Fircroft College first ever Alumni reunion and 110 year celebratory event

Fircroft College is excited to be hosting the first Alumni Reunion for past students (also known as Fircrofters!) to celebrate the college’s 110 year anniversary on Friday, 6th September 2019, 9.45 am – 2.45 pm.

Alumni and partners will be able to find out what has remained the same, what’s new, reconnect with familiar faces (and meet new ones!), all in six acres of beautiful grounds.

The day is designed to be flexible so you can sign up for the workshops to fit around commitments.

Sign up for the Alumni Reunion via Eventbrite.

Any queries please email neena.chauhan@fircroft.ac.uk


Volunteers wanted for British Transport Police Scrutiny Panel

The British Transport Police is looking to recruit Volunteers willing to assist with the British transport Police Hate Crime or Domestic Abuse Scrutiny Panel. The Panel is designed to improve policing of hate crime and domestic abuse.

The British Transport Police is the police department that covers the rail network throughout the UK and the Scrutiny Panel would look at crimes investigated throughout the country by BTP.

The purpose of the Panel is to impartially review a random selection of reported related crimes. Its aim is to determine whether the police response was appropriate to the circumstances of the report, with the information available at the given time. It is not intended to apportion blame. However, decision maker explanations may be required to rationalise actions taken or not taken.

The Panel is scheduled for the following potential dates:

23rd – 27th September 2019
30th September – 4th October 2019
21st – 23rd October 2019

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer on the panel, please email the Vulnerability Unit at VulnerabilityUnitBirmingham@btp.pnn.police.uk as soon as possible.


New Shared Lives Scheme thriving

It is a little over two years since national charity, Camphill Village Trust, decided to add Shared Lives to their already established Stourbridge community in the Black Country. In this time, the new scheme has gone from strength to strength, networking closely with other community-based organisations to gain momentum.

Shared Lives is still a relatively unknown model of care that is similar to foster care, where specially trained Carers open up their home and support people with additional/complex needs to lead as independent life as possible and stay connected with the local community. Currently, there are approximately 14,000 people being supported the UK in this way.

The scheme is nearly a full year into the new contract and has already set up 11 Arrangements, receiving over 60 enquiries with a variety of additional support needs from learning disability, autism, mental ill health, through to older people and hospital discharges.

Shared Lives offers opportunity for those people with the right values and commitment to develop a social care career and earn up to £29K annually as a self-employed Carer. It is a rewarding role which challenges the assumptions of what can be achieved within an ordinary family home.

If people wish to find out more about how the scheme is developing, please contact Kate Morgan on 01384 441505 or kate.morgan@cvt.org.uk

Follow Shared Lives on twitter @CVTSharedLives.


£100 Million National Lottery Climate Action Fund Launched (UK)

The National Lottery Community Fund has launched a new £100 million Climate Action Fund that will enable people and communities to take the lead in tackling the climate emergency.

The new fund will build a network of people and communities, well-placed to drive change within, between and beyond their community.

Whilst the types of activities will differ from place to place it is expected that all funded projects will have one thing in common: the ability to deliver high impact community-led climate action. This includes in areas such as sustainable energy, sustainable transport, consumption, food and protecting and regenerating spaces and habitats.

The National Lottery Community Fund is also exploring ways to support the wider sector and its grantees to help them mitigate their impact on the climate, for example via its Climate Action Top-up scheme – which will soon be piloted in Wales.

For more information about this fund click here.


Meaningful Engagement: Developing Strong Content

In parts 1 and 2 of this series we explored why you need a social engagement strategy, and how to look at your historical data to understand what your audience is responding to. This part will delve a bit deeper into thinking about content development for your social channels as well as what should be included in your strategy.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of creating social posts that all feel quite samey. It’s safe, you know what you’re doing – and you’re keeping on top of everyone’s requests (or perhaps demands!) on how the channels should be used. But a broader range of content will be more engaging for your audience. Plus, posts that look different from one another will stand out in their feed, especially if people have grown used to your posts all looking very similar to each other.

Content creation

If the idea of coming up with more varied content sounds daunting – don’t despair. This isn’t about creating lots of brand new images and graphics for use on social. Your strategy will only succeed if it’s simple enough to keep up. You want your social channels to work in harmony with other online content, and a good chunk of your social posts can be based on sharing key website pages, links to YouTube videos, sharing blog posts – or even news stories you might have been featured in. What’s key is how you frame snippets from those stories, so that the post is interesting enough in its own right, as well as likely to draw people to want to follow the link and see more.

This post from Plan International UK stood out to me because it told a story that we don’t hear so often from international development charities. It brings to life what phrases like “poverty alleviation” mean in practice.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Meaningful Engagement: Finding What Works

Hopefully you’ve read the first post in this series and are ready to start thinking about how to pull your social engagement strategy together. Here’s the method that I have drawn up based on my experience. You might choose to use it wholesale, or adapt certain elements. Remember with this sort of thing that ‘done’ is generally more important than ‘perfect’!

This post will focus on data – what you need to look into and pull together in order to start writing a document up. You can broadly use this approach for any of your social channels, though I am focusing here more on Twitter and Facebook, as they are widely used and have fantastic built-in analytics.

Let’s get analytical

Firstly you need to answer the question: what are our audiences responding to? You will need to do this separately for each channel – the nuts and bolts might be slightly different but the process will be the same.
1.Choose a timeframe. I would recommend six months as a solid starting point. Shorter periods might be less useful, particularly if you have had a specific campaign running that might have skewed your content output over that time.
2.Export the post data. I do this within the platform, as sometimes third party platforms cause variations in the data that I don’t quite understand. That said – if you prefer to use a third party platform, that’s fine too – just so long as you continue to use it when reviewing ongoing performance, so you are comparing like-for-like. Note that you might also need to do multiple exports, as some platforms have a limit (eg three months) for the date range you can export.
3.Determine what to measure. I tend to look at visibility and engagement.

