Health & Young People in Sandwell – Your views wanted

iSandwell is a collaborative project between Sandwell Council, community organisations, and residents that looks to encourage the use of digital in the borough.

iSandwell Lab is one strand of the project – a safe space where local people can discuss ideas for social change in Sandwell on monthly topics that can lead to collaborative projects and/or campaigns, and influence content for our Digital Champion.

For this month’s iSandwell Lab theme we are looking into how we can get the community to use and better understand open data.

Digital Champion Leila Malik, from Tipton, has created a project that is collecting data on youth health issues, which can then be used as ‘data journalism’ to influence policy in Sandwell – here she is to tell you more…

“Why do people, generally, identify health issues only if they physically perceived?

You’ve all heard of the saying,

“don’t judge a book by its cover”

If someone looks alright from the outside does not always mean they are okay from the inside.

Mental health & physical health both reflect on a person’s well-being – the two should not be thought of as separate.”

Read the rest of Leila’s blog and take part in the survey.

Civil Society Futures: Final Report Published

Civil Society Futures is a two-year independent inquiry into the future of civil society in England, the first major inquiry of its kind for over two decades.

It has engaged more than 3,000 people in debate about civil society and their hopes for its future through hundreds of workshops, meetings, events, blogs and academic research — what have they said?

The Story of Our Times: shifting power, bridging divides, transforming society.

The final report identified four areas (PACT) which are in need of major changes to ensure that charities and other civil society organisations increase accountability to their beneficiaries:

  • Power: there needs to be a shift so that decisions involve everyone.
  • Accountability: organisations need to be accountable to the communities they serve.
  • Connections: broader and deeper connections are needed within and between communities.
  • Trust: trust in organisations needs to be built and earned in line with their values.

The Summary report can be viewed by clicking here.

Source: Civil Society

Big Lottery Fund 2019 Surgery Sessions

Are you seeking funding from the Big Lottery Fund?
Do you want to talk over a project idea before applying?
Thinking of applying to the Big Lottery Fund but do not know where to start or which of their funding programmes to apply for?

SCVO in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund are running a series of monthly surgery sessions, on the second Monday of the month, from 10am until 4pm at SCVO’s Offices, 1st Floor Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8ER.

The Lottery’s Grants Officer will be available for booked appointments to discuss potential project ideas, their grant programmes and how to apply.

Future dates for the surgery sessions include:

  • Monday 14th January 2019 – Limited Slots Available,
  • Monday 11th February 2019,
  • Monday 11th March 2019,
  • Monday 8th April 2019,
  • Monday 13th May 2019,
  • Monday 10th June 2019,
  • Monday 8th July 2019,
  • Monday 12th August 2019,
  • Monday 9th September 2019,
  • Monday 14th October 2019,
  • Monday 11th November 2019 and
  • Monday 9th December 2019.

Prior to your appointment with the Grants Officer please view their current Funding Programmes and their video on putting people in the lead.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this unique opportunity and want to book your time slot with The Big Lottery Fund please email Libby at or call on 0121 5251127 to avoid disappointment.

Expert Tips on Growing Your Legacy Income

Don’t miss out on gifts in wills.

It’s a good time for charities to focus on legacy giving. The UK has an ageing population and those in the Baby Boomer generation — the wealthiest in history — are starting to think about passing on their assets.

The figures look promising: legacy income to UK charities for 2016/2017 was between £2.8 and £2.9 billion, up from £1.8 billion in 2012, according to legacy information provider Smee & Ford. More people are considering charities in their wills: 6.3 percent of all estates in 2016 contained a gift to charity, compared to 4.6 percent in 1997.

But there’s also a big, untapped opportunity. Smee & Ford calculate that if just one percent of those who didn’t leave a gift in their will in 2017 had done so, an additional £97 million could have been raised for charity.

How can fundraisers make the most of this potential? MissionBox heard from experts at the 2018 Legacy Strategy Summit — here’s what we learned.

Make your legacy offer visible
Visibility is key, and there are a number of ways to get the message across that your charity is looking for legacy gifts.

Think about embedding that legacy message across your fundraising activity — this will help to normalise the idea, and prompt supporters to remember you when it comes to writing a will.

Dan Carter, global legacy director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), gives an example: “People are inspired by your cause, so we use that. We’ll use a webinar to introduce the guy heading up our ivory campaign in Malawi and talk about the difference people’s support is making. But in that webinar we’ll also say something about the ways we’re funded — legacies being one of them.”

And consider creating a dedicated ‘gifts in wills’ page on your website. This can highlight the huge difference these gifts make, and let supporters know what practical steps are involved in signing up. Many people find the idea of making a will daunting, so an offer to help draft one can be a big draw.

To read the full MissionBox article click here.

Top 10 Cyber Security Resources for Charities

With all the competing time and budget demands on charities, cyber security is something that’s often not approached very proactively.

This is ironic when you consider the vulnerable nature of a lot of charity service users and the sensitive nature of the data they process.

If charities want to meet the Charity Commissions core responsibilities around cyber security for charities, they can’t afford to leave it to chance or shift all responsibility to someone external – it’s a charity’s trustees and leaders who are culpable if the worst should happen (and it happens more often than it should), so it’s their job to have at least a basic understanding of the vulnerabilities their charities face.

Fortunately, there are a number of easy to digest and low-cost resources on the web where charities can brush up on their knowledge.

Charity Digital News has listed the main hubs of cyber security information for charities below.

NCSC – Cyber security small charities guide

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of national security centre GCHQ, provides advice and support for the public and private sector on avoiding data security threats – they are your go-to source for plain English cyber security information.

