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Vision 2030 Community Grants – now open for applications!

Sterling notes and coinsSCVO Vision 2030 Community Grants – Vision 2030 sets out the ambitions towards making Sandwell (in 2030) a thriving, optimistic and resilient community. Central to this vision is the message of closer partnership working between all sectors and communities across the borough. The aspiration is for Sandwell (now and in the future) to be where we call home and where we’re proud to belong – where we choose to bring up our families, where we feel safe and cared for, enjoying good health, rewarding work, feeling connected and valued in our neighbourhoods and communities, confident in the future, and benefiting fully from a revitalised West Midlands.

SCVO is delivering this grant programme, on behalf of and in partnership with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, to enable voluntary and community groups to deliver activities in Sandwell, and to Sandwell residents, to support the following priorities:

      • Building Social Connections (tackling loneliness/social isolation)
      • Youth Activities (tackling loneliness/social isolation amongst young people)
      • Healthy Lifestyles (promoting / supporting healthy living)

Paperwork for the programme is available as follows:

PLEASE NOTE: it is an integral part of the application process to discuss your project ideas/proposals with SCVO PRIOR to submission of an application – you can email: or contact Liz  on 07923 259821 / (or Stuart on 07703 823226 /

Once you’ve had your initial conversation the application form will be sent to you.

Applications are now being taken and MUST be received at SCVO by 12 noon on Monday, 16th November 2020 for consideration in this round.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – VCS Workshops

In its role of supporting Sandwell’s Voluntary and Community Sector to grow and develop, SCVO is very pleased to be able to offer two workshops to support organisations to be more confident and well-equipped to talk to communities about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

We know that one of the key strengths of Sandwell is the diversity of its communities and so a key aspect of this delivery is to support groups about how the thinking around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion can be embedded in everyday practice.

Two 90 minute online sessions are being offered on the topic of inclusive practice, which encompasses a conversation about unconscious and conscious biases.


The training offered aims to:

● increase confidence in the areas of equality, diversity and inclusion;

● consider what is done well now and what could be done better;

● create a safe space to talk about equality and inclusion together;

● explore inclusive language and what it means;

● have an opportunity to discuss and understand allyship, microaggressions and biases4;

● explore how to broaden the recruitment of more diverse volunteers, trustees and staff.


SCVO has engaged the services of Diverse Minds UK to deliver these workshops. Leyla Okhai, the CEO, is a coach, mediator, inclusion and wellbeing practitioner with over seventeen years’ experience and who has worked with, Science Museum Group, International Rescue Committee, Engineering Firm WYG,  North East London NHS Trust and the University of London to name just a few. Leyla is also a MHFA England Instructor Member.

The two online workshops will take place on Tuesday, 8th and Thursday, 10th December from 10.00 – 11.30am.

The cost for each workshop will be £25, but you can book BOTH workshops for the discounted price of £40.

For more information, and to book your tickets, visit our Eventbrite page HERE.

Let’s Go…

Here in Sandwell we have thousands of people helping out, formally and informally, every single day of the week. And our new web site will help even more people find fulfilment in volunteering and support the work of the sector.

The site hosts all kinds of opportunities to get involved with local voluntary and community organisations, demonstrating the huge range of tasks carried out by willing helpers.

Some are skill sharers – mapping out a new web site for a charity; taking time out to be a trustee or book keeper; running singalong sessions in a residential setting; as a youth group leader or sports coach.

Some are carers – shopping for friends, neighbours and clients; boosting their day with a friendly phone call; advocating on their behalf. And some are skill seekers – helping out with any task feasible to gain experience, friendship and the confidence to build the life and future they want.

If your organisation is looking for helpers, or to find out more about ‘Let’s Go…’ and how we support volunteering in Sandwell, email

Introduction to the Voluntary Sector in Sandwell

  • 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 delivering activities locally?

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

    This is the fourth session we have held and feedback has been extremely positive “I’ve increased my knowledge about the services out there and how SCVO can help to support me to find out more”.

    The session will cover:-

  • Information about the range of VCS organisations in Sandwell
  • What is Sandwell Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)?
  • How can SCVO support your organisation grow and thrive into the future?
  • How you can keep up to date with local developments and help to shape and influence local decisions.

The session is taking place on 11th November 2020 through Zoom from 11.15am – 12.45pm. Once you have secured your place through Eventbrite, a separate e-mail with joining instructions will be sent to you nearer the date.

To book your place please use the following link –

If you need any further information please contact Leona Bird, Strategic Engagement Officer at SCVO or telephone 07401255787.

FREE Webinar – Virtually Meet Black Country Near Neighbours

We are pleased to invite you to our Virtually Meet Black Country Near Neighbour’s Coordinator, Shaz Akhtar. Shaz will be joining SCVO on Thursday 12th November 2020, 10am via a Zoom Conference Call, to discuss their current grants programme. This is your opportunity to learn more about the funds available and their funding criteria prior to submitting your application directly to the funder.

Our FREE webinar will enable you to connect with the funder, as you’ll have the opportunity, to ask questions directly and receive tailored advice from them, as you learn more about the Near Neighbours programme. There has never been a greater need for fundraisers to get-together to share knowledge and experience.

Booking onto the webinar is essential via Eventbrite by clicking here, as there are a maximum of 25 places available for this virtual conversation. Please note, an email invitation to join the virtual webinar will be send out by SCVO in advance and prior to the commencement of the webinar.

Why not go to our website at to subscribe to our free weekly e-bulletin, so you get information automatically on SCVO virtual events, training and other news straight to your inbox.

October Coffee Time Conversations Session

‘Coffee Time Conversations’ seeks to bring like-minded individuals from across Sandwell together, to chat about different concerns that have arisen primarily as a consequence of COVID-19. The aim of these conversations is to share experiences, good practice and help others to problem solve around a concern they may have currently.

