Children and young people

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Queen’s Speech Commits Government to Online Harms Law

The Government has committed itself through the Queen’s Speech to bringing in online harms legislation to protect children and vulnerable adults from digital threats.

The protection measures, outlining tougher checks on social media platforms to prevent online abuse, had been introduced by the government in April 2019 through an online harms white paper.

In this week’s Queen’s Speech the government has confirmed that it “will develop legislation to improve internet safety for all”.

“Britain is leading the world in developing a comprehensive regulatory regime to keep people safe online, protect children and other vulnerable users and ensure that there are no safe spaces for terrorists online,” states the Queen’s Speech, which was introduced into parliament on Thursday following the Conservative Party’s general election victory this month.

It adds: “ The April 2019 online harms white paper set out the government’s plan for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. The government will continue work to develop this legislation, alongside ensuring that the UK remains one of the best places in the world for technology companies to operate.”

The white paper measures had received the backing of a number of charities supporting vulnerable people from internet harm, in particular relating to children at risk from sex offenders.

The proposals include appointing an independent regulator to ensure tech companies have a duty of care towards their users.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News


Spotlight on Girls Friendly Society

Tell us what you do
Girls Friendly Society (GFS) recruits women volunteers to run groups where girls can go make friends, build confidence, have fun and be inspired. At the groups, girls focus on six key themes; feeling a part of their community, being creative, getting active, learning to be happy with who they are, developing skills for life and having a lot of fun.

What is your proudest achievement?
We are a really long-established organisation – we were founded in 1875! – and we are proud of our ability to keep changing with the times while holding the core value of supporting and empowering women. We have a number of volunteers who have been with us for 40 or more years, and their willingness to develop and grow with us to provide something that is relevant for today is something we are also, extremely proud of.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
From the first contact, we had with the SCVO a couple of months ago, we received lots of support in terms of local knowledge and useful contacts. Staff have been really helpful and welcoming to Jennie Crosby, our Midlands Regional Development Coordinator.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Everyone Jennie has met have been really friendly and interested in finding out what Girls Friendly Society is about and what we can offer in local communities. Organisations and community groups have been keen to share information about us, putting Jennie in touch with lots of people. We are also finding out what a large and diverse Metropolitan Borough Sandwell is.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We are just about to launch two new groups for girls aged 7-12 in the area – one in Cradley Heath and one on Hurst Road, Smethwick. Recruiting volunteers who are passionate about empowering girls and can commit to running the groups for a medium to long term is the challenge. While short term volunteers are welcome, we’re particularly interested in people who can commit to helping us maintain some consistency within the group.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Your knowledge of the local area (especially venues) is really useful, as we plan to continue to open groups nearby. Our goal is to establish a reputation for providing amazing opportunities for girls in this area.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Then why not check out their volunteering page by clicking here.


React Martial Arts

Who are React Martial Arts?

React Martial Arts was set up in August 2014 as a kickboxing organisation designed to make kickboxing and martial arts more accessible to all.

For more information on the organisation visit their website at www.reactmartialarts.co.uk

1) Tell us what you do.

We run Kickboxing classes for ages 5+ at St Michael’s School, Rowley Regis on Tuesday evenings between 19:00-20:00. Classes are taught in a controlled and fun environment to encourage everyone to develop at their own pace, with regular grading’s to allow students to show what they have learnt.

We also take a small group of fighters to compete locally, nationally and internationally. And lastly we sometimes do work in schools such as special martial arts taster days.

2) What is your proudest achievement?

Our proudest achieve is having two England squad members who recently won a gold medal each at the ICO World Championships. In total taking 6 medals from 6 categories.

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

The most valuable lesson we have learnt about working with people in Sandwell is that people need to take things at their own pace and it’s important to listen to what they want and where they are on their individual journey.

4) What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?

Our plans for the future are to continue to make Kickboxing accessible to all and to educate our community that despite common misconceptions that martial arts promote violence and fighting, martial arts is about teaching control, discipline and can help to tackle mental health concern.

5) How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

SCVO can help through reiterating the above point that Kickboxing is not just about fighting but about teaching respect, discipline, and control whenever possible and supporting is to share our accomplishments and success to a wider audience enabling us to demonstrate to others where kickboxing as a sport can take them.

If you’d like to find out more about these services and Tuesday evenings session at St Michael’s school please contact Arron Walker on 07539 383 299 or via email at reactmartialarts@outlook.com


Summary of West Bromwich Unemployed Young People’s Social Action Project

The aim of the Project was for a group of unemployed your people supported by Sandwell HUB, Talent Match, West Bromwich JCP and Barnardo’s On Track Project, to create and complete an identified community social action, by organising and donating a number of shoeboxes containing needy toiletries and dry food products for young adults with visual disabilities.

The Project enabled the young people to gain and evidence their involvement in a community voluntary activity, which will improve their employability status with employers who view this type of activity as a recommendable staff recruitment objective. The young people will highlight their involvement in the project on their individual CVs.

The full report can be viewed here.

Further engagement and employability support will continue to be offered to young people and if anyone is interested in this they can contact Paul Powell, Progression Coach, Barnardo’s On-Track Project – paul.powell@barnardos.org.uk or telephone 0121 550 5271.


7to97 – The Westminster School

1. Tell us what you do.
Currently only 7% of young people in the UK with a learning difficulty get paid employment after leaving education and training. We aim to equip our young people with employability skills and giving them the opportunity to work on all aspects product design and development, marketing and retailing.

The Westminster School is determined to address this issue through the curriculum and opportunities we offer our young people. In September 2016, we established our Social Enterprise initiative, 7to97, which complemented our work experience and vocational further education courses that we already had in place at school.

