Safer, Stronger Communities

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Keeping Active at Home

Active Black Country have partnered up with Sport England and a breadth of local stakeholders to run a local campaign in response to the Covid-19 virus. The virus has resulted in a number of necessary measures that require us to limit the amount of time we spend outside our homes. The great news is the Prime Minister is telling everyone to be active every day!

Take a look at their website for ideas on how to keep active by clicking here.

Sport England is running a national campaign called ‘Join the Movement’ which seeks to bring greater attention to #StayInWorkOut – and inspire and inform the public about the many fun, and creative ways they can keep moving, The national campaign website is –

Locally, in the Black Country, they will be sharing ideas, good practice and positive stories to help people keep active during this time encouraging people to go outside for one piece of exercise a day, in line with government advice. They will be asking people to share their own hints, tips and home-based exercise inspiration with us through video and photo supporting the hashtag #StayInWorkOut.

Understandably, people may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating. Mood and feelings are affected and people may feel low and miss being outside with other people. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. Even a small amount of activity will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, and there’s plenty you can do at home – we recognise everybody’s circumstance differs – and bearing this in mind we have tried to signpost you all to some ideas to keep you moving.

To read the full article click here.

Source: Active Black Country

Do you need volunteers to support your COVID-19 response?

We’re here to help.

SCVO’s call-out for volunteers to support their local communities during the COVID-19 crisis has had a wonderful response; we are very proud to say we have a small army of reserves ready to help.

People from all walks of life have offered their services, from drivers to hands-on carers, from telephone befrienders to local shoppers.

So if you’re a voluntary organisation or community group in Sandwell, tell us where you need volunteers to step in.

We will aim to match your organisation’s need with volunteers signed up to our database. We have a note of their particular skills, whether they have their own transport and if they have current DBS clearance (which many do).

If you have identified a need (maybe something new, or a change to what you already do, in response to COVID-19), but maybe it is the first time you have thought about engaging volunteers in your delivery, why not get in contact with us to see how we might be able to support you.

If you would like to discuss opportunities you have, please email cc.

A Five Step Plan to Reduce Charity Fraud

Fraud is on the rise and it’s estimated by the Annual Fraud Indicator 2017 to cost the UK economy £190bn per year. Charities are far from immune. Recent cases have highlighted the vulnerability of the sector. Jonathan Orchard, Partner at Sayer Vincent, has put together a five step plan to help your charity avoid the financial and reputational damage that fraud can wreak.

Accept that fraud exists
Organisations are estimated to be losing between 3 to 8 per cent of their income due to fraud – income that won’t get through to beneficiaries. Additionally, the impact of fraud on a charity’s work, beneficiaries and reputation can be hugely damaging, so the first step towards reducing fraud is to accept it exists.

Understand your own vulnerabilities
Charities need to think like fraudsters and really scrutinise their organisation’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. There are common areas for fraud such as payroll and expenses, payment and procurement processes, fundraising and of course cyber risks –which must all be considered.

Given the scale of cyber risks, we advise that charities should consider what information they are putting in the public domain and how that information could be used in the wrong hands. For example, publishing important contact details such as finance personnel or the names of key suppliers or senior managers on their website. Having access to these contacts makes it easier for fraudsters to engage in phishing.

Build awareness and the right culture
Fraud risks should be openly discussed internally with trustees, staff and volunteers. There needs to be clear policies around fraud, bribery and corruption that everyone understands. To develop the right culture, employees need to understand what fraud and theft means to the charity, the responsibilities of staff in managing fraud, details of any whistle blowing plan or policy and crucially, how the charity will react to fraud.

To read the full Directory of Social Change article click here.

Source: Directory of Social Change

Charities too Complacent About Cyber-Crime

Charities are too complacent about the risk of cyber-crime, a leading insurer has warned.

Research carried out by Ecclesiastical Insurance found the majority of charities (81%) believe they are ‘fully prepared’ to deal with a cyber-attack. Good service from an IT provider (48%) is the main reason for charities feeling secure, while clear protocols and procedures is cited by 17%.

