Black Country

Tag Archives

Black Country community groups receive funding from European Social Fund Community Grants Programme

The European Social Fund Community Grants Programme is open until July 2021 and is currently accepting new applications. The next round deadline is 2nd March 2020. Third sector and not for profit groups that help improve the skills and job prospects of local residents are welcome to apply.

Small Black Country third sector organisations have successfully applied for funding from the Community Grant Programme. The programme- worth £990,000 – is jointly funded by the ESFA and ESF and offers grants of up to £20,000 for each organisation. The current Community Grants has been open since June 2019 and has funded 21 projects across the Black Country area with more in the pipeline. Funded projects run six month programmes that focus on helping local people progress towards and enter the jobs market.

Sandwell Community Hubs have successful applied for and secured £20,000 to deliver the Rowley and Bristnall Employment Hub Project. Over the past six months, the project has been supporting a cohort of local people who would like to re-enter the job market. The project provides one to one and group support, covering CV writing and tips on completing application forms. Practical support such as mock interviews and presentation skills have contributed to building the confidence of participants. The project also offers a variety of workshops and non-accredited courses to improve the chance of gaining employment or going onto further training.

To be eligible organisations need to have an annual income below £300,000 and demonstrate an innovative approach to helping people who are out of work or disadvantaged learn new skills and move closer to the workforce.

Applications can be made to Walsall Council who successfully tendered to act as the local Grant Co-ordinating Body on behalf of the ESFA for the second time running. Application materials, eligibility criteria and guidance are available by contacting Walsall Council External Funding Team at communitygrants@walsall.gov.uk.

The Community Grants team are available to offer support to organisations interested in making an application. If you would like to discuss a project in more detail please contact Community Grant Manager Ruth Burgess at communitygrants@walsall.gov.uk. Successful applicants will also be able to access bespoke training and capacity building support to enable them to deliver the part EU funded project.


The Art Yard – Call for Artists That’s Life Exhibition

The Art Yard would like to invite local arts to register their interest in being apart of their That’s Life – Life Drawing Exhibition. This is an opportunity for the artist to showcase their work regardless of the medium (i.e. paint, photography, ceramics, sculpture, film metalwork, crafts and much more).

Artists should complete the Submission Form listing all works you would like to exhibit stating the Media, size and selling price, please include any digital images of each work.

The Art Yard charge a small fee for exhibiting your works in their gallery and are to be paid when delivering your works.

For more details see the links below:

They very much look forward to seeing your work and hope you enjoy what we believe will be a successful and exciting Exhibition.

For more information or to submit your completed form please email The Art Yard directly at infoartyard@gmail.com or call 01384910968.


Spotlight on Aspire4U CIC

1. Tell us what you do.
Aspire4U CIC supports people, developing future-proof skills and the capacity to identify and meet their own needs. We deliver activities and share resources with all members of the community, especially those experiencing social, psychological, emotional and economic disadvantage.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Supporting 20,000 people to come together have an amazing time at the free community festival – Simmer Down Festival, who we helped to secure sponsorship, grow a communications strategy through social media and even managed their Best of Brum stage for local artists to develop.

3. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lesson we’ve learnt as a team is that people from Sandwell have a great community spirit which is infectious.

4. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our long term plans are to continue to work with more organisations that care about helping people to develop themselves and those organisations that care about the journey and long term planning.

5. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
We’d like SCVO to look to promote or provide more opportunities for groups and organisations to meet up to share best practice and support the exchange of information.

For more information on Aspire4U CIC visit their website at: www.aspire4u.co.uk email: hello@aspire4u.co.uk or call on 0121 6223603.


Spotlight on Friends of Tividale Park

1. Tell us what you do.
Established in 2015, the Friends of Tividale Park are a resident’s community group who work to improve the park in various ways, including fundraising for new equipment, volunteering, and supporting events. Our website www.friendsoftividaelpark.org.uk states our monthly meeting dates and location. Tividale Park celebrates the 90th anniversary of its opening during this year.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
To date, we have held we have three held annual Family Fun Day events in the park, working with Sandwell Council and K9 Search UK. We are bringing back an historic tradition of park community events lost over recent years.

