Children and young people

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Help YMCA prevent Youth Homelessness in the midst of Covid-19

For any teenager, experiencing family breakdown is one of the most challenging life experiences that they could ever face. However, the risk of homelessness for 16-18 year olds leaves them with an even more daunting prospect during the Covid-19 outbreak, as many teenagers are left wondering what will happen and where they will go.

Since the outbreak hit the UK, YMCA Open Door has been helping over 50 young people across the Black Country who have found themselves in the precarious position. The Open Door project has been placing young people at risk of Homelessness with Host families for over 10 years, but at this particular time, there is even more need for more Hosts – people who have a spare room within their house and a caring heart.

Find out how you can help

Youth Gaming and Gambling Awareness Free Online Training Sessions

The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is a leading National charity collaboratively delivering the UK’s £10million national education programme to those that work with and support young people (aged 7-25), to raise awareness around the potential harms associated with gaming and gambling.  They work  in a variety of health and educational settings, safeguarding and youth organisations, and with local authorities.

The most recent report published by the Gambling Commission shows worrying trends in the way that young people are engaging in gambling and gaming risky behaviours.

Upcoming dates for the youth gaming and gambling awareness free online training sessions (running time is 90 minutes). Anyone who is interested can click on the link to see available dates and book a place on a session:

The training will cover:
• an overview of how young people are increasingly exposed to gaming and gambling
• the influence of advertising, particularly around sporting events
• the role of social media, in game purchases, loot boxes and Esports
• the signs to look out for when an individual is at risk and where to seek help
• our resources that have been developed for practitioners to deliver

You can learn more about them from their website:

For more information please email Lucy Gardner at

Kooth: Online support for young people

Kooth is a web based confidential support service available to young people from 11-18 years of age (or up to 25 years for care leavers/SEN) in Sandwell. Kooth provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people.

Support can be accessed through discussion boards, live forums, articles and a counselling service. There are also lots of activities that young people can access to support their wellbeing. Content is age appropriate, clinically approved and fully moderated.

If a young person would like to chat to a counsellor,  a team is available from 12 noon to 10 pm on weekdays and from 6 pm to 10 pm at weekends, every day of the year, on a drop-in basis. Young people can also access regular booked online counselling sessions as needed. Outside counselling hours young people can message the team and get support by the next day.

To find out more and to register for the service visit

View a short video about the service here.

Children In Need – COVID-19 2020 Booster Grants Up to £5,000

The 2020 Booster Grants Programme will award small grants of up to £5,000 to organisations working with children and young people who have been impacted by COVID-19. These grants are designed to help organisations change, adapt and expand their approach to delivering their work. This is so they can better support the children and young people they currently work with.

This money is designed to adapt and develop current projects. We will only consider applications for new work where a clear track record of previous delivery, and appropriate skills required can be clearly demonstrated.

The 2020 Booster Programme will offer grants of up to £5,000; however, we expect most grants to be for between £2,000 – £3,000.

Who can apply?
The COVID-19 2020 Booster Grants Programme is an invite only fund,  for organisations who are currently funded by BBC Children in Need. This includes organisations who hold a Main, Small, Curiosity or Bridging Grant with us.  Organisations that have been invited to apply will receive an email detailing this.

With these funds, we will prioritise smaller, local organisations looking to make immediate differences to Children and Young People in their area.

We continue to put Safeguarding at the heart of everything we do. We also expect organisations to follow good practice regarding governance. Any organisations who apply for the 2020 Booster Grants programme will need to be able to demonstrate this If you are looking for funding for more sustained activities, please consider our COVID-19 Large Grants Programme, which will go live on Monday 10th June 2020 and supporting grants of up to £80,000 (see below).

What can we apply for?
These grants are designed to help organisations adapt their current projects to support Children and Young people during the COVID-19 situation. These funds must be spent within 6 months of the grant being awarded.

The fund is designed to be as flexible as possible. Things you could apply for may include:

  • Technology
  • Infrastructure
  • Additional Staffing
  • Immediate Core Costs (excluding Statutory core costs)
  • Training
  • Activities
  • Anything else which could directly support children and young people affected by COVID-19

Applying to any of our COVID-19 funding streams will not stop you applying for our other funds. Organisations are able to hold a 2020 Booster Grant and/or a COVID-19 Large Grant at the same time.  Applying for any of our COVID-19 funding streams will also not affect your eligibility for our Small and Main Grants programmes.

For more information or to apply click here.

Larger Grants – Up to £80,000 can also be funded find out more by clicking here.

The Black Country Rainbow Hour Pledge


The Black Country Rainbow Hour Pledge is encouraging all schools to commit and provide all pupils access to one hour of wellbeing and physical activity each day.

Sign up to the Black Country Rainbow Hour Pledge by visiting Active Black Country’s home page at

We want to encourage all schools across the Black Country to incorporate wellbeing at the heart of all learning for their pupils. We are encouraging all schools to commit to and provide all pupils access to one hour of wellbeing and physical activity each day, whether that’s during your school curriculum or for your pupils still learning remotely from home.
The Rainbow Hour can be flexible in format so schools can tailor it to their school day. You can split your hour into various intervals throughout the day, staggering activities based on your schools needs and to help with maintaining social distancing and adhering to the latest government and DFE guidance. Likewise, you can deliver this in a one hour block. It’s completely down to you and your school!