Our next session is being held on Thursday 22nd October 2020, 10am till 11.30am via a Zoom conference call. The topic for this ‘Coffee Time Conversation’ will be ‘re-connecting with senior members within our community to encourage their participation and engagement.’

Future conversations will be steered by participants during the session which gives you the chance to talk with others working in similar areas and decide upon the topics that are most important to you as a collective.

You are welcome to register for any/all of these conversations, which will be hosted as a Zoom Conference Call. Please use this Eventbrite link to register your attendance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the conversation nearer the time.

We look forward to seeing you all in October.

SCVO’s AGM 2020 – ‘Our Resilient Sector – Looking to the Future

SCVO members, other local voluntary sector organisations, stakeholders, and strategic partners are invited to SCVO’s Annual General Meeting taking place, this year, on Tuesday 29th September.

This will be an opportunity to reflect on an eventful year for Sandwell’s voluntary and community sector and learn about new developments and changes at SCVO.

The event is taking place on Tuesday 29th September 2020 from 10.00am – 12 noon via the ‘Zoom’ video conferencing platform.  Access instructions will be provided to ticket holders prior to the event. Please note, if you don’t have internet access or suitable equipment to access the video content, you will still be able to ‘dial in’ from a standard landline (to a ‘local rate’ number).

Please view a copy of the Agenda for the meeting.

Please book your place through –

Innovation and Creativity Inspired By the Pandemic

When COVID-19 hit the UK in March, it brought an initial instant shut down of community organisations and centres delivering much-needed community services and activities here in Sandwell. As doors closed to the physical world though, many organisations took the step of adapting their delivery (through digital innovation) in order to continue to support the most vulnerable within their communities – from children and families through to older people, and everything in between! 

The pandemic lockdown made community organisations, big and small, re-assess what the needs of their community were and how they could continue to address these needs in a re-imaged way. The imagination, resourcefulness and innovation at the height of the lockdown just goes to show the creativity and resilience of organisations, residents and service providers here in Sandwell. With ‘pop up’ COVID-19 support groups appearing overnight at a very local level, to an army of over 700 COVID-volunteers coming together to lend a helping hand during this time of need to support those most at risk.

We’ve seen:

  • New telephone befriending services;
  • Development of ‘meals on wheels’ for those most in need and vulnerable;
  • ‘Fish, Chips and Zoom’ chats replacing, in the short-term, luncheon clubs and other similar gatherings;
  • ‘Zoom Cafés’, where you brought the cake and cuppa and the community centre brought the conversation or short artistic performance (in partnership with a local arts organisation);
  • Events such as ‘virtual afternoon tea’ and ‘dial a story’ through to ‘doorstep fitness’ and ‘virtual fitness sessions’ from the comfort of your own home.

The creativity and resilience shown has been first class, with so many examples of community organisations thinking on their feet to continue to support their communities and others.

Community organisations have risen to the challenges presented, showing just how determined they are in supporting and continuing their service provision at a time when it matters the most. They have, where possible, joined forces with other community organisations, service providers and others to prevent duplication and to maximise their ability to support local residents by sharing resources and communication channels to get the messages out for those wishing to access the services on offer.

And more is continuing to happen as groups take advantage of the funding provided by a whole range of funding bodies – developing new services and adapting old ones to better meet the needs of communities and individuals in the ever-changing circumstances around us.

SCVO, too, has adapted quickly to the changing environment. Working from home, the staff team has learned a whole host of new skills (mostly digital) to take our support services online; from virtual ‘meet the funder’ events to virtual training workshops and networking sessions (bringing organisations together to share with and learn from each other) all in addition to our regular support services (delivered remotely) – helping them to turn their ideas into reality or simply to champion our sector and the fantastic community opportunities that have arisen.

Whilst the road to recovery is something of an unknown quantity, the message from across Sandwell is loud and clear – groups are wanting to ‘bounce back’ stronger, ensuring the new connections made during lockdown are retained, nurtured and built upon in order to harness the volunteers that came forward and further develop the creativity that was born during the pandemic.

Early Help Partnership ‘The Bigger Picture’ Events

These last few months have been difficult for us all, bringing many changes to organisations, groups and activities. We have all been committed to doing our best to support children, young people and families in Sandwell. Now with steps being made to try and get back to some normality, we thought it would be a great time to come together and have some conversations about what ‘The ‘Bigger Picture’ looks like around activities for children and young people.

These EHP Wednesbury and Tipton events will focus on how we work more effectively to help one another.

We will provide the opportunity for attendees to:

• find out what services are currently available in their local area
• share concerns going forward and ideas of what has worked for you
• share information about what support you currently offer and what you have planned for the near future
• link in with each other and build new partnerships.

If you work, volunteer or offer activities in Wednesbury, and would like to join us on Monday 3 August, 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm, please book here.

If you work, volunteer or offer activities in Tipton, and would like to join us on Wednesbury 5 August, 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm, please book here.

Joining details will be sent when you book your place.

For further information contact Angel, Early Help Partnership Co-ordinator.  Email: or call 07587 136072.

Nominations Sought for SCVO’s Board of Trustees

SCVO will be holding their Annual General Meeting 2020 on Tuesday 29th September. Nominations are now being sought for individuals who wish to serve as Trustees on SCVO’s Board.

Any board committee member, staff member or volunteer of an organisation which is a member of SCVO who has the the approval of that organisation may be eligible for nomination.  SCVO members will be invited at the AGM to elect new trustees from those nominated.

The deadline for nominations is 9.00am Monday 17th August 2020.

The nomination form can be found here.

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