Sidney’s Shed at Dorothy Parkes Centre

Rhubarb Theatre presents Sidney’s Shed taking place Saturday 23rd June – 3pm at the Dorothy Parkes Centre, Church Road, Smethwick, B67 6EH .

Join the Dorothy Parkes Community Centre for their first ever theatre production working in partnership with Black Country Touring.

Maisie is hiding and thinks she’s found the perfect place – Sidney’s Shed. But this is no ordinary shed, and Sidney Waffles is no ordinary gardener…

Inventor, explorer and winner of this year’s ‘Best-Veg-in-Show’, the potty flower-potter has made some unusual improvements to his allotment. Sidney has created the world’s first time travelling shed!

Join Sidney and the bravest little girl in Windy-on-the-Hill on their time travelling journey to dig up the past and weed out the bullies!

Following the fantastic success of last year’s touring show Granny’s Game, Rhubarb Theatre present a brand-new family show for gardeners and adventurers of all ages – bursting with historical hilarity, songs, music and prize-winning rhubarb!

Sidney’s Shed is a fun and fast paced adventure through time for all of the family.

Purchase tickets here –

Preparing for Work Training Courses

Building Bridges Training is planning to apply for ESF funding in the next few weeks to enable them to deliver further training to adults with a learning disabilities who reside in the Black Country. However, before they pursue this latest funding opportunity, they would like to establish whether there is sufficient demand for the proposed course.

It is Building Bridges’ intention to deliver training consisting of 10 weekly sessions designed to better equip adults with a learning disability to find work. It will cover topics such as how to apply for jobs and prepare a CV, using a tablet and internet skills. How to get on with people in the workplace, as well as giving guidance on wellbeing and taking care of appearance. Following the Grenfell Tower disaster, the training organisation also intends to incorporate some material about fire and home safety issues.

Could you kindly let Building Bridges know, at the earliest opportunity, if such a course would be beneficial to your service users?

Building Bridges would welcome suggestions you may have with regard to other topics which they could incorporate.

Please contact Vanessa Roughsedge at Building Bridges Training on 0121 559 9197.

Living Memory Project Upcoming Activities

The Living Memory Project (a two-year project) are working across the Black Country to celebrate different aspects of everyday life that have been captured through people’s own photographs. The images hidden in our family albums, stored away in shoeboxes, and treasured in the collections of local enthusiasts, can offer rich perspectives on our rapidly changing society. These collections are increasingly vulnerable as technology transforms how we now take and preserve photographs.

You are cordially invited to attend their programme activities taking place as part of the Living Memory Project throughout June and July 2018. Activities include a temporary exhibition at Haden Hill Museum, talks celebrating the important photographic collections, writing workshop and much more. For more information or to see the full programme of activities see Living Memory Project Programme.

The Living Memory Project are recording local people’s life stories and memories connected to their photography collections, making a series of new films, professionally archiving over 1000 favourite photographs, creating a new touring exhibition and much more besides.

On their website you can find out what is happening, upload your own photographs and stories, browse the collections as they grow, watch our new films, and apply to volunteer on the project.

To get in touch, please email hello@livingmemory or leave a voicemail on 07967 093256.


Free GoodGame Sessions For Sandwell Organisations

Ampersand Projects are offering free sessions to Sandwell based organisations and community groups all about the positive impact of games and how they can be used to benefit communities. The sessions are part of the GoodGame project funded by Arts Council England and Big Lottery Fund.

The free sessions are 1 – 2 hours long and can be delivered at a time and place suitable for the organisation or group.

The session will look at games in a whole other way: as valuable, engaging tools that can improve people’s lives, not just a form of entertainment. Games can create immersive worlds, encourage collaboration and empathy and motivate us to solve problems. Ampersand Projects want to unlock the empowerment and skills development inherent in games to benefit communities in the Black Country.

The session consists of a presentation, discussions and an opportunity for your team and volunteers to play fun games that foster collaboration, communication and creativity.

If you are interested in booking a free session, available for the month of July, please contact Kate Andrews – Please note that sessions are limited and will be booked on a first come, first served basis.

For more information go to their website by clicking here.

Volunteering is an Untapped Resource

There are so many talented professionals willing to volunteer their skills and they offer a  great opportunity for increasing charities’ capacity, without the uncertainty and inefficiency of  fundraising. But few charities really embrace this approach to resource-raising.

Reach Volunteering runs a service matching charities with volunteers willing to share their expertise,  and we see a big variation in how charities use our service: many use us just for finding trustees, while some recruit an inspiring range of volunteers. To celebrate Volunteers Week I spoke to some of the charities that make most effective use of our service to learn more about their approach.

What volunteers can do for charities

Small Charities Coalition runs an advice service through which volunteer mentors provide advice for small charities in topics including fundraising, governance and strategy. They also engage volunteers to deliver projects. Their Christmas advert is a great example. It is a video that encourages people to consider giving to small charities rather than large household names.  Mandy Johnson, chief executive, said: “We needed someone who was a  ‘jack of all trades’ who could deliver the project end to end”. The volunteer they recruited was an experienced project manager who then recruited the rest of the team: volunteers to do the filming, write the music  and edit the film.