Twitter: Exporting the data from Twitter gives you “impressions” and “engagement rate”. Reach is generally a more useful measure for engagement, as it tells you how many people have seen your content in their feed; impressions can be misleading because you can’t break down how often the same people have seen your content. That said, for the purposes of this work, impressions is fine so long as you continue to use the same measure when evaluating ongoing results.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Meaningful Engagement: Do You Need a Social Strategy?

If CharityComms had a pound for every time a potential client included in their initial contact the sentence: “We want to grow our fundraising from social channels” They’d be rich.

Digital is – rightly – a cornerstone of many charities’ strategies now, and over the last few years growth in digital income has been a key tool in staving off the flat-lining or decline of previously solid channels. And, of course, organic social offers the opportunity to raise awareness, create PR opportunities and engage directly with followers – and you can “make it go viral”…!

The thing is, though, it’s not quite that straightforward. Many charities see little by way of discernible results, but feel they should be on social channels because everyone else is / their audience is / there’s a line in the broader organisational strategies about growing social. Your followers – even for those of you blessed with a comparatively large audience – aren’t sitting there, waiting for you to post something. In fact, many of them might not even be seeing your posts at all, depending on what’s going on with the algorithms / your engagement / other things happening on social this week.

So helping someone drive value from social starts with helping them build their social community online. I want to run you through a basic guide to how you can do this for yourself.

Why should we have a social engagement strategy?
•To give focus to what you share on your social channels – and how you share it
•To build in a test and learn approach to your content delivery
•To build an audience who will help you achieve your organisational goals

Making an impact on social media

Often, charities use social channels to broadcast. Sharing “our” news. Updating you on “our” latest achievement. Telling you what “we” are doing. It’s not all that, well, social. So, typically, engagement with posts is pretty low, audience growth is slow and many of your posts are essentially you screaming into the void.

The good news is you can take huge strides to improve this situation. Creating a social engagement strategy will require a little investment of time, but you can keep this fairly streamlined. And it doesn’t need to be aligned with a digital strategy (if your charity even has one) or a broader comms strategy – indeed, for my money it should absolutely be kept separate to some degree, because it needs to be a living, breathing strategy with room for flex and change.

To read the full CharityComms article click here.

Source: CharityComms


Help Creative Black Country Find Our Funny Roots

Did you ever see Black Country comedy legends Tommy Mundon, Aynuk and Ayli or Dolly Allen on the famous Black Country Night Out?

Did you get the giggles watching Lenny Henry or Frank Skinner?

As part of Creative Black Country’s National Lottery Heritage Funded project ‘Finding Our Funny Roots’, they’re looking for people to share their stories and memorabilia of seeing comedians in an effort to find out just what is so unique about Black Country humour.

With your help they’ll unearth stories of comedians and comedy from 1950 to 2000 and produce a new set of performances.

They’re open to ideas; from collections of old ticket stubs; to photos from events or people at comedy clubs; people’s favourite jokes from the comedians; or stories of meeting them. All of the stories will go towards a new piece of work written, produced and performed by Dave Pitt, Steve Pottinger and Emma Purshouse – Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists.

This month we’re holding drop-in sessions in libraries across the Black Country:

  • Tuesday 20 August, 1.30pm–3.30pm at Dudley Library, DY1 1HR
  • Wednesday 21 August, 2pm–4pm at Wolverhampton Central Library, WV1 3AX
  • Thursday 22 August, 10.30am–12.30pm at Central Library West Bromwich, B70 8DZ
  • Friday 23 August, 12.30pm–2.30pm at Lichfield Street Hub, Walsall, WS1 1TR

For more information either call Creative Black Country on 0121 525 1127 or visit their website at https://www.creativeblackcountry.co.uk/blog/2019/8/10/come-and-share-your-stories-of-comedy-in-the-black-country-with-us

 


The Woodward Charitable Trust

Charities, social enterprises and community interest companies have until the 31st December 2019 to apply to the Woodward Charitable Trust to have their project considered at the next Trustees meeting.

Grants from £100 upwards are awarded for projects covering:

  • Children and young people who are isolated, at risk of exclusion or involved in anti-social behaviour
  • Prisoners and ex-offenders. Projects that help the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners and/or ex-offenders are supported as well as requests to help prisoners’ families
  • Disadvantaged women, covering refuges, domestic violence and parenting.
  • Disability projects, which can include rehabilitation and training for people who are either physically disabled or learning disabled.
  • Arts outreach work by local groups involving disadvantaged people.
  • Projects that promote integration and community cohesion amongst minority groups, including refugees and travellers.

Preference is given to small to medium-sized charities with an income of less than £300,000 where small grants can have more impact. Priority is given to projects that make good use of volunteers, encourage past and current users to participate and ensure that funds awarded are being well used.

For more information and the application form click here.


Help the Charity Commission Improve Safeguarding Guidance

In October 2018 the Charity Commission published refreshed guidance on Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees. The guidance is intended to be clear, concise, and a gateway to more detailed guidance where it is needed.

The Charity Commission wants to make sure that this guidance is useful for all charities, irrespective of size or purpose. They have published a short survey about how the guidance is being used and would appreciate your feedback. The survey should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.

Source: Office for Civil Society – Locality Team West


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