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FoodCycle: Feeding Black Country Communities Webinar

As part of the work to support people and communities to thrive and flourish, Transforming Communities Together are hosting a webinar on the national charity FoodCycle, as it prepares to open its first Walsall-based free meals service for local residents. The webinar will be from 10.30 am on Wednesday, 23 June 2021.

FoodCycle is a national charity established in 2009, with the aim of tackling food poverty and social isolation using donated surplus food. There are currently six projects in the West Midlands, all Birmingham-based. The organisation is now working to set up FoodCycle Cooking projects within Walsall and the wider Black Country.

FoodCycle utilises suitable kitchens in which volunteers cook fresh surplus food, which has been donated, to produce healthy, hot vegetarian meals, for anyone who would like one. The meals are completely free and anyone can just turn up. Typically guests include low income families, homeless people, isolated older people, and people struggling to ‘make ends meet’.

FoodCycle would like to hear from you:
• If you could host a FoodCycle local venue, and have capacity to seat up to 30 guests.
• If you are a local organisation or community group through which potential guests may be reached.
• If you would like to be a volunteer at a local venue.

For more information, please contact on 07377 866347 or on 07593 256805.

Book your free place via Eventbrite.


How Charity Chair Pulled Out All the Stop to Help Tackle Isolation

In a new report by Association of Chairs, they found that charity chairs are putting in longer hours to help their charities manage the Covid-19 crisis. 

The existential crisis posed by the coronavirus pandemic has been felt by everyone working in the voluntary and community sector. It isn’t just those who are paid to work for charities that are feeling the strain either!

The Association of Chairs found that 62 per cent of chairs reported that they were spending four or more days a month on their chairing role during the crisis, up from 43 per cent before. And 18 per cent said they had spent more than 11 days a month chairing, versus 10 per cent before the pandemic.

Find out more by reading the Third Sector article by clicking here.

Source: Third Sector News

The Curator Programme

The Curator Programme is free to participate, and is open to young people of colour aged 16-25 based in the Black Country. It will run between May 2021 – June 2022, allowing the cohort of Curators access to regular professional development workshops led by industry professionals, and to gain practical experience of curating an exhibition and arts festival at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery. Each participant will receive a £250 bursary, and travel costs and refreshments will be reimbursed when we are able to conduct the programme in person (initially it will take place online).

Spreading the word!
Would you be able to share this opportunity with relevant partners or contacts, and any youth groups or individual young people that you are affiliated with? Any help with spreading the word would be much appreciated, as we want to share this opportunity as far as possible!

Young people can apply by filling out this simple online form:
If applicants have any questions, or need help filling out the form they are welcome to get in touch with me via email –

This is a fantastic opportunity, and the deadline is coming around next week! Here is a tweet to share:


Digital Skills Audits – Tools, Capacity and Resources Moving Forward

Charities during the pandemic have had to adapt quickly with many volunteers and employees having to learn digital skills as they go. It is therefore essential moving forward that charities undertake a digital skills audit to identify training needs as well as their strengths and weaknesses in improving their digital capabilities.

Charities are rapidly improving their use of digital tools and resources across their organisation, from fundraising to service delivery. But a lack of digital skills is still a major barrier to many charities fulfilling their full potential, according to the latest evidence.

What is a digital skills audit?

A digital skills audit – audits the digital skills within an organisation. Carrying out an audit highlights where there are shortages and uses analysis and evaluation to identify any weaknesses.

Data from the audit can be used to plan training and prioritise areas where digital skills are needed swiftly. A digital skills audit can also highlight strengths that charity leaders did not even know existed within the organisation.

For more information on a digital skills audit and how your organisation might conduct one see Charity Digital News article on the subject by clicking here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Free Fab Lab virtual tour for your organisation!

The Fab Lab at Sandwell College is currently offering free loan of amazing 360° cameras, along with support to help you make your own virtual tours and videos of your organisation.  The package is completely free and is open to groups and charitable organisations in the West Midlands until the end of July.

Fab Lab says it’s a great way to showcase your space online in a really immersive way to potential newcomers and supporters, particularly at the moment if you are unable to host face-to-face visits.

Fab Lab assistants will help you film your interactive videos, which can be watched on YouTube via a computer or smartphone. Fab Lab may also be able to help you with editing your videos, depending on your requirements.

For more information, please contact

To see one of the 360 films check out a tour of the Dorothy Parkes allotment, click here.

Camphill Village Trust welcomes new CEO

Camphill Village Trust has announced that Sara Thakkar has been appointed as their new Chief Executive. Sara brings with her many years of experience in the sector – holding Chief Executive positions for over a decade – with a focus on housing, inclusion and supporting service users to lead on strategic decisions.