Friends of Tividale Park have helped with a park clear ups and held a Christmas event. The event featured a blow-up grotto and a visit from Santa. The event coincided with unseasonably strong winds ever meaning the grotto had to be held down at times. Lots of fun was had regardless of the gales!

The group were award postcode lottery funding which was spent on nature/environment projects such as bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog homes, bug boxes, and planting hedge saplings. We also donated money to a neighbouring group to buy Beehives. We have our biggest plans and projects lined up for fruition in 2018.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
This will be the first time the group has worked with SCVO, although read the bulletin for example we have now established links with Art Yard thanks to an advert regarding one of their events.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The Lesson we have learnt is how many volunteers and charities there are out there. Sandwell people are hardworking and when they commit to a project see it through to the end.

5 . What are your plans and some of the challenges you face?
We are commissioning a sun sundial as a centre piece for the park, as well as bespoke benches, wild meadow planting, and our Black Country Festival Event with a Tividale’s Got Talent theme. Local schools and the general public will be able to audience to appear on our stage at our biggest event to date; organisation is well underway.

Challenges including having the right number of volunteers and do-ers types to make our grow and provide the insight or experience that a smaller group may not readily have. It is also establishing links with other groups to learn from experience.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Help us to raise our profile in the community, offer advice or input into group projects such as review lottery applications. Help us establish links with other local groups with mutual benefits.

For more information on the Friends of Tividale Park or to become a volunteer please email our Secretary at secretary@friendsoftividalepark.org.uk


Spotlight on Midland Film and Art

1. Tell us what you do.
Midland Film and Art (MFAA) was established 2014 with the aim of advancing the education, understanding and appreciation of all aspects of art, film, craft and allied techniques.

In August 2017 MFAA took on The Art Yard in Reddal Hill Road, Cradley Heath; with a view of improving public access to art and creating three distinct multi-purpose art and craft galleries.

Our first monthly exhibitions commenced in September 2017 showcasing the work of local artists and others. MFAA’s exhibitors demonstrated a wide range of skills, abilities and experiences all adding to the eclectic mix we are keen to encourage.

MFAA relies on volunteers to run the galleries during normal weekly shopping hours and plans are underway to introduce Life Drawing and painting classes led by former college tutors and experienced professional artists.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement to date is that by using funds donated by Cradley Heath Film, MFAA members and sponsors, together with volunteer time, the demise of The Art Yard was prevented and the premises refurbished, access to art increased and the first pubic exhibition was opened within one month of MFAA taking over the premises.

The anecdotal evidence from visitors and exhibitors alike is that The Art Yard is a welcome facility that is providing new life within the surrounding community and a much required outlet for artists to publicly showcase their work.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
The Art Yard is new to SCVO and what it however, SCVO have been extremely interested in what The Art Yard can offer within the community and have agreed where possible to help MFAA going forward.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lessons MFAA has learned is that Sandwell is made up of one of the most diverse blends of communities in the West Midlands which taps into and maintains links with a wide range of arts and crafts that emanate from such a diverse range of people from all walks of life.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Moving forward, MFAA intends to ensure that The Art Yard remains financially independent of its patrons’ support.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
MFAA (at The Art Yard) would welcome any support SCVO can provide to help move the project forward; help obtain resources; assist in promoting The Art Yard to the wider public and help to establish the organisation within Sandwell’s communities.

If you are interested in exhibiting in the Art Yard  please refer to our e-bulletin post entitled ‘The Art Yard – Call for Artists’ or would like further information on how you can get involved at the Art Yard please email Warren at infoartyard@gmail.com


Spotlight on West Bromwich Operatic Society

West Bromwich Operatic Society (founded in 1938) is a theatre company that has built a reputation of producing the best in Musical Theatre to the highest of standards. They produce two full-scale productions each year, and pride themselves on taking on challenges and exceeding expectations.

