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New Year, New Start – Jobs Fair for 14 – 19 Year Olds

Connexions Sandwell, in partnership with The Apprenticeship Works, is hosting the largest Jobs Fair event in the Black Country on Saturday,19 January 2019, 10 am to 2 pm.

There will be advice on careers, apprenticeships, and education and training for 14 – 19 year olds.

Tell your friends and bring the family to this free event.

The Jobs Fair will be at The Town Hall, West Bromwich, High Street, West Bromwich, B70 8DY.

A Successful 2018 for Friends of Tividale Park

The Friends of Tividale Park are a residents’ community group (now in its fourth year) who work to improve Tividale Park in various ways, including fund-raising for new equipment, volunteering, and supporting events.

The Friends of Tividale Park Group support plans to improve the facilities in the park, organise and develop a range of community activities and events, to bring people of all ages together to have fun and enjoy the park.

During 2018, the group have successfully embarked on the following projects:

  • worked with Litter Watch to paint the entrances into the park to enhance the appearance of this local resource,
  • secured funding to purchase six new benches which will be installed on our behalf by Sandwell Council around the park,
  • secured a Co-op Community Fund grant to buy a commemorative World War One bench and
  • held ‘Black Country Gala Festival’ in July to mark the parks 90th birthday which featured five bands, three dance groups, Vikings demonstrations, 30 stalls and much much more.

Our long-term plan within the park is for a community centre and is nearly in fruition as Sandwell Council have cleared an area of land within the park and laid the foundations in preparation for the facility to be put into place in 2019. The Council has also promised 20 Cherry Blossom Trees for the park.

We are currently looking for people to help us to form some new community groups such as neighbourhood watch, walking and running groups who will use the new facility coming in 2019 within the park.

For more information or to become a new member of the Friends of Tividale Park, please email our secretary at or visit our website at

Sandwell in the Spotlight Thanks to National Lottery Players

Parks, nature reserves, local history and community memories are among the many features of Sandwell life that have been boosted since the area was given special status by the National Lottery.

Prior to 2013, Sandwell had not benefitted from HLF support as greatly as other parts of the West Midlands. It was decided to make the borough, one of three priority development areas in the region.

Between April 2013 and October 2018 HLF has awarded no fewer than 46 new grants totalling more than £6million thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

In addition to this new investment into the area, a further £4.19million National Lottery funding was confirmed in 2013 for the delivery of two major projects in Sandwell.

Sandwell’s flagship award saw £3.8m to support the restoration of Lightwoods Park and House. Rescued from serious decay, the Grade II listed House dating back to 1791, has been restored to its former glory. It is now a popular high-quality venue for a wide range of community activities as well as public and private events.

Meanwhile the surrounding park has seen numerous historical elements brought back to life, including drinking fountains, the 19th century bandstand and the unusual Shakespeare Garden, featuring plants and shrubs from the Bard’s plays.  The restoration was carried out by Sandwell Borough Council and was boosted by a further £1.5m from the Big Lottery.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was given £630,000 to improve its Sandwell Valley Nature Reserve, a site teeming with more than 200 bird species and many more hundreds of plants and butterflies. The grant meant that a larger, better visitor centre could be built, replacing an earlier building that had been devastated in an arson attack in 2010.

The project has also enabled the RSPB to attract volunteers and publicise more widely the much loved 10-hectare site that provides a vital ecological habitat just outside Birmingham.

Sandwell Citizens Advocacy received just over £85,000 for its Living Memory project to share the unique photography collections and life stories from the diverse communities across the Black Country.

The work, which is well underway, is busy documenting different aspects of everyday life that have been captured through people’s own photographs.  The images hidden in family albums, stored away in shoeboxes, and treasured in the collections of local enthusiasts can all offer rich perspectives on a rapidly changing society. A special website has been created, more than 50 workshops hosted, 60 personal stories shared, more than 900 historic photographs are been professionally archived, and a travelling exhibition put together.

