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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

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

Follow Shared Lives on twitter @CVTSharedLives.

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


Creative Black Country Expands to Include Dudley

Creative Black Country has been awarded £1,403,154 of National Lottery funding through Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places programme (CPP) to expand its current CPP activity to include Dudley, in partnership with Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Council for Voluntary Service.

Black Country Together has led the Creative Black Country CPP project in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton since 2015, with Arts Council investment of almost £4.5 million to date. Since then it has been producing creative events, performances and activities bringing inspirational cultural experiences to thousands of local people.

This includes the Creative Communities and Open Access programmes that support community groups to experience the arts and produce their own events; Funny Things comedy programme celebrating Black Country humour; and the 100 Masters campaign raising the profile of expertise, innovation and craftsmanship. It also includes the unique Desi Pubs partnership between artists and pub landlords, which helped redefine pub culture in the Black Country, reinventing the traditional handcrafted pub sign using Punjabi text.

Arts and culture have a significant role to play in building thriving villages, towns and cities, bringing people together and making them proud of where they work and live. Creative People and Places allows more people to choose, create and take part in arts and cultural activity – encouraging long-term collaboration between local people, artists and partners, and embedding lasting change in communities.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “Arts and culture make the places we live vibrant and exciting, entertaining and inspiring, benefiting our wellbeing and helping local economies.

“This National Lottery investment in Creative Black Country will see the team build on their achievements so far, with great work such as the Desi Pubs projects and 100 Masters, ensuring more people across Dudley and the Black Country can take part in and enjoy creativity in their communities.”

Creative Director of CBC, Parminder Dosanjh, said: “We are over the moon. Expanding to Dudley feels like a natural step; the prospect of working as a regional programme in the Black Country is hugely exciting and we look forward to local residents benefitting from the investment.

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Council for Voluntary Service, who will play an instrumental role in supporting the expansion programme going forward.”

Creative Black Country is one of 12 successful arts projects to receive a share of almost £17.5 million National Lottery funding to create arts and cultural experiences in areas across England where people tend to engage less with arts and culture. These twelve projects, part of the Creative People and Places programme, will take place between 2019-2023 and will be co-created with their local communities.

Andy Gray, Chief Executive of Dudley Council for Voluntary Service, said: “We’re delighted to work with Creative Black Country to build audiences and bring more opportunities to the people of Dudley. We’re looking forward to supporting communities across the Borough to create and choose the arts activities and experiences that are right for them. We’re confident Dudley will rise to the occasion and really get involved.”


Weddings, Holidays, Parties And The Bits In-Between

Weddings, Holidays, Parties And The Bits In-Between is an exhibition being delivered by Ampersand Projects  as part of the Living Memory Project.The exhibition consists of personal family photographs of Black Country residents, revealing the social and private history of the area.

Ampersand Projects has been meeting and talking to people about their family albums and the lives and stories that they contain, images drawn from across the last century, still resonate because the experiences they contain are at once special and unique moments in time, but also everyday and universal.

The exhibition will be on view at Bleakhouse and Thimblemill Libraries as follows:

For opening times go to our events calendar by clicking here and viewing the event.

In our increasingly digital world, there is less place for the physical nature of a photo album and they are becoming less of a tradition in people’s homes. This exhibition celebrates the format of family albums, the way they collect our memories together and their ability to connect us with our past and remind us of loved ones, special occasions and times gone by.

Summer Sale at the Art Yard

Following the success of last years sale exhibition, The Art Yard would like to invite local artists to submit their work for their Summer Sale 2019 exhibition.

This is an opportunity for artists to submit their work at a reduced fee of £1 per piece (up to 50cm in either direction) for one week only. There is no special requirement on the type of art or subject, all work is very welcome.

Attached are the following documents:-
1. Submission Form

Submission forms are to be returned by Saturday 27th July 2019.

Can you please ensure that your work is ready to hang and has cord or fixing plates fitted to the rear of the work. On the labels could you include the original price and the sale price for each piece of work you wish to exhibit

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

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

The Art Yard is looking forward to seeing your work and supporting the development of Artists and the arts in the community.