Their guide specifically for small charities summarises low cost, simple techniques to improve cyber security within charities, and is available as a handy PDF guide to download, as well as an infographic with just the main points – worth printing and sticking to the wall!

NCSC – 10 steps to cyber security

The NCSC’s  ’10 steps to cyber security’ are not charity-specific but catered towards the boards of all organisations. The government-issued information on this website revolves around ten key steps to a sound security strategy, such as configuring your systems and networks securely, managing user privileges, educating staff, using the right malware protection, and ensuring data is protected when out and about.

There is a high-level PDF as well as more in-depth technical advice sheets on each step, and the site provides a good overview on why protecting your data is a board-level responsibility.

NCSC – Cyber Essentials

Following on from the ‘ten steps’, the government’s Cyber Essentials scheme offers practical, step-by-step advice on what basic controls to put in place to protect your data, jargon free and on a single webpage – there is also a handy checklist at the end to check your progress.

Organisations can apply to be Cyber Essentials certified, working at a pace to suit them, providing certainty to potential partners and service users that their IT is suitably secure (certification is audited every 12 months by the NCSC and costs £300).

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Tampon Tax Fund

Grants of at least £1 million are available for projects that support victims of domestic violence or work to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness among women.

Funding is also be available to programmes that help vulnerable women through music therapy, encourage them to participate in sport to improve their physical and mental wellbeing or charities that make onward grants to smaller organisations, so they can deliver tailored services to support women.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • the fund is open to charitable, benevolent and philanthropic organisations from across the United Kingdom
  • applications should be for £1 million or more
  • the value of the grant requested must not represent more than 50% of the applicant’s or consortia’s collective annual income
  • applications should focus on 1 of 4 categories: homelessness and rough sleeping, violence against women and girls, music, or the general programme
  • grants may be for 1 or 2 year projects
  • all project activities must be concluded and funds must be spent by 31 March 2021
  • applicants must include a copy of their safeguarding policy, along with a statement that confirms the applicant has effective and appropriate safeguarding procedures that protect employees, beneficiaries or volunteers from harm, and that explains how any concerns and incidents are managedCompleted applications should be emailed to
  • More information at:
  • The closing date for applications is the 20th January 2019.

Five Email Automation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Successful charity email marketing automation is all about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. But your subscriber’s inbox will be full of emails jostling for their attention – get one element wrong and you can easily put them off from wanting to hear more from you.

Here are five common mistakes that charities make when planning their email marketing automation, and how to avoid them.

1- Forgetting a welcome email

If you are not immediately sending a welcome email after a sign up, you are missing out on a golden opportunity.

This email will be by far the first most important email you send to your subscribers as you’re giving them a great first impression at the point when your readers are most engaged with your charity.

The ideal welcome email should:
1.Welcome your subscriber.
2.Introduce the reader to the organisation and its mission.
3.Explain what your subscriber will expect to receive from now on.

2- Not using the appropriate tone

All audiences want authenticity and your automated emails have to sound natural, flowing and not robotic. Your automated messages for repetitive tasks need to seem human and personalised, so it appears that you have created each individual message.

Refresh the first email content written. The first set of your campaigns will probably need to be edited and updated as time goes on.

Analyse the messaging and ask yourself which emails are being opened and when and, bearing this in mind, if the emails should be adjusted.

Have a clear call to action in your emails, and focus your email’s text, images, and design to guide your readers toward this outcome and according to their behaviour.

3- Failing to plan appropriately

Planning automation takes time and effort so don’t think a good job can be done in a jiffy. You need to have an objective and balance both your short-term and long-term goals.

Your workflow automated emails need to be mapped and thought out carefully. You need to plan what you want the condition to be for the action to trigger an email to go out, and what responses they will receive when your subscribers interact with your emails.

Plan carefully how you will add in more subscribers and how long the automation should last, how they behaviour with your emails will change the direction of their own email journey and how their automation journey will end.

Dedicate time to find out who is clicking on which link and engage fully by incorporating automated decision points, and take your subscribers down different journeys.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Youth Hostel Association

The Youth Hostel Associations (YHA), which is a registered charity with a clear mission “To help all, especially young people of limited means, to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside, has announced that its Educational Breaks Programme is open for applications.

Through the Educational Breaks Programme schools, registered charities, community and voluntary organisations can receive a 50% discount on residential breaks for up to 10 individuals where members of the group are eligible for pupil premium and where children and young people (aged 8-18) face additional social challenges. The YHA is particularly keen to support groups of young people who have not undertaken a residential activity previously. The closing date for applications is the 31st January 2019.
More information at:

Tipton Litter Watch’s new environmental clean-up campaign

Tipton Litter Watch is encouraging communities to get together and help clean up their area as part of its new environmental clean-up campaign.

There are currently 18 groups taking part in the project across the Sandwell. However, Little Watch want to encourage more people not only take part, but to continuously clean up in their area.

Little Watch will provide training and equipment such as litter pickers, hoops, bags and hi-vis vests. Waste gathered will be collected by Serco, a partner in the campaign.

If you wish to know more, please contact Elyshia Harpin, Project Coordinator.  Call 0121 557 6970 or mail

SAFS’s Winter Wonderland

SAFS will be holding a Winter Wonderland at their offices at Windmill Community Centre, Messenger Road, Smethwick B66 3DX on Friday, 14 December 2018. The fun starts at 4.30 pm.  Everyone is welcome.

There will be refreshments, table top sales, Santa’s Grotto, a selfie station, karaoke korner, choirs/performances and surprises!!!!

Call 0121 558 2198 if you would like more information or would like to volunteer.

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