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Fircroft College Free Online Short Courses: January – 15th February 2021

Due to the third COVID-19 lockdown and the college building being closed to students, Fircroft College is offering online courses up to 15th February. These short courses are all free to applicants. Should the current lockdown be extended, details of adapted offers beyond 15th February will be advertised.

The course brochure, Your Future Starts Here, give information of courses after 15th February, the majority of which are residential at the college in Birmingham. Many of these short courses are open to people nationwide and are fee, or offered at a much reduced rate, depending on financial circumstances.

For IT Users – the ITQ in Social Media Level 3 course is intended to be residential (3 days, 2 nights) at the college starting 22nd February. There is an online Open Day session for this course on 26th January: details attached.  This course is available to people in certain West Midlands postcodes only.

The Free Thinking programme starts in April (again, certain West Midlands postcodes only).  The programme is aimed at people from new communities who have been victims of modern slavery, trafficking and torture: details attached.

Amendments to Jan and Feb courses

If you have questions about a course, or to find out about postcode eligibility, please email



Join Camphill Village Trust’s free Opportunity TV Sessions

Camphill Village Trust ran daily interactive Zoom sessions for its community members throughout 2020. With the closure of day services and not being able to access other activities, the Zoom sessions proved to be extremely successful over the last lockdown.

Due to its popularity, the charity is opening Opportunity TV to everyone, whether or not you are part  of  the Trust community. Camphill Village Trust has decided to share it with social care colleagues across Dudley, The Black Country and West Midlands.

The virtual interactive sessions run Monday to Thursday, 10 am and 3 pm. Fridays 10 am and 2 pm.

To find out how you can join Opportunity TV, click here.

Watch recordings from previous sessions on the website.

Please direct your questions or feedback to Phil Gibson, Project Manager, on 07824463798.

Unemployed and 18 – 29? Generation UK can help you back into Employment

Generation UK is a charity that offers free training courses and qualifications to young people, aged 18 to 29, who currently live in Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Dudley or Walsall. The next five week programme will launch on 22 February, 2021.

• Learners should be available for five weeks, 9 am – 5 pm
• Remote delivery
• laptops and Wi-Fi access can be provided for free
• Learners can still receive benefits during programme
• Expert instructors

For further information about the programmes, click here.  Please direct questions to

Free, fully funded, WISE Ability Training

West Midlands-based employment and training provider, WISE Ability, is offering fully-funded online support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the Black Country throughout January. The courses and qualifications  come at no cost to your business and are accredited by the NCFE Awarding body up to Level 2. 

The charity is providing help through the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) programme, which has been developed to upskill employees within SMEs.

The programme aims to upskill employees to enhance their skills, diversify the way they work, increase the competitiveness of their business, boost the local economy or simply keep staff feeling valued and appreciated.

Wise Ability is part of Serco’s network of expert organisations chosen to deliver the SSW programme across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Additionally, WISE Ability can support those individuals who have been made redundant in the last three months and are now looking to upskill, change their career or start their own business for free and online.

WISE Ability will be able offer a host of accredited qualifications in a range of sectors including Mental Health First and Mental Health Advocacy in the Workplace, Digital Skills, Safeguarding & Prevent, Health and Social Care, Business Start-Up, Team Leading, ITQ, Information Advice & Guidance and Customer Service, plus many others.

Please contact Brett Hudson via email contact 07720 090 052. Brett will be happy to answer any queries and schedule your slot.

Find out more about the free courses.

Think Sandwell

Sandwell Council advertises its procurement opportunities online. This is a single gateway to access procurement and networking opportunities. You may access goods or services via the Procurement Opportunities page at Think Sandwell. To register for wider access to procurement networking opportunities, please see Find it in the Black Country.

The electronic In-tend E-Procurement system is used by Sandwell Council to buy goods, works and services, rather than a paper based system. The Government is keen to see more business done electronically and the Council encourages companies to take on board E-Procurement. The authority will work only with companies which can trade electronically.

Find out more about In-tend.

The Wider Determinants of Healthy Life Expectancy (WHoLE) Programme

The Wider Determinants of Healthy Life Expectancy (WHoLE) Programme is one of the first pieces of work led by the Healthier Futures Partnership and has produced a report called Working Together for a Healthier Post-COVID Future.

Healthier Futures want to hear what you think it’s like to live well in the Black Country & West Birmingham.

