Health & Wellbeing

Category Archives

Call to Promote Take-up of Covid-19 Vaccinations

Work is now underway to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations across the country in what is being called the biggest immunisation programme in history. Staff and volunteers from the NHS, local authority and voluntary sector are all involved in a combined effort to bring closer the end of the current pandemic through protecting our population from the virus. A call is now going out across Sandwell to ensure that every person in our borough has the opportunity to benefit from this vaccination.

We know from experience that take up of seasonal flu vaccinations in Sandwell is often lower than other areas and that several challenges get in the way of residents accessing vaccinations. We also know that our local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) is excellently placed to help with the vaccination effort – in fact, the involvement of VCS organisations will be absolutely essential to ensuring that everyone in Sandwell understands the opportunity that vaccination presents and can take up the offer.

SCVO, Sandwell Council and Sandwell Public Health would like to support your VCS organisation to get involved. We know many community groups and voluntary organisations are already doing what they can to encourage, inform and support residents accessing vaccinations and others are making plans to do so. We are particularly looking to engage our faith and community leaders, who are able to reach those in our communities who are more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Activities vary widely, but can include:-
• Proactive calling or writing to service users or local community members encouraging take-up of the vaccine, or doing this in the course of current activities
• Culturally appropriate messaging or sharing information about vaccinations in different languages
• Practical help to support people accessing the vaccination programme
• Focus groups and consultation with the communities to ensure that issues and fears about the vaccine or Covid-19 can be fed back.

To ensure no residents are missed out, we are looking to form an accurate picture of what VCS organisations across Sandwell are doing, or are planning to do, to support vaccination take-up. Consequently, SCVO would appreciate hearing from you about your activities – specifically what you are doing/ have done, how many people will be/ have been reached, and who your target audience is. Please email us your information at

To support this, a new strand of the current Vision 2030 grants programme has been created which will enable applications to be made for small grants which can meet expenses (which are not already being met by existing funding) for future planned activities. For further information, please send a brief outline of your plans and expenses requests to Liz Webster at

Sandwell Public Health team remain on hand as ever also to support with information, guidance and resources for your organisation, staff and volunteers. Please contact Katie Deeley at for further information.


Join Camphill Village Trust’s free Opportunity TV Sessions

Camphill Village Trust ran daily interactive Zoom sessions for its community members throughout 2020. With the closure of day services and not being able to access other activities, the Zoom sessions proved to be extremely successful over the last lockdown.

Due to its popularity, the charity is opening Opportunity TV to everyone, whether or not you are part  of  the Trust community. Camphill Village Trust has decided to share it with social care colleagues across Dudley, The Black Country and West Midlands.

The virtual interactive sessions run Monday to Thursday, 10 am and 3 pm. Fridays 10 am and 2 pm.

To find out how you can join Opportunity TV, click here.

Watch recordings from previous sessions on the website.

Please direct your questions or feedback to Phil Gibson, Project Manager, on 07824463798.

Heart of England Community Foundations Winter Wellbeing Campaign a Festive Success!

The Heart of England Community Foundation launched the Winter Wellbeing campaign towards the end of 2020 after securing funds and opened applications for a little Festive Fun for one-off projects just in time for Christmas.

They’ve supported 52 organisations in just three weeks to spread festive cheer to a massive 16,472 beneficiaries and awarded a total of £44,555 to wonderful projects covering so much, such as Christmas lunches for the vulnerable, community light trails, virtual music concerts and ensuring deprived children get a gift this Christmas.

Read the full story by clicking here.

Source: Heart of England Community Foundation

New rules for bird keepers to prevent spread of avian flu

New ‘lockdown’ restrictions for poultry come in to force on the 14 December 2020. The message to any domestic poultry keepers in Sandwell is that any birds usually kept outside must now be brought inside to protect them from avian influenza. The Chief Vets in England, Wales and Scotland are bringing in the new measures to help protect poultry and captive birds following a number of confirmed cases of avian influenza in the UK.

The disease has recently been found in turkeys on a farm in North Yorkshire – following cases in Kent, Cheshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Leicestershire. Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, said: “These new housing measures mean it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Sandwell to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradication of this disease.”

Public health advice is that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. It does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.

These housing measures build on the strengthened biosecurity regulations that were brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) on 11 November.  The AIPZ means that all poultry and captive bird keepers need to take extra precautions, such as cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles, limiting access to non-essential people on their sites, and workers changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures.

The public and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet or report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

The housing measures will stay in place until the government deems the risk has passed.

Domestic poultry keepers can find the latest Government advice here.


Keeping Team Morale and Motivation Up When Remote Working

As many of us are still working from home inline with the Government guidelines we thought we’d share Charity  Digital News article on how to keep team morale and motivation up. In their article they explain that flexibility and communication are paramount to support people working from home for the first time, especially as this becomes a new normal for a lot of us.

People may now be working from home with family members doing the same or taking care of children which all presents new working challenges. Even the seasoned remote workers amongst us might benefit from a refresher. Spending a lot of consecutive days, weeks and more at home requires breaking up work into smaller manageable chunks and reviewing how we do things.

The article breaks this down into:

  • The process of adjustment,
  • A new angle,
  • Say it right and
  • Transparency

You can find out more by reading the full article here.

