.uk.

Citizens Advice Budgeting Buddies Project

Citizens Advice Sandwell & Walsall have received a financial grant from the British Gas Energy Trust to fund a Budgeting Buddies Project. The initiative aims to help residents of Sandwell and Walsall gain control of household finances and assist them in avoiding energy debt. The project will not only help clients financially and practically but improve mental health and wellbeing.

Support Workers, known as Financial Capability Advisers, will work with clients to give practical advice and deliver hands-on support. They will help them to have confidence in financial decision making, managing money and give invaluable support to people impacted by fuel poverty and energy debt, as a result of the pandemic.

Many families were struggling prior to the pandemic and now face even further hardship. Financial Capability Advisers will work with families to react to their immediate issues and change in circumstance and, equally important, they will stay with families to help them remain financially in control for the future.

Budgeting Buddies will be able to help with:
• Making savings with everyday bills
• Benefit checks
• Energy saving tips and grants available
• Budgeting
• Debt – signposting into our debt team
• Understanding bills
• Form Filling & Digital Literacy

Budgeting Buddies Referral Form

To find out more please email financialcapability@citizensadvicesandwell-walsall.org.

Zooming in on Diabetes

Diabetes UK has switched to Zoom to deliver a new course in Sandwell.

The free, 10-week course is on offer to anyone aged over 18 who has been diagnosed with diabetes within the last two years.

‘Live Well, Move More’ was originally planned to take place at West Bromwich Leisure Centre but will now begin online on January 19, 2021.

Participants will be introduced to gentle exercise and wellbeing info to improve their lifestyle whilst living with diabetes.

If you meet the criteria and want to find out more call the Helpline Team on 0345 123 2399, Monday to Friday 9am – 6pm, or email helpline@diabetes.org.uk

Free, fully funded, WISE Ability Training

West Midlands-based employment and training provider, WISE Ability, is offering fully-funded online support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the Black Country throughout January. The courses and qualifications  come at no cost to your business and are accredited by the NCFE Awarding body up to Level 2. 

The charity is providing help through the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) programme, which has been developed to upskill employees within SMEs.

The programme aims to upskill employees to enhance their skills, diversify the way they work, increase the competitiveness of their business, boost the local economy or simply keep staff feeling valued and appreciated.

Wise Ability is part of Serco’s network of expert organisations chosen to deliver the SSW programme across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Additionally, WISE Ability can support those individuals who have been made redundant in the last three months and are now looking to upskill, change their career or start their own business for free and online.

WISE Ability will be able offer a host of accredited qualifications in a range of sectors including Mental Health First and Mental Health Advocacy in the Workplace, Digital Skills, Safeguarding & Prevent, Health and Social Care, Business Start-Up, Team Leading, ITQ, Information Advice & Guidance and Customer Service, plus many others.

Please contact Brett Hudson via email brett.hudson@wiseability.co.uk contact 07720 090 052. Brett will be happy to answer any queries and schedule your slot.

Find out more about the free courses.

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