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Black Country ESF Community Grants Funding Event

Looking for Funding? Walsall Council is holding a Funding Event in Dudley later this month to promote the Community Grants programme.

The Funding Event will from 9.15 am to 12.30 pm at the Village Hotel, Dudley, on Wednesday 29 November 2017.

Up to 15,00 is available for not-for-profit organisations to deliver projects that prepare people for work in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.   Go along and learn more!

To book your place please email or call 01922 652 544.

This project is financed by the European Social Fund and Education & Skills Funding Agency.

B&Q Community Re-Use Scheme for Schools and Community Groups

DIY store B&Q operates a community re-use scheme through all its branches across the UK. The scheme donates unsellable products and materials for re-use by local schools, other educational institutions and community groups, for the benefit of the local community and the environment.  

All items are donated on the understanding that they will be re-used or disposed of responsibly if they aren’t used. Eligible groups include: Schools and colleges; Child minders, playgroups and nurseries; Allotment associations, community gardening projects; Youth groups including scouts, guides and cadets; Registered charities; Hospices; Conservation groups including The Conservation Volunteers and Forest Schools; Community projects organised by local churches and other religious groups; Women’s Institute, Lions Clubs, Rotary, Townswomen Guilds; Royal British Legion; Adult education projects, University of the Third Age and other local community groups. 

For more information, please contact your local store directly and speak to a duty manager.

B&Q also works with Community Repaint, a network of schemes that collects any surplus, re-usable paint and redistributes it within their communities to individuals and families on low income, charities and community groups.  



Identifying Rough Sleepers

Sandwell Council is asking agencies that encounter rough sleepers to complete a Rough Sleeper Estimate Form.  To make this single figure as robust as possible, the Council  is asking local agencies that encounter people who are sleeping rough to participate. It is important that agencies taking part understand the definition of rough sleeping and do not include people in hostels or shelters, sofa surfers, people in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes or organised protest, squatters or travellers.

For the purpose of the estimate, rough sleepers are defined as:

People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or “bashes”).

Agencies should understand that the purpose of the estimate is to assess the numbers of people rough sleeping on the typical night chosen, rather than a larger sample of street activity or people using homelessness services.

This means that, for example:  a person who sometimes sleeps rough but sometimes has accommodation/shelter will not be included in the estimate unless there is evidence that they did sleep rough on that night.

Again this year, Sandwell, Birmingham Wolverhampton, Walsall, Solihul, Coventry and Dudley have selected the 22nd November 2017 to do this year’s estimate.

On that night the Council would like to know all the people you or your organisation encounters either sleeping rough, or claim they slept rough, using the attached guidance and form.

If you would like to discuss this matter or require further information, please contact Pam Mander-Masonde on 0121 569 5224 or email

Funding for Projects that Combat Abuse and Violation of Human Rights

UK-registered charities that seek to combat abuse and violations of human rights can apply for funding through the A B Charitable Trust (ABCT).

The Trust is particularly focussed on charities supporting unpopular causes reaching the most vulnerable and marginalised in society, for example, prisoners and penal reform; migrants, refugees and asylum seekers; human rights, particularly access to justice.

The Trust generally makes one-off grants to charities registered and working in the UK with annual incomes of between £150,000 and £1.5m that do not have substantial investments or surpluses. Grants range in size, with most grants awarded being in the range £10,000 to £20,000. ABCT does not normally fund charities with large national or international links.

Apply online following the guidelines supplied on the website.

The next closing date for applications is the 1st December 2017.


Steps to Work seeks Hubs in Sandwell and Dudley

Steps to Work is thrilled to have been successful in securing the sub- contract with Shaw Trust to deliver the Work and Health programme in Sandwell and Dudley. Steps to Work and Shaw Trust aim to join up services where possible. In order to do this, they are looking for partners who can assist them with the needs of customers by focussing on the integration of existing services and providing better accessibility for customers.

Customers will be referred from Job Centre Plus. Steps to Work will be dealing with the long term unemployed, people with disabilities, health conditions and those who qualify for early entry, such as ex-forces personnel and those who have additional vulnerabilities.

Steps to Work will be aiming to link all services to support their customers such as housing associations, the National Health Service, General Practitioners, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Community Mental Health Teams and Improving access to Psychological practices as well as the Voluntary Sector and employment support providers.

The success of the Work and Heath programme will depend on the strength of collaboration with partners. Steps to Work has built some great relationships in many areas of the Black Country through its Building Better Opportunities programme “BRIDGES”. It is keen to expand upon this for the Work and health Programme.

For Sandwell and Dudley areas (click here for specific wards) Steps to Work is also looking for co-locations and two main hubs from which they can deliver. Space will vary depending on the referrals received. However, as minimum 1-2 desks on each site at different times throughout the week is required.

