Safer, Stronger Communities

Category Archives

Can your organisation make One Small Change for autistic people?

One in every 100 people is autistic. Every autistic person is different, but for many autistic people a lack of understanding from the community, or overwhelming sensations can make everyday life more difficult. One Small Change is a local campaign (from Changing Our Lives(COL)) that aims to make Sandwell more autism friendly by asking businesses, community spaces and public services to make one small change to show your autistic customers that they are welcome and valued. 

What small change could you make?

You could: 

  • start a quiet hour in your shop or café; 
  • find autism awareness training for your staff or volunteers;
  • create a social story on your website so customers know what sensory environment to expect;
  • speak to autistic staff or customers about what change they would like to see.

How do you get involved?

  • Sign up by contacting holly[at]
  • Tell COL where your organisation is starting from. Some will never have thought about being autism friendly before, others will have made lots of small changes in the past. Either is fine!
  • Speak to autistic people that you already know. You may already know of autistic customers or staff involved in your organisation. You could start by finding out what would make things easier for them.
  • Check out some of the changes that other organisations are making. COL will share examples of small changes on their website and on social media. These may inspire your change.
  • Make the change and tell COL about it. Tag COL on social media (Twitter: @positive_lives Instagram: @changingourlives) using #OneSmallChange and share your stories or photos about the changes you’ve made.

Stress Awareness Month – Community

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. This years theme is ‘Community’ because lack of support can cause loneliness and isolation, which in turn lowers people’s wellbeing, impacts mental health and can lead to mental illness.

Social isolation is an important risk factor for both deteriorating mental health and suicide. As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s vital that the community support experienced by many people during this challenging time continues – people need support now more than ever as they adjust to a new way of living.

A community is much more than just a group of people. It’s about having a sense of belonging and connection to others and feel supported and accepted by them. Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives. People who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected. People in neighbourhoods with higher levels of social cohesion experience lower rates of mental health problems than those in neighbourhoods with lower cohesion, regardless of how deprived or affluent a neighbourhood is.

Conversely, a lack of community support can result in feelings of social isolation and loneliness. Feeling lonely has a negative impact on mental health, particularly when these feelings are longstanding, and research suggests that it is associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems and increased stress.

Socialising with others has multiple benefits for our mental health . Whether it’s a sport, hobby classes (visit Route2Wellbeing to find a new hobby or interest) or volunteering (visit Let’s Go Sandwell), activities like these all give meaning and purpose to our lives and make us more confident. Having the opportunity to laugh and chat with others in social situations serves to temporarily distract us from our worries by turning our focus outwards instead of inwards. And being able to talk through problems and share our worries with others decreases our stress levels. As the saying goes, a worry shared is a worry halved, and less worry equals less stress.

Volunteering may be especially good for reducing stress because, much like socialising, it turns our focus outwards. Moreover, helping others with their problems, can help us gain a more positive perspective on our own difficulties. Plus, there are the associated benefits of working together with other like-minded people to achieve a worthwhile goal. These factors all weigh heavily on the positive side of the mental health spectrum, and so increase our mental wellbeing while uniting in us in a shared sense of purpose.

For free resources, facts and more information visit The Stress Management Society


Sandwell Prevent Team Round Table Event

Sandwell Prevent Team are in the early stages of organising a Prevent Round Table event for mid-March.  Local and Home Office speakers will be invited to give a presentation/talks on Prevent, radicalisation and current ideologies which are a concern and look at links between mental health and domestic violence with radicalisation.

The event will end with a Q and A session (pre submitted and on the day questions) from the audience to a panel.

The main purpose of the event is:

  • To increase community networking /involvement / participation in the Sandwell Prevent Strategy.
  • To highlight that radicalisation is no different from any other form of exploitation and grooming, targeting most vulnerable people in the community.
  • Address any misconceptions that communities and organisations have about the Prevent Strategy.

The Event is in the initial planning stages so some details/activities may change. As numbers are limited, attendance is by invitation only.  You will be invited closer to date with fully details and agenda.

If you would like attend the Event, email Jasbir Sangha, Sandwell MBC Community Engagement Officer.  Please include a telephone number and the name of the organisation/community group that you represent. Send the email to


Funded Opportunities to join the Police Commissioner in ending violence against women and girls

Sandwell Council currently have several service tenders open for funding opportunities through the Safer Streets 3 – violence against women and girls – VAWG fund.

Addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a key priority of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Simon Foster. There has been a strong response from the community on this issue and it has been acknowledged nationally with the introduction of the Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2021.

We know that women and girls in our community are at disproportionate risk of a wide range of crimes; this is unacceptable and our response seeks to ensure that women and girls feel safe in the West Midlands.

Through these specifications, the PCC seeks to appoint partner organisation(s) who will deliver the management and separately the communications lead for the OPCC awarded Safer Streets 3, Violence Against Women and Girls Fund project.

The deadline is COP Tuesday 7th December.

More detail can be found via the link below.

Sandwell Safer 6: Help keep children safe online – FREE webinar

If you are a parent or carer, do you know what your children are doing online?

Sandwell Council’s Prevent Team are taking part in Sandwell’s Safer 6 campaign by offering FREE online safety (Extremism) and Prevent sessions. Parents/carers and adult members of the community can join the free online session on 19 October and 21 October and receive tips and advice to keep young people safe online.