Find out more by viewing our ‘Spotlight Video’ below:

If you would like to contact WBOS or you require any further information about them, then please feel free to drop them a line by simply contacting the company secretary Hilary Matty:-

Tel: 0121 550 3667 or by email: hilary@wbos.co.uk

Interested in becoming a member?

Whether you want to perform in one of their productions, work backstage or just get involved, please make contact with the company secretary.

Prospective ‘Acting’ members will be required to pass an entrance audition before becoming a member.


Spotlight on Cradley Heath Creative

1. Tell us what you do.
Cradley Heath Creative highlights the arts and artists in the Cradley Heath area – artists means anyone who creative activity, whether it’s visual, performance, film, crafts. Most of our members are people who have trained in the arts to some level or who are a bit fanatical about what they do as amateur artists. We join in on local festivals and events where possible and we run a free annual arts festival in April/May. This year it expanded to three venues.

2.What is your proudest achievement?
We are gradually converting a horse trailer into a mobile community venue, called Oss Box. So far we have had grants from Sandwell, the Arts Council, ASDA and Creative Black Country. We’ve used it for shadow puppetry; it’s been a pinhole camera – the images are part of Reclaimed Photography Festival at the Black Country Museum; it makes an unusual arts workshop and a stage for small plays.

Oss Box is available for use by other community organisations – we ask for expenses to cover transport and wear and tear.

3.What is your experience of support received from SCVO
SCVO membership gives us a good deal for our group public liability insurance and we look at updates for funding streams. We are really aware of the support available from SCVO staff for small groups, but we are not able to take part in the networking breakfasts at the moment.

4.What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
People have a strong affinity with the area they live in. This makes Sandwell a patchwork of communities that look to their own identity and many perceive a West Bromwich bias in Sandwell. We have found, however, a willingness, despite cutbacks, by Sandwell Council staff to work with people who want things to happen in the community – support for getting events promoted from the Communications Team, facilitating public events in parks, guidance on Sandwell funding applications etc.

5.What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We want to continue to highlight the arts skills of members of Cradley Heath Creative to people who live locally. There is a lot of imagination within the group for community activity. We’d love to see the stable block at Haden Hill House converted to a community and arts resource, which would mean getting together with a lot of other local organisations who could benefit.

6.How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Keep prompting us! It’s good to have the kind of professional advice you can offer at the points when we need it.

For more information on Creadley Heath Creative please email Fran Wilde at franwilde@me.com


Spotlight on Creative Black Country

1. Tell us what you do.

Creative Black Country (CBC) is a three year campaign, funded by Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places project, which aims to make the most of creative talent in the Black Country.

We work with local people to discover, explore and grow an exciting and meaningful programme of arts activity in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. We have a range of projects where we engage with communities putting them at the heart of each idea. In 2016, two of the major projects included Imagine That! and Desi Pubs.

Open Access Awards
We have Open Access awards which supports activities that build audiences and is open to individuals, groups and organisations in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. If a project builds audiences, connects local people with professional artists and brings great performance, art and creativity to the Black Country, Open Access could help make that project happen.

To apply or for more information click here.

Groundwork Groups
We work with community groups as ‘Groundworks‘ which offers local community groups the opportunity to start an exciting creative journey, supported by an Arts Advisor to help develop and shape the groups creative ideas and a Development Worker who offers support in areas such as:  governance, funding, training and information.

Groundworks groups, as part of the journey, have the opportunity for their members to Go and See a wide range of performance and visual arts to spark off ideas of their own.

2. What is your proudest achievement?

In our short time, CBC has had many proud moments but programming and organising the 2016 Sandwell Arts Festival was a brilliant one!  Two fantastic days of performances, workshops, pop up cinema, music and the famous Ceramic Garden were offered to the Sandwell public. We worked with volunteers whose enthusiasm helped to make the festival really special!

