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Park Pond Clean-Up Underway in Three Sandwell Parks

Sandwell Council has started major tree works near to pools at three parks – Smethwick Hall Park, Victoria Park in Tipton and Victoria Park in Smethwick.

The work includes the removal of dead and decaying tree growth and branches that go into the water. The dead wood and leaves from these branches have contributed to a reduction in water quality at these sites which can have an adverse effect on the pools’ wildlife.

Councillor Maria Crompton, deputy leader, Sandwell Council welcomes the new works and recently visited Victoria Park in Tipton to record a video. She said:

“This is part of our commitment to improve the water quality across all our sites, a dedicated team have been recruited to maintain our water.

“Work has already started Victoria Park in Tipton and in Smethwick Hall Park, in Smethwick this will be complete before Christmas.

“The team is cutting the trees back, clearing up the debris to make it all environmentally-friendly ready for the spring when the birds start nesting.

“This work has been waiting to be done for a long long time and our parks will look so much better and will hopefully provide a good habitat for wildlife to thrive.”

View Councillor Crompton’s video here:

Work is scheduled to be completed in all three parks in early January with work at Victoria Park in Tipton and Smethwick Hall Park due to be completed before Christmas.

Stark Warning from Sandwell over New Variant of Coronavirus

Sandwell’s director for public health Dr Lisa McNally today issued this stark warning: “A new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has now spread to most areas of the country.

“It is expected to be prevalent in our area very soon.

“The problem is the speed of transmission – we can expect a dramatic rise in cases over the next few weeks which inevitably means more pressure on already strained hospital critical care units and an increase in deaths.

“Our data suggests that shops, and especially supermarkets, are likely places for infection.”

Councillor Maria Crompton, deputy leader, Sandwell Council added: “We want everyone to stay safe this Christmas so please do not take any unnecessary risks.

“COVID-19 can be a fatal illness and it is vital we all do what we can to stop the spread and in particular protect our most vulnerable residents.”

Anyone with symptoms must get tested straight away and ensure they self-isolate for the full 10 days.

Dorothy Parkes Centre Secures £17,704 Funding from Postcode Local Trust for Community Allotment Plot

Families, community groups, and volunteers across Smethwick and neighbouring areas will benefit from a Community Allotment Plot project which is continuing thanks to funding from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving trust supported entirely by player of People’s Postcode Lottery. The project, which is led by the Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick, has been running for two years and this grant will see the project continue for a further 12 months.

The plot, which is based at Bearwood Road Allotment, has been transformed in the last two years, from an overgrown, underused, vacant plot, into an accessible and safe haven with a Community Classroom, Polytunnel, Greenhouse, Performance Area, and variety of growing beds. The funding will be used to maintain the plot and prepare two specialised areas within the plot for specific use – the creation of a sheltered seating area and a disabled access growing area with appropriate wheelchair ramp.

Karen Palmer, Community Allotment Plot Project Coordinator said:

“This funding will allow us to increase the potential of an already successful project. We will be able to extend the offer of use of our facilities to a wider and more diverse section of our local community. Less able people will be able to genuinely join in and feel a part of the project. Further, people who may just need to sit and enjoy a calm outdoor space, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will have the facilities necessary to socially interact in a gentle way.”

The Dorothy Parkes Centre, on Church Road in Smethwick, is a community centre which helps to address local challenges around health inequality, obesity, lack of empowerment of local people, elderly isolation, low educational attainment, and significant unemployment by providing, or hosting, a wide range of activities.

Robert Bruce, Chief Executive Officer at Dorothy Parkes Centre said:

“Our Community Allotment Plot project is a real jewel in our crown and provides us with an opportunity to support our local community with an outdoor space and the opportunity to either enjoy a calm and tranquil environment or help with some digging and planting which results in some lovely produce. It has also proven to be good for mental health during the lockdowns and restrictions and we would encourage anybody who is interested in learning more about allotments and gardening to get in touch with us.”

The project is supported by a small team of volunteers, but they are always on the lookout for more and they would welcome and encourage some community groups, particularly around art and culture to get in touch about using the space, which is on offer free of charge.

For further details, please contact the Centre on 0121 558 2998 or email

If you’d like to be an SCVO good news story please contact Mazeline Hemmings via email at  or to find out how to book your FREE place on SCVO’s next Meet The Funder: People’s Postcode Lottery Fund click here.

Running Virtual Raffles

With charities seeking alternatives to physical activities virtual events are generating lots of excitement and momentum. As part of the shift to digital fundraising, charities are launching bespoke events to combat the decline in physical ones.

In Charity Digital News article they explain how virtual events can be an essential resource for charities because they are cost-efficient, require little maintenance, and they capture audience information. As part of this emerging concept they take the reader through their approach to planning and running a virtual raffle.

