News

Bearwood Community Unite for Procession of Light

Bearwood Action for Refugees and We are Bearwood are hosting the third annual community Procession of Light in Warley Woods on Saturday 20 October, 6pm. 

Following the successful and popular events of the past two years, the community of Bearwood will be coming together once again to spread messages of hope, solidarity, friendship and welcome.  In partnership with We Are Bearwood and Near Neighbours all are welcome to join the procession uniting families, community groups and those of different faiths for a torch-lit walk through the woods.

Meeting at The Fountain at 6pm, bearing torches to light their way, the procession will make its way to The Pavillion where it will culminate.  Representatives from all faiths will be present and faith leaders from the Abrahamic Foundation and a local church along with a poet from Writers Without Borders will speak on the importance of friendship, welcome and hope within our local community.  We also welcome Brandhall Community Choir who will perform a selection of songs.

In the lead up to Diwali, the procession’s symbolism will be manifold.  Smethwick Craftivistas are holding workshops, funded by Near Neighbours, with a number of different community groups in the run up to the event. They have also created a tutorial that people can use to make their own torch lantern at home to project their very own messages and light pictures into the twilight that can be downloaded from https://bearwoodaction.wordpress.com/procession-of-light.   At the culmination of the procession, torch beams, light pictures and messages will join together to create an installation of light.

A free lantern-making workshops run by the Smethwick Craftivistas will take place 4.30 – 5.30pm in Warley Woods Pavillion prior to the procession, for those wanting to make their own torch lantern.  If schools and groups want to discuss how they can get more involved they can e-mail Leonie Hart on t: 07973 128 534, e: bearwoodactionforrefugees@gmail.com


Dorothy Parkes Community Centre Scoops Postcode Local Trust Grant

Dorothy Parkes Community Centre have recently been awarded a grant of £19,985 to secure an overgrown and underutilised allotment plot in Smethwick. The Project seeks to transform this rundown plot into a vibrant outdoor community classroom, with the aims of enable people to develop employability, horticulture and life skills, improve participant confidence and encourage physical activity.

The project came about following an SCVO Funding Network Event held in partnership with the People’s Postcode Lottery, which detailed how potential applicants could apply to their current grant programmes, the size of grants available, eligibility requirements and a chance to have a 1-2-1 conversation with a representative from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

They have recently recruited a Project Coordinator, Karen Palmer who will oversee the project and will soon be looking for community volunteers to support the transformational and future stages of the project.

If you would like to get involved or find out more information on this exciting new opportunity for Smethwick then please contact the Dorothy Parkes Community Centre on 0121 558 2998.


Funding to Support Family Based Projects

Registered charities whose activities support and encourage the family to work as a cohesive unit in tackling problems that face one or more of its members can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 through the Kelly Family Charitable Trust.

The fund also welcomes applications from sports and health-related charities whose activities comply with the above criteria. The Trust will consider both capital and revenue grants. The Trust is happy to support requests for core funding as well as project-based grants, and actively encourages applications from relatively new organisations to help them become established.

Projects supported in the past include: “Mosac”, a voluntary organisation that supports all non-abusing parents and carers whose children have been sexually abused; and Westminster Befriend a Family, which recruits, trains and supports volunteers to befriend individual families under stress and visit them regularly in their homes. The charity’s volunteers can help families where a parent is disabled or has mental health problems, or a child has special needs.

The closing date for applications is the 1st March 2019.

More information


Trusthouse Charitable Foundation

The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation is offering Community Centres in deprived urban communities and Village Halls in remote and economically deprived rural areas, the opportunity to apply for capital grants of between £10,000 and £45,000.

Grants can be used to fund new buildings; upgrading, renovating or extending buildings; improving or creating outside space (but not car parks). All applicants must have secured 50% of the total cost of the work and have local community fundraising underway.

Grants will be made to projects centred on ‘community centres’ in the broad sense, this may include a church, sports facility or other building which offers a range of activities throughout the week which all the community can access.
It is expected that the completed venue will provide a range of activities for all ages and abilities which help to promote community cohesion and address local problems of isolation, poverty, lack of local facilities, transport and other issues of relevance to the area in which the centre is located.

The Foundation is particularly interested in innovative schemes to bring back disused buildings into full community use i.e. as community hubs, shops and activity venues. Traditional Village Halls are also supported.

Applications can be submitted at any time and should show that, in urban areas, the venue is in the most deprived 20% of the latest government Indices of Multiple Deprivation or, in rural areas, in the most deprived 50% of the Indices.

More information


The Yapp Charitable Trust

The Yapp Charitable Trust makes grants for running costs and salaries to small registered charities in England and Wales to help sustain their existing work.

A summary of their grant making:-

  • They offer grant only to registered charities with a total annual expenditure of less than £40,000
  • They will not fund work that does not focus specifically on one of our priority groups.
  • We only fund running costs.
  • Grants are normally for a maximum of £3,000 per year and we will fund up to three years.
  • Most of our grants are for more than one year because we like to fund ongoing needs.
  • Applicants can reflect our grant making policy to have the best change of success.

Please view their website for further information.


More Help For Vulnerable People in Sandwell

Sandwell Council has given the go-ahead to plans to work with a local charity in providing furniture and white goods to the most vulnerable people living in the borough.

The council has been running a special Local Welfare Provision Scheme for the last five years to provide crucial support to people who are faced with a crisis or emergency or are suffering financial hardship.