The agreement could potentially be for 5 years. Steps to Work would like to review every 6-12 months.

If you have space which you feel may be suitable, please contact Rizwana Hussain, Work Programme Manager, on 01922 892060 or 07900583681. Email:



Don’t miss the last Voluntary Sector Breakfast Meeting of 2017

You are cordially invited to the last Voluntary Sector Breakfast Meeting of 2017, to be held on Thursday 23 November, 7.30 am – 9.00 at Ebenezer Church, High Street Langley, Oldbury B69 4SL.

Are you a Voluntary or Community Group based in or working in Sandwell?  Would you like the opportunity to let the Sector know what your organisation is doing …maybe a big event coming up, or a new project?  Perhaps you are new to the borough and would like to meet people or would simply like to network on a very informal basis.  Everyone is welcome.

Please register your attendance via Eventbrite.  For any other enquiry email or telephone 0121 525 1127.

Refreshments provided.

‘Consent is dead’ when it comes to GDPR, charities told

Charities should use consent as the “route of last resort” when deciding the basis on which they processed personal data, an audience of charity finance directors heard this week (20th Oct 2017).

Serena Tierney, a partner at law firm VWV, told the Charity Finance Summit, run by Civil Society Media, that there were several lawful reasons to process personal data, other than having explicit consent to do so, and that in most cases, charities could and should find another basis to use instead.

She said that the key thing was that if you used someone’s data, they understood what you were doing and why you were doing it. She said you must be able to explain what data you held, and people must always be able to stop you processing their data.

“You have been thinking about GDPR in terms of consent,” she said. “But consent is the route of last resort. You should be able to process personal data on one of the other bases, and I strongly recommend that you do so.”

She said the most likely other route to process data was that it was “necessary for the legitimate purposes of the organisation”.
“That’s much better than trying to contort it into the ridiculous idea of consent,” she said. “Even if you have something that is called consent, it probably isn’t really consent.

“Consent is dead. Replace it with granularity.”

She said there were a handful of instances where consent was needed: holding sensitive personal data, exporting data outside the EU, and marketing under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which govern text and email fundraising.
“People will always have the right to object to what you are doing with their data, and you can’t get away from that,” she said.
She said that another key thing was to understand how data flows around an organisation, and what it is used for.

“Once you understand that, everything else falls into place,” she said. Tierney said that another issue for charities to be aware of was where their data is stored. She warned charities to take care about data which was stored in the United States, because in practice, that information is likely to be accessible to US government agencies.

“Make sure you know if your data is stored on a server in the US,” she said. “If it’s in the US, it’s under the control of the US government.”



Volunteer ESOL Teachers and Classroom Assistants for Brushstrokes

The Brushstrokes Community Project, based at St Philip’s Parish Centre, Messenger Road in Smethwick, currently have nearly 200 adults learning English and is in need of more volunteer teachers and classroom assistants.

Brushstrokes will take people with little or no experience as classroom assistants as  in-house training and support will be given.

The Project would also like to hear from anyone who has done any ESOL teacher training or is thinking of doing it in the future.   Many volunteers in the past have used the experience gained at Brushstrokes as teaching practice for courses such as DET (was DTLLS) and CELTA.

The students are adults aged from 19 – 70 and are from many different countries and cultures.  If you wish to volunteer as an ESOL teacher or classroom assistant, please contact Jane Alsop, ESOL Coordinator, on 0121 565 2234 for further information.

Give Back with The Albion Foundation

The Albion Foundation is a registered charity that uses the power of football to make a difference, raise aspirations, grow their people and participants and connect West Bromwich Albion Football Club to its communities.

The Foundation prides itself on inspiring to achieve and delivering the highest quality of provision to show that ‘Albion Cares’.  It has four main departments Education, Engagement, Sport Development and Disability.

The Albion Foundation has teams of staff available to visit and support other charities or community organisations in the local area.  As a charity it likes to do a ‘Give Back’ day every year.  There are around 70 staff who are sent out to different organisations to help out for the day. This might be face to face work or just general work that might need doing at your facility.  Previously, The Foundation has supported organisations in the following ways:

Cleaned up the local canals and wastelands of Sandwell
Worked with adults with learning disabilities
Painting/decorating and gardening
Supported and spent the day with elderly residents
Cleaned kennels and walked dogs for an animal charity

 The Foundation is looking to do something on Thursday, 21 December, roughly between 9 am & 3 pm and could send at least eight staff.

If your organisation has anything you think The Albion Foundation could assist with please contact

Visit the website

Heart of England Community Foundation Funding Survey

The Heart of England Community Foundation is undertaking a consultation as part of a wide review of their grant-making. 

It is looking at everything from the size of grants they offer to the type of organisations they support.  Heart of England Community Foundation would appreciate your help to gain as much feedback as possible, helping them shape their approach over the next few years.

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