Beat It Percussion Therapeutic Drumming Sessions

Beat It Percussion would like to invite you to join them on a Tuesday morning at Myra Harris Community Room, Brickhouse Lane, West Bromwich, B70 0DZ from 10.30am till 11.30am for their therapeutic drumming sessions.

The first session is being held on Tuesday 16th July 2019 where you will have the opportunity to take part in simple rhythm activities and group rhythm building. With two more sessions taking place on Tuesday 23rd and Tuesday 30th July 2019.

It is a great way of reducing stress and anxiety, reducing muscle tension and physical pain, increasing well-being and positive mood but more importantly it is a chance to recharge your barriers whilst participating in a fun and friendly activity.

Dementia friendly and no need to book – just drop in!

Hand drums and percussion instruments are provided.

For more information call Lynn Kay on 07875 090946 or email

Charities: Apply Now for The Big Give Match Funding Campaign

This Christmas The National Lottery Heritage Fund is pledging £250,000 to help heritage charities raise at least £1million.

We are one of the Champions of The Big Give’s Christmas Challenge, the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign, where every £1 we invest will help raise at least £4 for selected charities.

The Christmas Challenge takes place from 3 December until 10 December 2019.

Our investment is part of our commitment to build capacity and resilience in the heritage sector by helping organisations develop current, and grow new, income streams.

Want to take part?

Applications are open now until 12 July 2019 for charities to submit details of their projects and fundraising targets.

Applicants must:

  • be a UK registered charity
  • have at least one year of filed accounts
  • have a minimum annual income of £25,000

Once charities have submitted their application, it’s time to start speaking to key supporters – major donors, trustees, and local businesses – to collect pledges, or promises of funding, that will contribute to a pot of matching funds.

Applicant must raise at least £1,000 in pledges, up to a maximum of £25,000.

These pledges, along with our contribution, will go towards doubling all online donations made to selected charities via from 3-10 December, until the marching pot is used up.

Charities can still carry on accepting donations once the matching pot is empty, and the most successful fundraisers will be nominated for The Big Give Awards.

Alex Day, Director of The Big Give, said: “We are delighted to have the National Lottery Heritage Fund on board. The funding they are providing will not only help to support charities financially, but to give them the opportunity to build their digital fundraising skills and experience, and therefore help them to become more sustainable for the future.”

To find out more, and apply, visit The Big Give website.

Source: National Lottery Heritage Fund

Volunteers Needed at Friends of Tividale Park

The Friends of Tividale Park Group are seeking new volunteers to join their management committee and to help them plan and deliver community events, come up with new ideas on how to improve the facilities at the park, help to raise the parks profile and a number of other opportunities within the group.

Don’t worry no prior experience of being on a community committee is necessary, as access to training and support will be provided and you can give as little or as much time as you can spare (as a guide you need to be prepared to spare approximately 1-2 hours every week for attendance at meetings and on an occasional basis a few hours in between meetings as required).

The friends of Tividale Park are a residents’ community group who work to improve the park in various ways, including fundraising for new play equipment or improvements to the park, volunteering at community and social events held in the park. So why not get involved and help them to make Tividale Park a real hive of community activity.

If you would like to become a friend or for more information, please email

They would love to hear from anyone who is interested in making a positive difference within their community or would just like to find out more about what is involved.

The Friends of Tividale Park want to bring Tividale Park back into the heart of their community making it a community facility that everyone can be proud of!

Why not take a look at their website at

Career Events – Grow your skills and boost your earnings

Thousands of new jobs are coming to the West Midlands, offering opportunities, at all levels, in the region’s fastest growing industries. The West Midlands Combined Authority is launching a new adult education and training offer, in partnership with local colleges and providers, to help you get the right skills for these opportunities.

You could learn new skills in some of the fastest growing industries including:

• Digital
• Construction
• Advanced manufacturing and engineering
• Business and professional services including administration and finance

Go along to one of the events to find out more. Staff from local colleges and training providers will be able to advise you on:

• Training to help you get a job if you’re unemployed
• Improving your skills to give you better career opportunities if you’re working
• Specialist training to give you the skills for a particular job or trade

Unsure what to do? Advisors will be on hand to discuss your options or to arrange additional support if needed.

Click here to get details of the skills event in your area.

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