Phase two needs your input as Healthy Futures explore “What if”

Take the opportunity to discuss your ideas with your peers and consider if you lived in a world where everyone in the Black Country & West Birmingham thrived.

What do great communities look like?
What does everyone need to thrive?
How do we get there?
Who would you involve?

Everyone is welcome: service users, patients, families, carers, members of the public, community organisations and more.

Sign up here and join the discussion on 10 December 2020, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm.

In the meantime, visit the Healthier Futures website for more information on the work they are doing.



A change to how people in the Black Country and West Birmingham access urgent care

For people living in the Black Country and West Birmingham, how urgent care is accessed is changing.  In line with a phased national roll-out of a new NHS 111 system, the area is now preparing to implement that change – which is likely to impact significantly (and positively) on those who use hospital emergency departments, as well as those who work within them.

The change requires people to call NHS 111 before attending an Emergency Department (ED). The national programme aims to ensure that patients get the right urgent care in the most appropriate place – whilst simultaneously reducing the risk of them acquiring COVID-19 or a hospital infection. Based on ‘talk before you walk’ principles, the programme will use NHS 111 to reduce unnecessary attendances at Emergency Department.

Instead of attending an Emergency Department unannounced, patients will use NHS 111 online or by phone to book an appointment with a service that best fits their need.

Dr Ian Sykes, Clinical Chair Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, will talk about these proposed changes at a public meeting, to be held virtually via Zoom on 17th December 2020, 10.30 am to 12 noon. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. There will also be a Healthwatch Sandwell update.

To book for the event, please email or phone 07885 214392, leaving your name and address.

Attendees will be notified of the joining instructions nearer the meeting.

Beat It Percussion Relax and Chat Sessions – FREE

Beat It Percussion are inviting you to attend one of their Relax and Chat FREE 50 minute sessions, which are sound and rhythm-based interventions promoting relaxation, stress relief and overall wellbeing.

COVID-19 has brought isolation and stress to many of us. People’s mental health has been challenged. In response to this Beat It Percussion has created ‘Relax and Chat’, a new Zoom project aimed at promoting relaxation and stress relief.

Our mental health is important. Being part of a supportive group and being able to share your story can improve your mood and resilience. Relaxation is part of self-care, which helps us deal with stress and anxiety.

In the Relax and Chat session you will experience a live sound relaxation experience using gongs and singing bowls. Moreover, you will also have the chance to chat with others and feel part of a supportive group.

If you’d like to book your place via Eventbrite onto one of the sessions available click here.

Have you got an event or good news story you’d like SCVO to promote then why not drop us a line at to find out how we might be able to help.


Relaunch of Rape and Sexual Violence Service

Black Country Women’s Aid’s ISVA service is relaunching. They support women, children and men who have experienced rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse. Support is available whether the abuse happened recently or years ago and irrespective of whether or not it has been reported to the police.

Support workers are called ISVAs (Independent Sexual Violence Advisers). They are trained specialists who provide one-to-one emotional and practical support. Support services cover Sandwell, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Walsall.

The Rape & Sexual Violence Service is relaunching and Black Country Women’s Aid are inviting partners to attend to find out more information, make connections and understand how you can appropriately refer into the service.

The on-line relaunch will include:

• An introduction to the specialist team of ISVAs
• An deeper understanding of the ISVA role
• How therapeutic services feed into the ISVA service
• The referral criteria and what this means for you
• How to make a referral to the team.

Please book a date and time that suits you via Eventbrite.

Become a member of Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and have your say

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust feel it is important that they have a membership community that is representative of the communities it serves. The Trust would like to offer you the opportunity to become a member and have your say. Your voice matters, as it helps to shape the future of the Trust, to better meet the needs of the people who use its services.

Services include specialist mental health, learning disability, and community healthcare services for the population of the Black Country. Across the whole of the region the Trust provides adult and older adult mental health services, specialist mental health services such as community perinatal mental health, child and adolescent mental health services, learning disability services and community healthcare services for children, young people and families in Dudley. There are over 3,000 staff, based at 65 sites, which includes community bases and seven acute hospitals, across the four boroughs of the Black Country, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Membership is open to anyone aged 12 years or above who would like to make a difference. Becoming a member is free and easy to do. All you need to do is go online here and complete the membership application.

By registering as a member you will kept informed about future plans. This will give you an opportunity, through the elected governors, to influence how the Trust moves forward and how you can be involved in shaping future services.

If you would like to find out more visit the website, call the membership office on 0121 612 8061 or email

Further information available in the attached leaflet.

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