But many charities don’t have adequate systems in place to prevent a cyber breach, the insurer warned. The research found just half (52%) have a cybersecurity plan in place, while fewer have a specific cyber risk management plan (42%) or cyber insurance (42%) in case the worst happens.

Attacks on charities have been steadily rising in recent years and a third of respondents believe the risk of a cyber-attack has increased in the past year, rising to 40% among larger charities.

To read the full Charity Today news story click here.

Source: Charity Today

Domestic Abuse Awareness Day

The Saleem Foundation was founded in 2017 and supports charities and voluntary organisations across Birmingham and the Black Country, that undertake charitable work in the fields of health, disability and financial hardship. The Saleem Foundation will also support individuals and their families who are disadvantaged by their youth, age, ill-health, disability or financial hardship and will take the form of grant aid, organised events and donations.

The Foundation is running a Domestic Abuse Awareness Day on the 22nd February 2020, at the Shenstone Auditorium, Halesowen Library, 7th floor, Queensway Mall, The Cornbow Shopping Centre, Halesowen B63 4AZ.

The event will open its doors at 11.00 am with a film, ‘The Hidden Scars’. The film raises awareness of domestic abuse and show how the abuse can scar all those around us, especially children. A press panel follows the film.

The launch will conclude 12.30 pm with guests having the option to join the second part of the event which will host live performances from the likes of The Fizzogs and two time Miss Black Country Alexandra Darby.

Stall holders are invited, and are requested to arrive by 10.00 am to set up. Please contact Shaz Saleem on 07786 196 666, for more details.

Youth Social Action – Opportunities Required!

Young people accessing Nova Training are looking for ways to make a positive impact on Sandwell communities.

As part of the organisation’s Youth Social Action programme, they’re asking for local voluntary organisations to set them tasks that will be of benefit to their community.

In small teams of young people aged between 16 and 24, they’re willing to tackle a variety of challenges such as gardening and clearing, and can offer anything from a day’s work to a six-week programme.

Co-ordinator Kelly James is keen to build up a list of opportunities, particularly in Oldbury and West Bromwich where courses are based, so that young people have a choice of where they go.

“Having that choice means they do something they’re interested in, which in turn means they can be inspired to do more in the future and develop further skills,” she said.

If you have any opportunities please email

Bangladeshi Women’s Association Limited receives ‘Space to Connect’ grant to boost community space

Bangladeshi Women’s Association [BWA Limited] in Tipton has been awarded a £10,000 grant from a
partnership between Co-op’s charity, the Co-op Foundation, and the Department for Digital, Culture,
Media and Sport. BWA Limited will use ‘Space to Connect’ funding to hold a series of workshops across
the Jubilee Park Community Centre and the Tipton Muslim Community Centre to explore what
activities and resources are available in the local community. This will help to identify how best two
spaces can bring residents together. It is one of 57 organisations across England to receive a grant
from the £1.6 million partnership, designed to help communities tackle loneliness by improving and
protecting local spaces that bring people together. Space to Connect follows commitments made in
the Government’s Civil Society and Loneliness Strategies, published in 2018, to help create sustainable
community hubs and spaces where they are most needed. Funding also builds on the Co-op
Foundation’s work to strengthen community spaces where people can connect and co-operate.

Chair of BWA Limited, Razia Sattar, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding and look forward
to holding community conversations with a wide range of community groups in Tipton so that our two
centres can grow and develop new services to meet the needs of local people”. Minister for Civil
Society, Baroness Barran, said: “Strong communities play a crucial role in tackling loneliness and social
isolation. This £1.6 million worth of funding will create and enhance local spaces that bring people
together, encouraging them to make new and lasting friendships. It is part of our ongoing commitment
to work hand in hand with local communities to build a shared, integrated and socially responsible
society.” Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Our Space to Connect partnership with
Government builds on our commitment to strengthen communities and tackle loneliness through cooperation.
“Grants awarded today will empower people to work together to make better use of spaces
to address local challenges, improving the well-being and skills of their whole community.” Space to
Connect was launched in June 2019, at the same time as Co-op’s Endangered Spaces campaign to
protect, support and improve 2,000 community spaces by 2022.