Let’s ensure all pupils get to experience a rainbow hour of activity each day.

Click here for the Rainbow Campaign toolkit for fun ideas to keep you and your family active.

Introducing the Let’s Create Pack

Thanks to National Lottery funding and the incredible hard work of their Bridge organisations and partners, they’ve launched their brand-new Let’s Create Art Packs. They have worked with Teacher of the Year 2018, Andria Zafirakou, to create packs bursting with creative ideas as well as essential art supplies.

To kick things off, they’re sending 25,000 packs to children and young people across England who are most in need of the support. We think creativity should be available to everyone and this is just one of the ways that we’re trying to make that happen.

There’s also a digital version available, so you can join in with young people in your life too. Share your creations on social media using #LetsCreate!

Download the pack by clicking here.

Source: Arts Council

Early Years Funding Update: Temporarily Extending 2 Year Old Free Early Education Entitlements

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Sandwell Council are temporarily extending 2 year old entitlements eligibility to include children assessed as being vulnerable and meeting the definition in Section 17 (s17) of the Children Act 1989 and who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

The Secretary of State for Education has decided to temporarily extend eligibility for the free early education entitlement to two year olds from families in receipt of s17 support who have NRPF, for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak only. This is to support their safety and wellbeing whilst the lockdown is in place. Eligible children are British-born child(ren) who are entitled to be here, yet not receiving support by virtue of the parent’s immigration status which triggers the NRPF. This is a temporary measure during COVID-19, is intended to support vulnerable children usually not eligible for a free early education place.

Local authorities will be reimbursed for eligible children who have physically taken up a temporary free 2 year old early education place by attending an early years childcare setting during COVID-19.

If you think you are eligible for a place or know someone who could be, please pass on this information for them to apply.

Apply using the adjacent link –

For support or to contact the team, please email or for further information.

World Art Day – Let’s Celebrate!

As we round the corner into the thick of Spring, it’s time once again to celebrate World Art Day. The global event directs our attention to the world of fine arts, emphasizing the importance of the cultural touchstones which have been and will be created through visual art, music, and the theatre.

Art has the power to connect communities, enabling the learning and appreciation of new skills and acting as a transformative force in the lives of adults and children alike. Though celebrations of World Art Day take on a different face this year as we all practice responsible social distancing, the open-ended nature of arts education makes it a perfect fit for kids during this unique time.

Learning about and engaging with the arts extends quite handily beyond the classroom, and arts learning both in school and at home are poised to offer an impressive multitude of benefits to our kids. As we encourage their healthy mental and emotional growth and development, it’s a testament to the power of art that its study can do so much for young people.

Through experimenting with new colours, mediums, techniques, and skills, children become more comfortable with trial and error, risk-taking, and exploration, making them naturally more interested in and comfortable with engaging with their surroundings, trying new things, and taking normal, age-appropriate risks. It also helps some kids to find their motivation, as results-based learning where tangible improvements can be seen may make them significantly more interested in refining their skills. That’s not all — kids who receive formal arts education in school also tend to venture further into civic engagement and demonstrate a lower rate of dropping out, as one study by the California Alliance for Arts Education notes.

These are only a few of the many benefits that arts education is poised to offer our kids. We The Parents have put together a handy infographic detailing these claims and more, as well as the research that backs them — have a look by going to

Source: We The Parents


Debt Adviser required at Citizens Advice

This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a charity that is a member of a national brand. Join a growing organisation that excels in delivering a great service to clients and cares about employees. Become a part of a team that puts excellence and clients at the forefront.

Job Vacancy:  Debt Adviser

Hours: 37 hours per week – full time
Salary: £24,961 pa.
Contract: Permanent
Closing date: 22nd April 2020
Interview date: 5th May 2020

Citizens Advice Sandwell is seeking to recruit an enthusiastic and experienced Debt Adviser, to work in a busy office. The ideal person will have knowledge of undertaking in-depth casework for clients with multiple debts and providing comprehensive specialist debt advice.

The Debt Adviser must be flexible with their approach to work, target driven, able to work well under pressure while maintaining high quality and standards in all aspects of their work.

A positive manner in addition to good organisation and time management skills is important. The ideal person must have excellent communication skills to enable them to advocate for clients with the aim to achieve results. The candidate must be willing to work as part of a team, use their initiative to work independently and develop external partnerships.

It is vital they can carry out and monitor their own casework and related administrative tasks, with minimal supervision. Accuracy is essential, as well as meeting deadlines. Travel across Sandwell will be required.

If you enjoy a challenge and think you have the skills in addition to knowledge to do this role, then please contact us to obtain an application pack for this post. Please email:

Sandwell Beam launches new Phone Support Service

Sandwell Beam has launched a new phone support service for young people.  Beam is an emotional health and wellbeing service for 5 – 18 year olds, and up to 25 if you are a care leaver.

To access this service or hear about other ways Beam can support you, please contact

Beam is there to listen and offer reassurance.

Visit the website

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