One of our key aims is to raise awareness in the local business community of the talents and skills of our students (e.g. creativity, work ethic, passion) and how they would be an invaluable asset to any business. All of our young people aspire to work when they leave education, with many saying they want to be able support their families in the future through paid employment.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement is that all students involved in the 7to97 project have had the opportunity to sell to the public through street markets. They have shown confidence when serving customers, and this was particularly evident at Digbeth Arts Market. Students gave up their Saturday to help set up and run the stall. We are extremely proud of all the young people who have taken part in the project.

3. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our plans moving forward are to diversify and expand our range of products and increase our links with local business. We have been very fortunate to be supported by a local steel company who regularly donate items to us and we are currently in discussions with a wedding company in Birmingham in order to support them with wedding favours. We have also been approached by Digbeth Dining Club and the Arts Market to run more stalls at future events.

4. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
We would like SCVO to support us by signposting us to people who could give business advice and guidance to our students, and provide general support to our 7to97 initiative to help ensure that we give our students the best possible chance of getting the skills they need for paid employment.


Spotlight on Beanstalk

1. Tell us what you do.
Beanstalk is a literacy charity working with Schools to offer a service of trained ‘Reading Helpers’, who on average work with three children, to provide constant support on a weekly basis, for a whole school year.

We recruit, train and support volunteers to provide consistent, one-to-one literacy support to primary school children who may have fallen behind with their reading, lack confidence, or struggle with their fluency, comprehension or vocabulary.

Our aim is to develop their love of reading and improve their confidence levels.

Why not visit our website at www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk to find out more about us.

2. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lesson we have learnt is that connecting our volunteers with the children is a great way to inspire confidence.

Jack Ogalbe, a Reading Helper said, “The joy on their faces when they discover a new word is hugely rewarding”.

Being a part of Beanstalk is a great way to make a difference to a child’s life and is a satisfying volunteering experience.

3. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our future plans are to break into Nursery Schools with a view of supporting children aged 3 upwards. Our challenge to turn this dream into reality is for us to recruit new Reading Helpers to support our growth into Nursery Schools.

4. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
In the future, we’d like SCVO’s support to help us to promote our activities and attract new volunteers’. This would enable us to continue to provide the simple yet highly effective service.

For more information or to become a volunteer with Beanstalk please contact us on 0121 7712922 or by email at westmidlandsapplications@beanstalkcharity.org.uk


Spotlight on Make, Move And Munch Club Sandwell

1. Tell us what you do.

Accord Group Housing Association are working with the National Charity Partnership, to inspire hundreds of people in Sandwell to eat better, get active and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Make, Move and Munch Clubs are the National Charity Partnership’s intensive support programme being delivered in Sandwell by Kaleidoscope Plus Group, Complete Kidz, Ideal for All and Groundwork.

The free eight session programme is running in Schools until December 2017 and motivates participants to improve health behaviours in relation to physical activity and food consumption. Participants have the opportunity to cook and eat a free healthy meal as well as receiving a goody-bag.

For a video introducing Make, Move and Munch click here.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
We are proud of every life changed through this programme and every single step people in Sandwell take to having better health.

A participating Mum said, “I always add salt to my cooking, these sessions have taught me that I must try my food before thinking about adding salt to flavour the food.”

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
SCVO’s Breakfast Meetings are a really effective way of getting to know people in the voluntary sector and an opportunity for information sharing and support.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
We have learnt that the best places to engage with Mums are where they are already gathered – at Schools. Now working in partnership with Sandwell Schools to deliver Make, Move and Munch is a real asset to the work, and we are delighted to be complementing the hard work Schools are already doing to support families into better health.

We have also seen that despite the negative press about the rise in obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. When offered a fun, interactive programme, families of all cultures and backgrounds are embracing trying new recipes and, with encouragement and support, are enjoying doing a little bit more physical activity.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We are looking for more Schools to work with in the summer term and autumn term as part of our programme and we are looking forward to celebrating all that the programme has achieved

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
We value the opportunity to use SCVO’s promotional networks moving forward, to assist us to book more School venues for the summer term.

If you’re interested in hosting a club or for more information please email helen.tomblin@accordgroup.org.uk.


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 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


Spotlight on Walk Works CIC

logoTell us what you do.
Walk Works CIC offers bespoke guided walks around the Black Country and surrounding areas. Our walks focus on local heritage, education, recreation or creative activities; with the aim of enhancing the social welfare opportunities and improving the understanding of the Black Country to visitors.

Our outdoor events are open to everyone including families and children providing they are accompanied by an appropriate adult for the duration of the walk. We want to get people talking about our area, and looking at their surroundings with fresh eyes.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement was organising our Christmas Lights Switch on event with three weeks’ notice on behalf of Sandwell Council. Although organising the event was a mad rush with all the on-street entertainment, community stalls and small independent retailers participating in the event. We feel it was worth all the effort with over 2,000 individuals attending making it a very successful event for our community.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
SCVO has provided us with an array of advice, support and help since our inception which includes providing practical advice on starting up as a Community Interest Company and our charitable purposes to us taking advantage of our membership to obtain a discount on our Public Liability Insurance.

After an initial discussion with SCVO regarding our legal structure, their advice enabled us to save time, effort and money from the onset.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lesson we have learnt so far, is that people are very interested in their community but aren’t always sure on how to turn their ideas or energy into a positive community contribution that enables change to happen.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Moving forward we envisage our future challenges to be finding the finances to continue and develop future positive activities which will involve local research and planning to continue to make a positive contribution within our community.

How can SCVO help to support your organization in the future?
We feel we will value from the continued support and advice from SCVO with the identification of funding opportunities that will enable us to invest in our volunteers.

For more information on our group or to get involved with our activities please email Fran Wilde at walkworks.cic@gmail.com


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