Category Archives

EPIC funding lands in Sandwell

SCVO is working in partnership with the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to help build long-term resilience within Sandwell Communities.

As mentioned in last week’s e-bulletin, SCVO will be launching EPIC funding in early February.

The purpose of the EPIC (Empowering People in Communities) Grant Programme is to enable local voluntary and community organisations to access funding that supports the following broad outcomes:

  • Increased resilience within communities
  • Increased self reliance
  • Improved and stronger relationships within the community
  • Residents are involved in the design and delivery of activities that make a positive change in their communities
  • Asset and strengths based – building on what exists in communities

Extensive community conversations have helped to shape the elements of this programme.  EPIC is a three year grant programme aimed at improving the wellbeing of communities, and tackling isolation and loneliness. It does this by developing stronger relationships and building on what exists within communities. This could include making the most of community spaces, improving access to transport and using people’s skills, talents and experience.

Grants up to £80,000 will be available for projects that are aimed at people (of all ages) who feel lonely or isolated, and projects that aim to improve the wellbeing of communities.

There are three tiers of funding available:

  • under £10,000
  • £10,001 to £40,000
  • £40,001 to £80,000 (working in collaboration)

Applications for Round 1 open on Monday 28th January 2019 and will close on Friday 15th March 2019.

To help organisations with potential submissions, we have organised five sessions, where you can hear more about the detail of the funding opportunity and what we are looking for in applications.

Please use the relevant Eventbrite link to book a place at your chosen/preferred session – attendance is on a first come, first served basis and is limited to 1 ticket per organisation (so that we can make the sessions available to as many groups as possible):

Application forms and guidance notes will be available on our website from 28th January 2019.

For more information contact: Manisha Patel, Community Partnerships Coach – T: 0121 5251127 / E:

Early Help Partnership Event Invitation

Don’t miss out on our Early Help Partnership Event – taking place on Wednesday 23rd January from 1pm – 3pm at the Yemeni Community Association.

We welcome all who are working with and supporting children, young people and families in West Bromwich, to come together to share, learn and develop new partnerships.

To book your place please e-mail Amelia –

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

We are pleased to announce that The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation have awarded SCVO a five year grant (June 2018 to May 2023) of £1.4m. Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. It does this by funding the charitable work of organisations who are building an inclusive, creative and sustainable society. The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK.

The funding has been awarded to help build greater long-term resilience within Sandwell’s communities and support residents to use their strengths, skills and assets to co-design activities and deliver them in their local communities. Such “resilience” may be seen as the (community’s) ability to respond to crises/stress through the involvement and participation of people in ways that strengthen community bonds, resources, and its capacity to cope (‘bounce back’) and move forward.

Before the money was awarded there were two consultation events and a number of conversations with strategic partners which brought together a huge wave of ideas, visions and aspirations. These consultations have helped to shape the planned programme. The changes we would like to see as a result of the investment are stronger relationships between community hubs/anchors, residents and leaders, increased resilience and self-reliance and communities using strengths based approaches to tackle challenges and design and own local activities.

There are three strands to the programme:

BOUNCE (Building Ownership, Unlocking Networks, Creating Empowerment): working in partnership with existing ‘community anchor/hubs’ organisations to use a strengths/asset based approach to support local communities to design, deliver and own activities for positive change. We are excited to be working with the first four organisations as part of the BOUNCE strand, these organisations are; Brasshouse (North Smethwick Development Trust), Smethwick CAN, Bangladeshi Women’s Association and Bearwood Community Hub CIC. Over the lifetime of the programme, we will support additional organisations, ensuring there is a good spread across Sandwell.

Large Grants: EPIC grant funding will launch early February 2019. Extensive community conversations have helped to influence the EPIC grant programme. Look out for more information in the ebulletin of Monday, 14 January 2019.

• Leadership Development Support: for key people engaged through the programme, focusing on emerging community leaders.

For more information contact Manisha Patel on 0121 5251127 or

Discovering New Partnerships and Possibilities – Learning Outcomes

Sandwell Early Help Partnership held an event on 21st November 2018.  The aim was for everyone to leave with a better understanding of the issues and challenges that our children, young people and families face, increased knowledge of the services available and lastly a roster of new contacts enabling the building of new partnerships.

The event was really well attended with over 70 people all from different sectors including the voluntary and community sector, education, Children’s Trust and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Attendees were asked what the most important opportunity they wanted to gain from the event, networking came out on top with knowing what support can be better provided by working together to achieve more.

Delegates were asked what their biggest concern or worry about the issues and challenges facing children and young people – mental health came out as the highest concern.  They were also asked a similar question around issues and challenges facing parents and carers – parental skills came out top closely followed by poverty and personal circumstances.

Questions were then ask around what could be improved

What one thing would improve the way you work with other support organiastions?  35% felt better communication between agencies would improve the way we work together.

What local resources and assets could we make more use of in supporting children and young people? 44% felt our collective knowledge and skills are the biggest assets that we could make more use of.

Sandwell Family Life was promoted and demonstrated. – is an online portal outlining a range of universal services available for children, young people and families from different Sectors.

What next?

If your organisation’s services are not already registered on the portal then we would urge you to do so.

The Early Help Partnership Team will use the information from the event to inform how it organises, structures and runs events in the future.  They will look to host more town based, borough wide and thematic events, responding to the issues and challenges identified by the Partnership’s Members.