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO

CBC makes the most of SCVO’s connections particularly around knowledge of local relationships which connects the voluntary, the arts and cultural sector.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?

One of the most valuable lessons has been listening to what people wish to see in their area and working with Sandwell individuals and groups to help turn their arts and cultural ideas into reality.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?

We have an exciting year ahead, keep an eye on our website, as we are currently firming up future events or better still sign up to our newsletter.

The challenges are no different to other organisation i.e. around funding and sustainability.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

SCVO can carry on supporting groups that CBC connects with and help us to spread the word about what’s happening in Sandwell which are linked to the activities that we are developing in partnership with others.

For more information on how to get involved please contact Creative Black Country on 0121 525 1127 or alternatively drop us a line via email at info@creativeblackcountry.co.uk


Spotlight on Listening Ear

Tell us what you do.
Listening Ear is a service based in Cradley Heath Salvation Army that provides counselling to people with a range of emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, bereavement and relationship issues.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement is working with people to better understand the reasons why they are feeling the way they do and support them in the counselling process, to make changes that enables them to improve how they feel and respond to these situations.

For us it is so rewarding to see the positive shift in people’s emotional well-being after counselling and know that the service has had such an impact on a person’s life, often in a very short time.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO
Listening Ear received invaluable hands on support from the SCVO when applying for a grant and without it, it is unlikely the bid would have proceeded, or indeed been successful. SCVO has also been helpful in providing advice around our constitution and has further offered support in the future.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lesson we’ve learnt is what a privilege it is to work with people in a counselling capacity, who open up and share very personal and private details about their lives; it is very humbling.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our plans for the future are to continue to serve people in Sandwell and provide a counselling service which has been supported by the grant that will be awarded. The challenge is to maintain the volunteer base and continue to source funding opportunities to ensure our valuable service continues, and provide stability for those accessing us.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO will be able to support our organisation moving forward, by aiding us to identify new funding possibilities for our organisation and with providing advice to around these potential funding opportunities which enables us to access these funds.

For more information on this service please call Cradely Heath Salvation Army and ask to be referred to Listening Ear on 01384563570.


Spotlight on Rowley Community Activity Network

Tell us what you do.
Rowley Community Activity Network (CAN) forms part of Sandwell Council’s drive to boost the physical activity within the six Sandwell towns. The network brings people of all ages and abilities together to organise and develop sporting, physical and well-being activities.

CAN also supports community organisations with their ideas to introduce new sports facilities or improve existing ones and actively encourages residents to become more active and lead healthier lifestyles within their community.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement has been empowering local community organisations to develop activities that improve the health of local residents’ and seeing the positive differences these activities are having on those participating within Rowley.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
Rowley CAN has engaged the services of SCVO to support the development and establishment of new and existing community organisations within Rowley and to assist with the identification of funding opportunities and the development of these applications.

We have also recently worked in partnership to promote a local funding opportunity to community organisations located in the Rowley Regis ward which proved to be a great success and demonstrates what can be achieve with a little joined up thinking.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most important thing is to listen to the residents and groups, take time to understand their issues, opinions and aspirations and then together design activities and programmes. Involving the people you are trying to help in designing the activities and programmes is vital to success. The organisations in Rowley have great passion, skills, knowledge and ideas. The Rowley CAN just brings people together to share those attributes and offer support, advice and guidance where needed.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our plans for the future are to continue to support the community organisations within Rowley and help them to develop activities that are meaningful and worthwhile for both the organisations and participants.

It’s important to us to be a part of the positive changes in improving people’s health and encouraging new social networks within our community.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Rowley CAN is looking forward to working in collaboration with SCVO in the future to support the diverse number of community organisations delivering valuable community services in Rowley.

If you want to find out more about the Rowley Community Activity Network or come along to our next networking meeting please contact Matt Hill on 07790 945111 or via email at rowley_cando@sandwell.gov.uk


Page 6 of 7First...567