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Proposed Polling Places Changes for May 2021 Elections

Several venues where residents can vote are due to change for this year’s May elections.

Sandwell Council has been informed that the venues listed below are unavailable, and has made recommendations for alternative venues.

The venues changing are:

  • Blackheath Central Methodist Church, High Street, Blackheath; proposed new venues Blackheath Library, High Street or Temple Meadows Primary School, Wrights Lane, Cradley Heath, depending on voter’s postcode.
  • Smethwick Fire Station; proposed new venue Holy Trinity Church in Church Hill Street, Smethwick.
  • Akrill Memorial Methodist Church, The Uplands, Smethwick; proposed new venue Dance Studio at Harry Mitchell Leisure Centre, Broomfield, Smethwick.
  • Brandhall Golf Course (Coffee shop) Heron Road, Oldbury; proposed new venue temporary hut on land at the corner of Heron Road and Brook Road, Oldbury.
  •  Temporary hut on the car park of Ron Davis Family Education and Training Centre, Ballot Street, Smethwick; proposed new venue Community Action Project in Windmill Lane, Smethwick.
  • Committee Room A, West Bromwich Town Hall; proposed new venue Ground floor of 1, Providence place, West Bromwich.

Accessibility has been considered at all new venues.

If anyone would like to make any comments on the proposals, please e-mail no later than Wednesday 3rd February 2021.

Government Provides Tips For Charities on How to Win Public Contracts

The Civil Society in their article discuss the areas charities should be emphasizing when bidding for public contracts. According to the government guidance charities should be emphasising their ability to bring value for money, quality and social value to the process. 

They point out that charities are best placed deliver services as their expertise and are often ideally placed to help create compassionate, responsive and efficient public services.

They also point out that Central government has committed to diversify its supply chains and are committed to ensuring contracts are awarded on the basis of more than just price, but a supplier’s social impact too, giving VCSE organisations much deserved recognition for their positive actions in society.

To read the full guidance and article click here.

Source: Civil Society

Trustee Chat: An invitation to talk trustees and their role with Dudley CVS and SCVO

Dudley CVS and SCVO (Sandwell) are jointly hosting an informal session for people to learn more about charity trustees and their role, share their experiences and get support.

The agenda will be open, allowing participants to ask questions, share their experiences and get support with anything to do with being a charity trustee, whatever their current level of experience is. Staff from Dudley CVS and SCVO will be on hand to share their knowledge and offer encouragement and guidance to help run your charity.

The session is particularly aimed at anyone in Dudley or Sandwell boroughs who:

  • Is interested in learning more about being a charity trustee before they become one
  • Is a new trustee
  • Has experience of being a charity trustee that they’d like to share or would like to improve their knowledge
  • Would like to find out about organisations in their areas that might be looking for charity trustees
  • Represent a charity that has trustee vacancies

This virtual session will be held on Zoom. Please register your place to ensure that you are sent joining instructions by clicking here.

When: 23 February 2021 at 10:00am until 23 February 2021 at 12:00pm
Where: Virtual meeting taking place on a Zoom Conference Call

Call to Promote Take-up of Covid-19 Vaccinations

Work is now underway to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations across the country in what is being called the biggest immunisation programme in history. Staff and volunteers from the NHS, local authority and voluntary sector are all involved in a combined effort to bring closer the end of the current pandemic through protecting our population from the virus. A call is now going out across Sandwell to ensure that every person in our borough has the opportunity to benefit from this vaccination.

We know from experience that take up of seasonal flu vaccinations in Sandwell is often lower than other areas and that several challenges get in the way of residents accessing vaccinations. We also know that our local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) is excellently placed to help with the vaccination effort – in fact, the involvement of VCS organisations will be absolutely essential to ensuring that everyone in Sandwell understands the opportunity that vaccination presents and can take up the offer.

SCVO, Sandwell Council and Sandwell Public Health would like to support your VCS organisation to get involved. We know many community groups and voluntary organisations are already doing what they can to encourage, inform and support residents accessing vaccinations and others are making plans to do so. We are particularly looking to engage our faith and community leaders, who are able to reach those in our communities who are more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Activities vary widely, but can include:-
• Proactive calling or writing to service users or local community members encouraging take-up of the vaccine, or doing this in the course of current activities
• Culturally appropriate messaging or sharing information about vaccinations in different languages
• Practical help to support people accessing the vaccination programme
• Focus groups and consultation with the communities to ensure that issues and fears about the vaccine or Covid-19 can be fed back.