A much more modest but no less important HLF-supported project was Within Walking Distance – Landmarks of Langley, which help the local community celebrate the unique heritage of their area. Centred on Langley Library, where the Friends group was given a £9,800 grant, the project mapped out twenty-four historical landmarks within a square mile, revealing the story of this living and working environment over the past 170 years.

Local people explored different aspects of heritage through workshops, presentations and displays.  A travelling exhibition will have visited several venues by January when elements of it go on permanent display at Langley Library. An animated film with poetry composed by Black Country poet Emma Purshouse is available on YouTube and local primary school children went on guided walks led by older members of the community sharing information across the generations.

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said: “Our focus on Sandwell as a priority area for funding over the past six years has resulted in a fantastic range of projects that have transformed so many aspects of local history and heritage. And we have the generosity of National Lottery players to thank for making this possible.”

The National Lottery has awarded a total of £23.25m to 162 projects in Sandwell between November 1994 and March 2018.

Source: Heritage Lottery Fund

FREE Mental Health Awareness Sessions

Thanks to a grant from the Morrison’s Foundation, Dudley Mind will be running a series of Mental Health Awareness Sessions that are FREE to voluntary sector organisations in the Black Country area.

The aim of these awareness sessions is to teach people what mental health is, how to manage it and how to recognise the signs and symptoms to help other people who are experiencing mental health problems.

In these sessions you will learn:

  • What is mental health?
  • How do we manage this?
  • Types of common mental health problems
  • Signs and symptoms – what to look for
  • Ways to manage our mental health
  • Where to go for support

Where and when

We will be kicking off these sessions during February next year, starting on 11th February 2019 at Moxley People’s Centre in Wednesbury from 10:30am – 12:00pm.

The second session will take place on the following Monday (18th Feb 2019) at Yemeni Community Association in West Bromwich from 10:30am – 12:00pm.

Places on the above sessions are FREE to voluntary sector organisations in the Sandwell area. However, we are limiting the number of attendees on each workshop to 3 people per organisation – this is to ensure that availability remains as wide as possible.

To book a place at either of these sessions, please contact Simon at Dudley Mind on 01384 442938 or email


Alternatively, please visit: where you can complete an online contact form.

Free Offers for National Lottery Players at Hundreds of Attractions

Hundreds of National Lottery-funded attractions are saying ‘thank you’ by offering free entry, treats or discounts to anyone arriving with a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard from 3-9 December 2018.

Without National Lottery players, the £7.9billion of funding awarded to more than 43,000 heritage projects over the last 24 years would not have been possible.

This is the second year HLF and the National Lottery have run a Christmas free offer campaign to say thank you to National Lottery players. In addition to heritage free offers, for the first time this year there will also be free offers at arts, sports and community venues – all recipients of National Lottery funding.

Details of all the offers can be found on our interactive map.

Heritage highlights this Christmas include:

Free entry to more than 100 National Trust sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Wednesday-Friday, 5-7 December 2018
Free entry to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in Cheshire all week
Free entry to the Natural History Museum’s Life in the Dark exhibition all week
A free beginners’ bird watching walk with the Dorset Wildlife Trust

Offers vary, so please check the participating attraction’s website for all the details and terms and conditions before you visit. Links to each location are included on the map.

Source: Heritage Lottery Fund Website

Call to Artists – Christmas Open All Media Exhibition

The Art Yard would like to invite artists of all medias to exhibit at their Christmas Open all media exhibition by submitting an submissions form. They would recommend that you forward your submission forms at your earliest convenience to ensure space as this will be limited to the main gallery area.

Submission forms are to be returned by 24th November 2018. Can you please ensure that your work is ready to hang and has cord or fixing plates fitted to the rear of the work.

Artists are required to view and complete the following documents:

Submission Form

If you have any questions regarding exhibiting at The Art Yard, about hiring the Gallery facilities for future events, they would be pleased to discuss your requirements on 01384 910968 or email

Please feel free to share the attached with other artists who may also be interested in taking part.

Additional £2M for Vulnerable and Homeless

Heart of England Community Foundation which supports projects in the West Midlands & Warwickshire says it is ‘overwhelmed’ after receiving a further £2 million from an anonymous donor who gave the charity £4 million just ten months ago.