The council has been working with local charities to help the vulnerable and is now establishing a formal contract with the Loaves N Fishes organisation to provide support for the next four years.

Councillor Steve Trow, cabinet member for culture and core services, said the council was proud of its work providing crucial support to people in difficulties.

“Our decision to continue to fund this scheme demonstrates our commitment to support our most vulnerable residents at a time when many other councils no longer provide assistance or now have schemes where residents in acute need are required to take out loans,” he said.

Councillor Trow said the council is also continuing to support the main foodbanks in the borough with grant funding so that  people who seek help can be referred to one of them for a food parcel.

Loaves N Fishes will now be responsible for all furniture and white goods support under a scheme which has helped more than 2,700 people in the last three years.

Councillor Trow welcomed the award of the contract to Loaves N Fishes as a registered charity committed to the social and professional integration of disabled or disadvantaged people.

Among the 50 volunteers working for them, the majority have previously received assistance from the charity themselves Many go on to acquire increased employability skills thanks to the charity’s training and support, he said.


Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG – Delivering Better Outcomes for Children Invitation

NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG (SWBCCG) and Sandwell Council are currently carrying out several conversations on how we deliver better outcomes for Sandwell Children and Young People.  After 2 successful workshops in July and October 2018 we are now hosting workshop 3.  You are advised to register using the Eventbrite link below.

Workshop 3 will have a focus on education.  Feedback from Workshop 1 suggested the following areas to be our hot topics in Sandwell:

• School readiness
• Alternative education provision for primary school children
• Home Education
• School exclusions

The agenda is provisional will be confirmed in the next two weeks,  please let us know if there are any other areas within education that you would like to explore.

Date: Thursday 8th November 2018

Time: 9.00 am until 2.00 pm (including lunch)

Venue: North Smethwick Development Trust, Brasshouse, Brasshouse Lane, Smethwick, B66 1BA (If using a Sat Nav please use B66 1BQ)

Refreshments and a light lunch will be provided.

Please pass this message on to anyone you think would be interest.

Book on now on Eventbrite limited number of tickets available

If you have any queries please email: SWBCCG.engagement@nhs.net


Lord’s Taverners

Lord’s Taverners, the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, has re-opened its Accessible Minibuses grants programme. Schools, clubs and youth organisations across the UK that cater for young people under the age of 25 who have a physical/ sensory/ learning disability, can apply to the Lords Taverners for specially-adapted, wheelchair-accessible minibuses.

Lord’s Taverners minibuses are based on the current Ford Transit model, with a diesel engine. The average cost to the charity of an accessible minibus is over £61,000. Please note that the Lords Taverners are unable to support schools that cater for socially disadvantaged children, or mainstream schools for children with behavioural problems.

Applications to the programme can be submitted at any time and are reviewed at the end of each quarter.

More information


Small Charities Have Big Ambitions

The chief executive of The Cellar Trust, a small charity in Bradford which helps people with their mental health. The demands of the day job mean I don’t often get the chance to reflect on what makes small charities like us different and special.

So she was glad to be on a recent panel to discuss new independent research by the Lloyds Bank Foundation that backs up what those of us on the ground instinctively know to be true: that small and local charities offer something distinctive.

The commissioning process can be a challenge for small charities like ours. We don’t have dedicated bidding teams and there have been times when we hav been excluded from bidding because we don’t have a big enough turnover. The research shows that this is common. Across the country, 84% of local government investment in charities goes to larger charities. This means rich, person-centred delivery based on deep knowledge of local communities is being lost and, sadly, small charities are disappearing all the time.

I do, however, feel that our local commissioners and statutory providers increasingly understand the unique value of our work, and see small charities like us as core partners.

To read the full Guardian Voluntary Sector Article click here.


Word Sight Day – ‘Eye Care is Everywhere’

Did you know that 1.2 billion people in the world don’t have access to glasses? Sandwell Visually Impaired (SVI) is a local charity run by people with sight loss, supporting people living with visual impairments, their families and friends. World Sight Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of preventable blindness. SVI’s message is ‘Don’t turn a blind eye to sight loss…it’s just not worth it!’

Sandra Troth, SVI Development Worker said: “In Sandwell, there’s no need for anyone to go without glasses. Lots of opticians offer free sight tests and, if you are eligible, you can get free or low cost specs too. So don’t delay, get an eye test today.”

75% of the world’s blindness is avoidable. In Britain, 50% of people registered severely visually impaired need not have been if they had taken a regular sight test.

Tony Averis, SVI Chair said: “According to RNIB statistics, one in 30 people in the UK have some significant sight loss.  As there are over 300,000 people living in Sandwell, there could well be over 10,000 people with a sight problem living in our Borough.”

We all know someone who puts off having a sight test – it might be you. You might think it won’t happen to you, tell yourself you don’t have time and that you can see perfectly well and don’t need one.

But sight tests are about much more than your ability to see. They can give early indication of other health problems as well as picking up possible eye conditions. Cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy can be controlled or treated once you know about them.

In our recent National Eye Health Week campaign, in supermarkets in Sandwell, we asked people why their sight mattered to them.

Seeing family members and watching them grow up, staying independent, appreciating nature, watching TV, playing computer games, reading books, all of these were mentioned more than once.

So, look after your eyes so that they can look out for you.


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