To read the full article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Think Sandwell

Sandwell Council advertises its procurement opportunities online. This is a single gateway to access procurement and networking opportunities. You may access goods or services via the Procurement Opportunities page at Think Sandwell. To register for wider access to procurement networking opportunities, please see Find it in the Black Country.

The electronic In-tend E-Procurement system is used by Sandwell Council to buy goods, works and services, rather than a paper based system. The Government is keen to see more business done electronically and the Council encourages companies to take on board E-Procurement. The authority will work only with companies which can trade electronically.

Find out more about In-tend.

Urgent Message from Brushstrokes

We are aware that a high number of residents have not applied for either Pre Settled or Settled status or having secured Pre-Settled Status have not applied for Settled Status. Current rules that will come into force on 1st January 2021 mean that residents with Pre Settled Status will no longer be entitled to Universal Credit, Child Benefit, Income Support and a number of other benefits.

We would like you to go through your client records to identify people who may be EU nationals and contact them by phone to encourage them to submit their applications as soon as possible (and ideally before 31st December 2020).

Could you please ask them the following:

“We recently helped you with some advice and wanted to make sure that you do not miss out on an opportunity to safeguard your immigration status and possible entitlement to benefits
• Are you an EU National?
• How long have you been in the UK?
• Have you applied for Pre Settled Status
• Have you applied for Settled Status?

31st December 2020 is an important date because after that your right to claim certain benefits will be affected.

If you are happy to complete the application form on-line we can send you the link
If you need help to apply we will send your details to Brushstrokes

Census 2021 – Celebrating Community Heroes in Your Local Area

To mark the 22nd decennial census, a search is underway across England and Wales for 22 ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the benefit of their communities.

The winners of the competition will be recognised with an iconic purple plaque to display in a place of their choosing – be it the home, workplace or wider community.

From a nurse who has spent decades in the NHS, to a local war hero who volunteers at the community centre or a teacher who inspires her students, communities are brimming with individuals who deserve to be recognised for their efforts and achievements.

Nominations can be made up until 31st December and entries will be judged by a panel of community champions, led by Gavin & Stacey star, Joanna Page and includes Delwyn Derrick, winner of the 2019 BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality Unsung Hero, Deborah Okenla, founder of a company connecting talented diverse people into the world of technology and Imran Hameed, Founder of Bearded Broz, Specially Recognised 2020 winner at Birmingham Pride of Britain awards,

To nominate, head to


February Coffee Time Conversation

Coffee Time Conversations’ seeks to bring like-minded individuals from across Sandwell together, to chat about different concerns that have arisen primarily as a consequence of COVID-19. The aim of these conversations is to share experiences, good practice and help others to problem solve around a concern they may have currently.

Our next session is being held on Thursday 4th February 2021, 10am till 11.30am via a Zoom conference call. The topic for this ‘Coffee Time Conversation’ will be the ‘volunteering and the challenges of social media.’

Future conversations will be steered by participants during the session which gives you the chance to talk with others working in similar areas and decide upon the topics that are most important to you as a collective.

You are welcome to register for any/all of these conversations, which will be hosted as a Zoom Conference Call. Please use this Eventbrite link to register your attendance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the conversation nearer the time.

We look forward to seeing you all in February.

Free parking on Sandwell Council town centre car parks – Saturday 12 & 19 December

Shoppers can park for free in Sandwell Council’s town centre car parks on the two Saturdays before Christmas. There will be no charge for parking on these dates at Sandwell Council’s 40 pay and display car parks. Sunday parking is already free.

Free parking on 12 & 19 December does not include Sandwell Valley car parks or on-street parking, or other private car parks such as New Square Shopping Centre.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for sustainable transport Councillor, Jackie Taylor said, “Parking will be free on the two Saturdays leading up to Christmas for any shoppers using council-run car parks in town centres across the borough.

For anyone visiting town centres on these dates or at any time, please make sure you observe social distancing rules, wear a face covering in shops and wash your hands or use hand sanitiser regularly.”

For a list of council car parks offering free parking on these dates, click here.
Please note, time limits on short stay car parks still apply.

Harvesting Success – Invitation to Black Country Women’s Aid’s AGM

Black Country Women’s Aid would like to invite you to our AGM.  The AGM is taking place on Wednesday 9th December 2020 from 11.00am – 12pm via Zoom. where we’ll be sharing insights and talking about harvesting success.

Guest speakers include:

Robin Brierley, CEO of West Midlands Anti Slavery Network.

Louise Brown, Engagement and Partnerships Manager at Black Country Women’s Aid who will be talking about modern slavery.

To book a place please view – 

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