The Community Foundation is celebrating receiving the major donation which will be used continue its work supporting vulnerable people.

The donor, who opted to remain anonymous, gave the foundation £4 million in December last year and requested that the funds be used to provide accommodation solutions for those who are homeless or vulnerable.

The funds were used to launch the Foundation’s Building Better Lives programme, which is to support a maximum of three initiatives which will upgrade, extend or develop existing accommodation to provide additional capacity.

The same donor has now given another £2 million to the Foundation – with £666,000 of this being added to the programme and £1.333 million put into the Foundation’s endowment fund, which is invested to guarantee a legacy of giving for communities in years to come.

Organisations across Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire were invited to bid for between £500,000 and £1.35 million from the Building Better Lives fund, and stage one applications are now being reviewed.

Heart of England Community Foundation is a specialist charity which awards funding to grassroots projects across the West Midlands through corporate and private donors that want to make a lasting difference to their communities. It is the only one of its kind in the region.

Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said:

“To receive £6 million from the same donor is absolutely incredible and further represents the confidence placed in the Foundation and the work that we deliver.

“The donor has enormous trust in our approach and has generously continued to support us. We are overwhelmed but delighted to accept such a generous gift and we can’t wait to put this funding to good use.

“It will make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable people across the West Midlands.”

Source: Heart of England E-newsletter

Apply for a Funny Things Artist Commission

Funny Things are seeking to commission artists (open to all art forms) to collaborate with us and the communities we are working with, to make Wolves laugh with Funny Things 2019.

Creative Black Country is one of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places projects, which aims to create interesting experiences that tell The Black Country Story and shine a light on the artistic and cultural landscape of the region.

Funny Things is one of our landmark commissions. After the huge success of the first comedy festival in Wolverhampton in 2017, we want to make Funny Things 2019 an even bigger laugh.

The main drive for the festival is to create opportunities for the local community to participate and have a laugh. They want to design an engaging and exciting programme that will reach a diverse audience from all backgrounds, ages and interests.

Funny Things 2019 will build on the success of the first festival in 2017 with a diverse programme that will include:

·         Artist commissions – 1 up to £10,000 and 1 up to £3000

·         Funny Things Gala Event – 3 of the biggest names in comedy (venue tbc)

·         Special events in partnership with Wolverhampton venues and regional organisations, including Flatpack and Centrala

·         Children and family programme

·         Workshops, including stand-up comedy, improvisation and cartoon drawing

·         Stand-up comedy pub programme at The Lych Gate Tavern and The Giffard

The Commissions
We would like to commission professional artists from any art form to create a series of events, installations or participatory activity that engages and involves local people. We are not looking for stand-up comedy, we are looking for unconventional funny things that create and explore humour through art, performance and creativity.

You must have established or strong links to the region and experience in developing works with community driven stories.

The commissions will be based in the Black Country and you will be required to research and develop the ideas in the area with the local community.

The commissions will form part of the wider festival and the work will feature as part of the Funny Things festival programme.

We would like the artists to work over a period of eight months between April and November 2019, to research, develop and deliver. The main focus of the delivery or sharing of the work will be during the festival, 26th October – 2nd November 2019.

We are open to receiving proposals from individuals, joint applications, collectives of artists or organisations.

We are offering two levels of commission.

Up to £3000 and up to £10,000

These fees will be negotiable depending on experience and the proposal.

What we are looking for

We are interested in receiving proposals that:

·         Involve local people (from Wolverhampton and surrounding areas) in the creation and delivery of the commission

·         Propose a new idea or project that will be created specifically for the festival

·         Celebrate the diversity of Wolverhampton and the Black Country

·         Have considered accessibility as part of the project

·         Will be delivered by a professional artist, creative practitioner, curator or other arts professional with a track record

We will also be programming events and activities for a range of audiences and venues. If you have an existing performance, artwork or activity that you would like to propose for the festival programme please send details to Jenny Smith at detailing what you are proposing.