Top tips include:

  • Turn on filters/parent control settings
  • Set accounts on private and report any issues through the apps
  • Be ‘share aware’
  • Keep up to date with online safety – the online world changes quickly
  • Know where to access further support

Parents are encouraged to talk openly to their children about their online activity and help them understand what is safe and unsafe. The internet is a great tool, but can also be a tricky place to navigate with some misleading information.

The sessions will be delivered on Microsoft Teams and will provide key information on popular apps and social media, as well as links for further advice and support. If you need help to get onto Microsoft Teams, please email or call 07717 427057.

Sandwell Council’s Prevent team, which works with partners and communities to stop people being drawn into extremism and terrorism, will also be explaining what Prevent is and how to report concerns.

The session times are as follows:

  • Tuesday 19 October 2021 – 5.30pm – 6.15pm
  • Thursday 21 October 2021 – 5.30pm – 6.15pm

For more information and to join at one of the times above, please visit ->

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton said: “The internet is a great resource for young people. However, with social media and the internet becoming an increasing part of young people’s lives and a hub for interaction with peers, they may be vulnerable to being targeted by those who wish to harm them.  By giving parents or carers the information about how to stay safe online we can stop the perpetrators in their tracks.”

Anti-Slavery Day: Monday, 18th October 2021

The Medaille Trust is a national charity with a mission to provide refuge and freedom from modern slavery. They are one of the largest provider of supported safe house beds for victims of modern slavery in the UK. Their Moving on Project is to raise awareness around support to adult female survivors of modern slavery, exploitation and trafficking for Anti-Slavery Day.

The charity provides help with:
• Casework and befriending
• Physical and mental wellbeing
• Education, employment and volunteering
• Community activities
• Independent living and access to justice.

The Medaille Trust cover the West Midlands and women can complete a self- referral form or be referred by professionals.

For more information please contact Katie Moreton at

Visit the website

Homelessness Sunday: 10th October 2021

Did you know that within the UK, over 120,000 young people aged between 16 -25 were homeless, or at risk of being homeless, last year.

YMCA Black Country have produced a short recording about the support that they provide to over 350 young people every week, who are residing within their accommodation projects.

Find out about YMCA’s Open Door project, that provides accommodation for young people who are homeless and how you can help by becoming a host.

“Understanding Extremism” training – FREE to attend: October 2021

The Sandwell Council Prevent Team are pleased to offer FREE Understanding Extremism training for community groups & staff.

This training explores issues relating to the ideology of global jihadism and the Extreme Far Right and also covers: The Prevent Strategy, including case studies of extremism and radicalisation.

Session Content:

  • Building resilience to terrorist narratives;
  • Understanding influencing factors;
  • Safeguarding and Prevent;
  • Signs and symbols of extremist groups;
  • Q&A with experienced staff

plus … Certificate upon completion.

There is also the opportunity to hear from two guest speakers:

Dave Allport – Founder and Director of REWIND UK
Dave has been challenging racism and extremism for over 25 years in Sandwell. He specialises in the Extreme Far-Right and has worked as a Home Office intervention provider, working with over 200 individuals including members of the EDL, National Front, and many more. His organisation, Rewind UK, now delivers training to schools and organisations.

Sarfraz Khan – Sandwell Childrens Trust Prevent Youth Officer
Sarfraz has been at the forefront of Sandwell’s Prevent work for over 10 years, working as the Youth Officer across the Council and the Children’s Trust. He specialises in ‘Islamist’ and ISIS- inspired terrorism and its ideological foundations and has worked with numerous young people in Sandwell. He also delivers Prevent training to organisations across the borough.

The training takes place on Thursday, 21st October 2021 from 1pm to 3pm and will be delivered online via Microsoft Teams (no software required!)

If you are interested, please email:

ACT Early Partnership with Netmums

August has seen the continuation of the partnership between Counter Terrorism Policing and Netmums to highlight the ACT Early website, which is for parents, friends and families who are concerned about loved ones at risk of radicalisation.

Through the partnership, ACT Early content is being housed and promoted on the site and its social media channels.  The content includes articles, videos and an interactive forum where parents can ask questions of expert practitioners on the risks of radicalisation.

It can all be found at:

Thousands have parents have already learned more about the work of Prevent and how to protect their own children from the risks of radicalisation and other forms of online grooming.

Police and Crime Plan Consultation

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, wants to hear what people’s priorities are, what crimes they are most concerned about and their views on the way the police is funded.

A PCC’s term is normally four years, but the pandemic delayed last May’s voting by 12 months so on this occasion it will be a three year term. Simon Foster has already committed to ensuring 450 new police officers are recruited and deployed to local communities across the region. Some of the PCC’s priorities include tackling knife crime and domestic abuse. His Police and Crime Plan will set out a much wider range of policy objectives and the PCC wants to hear the views of the public before writing it.

The consultation will run until 10.00 am on 14th September 2021.

The new West Midlands Police and Crime Plan is set to be published in October once it has been considered by the cross-party Police and Crime Panel.

The consultation is also available in other formats on request.

For further information on the consultation, click here.


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