Source: Charity Digital News

YMCA Open Door Christmas Appeal

It is a really daunting experience for any 16 or 17 year old who has experienced family breakdown and is potentially at risk of homelessness. During this Christmas, whilst we are still in the midst of a Pandemic, the YMCA are asking that you take a moment to consider the needs of young people in a crisis situation.

The YMCA believes that all young people deserve a safe place and a homely environment in which they can thrive.  That is the aim of the Open Door programme.

There are over 80 Host families across the Black Country, who have received training from the YMCA and provide a warm and welcoming environment for young people. During the 11 years the scheme has been operating, YMCA have helped hundreds of people progress into independence and employment. They have also seen dozens of young people progress on to university.

In this challenging time, the organisation is appealing to the goodwill of people to consider providing a safe place for a vulnerable young person.

Hosts receive over £100 per week for providing Supported Lodgings: a longer term arrangement which can last years or a short-term Emergency Night stop, which usually last a few days or at most, a few weeks.

Please get in touch with the YMCA if you can help. Speak to Jonathan, Host Coordinator, on 0121 524 3255, or e-mail



Sandwell Outreach Recovery Team: There to Help

Working in the charity sector, Kaleidoscope know that it is not only at Christmas that people experience hard times. Organisations are supporting families who are struggling. Struggling to put food on the table or heat their own homes.

The Kaleidoscope Plus Group would like to remind you their SORT Team are there to help you and your clients. The SORT team are looking for fresh referrals over Christmas to help people work towards a Happy New Year.

The Sandwell Outreach Recovery Team supports people with poor mental health who have ongoing housing issues. The Team work closely with partners such as statutory mental health services, housing associations and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council housing team, to improve the quality of life for clients. Support includes assessing whether clients are receiving the correct welfare and benefits and helping them to budget and manage income and outgoings effectively. Long term support can be provided for up to two years.

Not sure if your client would be eligible? Please contact Kaleidoscope on 0121 565 5605 for a chat. Depending on a client’s individual need, you will be sent a referral form for SORT or signposted to another service.

Visit the Outdoor Room in Warley Woods for a unique experience

Warley Woods Community Trust is about to launch a new project called Outdoor Room. The Outdoor Room will be unique to the borough and the Community Trust is keen for as many people as possible enjoy the experience. The project run from the middle of December to the middle of March 2021 and has come about as a response to COVID-19.

So what is Outdoor Room?’ It won’t have walls, but it will have a roof, tables and chairs. Enough for three groups of 6 to be together but distanced. The Room’ will be located near a resident coffee take away van, so refreshments will be available. The intention behind this project is to facilitate bringing people together to be able to meet under Tier Two and Tier Three rules who currently cannot meet indoors, in order to combat loneliness and isolation.

For more information and to register an expression of interest, please click here.

A change to how people in the Black Country and West Birmingham access urgent care

For people living in the Black Country and West Birmingham, how urgent care is accessed is changing.  In line with a phased national roll-out of a new NHS 111 system, the area is now preparing to implement that change – which is likely to impact significantly (and positively) on those who use hospital emergency departments, as well as those who work within them.

The change requires people to call NHS 111 before attending an Emergency Department (ED). The national programme aims to ensure that patients get the right urgent care in the most appropriate place – whilst simultaneously reducing the risk of them acquiring COVID-19 or a hospital infection. Based on ‘talk before you walk’ principles, the programme will use NHS 111 to reduce unnecessary attendances at Emergency Department.

Instead of attending an Emergency Department unannounced, patients will use NHS 111 online or by phone to book an appointment with a service that best fits their need.

Dr Ian Sykes, Clinical Chair Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, will talk about these proposed changes at a public meeting, to be held virtually via Zoom on 17th December 2020, 10.30 am to 12 noon. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. There will also be a Healthwatch Sandwell update.

To book for the event, please email or phone 07885 214392, leaving your name and address.

Attendees will be notified of the joining instructions nearer the meeting.

Help the ‘State of Sandwell’ to access Mental Health for Everyone

Changing Our Lives are looking for people from minority ethnic communities living in Sandwell to talk to them about how COVID-19 has affected their mental health.

Changing Our Lives are a rights-based organisation working with communities to find solutions to injustice and inequality. Every year their Sandwell Mental Health People’s Parliament speaks to 100 people in Sandwell about what mental health means to them, how they keep mentally healthy and what happens when they experience mental health difficulties. This is called the ‘State of Sandwell’. Anonymised findings from the State of Sandwell are used to push for better access to mental health support in Sandwell.

Everyone has times of good mental health or times when we struggle. For the State of Sandwell, Changing our Lives don’t just want to speak to people who identify as having mental health difficulties. They want to speak to people from all walks of life.

This year, Changing our Lives are talking to people from minority ethnic communities about the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. This is because studies have shown that some minority ethnic communities in the UK are less able to access mental health support, and some minority ethnic communities in the UK have been hit hardest by COVID-19 and the effects of the national lockdown.

If you are from a minority ethnic community in Sandwell and you want to talk to Changing our Lives, please get in touch. All conversations are held in complete confidence, over the phone or video chat, at a time to suit you. It takes around 30 minutes to complete.

You can get more information by contacting Holly on or call 07534 000831. You can fill in web form here.

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