CBC will also welcome applications to the Open Access fund for activities that could be part of the festival. For further information go to:

Further information: If you have any enquiries please call Jenny Smith on 07967 187822 during working hours or email

How to apply for the artist commissions:

To apply, please send a short proposal outlining:

·         Your artistic practice

·         Why you think you are right for this project

·         How you might approach this commission and potential outcomes

·         Budget (indicating the level of commission you are applying for)

·         Examples of your work

·         Enclose your CV /LinkedIn profile /a website or ready-made showreel – whatever is easiest and quickest for you to show track record

·         Be brief – no more than 4 pages

Deadline for proposals is Friday 16th November 2018

Send Applications to: Project Administrator, Creative Black Country


Post: 1st Floor Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8EX


Get involved in Funny Things as a Performer

Funny Things are seeking comedians, performers, workshop leaders and artists to collaborate with us and the communities we are working with, to make Wolves laugh with Funny Things 2019.

If you have a funny act, performance, event, artwork, activity or comedy workshop that you would like to propose for Funny Things 2019, please contact us detailing:

-what you are proposing
-the target audience
-what kind of space you would need for it
-any technical requirements you may have
-length of performance or workshop (if applicable)
-examples of previous work, or the proposed activity if you have it
-enclose your CV /LinkedIn profile /a website or ready-made showreel – whatever is easiest and quickest for you to show track record
-what fee or box office split you are requesting

Deadline for proposals is 31st January 2019

Send Applications to: Project Administrator, Creative Black Country


Post: 1st Floor Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8EX

Next Steps:

• We will confirm receipt of all applications by email within 5 working days

• We will respond to shortlisted proposals by 28th February 2019

Join the Team at FUNNY THINGS – Assistant Producer!

Job title: Assistant Producer

Contract: Freelance (you will be responsible for your own tax and NI contributions)

Dates: February – November 2019. Approximately 15 hours per week, going up to 35 hours per week during October.

Fee: £5,680 (inclusive of all local travel and expenses)

Location: Working from home with regular meetings in Wolverhampton and occasional meetings in other Black Country locations.

The role: The Assistant Producer will work alongside the Creative Producer of Funny Things and the Creative Black Country team to ensure that Funny Things 2019 is managed and run effectively. The Assistant Producer will receive training and mentoring support to develop their skills in festival and event management as part of this role.

The Assistant Producer roles and responsibilities will include:

-Volunteer recruitment and management
-Social media
-Communication with artists
-Communication with venues and partners
-Communication with community groups
-Assisting with event planning
-Venue set-up
-Venue/door management at non-arts venues during the festival
-General administration
-Minuting and facilitating meetings

Person Specification:
This Assistant Producer role is a personal development opportunity for someone who is interested in gaining more experience in festivals, events and arts management. There will be training and mentoring available, and we will work with the person in post to draw up a training and development plan at the start of the contract. We expect the successful candidate to meet some, but not all, of the knowledge and experience points below.

It is essential that you are open and willing to learn and you are good at working with people.

We encourage and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and all parts of the community, particularly from people who live in the Black Country area.

Behavioural Specification:
-Willing to learn and committed to personal development
-Commitment to equality, diversity and social inclusion
-Good at working both as part of a team and independently
Outgoing and confident at communicating to a range of people

-Familiarity with Wolverhampton venues
-Familiarity with geography of Wolverhampton centre and surrounding areas
-Knowledge of the comedy sector
-Knowledge of the arts sector
-Social media marketing approaches for festivals and events

–Managing volunteers
-Arts administration
-Event management
-Venue management

-Communication (written and verbal)
-Excellent time management and personal organisation
-Social media marketing

How to apply
Please send your CV and a cover letter of no more than 4 sides of A4 outlining how you meet the person specification and why you wish to apply for this role.

Deadline for applications is Friday 30th November 2018

Send Applications to: Project Administrator, Creative Black Country, 1st Floor Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8EX


Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by 21st December 2018

Interviews will take place in January 2019

Expected start date will be February 2019



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