Creative Connections Commissions

Inspired by the positive responses around the world from balcony singing in Italy to digital choir platforms and #lockdownkitchendisco, Creative Black Country are looking for creative responses to the social distancing challenge which bring fun, joy and creativity to local people in the Black Country, and keep people connected.

There’s commissions of between £500 and £2,000 for projects that develop creative activity with and for local communities.

The deadline is the 13th April. Find out more here.

Tesco Bags of Help – Coronavirus Fund

Tesco Bags of Help is responding to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by setting up a new short-term fund to support local communities.

Due to the need to respond quickly to the emergency we have created a streamlined application process and payment process to make it easier to get funds distributed quickly. If your application is successful the fund will provide a single payment award of £500 to organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups. The programme is set up to support organisational need in this time of crisis rather than fund specific projects.

For further information please view –

Arts Council – Financial support for organisations outside of the National Portfolio

We are making £50 million available to organisations in the cultural sector, who are not National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) or Music Education Hubs. They can apply for a maximum of £35,000.

This fund is to support organisations to get back on their feet, or to continue making work in the future that will mean they can contribute to delivering our new strategy, Let’s Create.

For further information please view –

Food Donations Urgently Required – West Bromwich Food Bank

West Bromwich Food Bank located in West Bromwich Community Church, 23 Victoria Street, West Bromwich B70 8EX urgently needs your help, to continue to meet the increasing demands being place on them for food from those in need. We appreciate that this is a challenging time for everyone however, any food items that you can spare to help out are gratefully welcomed.

Can you help by donating any of the following or other items:

  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Beans
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Tinned meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Rice pudding
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Tinned fruit
  • Coffee
  • Tea bags

The food bank is open Monday to Friday between 12.00 and 1.30pm at the West Bromwich Church. If you are able to donate you can drop the items off during this time. Please remember social distancing will be in operation to keep everyone safe.

For more information please email Keith Turner at

Citizens Advice Sandwell Help to Claim Service

The doors of Citizens Advice may be closed, but they are still here to help! Citizens Advice Sandwell’s Help to Claim team are currently supporting clients with their Universal Credit claims and enquiries via web chat and advice line.
During these difficult times, people need help more than ever and that’s why Citizens Advice have advisers working from home to assist with the increased demand. To contact the Help to Claim team, please call on 0800 144 8444 or use Help to Claim web chat by clicking on this link.
Generalist advisers are also on hand to answer other queries, including debt.  You can contact them on 0300 330 9017. They are available on web chat by going to and selecting ‘chat online to an adviser’.

Sport England Emergency Funding

Sport England are making up to £195 million of funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

The package, which is a combination of National Lottery and government funding, is made up of the following:

  • A £20 million Community Emergency Fund, which will be opened immediately for clubs and community organisations to bid into. Grants between £300 and £10,000 are available.
  • A £5 million pot for existing partners to bid into if they’re facing specific financial difficulty.
  • An additional £55 million to support our sector during an ongoing period of restrictions, to fund new and innovative ways to keep people active and, when the period of restrictions is over, to help organisations get back to business and adjust to a different environment.
  • A £115 million rollover of current funding into 2021/22 to give long term certainty to over 100 well established partners who play a vital role in the delivery of sport and physical activity in England.

Alongside this, given cashflow concerns in the sector, we’ve also agreed to consider requests to release six months of the coming year’s funding (50% of awards) to our partners, meaning additional funding will be available sooner.

The package follows our recent decision to offer major flexibilities to those who currently receive funding – including the ability to change timings, key performance indicators, targets and conditions, and redirect money to new activity in response to coronavirus.

For more information click here.

Parking Charges Suspended in Sandwell Council Town Centre Car Parks

Parking charges will be suspended in Sandwell Council town centre car parks from 31 March.

Drivers are being asked to continue to park safely and appropriately, and to observe bay markings.

The suspension of parking charges applies to town centre cars parks run by Sandwell Council and does not include Sandwell Valley car parks.

All other parking conditions including charges for on-street parking bays will still apply. Parking will continue to be monitored and free parking will be in place until 30 June 2020.

The situation will be monitored and vehicles parked in contravention of the normal requirements for the safe and efficient use of car parks will still receive Penalty Charge Notices.

Details and locations of council car parks can be found at

CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

The trustees at CAF have allocated £5 million to fund an emergency grant programme to support local frontline charities.

The CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund has been set up to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact of Covid-19. One-time grants of up to £10,000 are available to help organisations survive during the current health emergency.

Who can apply?
The CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund is open to small charities and organisations with charitable activities that had an income of £1million or less last year.

What will the Fund support?
The Fund can cover core costs, staffing, volunteer costs, supplies and equipment, communications or other critical charitable areas. We want to help ensure that as many vital charitable organisations as possible can continue their work during these challenging times.

If you are interested, you can find more information and the application form here –

Updated Guidance on Independent Examination of Charity Accounts

If your charity’s income is over £25,000, the trustees must arrange for an independent person or accountancy firm to carry out an audit or independent examination of the charity’s accounts.

The purpose of this is to give the charity’s trustees, supporters, beneficiaries and the wider public, some independent assurance that the charity’s money has been properly accounted for. The trustees of most charities are able to choose to have an independent examination instead of an audit. Independent examination is a ‘light touch’ scrutiny that usually costs less than an audit.

To help trustees we have updated our guidance Independent examination of charity accounts: guidance for trustees (CC31), to make it easier to read and more accessible.

This guidance will help you appoint an independent examiner with the ability and practical experience needed to carry out a competent examination of your charity’s accounts.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter Issue 64

Safeguarding and Protecting People

Safeguarding is a key governance priority for all trustees, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has recently launched a range of safeguarding resources, supported by other organisations.

The resources were jointly funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Lottery Community Fund.

NCVO Safeguarding resources – click here.

You should use these alongside our guidance about safeguarding duties for charity trustees by clicking here.

It is also important that you contact The Charity Commission about any safeguarding issues, or serious safeguarding incidents, complaints or allegations which have not been reported to us.

Find out about reporting serious incidents in your charity as a trustee by clicking here.

Find out about reporting serious wrongdoing at a charity as a worker or volunteer by clicking here.

Source: Charity Commission Newsletter Issue 64

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