Safer, Stronger Communities

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EU Settlement Scheme – Supporting EU Communities

In line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement, EU citizens* and their family members (including children) will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020. This allows them to get a new UK immigration status that will protect their rights in the UK once the UK leaves the EU.

The Home Office is putting in place a series of arrangements to accommodate the diverse needs of EU citizens who will require support. To ensure support is available, we want to enable community groups to play a vital role in supporting vulnerable or at-risk communities. We are doing this by providing guidance, a suite of communication materials and regular engagement activity for community groups. We are also providing grant funding for eligible voluntary and community sector organisations.

To support you in raising awareness and delivering activities around the EU Settlement Scheme, we have created a community leaders toolkit to provide accurate, timely and accessible  communication materials for your use and to share with vulnerable or at-risk communities. Further details on the materials available are provided in this pack. You can also find
these on GOV.UK.

This pack introduces you to the community leaders toolkit. It will help you to use the communications materials and share them with EU citizens and their family members in your communities. These materials will also help increase your understanding of the EU Settlement Scheme and the important role you can choose to play in supporting EU citizens.

The information in this pack is about the EU Settlement Scheme in line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement. This information relates to the scheme when it fully opens by 30 March 2019 and does not reflect conditions in pilot phases.

(* EU citizens used throughout refers to EEA and Swiss nationals, who are all eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.)


Do you offer free public access to computers? Get listed on Find My Nearest…

Find My Nearest‘ is an online directory, operated by Sandwell MBC, that lists a range of different services available across the borough.

One of the services listed is that of free access to computers and support – simply enter your postcode and select ‘Computers’ from the dropdown menu to see what’s available near you.

But the listings are only as good as the information available to SMBC…and that’s where YOU can help!

SMBC has created an online survey to collect details of new locations offering FREE computer access and support, and for those organisations already listed to update their details.

You can complete the survey HERE

In an increasingly connected world, we want to see the best possible access for Sandwell’s residents…and this is a great way to help that happen.


Brexit Update

Whilst we’re still none the wiser about the outcome of ongoing Brexit negotiations, there is an ever-increasing amount of information being distributed along the lines of “what to do if…“.

Sandy Adirondack (www.sandy-a.co.uk/index.htm), in her regular newsletter (to which you can subscribe via her website), has helpfully summarised a number of such sources of information as follows…but it’s not definitive by any means (by her own admission!):

And if there is No Deal…


West Bromwich Summit – Event Feedback and Action Planning

This is a reminder that the next workshop for the West Bromwich Town Summit, will be 10 am-12 pm on Tuesday 5th March 2019, at West Bromwich Town Hall,

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss and agree how solutions and opportunities can be implemented.

If you wish to attend, please confirm your attendance by email to Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing on aschw_excellence@sandwell.gov.uk

West Bromwich Summit Report


Safeguarding Duties for Trustees

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.

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 more about what and how to report to the Charity Commission.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter


Charity Commission Issues Alert over Christmas Gift Card Fraud

The Charity Commission has warned charities to be vigilant for people claiming to be chief executives who ask for gift cards to be bought as Christmas presents for staff.

The alert is based on reports made to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre. It warns that charity staff are being approached by fraudsters who impersonate their chief executive or another senior member of staff and ask for the gift cards to be bought.

The fraudsters then ask for copies of the cards and the codes that will enable them to be used. The Commission warned that contact is usually made by email from a spoofed or similar email address.

The regulator has urged charities to make sure they have processes to corroborate requests requiring payments, to challenge anything that seems suspicious and to shred confidential documents.

Victims of fraud should report their experience to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Charities should also filed a serious incident report using the email address rsi@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk

Source: Civil Society


Thimblemill Socialise Book Club

A friend of mine and I had the idea of starting up the Book Club around three years ago as there was nothing in the area like it and he already was a storyteller for children, so we thought why not do the same but for adults. Since we’ve started our Book Club has gone from strength to strength and continues to develop as our membership numbers increase.