Sara takes over from Huw John who is leaving the charity after 10 years to explore new opportunities in the sector. Brian Walsh OBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees said, ‘On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we would like to offer our congratulations to Sara Thakkar. Sara joins the Trust a wealth of experience as CEO of several organisations within the social care and housing sectors. The Board extends its thanks to Huw John who will step down as CEO after 10 years’ service and wishes him well in his future ventures.’

Sara said, ‘I am really proud to have been offered such a prestigious role for a charity renowned for its forward-thinking approach to adult social care through support, employability and environmental sustainability. I believe that we are forerunners for future fit care, and I am really looking forward to working with all at the Trust to bring the ambition to reality.’

Sara will formally start her role as the Trusts’ CEO on the 1st June 2021.

Visit the website

Community Transport urgently seek volunteers!

With stores on the high street now open again, the long-established charity, CT Furniture, are launching an appeal for a new wave of volunteers to help, in their three retail stores across the West Midlands.

CT Furniture stores can be found across the region, with a large store locally based on Kings Square, West Bromwich. There is a further store in Bilston and a brand new store just opened in Northfield. The self-funded charity needs help with background activities such as office administration and social media. Plus, more customer focussed roles going out on the delivery and collection vans and providing retail assistance in the stores.

The CT Furniture stores aim to provide local people and communities with affordable furniture, which has been generously donated by members of the public. All surplus funds go towards the Community Transport charity, CT Passenger, which runs a fleet of 29 accessible and 14 non-accessible minibuses across the West Midlands. Since 1964, the Community Transport charity has been supporting those in need, supported by a loyal team of employees and volunteers.

To enquire about volunteering ask in store, call: 01902 496010 or apply via the website.

All staff and volunteers are adhering to the government’s latest COVID-safe guidelines and are looking forward to welcoming customers into store as soon as possible.

Telephone Treat Makes a Comeback

A ‘magical’ telephone performance programme returns to Sandwell this month courtesy of Black Country Touring. ‘Dial a Story’ gives participants the chance to experience storytelling, poetry and music with professional performers, all for free.

The programme proved very popular last autumn with participants describing it as “magical,” saying they “closed their eyes and were someplace else.”

Artists on hand for the 15 minute performances are poet Adrian B. Earle, storyteller Peter Chand and musicians Sam Frankie Fox and Ricardo Santos Rocha.

Adrian B. Earle is a writer, poet and media maker from Birmingham, creating journeys through the written word for stage, film and radio under the name ThinkWriteFly. He writes and performs his own work alongside recitations of verse from other poets past and present.

Peter Chand is an award-winning international storyteller, hugely in demand for his unique retelling of tales from his motherland, India, into English. He’s performed extensively in the UK and abroad.

Frankie Fox is a Welsh vocalist, harpist, theatre maker and sound designer based in the West Midlands. Sam has worked locally, nationally and internationally as an actor-musician; lead vocalist of Kiriki Club; band member with Little Sister; as composer/sound designer; as a vocalist with The Royal Shakespeare Company and as a soloist with Talking Birds & Orchestra of the Swan.

Ricardo Santos Rocha is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and sound designer from Portugal who’s been based in Birmingham since 2013. He has worked with, amongst others, Kindle Theatre/Kiln Ensemble, Graeae Theatre, and the Birmingham REP.

Get in touch with any questions, or to make a booking:
Phone: 07745 203 834

Rebalancing Income Against Increased Demand?

Charity Digital News in their latest article explain how the biggest issue facing a charity right now is the need to balance an increase in demand for services with a scarcity of funding. They suggest that there could be a digital solution to help them do just that.

Like with many things there is no magic cure for the current state of affairs; no silver bullet to stop the crisis dead in its tracks. But the cumulative impact of adopting a number of digital solutions in a holistic manner can ease the financial pressure a charity is currently experiencing.

One solution might be, the automation of finance management, which can save charities time and money, and help them to plan for a more sustainable future. To read Charity Digital News article and explore all the potential solutions being expressed click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

SWB CCG “What if”…..Community Conversations

Join Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (SWB CCG) and help to continue the conversation about what really matters to us, barriers to health and happiness and what we can do together to create thriving communities across the Black Country and West Birmingham.

Everyone has story to tell. Jane shared her story at February’s Community Conversation. The CCG want you to invite at least one person to the next workshop on 14th April. Who do you know who has a story to tell but for one reason or another, has felt unable to share their experiences, or perhaps even silenced by the system?

The CCG is listening and learning. So, if you have any ideas on how the organisation can continue to improve the Community Conversations, or how they can reach people and communities who are often left out, they would like to hear from you. You can get in touch by calling 0121 612 1447 or email

To register for the next Community Conversation, via Zoom, on Wednesday 14th April, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, click here.

Networking After party 12.30 pm – 1.00 pm

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