What is the Early Help Partnership?

The Sandwell Early Help Partnership brings together schools, voluntary agencies, community organisations, faith groups, Sandwell Council, health providers, police and fire services and others, to work more closely supporting children and families in Sandwell.  The Partnership believes that all children and young people growing up in Sandwell deserve the best possible start in life and should have access to a wide range of opportunities to grow and develop into healthy, happy individuals and active citizens within our community.  Partnership activities encourage stronger networking between agencies to enable a more helpful, joined up support offer to be available for Sandwell families.

If you are not yet a member of the Early Help Partnership or are not listed on Sandwell Family Life then please get in touch with Amelia at SCVO – or telephone 0121 525 1127

What’s On At Rounds Green Library

Rounds Green Library are holding a number of events throughout the month of December 2018.  These include a Home work Club, a Christmas Party – festive-themes sports, games and craft activities.

To found out more about what is going please view or telephone 0121 552 2879 or e-mail

Residents have their say on Aquatic Centre Site Plans

Residents living near the site of the proposed Smethwick aquatic centre have had their say on the plans.

Sandwell Council recently wrote to hundreds of people living in properties close to Londonderry Playing Fields.

Residents were given a leaflet detailing outline plans for the site which will include a football pitch, changing facilities, improved green space and a children’s play area – as well as an Olympic-sized competition swimming pool, diving pool and community pool.

They were invited to rank a list of eight areas in order of importance to help the council better understand what issues matter most to them.

More than 100 responses were received and revealed the most important matters for local residents were:
• Improving local roads and public transport,
• Providing enough parking spaces to avoid impact on the surrounding roads,
• Keeping trees around the site and creating paths for people to enjoy walking and running.

The results of the engagement exercise with local residents will be used to help address priority issues when formal public consultation on the development launches next month (December).

For further information visit

Help us spread the word about services in Sandwell

You are hopefully aware that SCVO have two online web portals and

The two portals are distinct but in some cases services can be relevant to both sites.  With over 297 different services listed on Route2wellbeing and 146 services on Sandwell Family Life, they are the ‘go to’ places to find out about services in Sandwell.

You may be wondering what the difference between the two are?
 is a site which lists a range of services and support for adults of all ages to improve and maintain positive health and wellbeing.  Sandwell Family Life focusses on activities children and young people to provide assistance for parents and families to help them overcome day to day challenges and to also have fun.

SCVO is really keen to get key messages out to the general public and ‘professionals’ about what services are available .

At this stage we are putting together short videos that explain the portals and we were looking for voluntary sector organisations or public sector agencies who have monitors or TV screens where these two videos could be shown. They are very short: around 2 minutes long.

If your organisation can help, or you know of any other community venue that may have these resources, could you please let the SCVO team know by contacting or telephone – 0121 525 1129

Discovering New Partnerships and Possibilities – Early Help Partnership Event

This is going to be an energetic event with a new take on networking! Giving you the opportunity to get involved,  learn more about the services in your area and build new relationships and partnerships to best serve our children, young people and families in Sandwell.

All tickets for this event are free and we encourage members to bring along their colleagues (max 3 per organisation) and of course if you can’t make it feel free to send someone in your place.

Wednesday 21st November 2018
9:30am – Arrivals and Networking
10am – Start
12pm – Finish
Portway Lifestyle Centre, Newbury Lane, Oldbury, B69 1HE

All are welcome to stick around after the event for cake and of course more networking!

To book your place please view link

For any questions or queries please email: or call 0121 525 1127 and ask for Amelia.

Promoting Better Health and Wellbeing For Us All

Are you looking for activities to improve your health and wellbeing?

SCVO, a local organisation which supports charities and community projects, runs an online portal listing activities and support which Sandwell residents can access in their local area. These activities and services include advice and guidance, advocacy support, befriending, carers support, day centres, counselling and listening, addiction support, exercise and fitness classes, sports activities and social activities to name but a few.

We are encouraging local residents to take a look at this website –  We appreciate that for some, access to the internet is not always possible.   Maybe you have a friend or relative who could help, or your local library could assist you with this?  The information on the portal may also be something that you could pass on to your friends and family, so we are spreading the word about its availability.

Are you a voluntary group, faith community, not-for-profit organisation or charity in Sandwell that supports local people with their health and wellbeing?

If you haven’t already got details of your activities listed on the then please get in touch – it’s simple to do and SCVO can help and advise you in getting started so that more people can know about the great services and support you offer.  For further information please get in touch with SCVO on 0121 525 1127 or

Introduction to Sandwell’s Voluntary and Community Sector Session

Did you know there are over 1,000 voluntary and community (VCS) groups operating in Sandwell? Are you in a new role and would value an overview of the vast range of services available to help and support Sandwell residents?  Or are you new to the area or part of a newly formed community group and would like to find out more about other groups and organisations who are delivering activities locally? 

This session is informal and open to anyone who feels they either have a limited knowledge of the VCS in Sandwell or would like to improve their knowledge, and also to find out about SCVO’s support offer.

The session is taking place on Wednesday 7th November 2018 from 12.30am – 2.30pm – SCVO Offices, 1st Floor, Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8ER. Please find further information about the session, to book you place please do so through this link

If you need any further information please contact Leona Bird, Strategic Engagement Officer at SCVO or telephone 0121 525 1127.

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