Safer, Stronger Communities

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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.


Top Tips for Preventing, Detecting and Responding to Fraud

The Fraud Advisory Panel have published fraud resources for trustees, senior managers and professional advisers of charities in England and Wales.

The main guide summaries outputs from the second national charity fraud conference and Fraud Awareness Week 2017. It also signposts further sources of information and best practice.

You can also read our guidance to help you to protect your charity from fraud.

Source: Charity Commission newsletter


Cyber Security: Charity Guide

In March 2018 the Charity Commission supported the National Cyber Security Centre in the development of the first, dedicated cyber security guide for charities.

Charities are not immune to cyber-crime and the advice contained in the guide will be relevant to all charities, though it’s likely that smaller charities will especially benefit from the practical tips and guidance on offer. But, good practice will only be effective if everyone plays their part, seeking out and applying relevant advice to boost their charity’s resilience to the growing threat of cyber-crime.

Taking even a few of the simple steps recommended in the guide will be a good start for in protecting charities from harm.

Source: Charity Commission newsletter


Understanding Extremism Training

The Understanding Extremism Training will explore and discuss issues relating to the ideology of Global Jihadism and the Far Right. The Training will equip delegates with an ideological understanding that underpins different extremist groups.

In addition to this delegates will be given the opportunity to be involved in interactive discussions in understanding the drivers and influences that lead to radicalisation.

The course has been tailored specifically for Sandwell and this will be illustrated in the examples that will be presented. The importance of the Prevent Strategy and the subsequent Prevent referral pathway that will support local partners in confidence in signposting vulnerable individuals who they feel are a  concern will be discussed. Delegates will be provided with a counter narrative and this will build on their knowledge base.

Target Audience – Practitioners, faith based community leaders, education establishments, partners

Learning Outcomes:

  • To respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat from those who promote it.
  • To enhance the knowledge of front line practitioners in understanding both Daesh/Al Qaida inspired and Far Right Extremism.
  • To counteract the concepts and activity of extremism and radicalisation in Sandwell.
  • To support safeguarding and further embed the referral process for concerns.
  • To support practitioners who work and interact with young people and communities in Sandwell who may be vulnerable to extremist ideology.
  • To promote good relations and cohesion between all communities.
  • To provide a mechanism for practitioners to be able to sign post young people and communities to appropriate services for support relevant and proportionate to need.
  • Challenging extremist ideology including extremist and terrorist narratives by supporting local partners, faith based community leaders that can provide a counter narrative, and counteract the concepts and activity of extremism and radicalisation in Sandwell.

The training will be held at Sandwell Council – Housing Offices, Sandwell Homes, Direct 2 Industrial Estate, Roway Lane, Oldbury, B69 3ES  on:

  • 18th July 9.30am – 4.30pm
  • 15th August 9.30am – 4.30pm
  • 13th September 9.30am – 4.30pm
  • 17th October 9.30am – 4.30pm
  • 13 November 9.30am – 4.30pm
  • 11 December 9.30am – 4.30pm

Book your place online by clicking here.

For more information contact Manjeet Pangli, Strategic Prevent Coordinator by email manjeet_pangli@sandwell.gov.uk or call 0121 569 2252


HBV, FM and FGM Development Day

As part of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s continued commitment to tackling hidden crimes and violence against women and girls, David Jamieson is calling on community groups in the West Midlands to come together to form part of an integrated voluntary sector response to forced marriage, honour based violence and female genital mutilation (FGM).

These are priorities in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan and he is committed to establishing a regional response to these crimes. (Please click here to see the West Midlands Police and Crime Plan 2016-2020).

The PCC seeks to mobilise a community led response to HBV, FM and FGM by developing capacity in leadership and delivery of micro community organisations so that the victims of these crimes can seek a culturally appropriate response. We want to hear from groups with expertise and a cultural understanding which takes into account a victim’s resilience to cope with crime based on their ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, disability and socio-economic status. We are keen to bring together providers who are delivering services and who understand how these crimes impact on victims.

The PCC is holding a start-up meeting on Thursday 5 July at the Loft Lounge, 143 Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham, B5 6RG

If you are a local group in the West Midlands and would like to be involved in this innovative work, please contact Jo Barber or Harjeet Chakira on 0121 626 5534, for further details.

The discussion will include:

• Supporting providers with capacity building
• Working with micro community groups
• Bench marking best practice in supporting victims of HBV FM and FGM
• Representing the voice of the victim by community members
• Developing a network and support service going in 2019/2020


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