To ensure no residents are missed out, we are looking to form an accurate picture of what VCS organisations across Sandwell are doing, or are planning to do, to support vaccination take-up. Consequently, SCVO would appreciate hearing from you about your activities – specifically what you are doing/ have done, how many people will be/ have been reached, and who your target audience is. Please email us your information at

To support this, a new strand of the current Vision 2030 grants programme has been created which will enable applications to be made for small grants which can meet expenses (which are not already being met by existing funding) for future planned activities. For further information, please send a brief outline of your plans and expenses requests to Liz Webster at

Sandwell Public Health team remain on hand as ever also to support with information, guidance and resources for your organisation, staff and volunteers. Please contact Katie Deeley at for further information.


Small Charity Guide to Cyber Security

Now more than ever it’s important to ensure your charity is as protected as possible from cybercrime threats and fraud. A good place to start is the National Cyber Security Centre’s Small Charity Guide. How to improve cyber security within your charity – quickly, easily and at low cost is explained in this free guide.

To download your copy click here.

Source: National Cyber Security Centre

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.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund — £220m extra funding for ‘piloting and testing new approaches’

The Government has announced a £7.5 million funding package to help tackle loneliness over the winter period.

Funding will help provide immediate and targeted relief to those most at risk of loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic.

• Support will target sectors that bring people and communities together including the arts, libraries, charities and radio
• Grants will be administered via Arts Council England, the Government’s Loneliness Fund and two radio funds
• Move follows £4 million Local Connections Fund that will deliver over a thousand small grants to local community projects across the country.

To read more about this announcement click here.


FREE Virtual Funding Fair

Yorkshire Community Matters are running a FREE virtual funding fair this coming March. Their free two day event brings together  national funders such as Lloyds Bank Foundation, Children in Need, Tudor Trust, Allen Lane Foundation and many more.

The funding fair will be held on Wednesday 24th March and Thursday 25th March is a day of national funders!

So how does it work?

Each funder has been allocated a 30 minute session using Zoom to explain what funding they have and also how the application process works. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

Please note, you will need to book separately for each session you wish to attend via Eventbrite.

For more details and to book your FREE session click here.

Be sure to subscribe to our e-bulletin at so you don’t miss out on future events and funding opportunities being developed by SCVO.

Charities Expect Innovation and Digital Growth to Outlast the Pandemic

Civil Society News in their latest article discuss the findings from their Charity Charity Tracker research which was produced in partnership with Charity Finance Group and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. Charities that participated in the survey said they plan to build on the innovation borne from the Covid-19 crisis.

The research also highlights the challenges facing the sector as a whole, with income under pressure and demand rising, with sector leaders emphasising that the ability to be innovative was underpinned by financial sustainability, which continues to be under threat for many charities.

To read their full article click here.

Source: Civil Society News

Citizens Advice Budgeting Buddies Project

Citizens Advice Sandwell & Walsall have received a financial grant from the British Gas Energy Trust to fund a Budgeting Buddies Project. The initiative aims to help residents of Sandwell and Walsall gain control of household finances and assist them in avoiding energy debt. The project will not only help clients financially and practically but improve mental health and wellbeing.

Support Workers, known as Financial Capability Advisers, will work with clients to give practical advice and deliver hands-on support. They will help them to have confidence in financial decision making, managing money and give invaluable support to people impacted by fuel poverty and energy debt, as a result of the pandemic.

Many families were struggling prior to the pandemic and now face even further hardship. Financial Capability Advisers will work with families to react to their immediate issues and change in circumstance and, equally important, they will stay with families to help them remain financially in control for the future.

Budgeting Buddies will be able to help with:
• Making savings with everyday bills
• Benefit checks
• Energy saving tips and grants available
• Budgeting
• Debt – signposting into our debt team
• Understanding bills
• Form Filling & Digital Literacy

Budgeting Buddies Referral Form

To find out more please email

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