For further information, contact the BWA Limited Team on 0121 557 6766.

How to Give Safely to Charities

Giving to charity is a longstanding and important tradition and we welcome the public’s generosity in their support for charities.

The Charity Commission want to ensure that generous donations do not end up in the wrong hands. They want to make sure that charity continues to thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society.

As regulator, they want everyone to make important checks before they give, so that they feel empowered and more confident at spotting and avoiding scams.

Charity scams are small in number compared to how much is given safely, but the charity sector generates an annual income of over £76 billion making it an attractive target for criminals.

They have some simple advice for donors, such as checking the charity register, so that people can feel reassured that their donations go to their intended charitable cause.

Key advice for safer giving

  • check the charity’s name and registration number. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered
  • make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
  • be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
  • check whether street collectors are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and undamaged
    ask the collector for more information if in doubt
  • contact the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending
  • carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to check whether they are from a genuine charity
    check whether fundraising materials are genuine. They should feature the charity’s name, registered number and a landline contact number check their contact details on the register
  • never feel under pressure by a fundraiser into making a donation immediately
  • use the same level of caution every time you support or donate to a charity

Reporting suspicious activity
After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to the police. You can also complain about a charity to us and the Fundraising Regulator.

If you think a collector does not have a licence – report it to the relevant Local Authority Licensing Team. Also, let the charity know if you can.

Source: Charity Commission

The Importance of Safeguarding and Protecting People

Safeguarding is a key governance priority for all trustees, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.

You should read the guidance about safeguarding duties for charity trustees which was recently updated.

We advise you to carry out a thorough review of your charity’s safeguarding governance and management arrangements and performance, if you haven’t done in the last 12 months.

It is also important that you contact us about any safeguarding issues, or serious safeguarding incidents, complaints or allegations which have not previously been reported to us.

Find out about reporting serious incidents in your charity as a trustee.

Find out about reporting serious wrongdoing at a charity as a worker or volunteer.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter Issue 62


How Clubs Can Develop Effective Safeguarding Strategies

Regardless of whether or not you have statutory safeguarding obligations, if your non-profit club comes into contact with children or adults at risk, you have a responsibility to protect them from abuse and neglect.

This means you will need to have a robust safeguarding strategy, and ensure that everyone involved with your club understands their safeguarding role and responsibilities, and is aware of important developments regarding statutory safeguarding guidance and legislation.

What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is about protecting vulnerable people from harm. While anyone can become a victim of abuse or neglect, only certain groups are considered to be at particular risk for safeguarding purposes.

Children, by virtue of their age, always fall into this category. Adults are also classed as vulnerable, if they are unable to protect themselves against the risk of abuse or neglect. This could be for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: a physical disability, a learning disability, or a mental illness.

While the principles of how you safeguard both of these groups are very similar, the ways in which they are dealt with are very different. There is also different legislation, statutory requirements and responsibilities for each.

To add to the complexity of safeguarding, the UK’s four nations each have different laws, statutory guidance and ways of governing and monitoring safeguarding. In England, the main bodies are, Ofsted and CQC. In Scotland, there is the Care Inspectorate and HMIe. Wales has Estyn and CSSIW, and Northern Ireland has an ETI and RQIA.

But whichever part of the UK your club is based in, it is important to consider the safeguarding requirements of staff and volunteers as well as your members and service users, and put in place a strategy that puts their wellbeing at the heart of decision-making.

Changes to safeguarding children statutory guidance

The second half of 2018 saw important changes to guidance and legislation concerning safeguarding children. These changes currently only relate to children in England, but pave the way for future changes in the rest of the UK.

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 (KCSIE) has updated rules for safeguarding in schools and colleges, and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 (WTSC) sets out what different organisations’ roles are and how they should work together to safeguard children within society. The WTSC 2018 changes include an emphasis on not-for-profit organisations.

Another useful resource for sports clubs who work with children is the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU). The website includes information on how to create a safeguarding policy, various training and events, and safety and safeguarding help for both clubs and parents.

To read the full Zurich Municipal article click here.

Source: Zurich Municipal


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