Another great example is Thames Estuary Partnership  who provide a framework for the sustainable management of the Thames. They involve volunteers across the organisation in key roles such as marketing and communications. Volunteers’ roles include editor, content writer, journalist, social media manager, and database administrator.Together they run the charity’s social media, and produce their weekly email updates, their monthly newsletter and their bi-annual magazine.

Lastly, Health Action Campaign champions more action to tackle preventable illness. It has no paid staff at all so all of its research, campaigning and publications are undertaken by volunteers. For example, a multi disciplinary team of volunteer health professionals and economists produced their report exploring the tensions between business needs and mass-produced food. The Healthy and wealthy report has influenced Department of Health policy, demonstrating the huge impact of their combined efforts. Likewise, another volunteer’s research into European approaches to childhood obesity was recently referenced by the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee.

To read the full Civil Society article click here.

Charities Ignored for too Long

Charity umbrella bodies have urged the government to engage more meaningfully with the sector to avoid policies which are damaging to charities and those they support.

Senior leaders from NCVO, the Charity Tax Group, Locality, the Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Finance Group were discussing how the chancellor’s next Budget could be used to support charities at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering, convened by NCVO yesterday.

Andrew O’Brien, head of policy at CFG, said the government needs to decide “what it thinks the point of civil society is”.

He said that a number of government measures in recent years had made things “more expensive” for the sector, because charities had not been considered.

He cited the apprenticeship levy as an example, as it “does not cover things like volunteering”. He said that CFG had been given assurances but “nothing ever came of that”.

He also suggested that tax policy should be the responsibility of Parliament, rather than the government of the day.

“Parliament can take a more cross-party long-term view,” he said, whereas governments end up focused on “undermining previous governments”.

‘Passing money around’

O’Brien said the current system where charities get tax reliefs in some areas and are then taxed in others feels like is just “passing money around”.

He urged the sector to be “bold” in calling for reform of the tax system because while it is difficult to quantify the sector’s impact, “civil society is at the core” of many issues the government is grappling with.

He said the enthusiasm for the sector from Tracey Crouch, minister for civil society, and Matt Hancock, culture secretary, was a positive step but it will depend on “whether they will have the power to force the rest of government to listen to them”.

O’Brien said charities need to focus on getting government “sold on the big ideas” to establish the “political will to enable smaller changes”.

‘We need a strategic and engaged approach’

Elizabeth Chamberlain, head of policy at NCVO, said that what really matters is that the government takes a more “strategic approach” and engages better with the sector.

She said the government needs to understand that many of the sector’s activities “relieve the state”, and that is why they “should be encouraged” through a supportive tax environment.

To read the full Civil Society Article click here.

Grow Wild

Two opportunities exist for young people to receive £500 to fund a creative project that will raise awareness about the importance of UK native wildflowers and fungi.

Young people aged 14 – 25 can bid for Creative Projects funding by sending in a short video application; emerging young artists aged 18+ can bid to co-create with Grow Wild to bring their already developed project to life. Visual art, music, poetry, dance, and theatre are just some of the ways the project could be presented.

Previous projects supported include Zak, an actor and director with the Central Youth Theatre in Wolverhampton, who shared WW1 soldiers accounts of wildflowers on the battlefields in his Grow Wild youth project ‘Regeneration’, exploring an untold side to the war through film, spoken word and drama.

Applications for either fund should be submitted to Go Wild by Midday on Monday 2nd July 2018.

More information

Bright Ideas Fund

Aspiring community groups have the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £15,000 to help them to set up their own community business. The programme supports new community business ideas through the start-up and planning stages with tailored business support, to the implementation stage.

To be eligible to apply, businesses must be locally rooted; accountable to the local community; trading for the benefit of the local community; and delivering broad community benefits.

The funding is being made available through the Bright Ideas Fund from Power to Change.  The Fund will open for applications on the 26th June and close on the 31st July 2018.

More information

Froebelian Trust

Schools, registered UK and international charities can apply for up to £40,000, spread over 1 or 2 years for projects that help children between the ages of 0-8 to play expressively and creatively.

Projects funded will provide new ways and environments that address disadvantage and value diversity, support children under stress or develop staff and parental engagement with young children.

The Froebelian Trust has allocated a fund of £40,000 for new applications to the 2018 Innovation Grants Programme.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on Friday, 29th June 2018.

More information

Youth Hostel Association

Organisations working with children and young people who live in deprived areas can apply for a 2 night break package through the Youth Hostel Association’s (YHA) Challenging Places Support Programme.

Applications can be submitted by schools, registered charities, community and voluntary organisations on the behalf of any individual or group of young people who meet the YHA’s criteria.

Schools and groups can reapply annually as long as the application is for a different group of young people. To be eligible the children or young persons must be between the ages of 8 and 18 and must live in an area recognised as deprived (please see the YHA website for further details about which areas qualify).

Applications can be submitted at any time.

More information

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