We are a volunteer led Book Club based in Thimblemill Library that is open to anyone who struggles accessing literature for whatever reason such as a visual impairment. The feedback I get from members and our lovely volunteer readers alike is always promising and positive. Since featuring in the talking newspaper we’ve attracted some new member but there’s always room for more.

We meet on Tuesday afternoons from 2.15pm at Thimblemill Library, Thimblemill Road, Smethwick, B67 5RJ. We provide refreshments and there is always a large bowl of water and a biscuits for the dogs.

Our Book Club brings like-minded individuals together in a warm and friendly space to chat with our readers and socialise with others, as new friendships are made in a nurturing and supportive environment.

So why not pop in to see us and have a chat to see what we are all about. Starting your journey of discovery into the world of books and all the different reading genres just waiting for you to explore and share your insights with other members.

For more information about our club please contact via email Dan Letchford at dj.letchford@gmail.com or have a look at our Facebook page at @ThimblemillSocialisebookclub


Safer Six Modern Slavery Awareness Raising Campaign

Safer Six is Sandwell Council’s annual six-week autumn campaign across the six towns. Safer Six carry out high-profile work with the fire service, police and other organisations to promote crime prevention, safety and healthy living at a time of year when crime and anti-social behaviour can often rise.

This year’s campaign is Raising Awareness of Modern Slavery, a crime often hidden in plain sight.

A NHS Slavery Van will be taking part in raising awareness at the following locations:

Rowley Regis: Saturday 29th September
Campaign launch and fun day 10.00 am – 1.00 pm Haden Cross Community Fire Station, Cradley Heath, Halesowen Rd, Cradley Heath B64 7JU

Tipton: Thursday 11th October
10.00 am – 2.00 pm Asda Great Barr, Brickhouse Lane DY4 7HW

West Bromwich: Monday 22nd October
10.00 am – 1.00 pm – outside Argos, 106-108 High Street, West Bromwich B70 7NN

Oldbury: Thursday 25th October
10.00 am – 2.00 pm Oldbury Market Place, Freeth Street, B69 3DB

Wednesbury: Tuesday 30th October
10.00 am – 1.00 pm Market place, Wednesbury WS10 7AY

Smethwick: Monday 5th November
11.00 am – 2.00 pm Asda Windmill Lane, Cape Hill, B66 3EN

The Council would welcome partners across the area to join them at any of these local events to demonstrate their joint commitment in tackling the misery of slavery and human trafficking.

If you are able to go, please introduce yourself and your agency to a member of staff on the van. Feel free to gather information which you can take back to your organisations and share what you are doing or could do to help going forward. Council staff look forward to seeing you.


‘Around the Corner’

Soho Victoria Friends and Neighbours are delivering a project to get residents within Smethwick to take control of their lives, and be able to effect change.

Friends and Neighbours are holding several meetings in the Smethwick area. At the meetings, you will be able to share concerns with your neighbours and discuss solutions. The goal is to make residents come together, form groups and resolve issues locally within their area.

Full details of the meetings and contact details attached. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, 26 September 2018, 11.30 am to 1.00 pm at Brasshouse Community Centre.


Ending Poverty the Way to Better Health

We must tackle the economic causes of ill health, says John Bird, and Martin Houghton-Brown praises the contribution of volunteers to the health service.

May I thank Sonia Sodha for her insightful piece (The only way to protect our NHS? Set up a National Care Service, 4 July). She offers an important starting point for a much wider conversation we need to have about Britain’s health. At present, the NHS is locked arm in arm with poverty. We will never get over the crises facing the service until we tackle the poverty that underlies the worsening health experienced by a growing section of British society.

This means taking on poverty capitalism and the consumerism that traps the poorest in the worst food options. If you have a zero-hours contract, earning £7 an hour and working extremely long shifts, you don’t have the time or the finances to cook nutritious food or get the exercise you need.

We can change this by realising the cost that poverty has on society as a whole, and then transitioning to a health system that focuses on prevention. This requires a societal mind shift, and a change that must begin by helping our young people understand why good health is important, and how they can avoid making the mistakes of earlier generations.
John Bird – House of Lords

To read the full Guardian Newspaper article click here.


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