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Helping older people stay active

Sandwell Council and Active Black Country have teamed up help older people stay active.

The Council is working with Active Black Country to distribute older age care packs to older people living in supported accommodation in Sandwell. The packs include exercise equipment such as a stress ball and exercise band along with a set of simple instructions for the residents to follow.

Active Black Country Director, Ian Carey, said: “The response from our Black Country partners and communities to keep people active has been fantastic. Working together, we have been able to develop these care packs, to help keeping older aged people physically and mentally active, which is crucial during this period of self-isolation and social distancing.

“We hope the packs provide a meaningful intervention for older age groups during this extraordinary period.”

For more information on staying active and healthy visit

Why Hybrid Events Are the Future of Charity Fundraisers

Hybrid Events offer an opportunity for your charity to experience the best of both worlds: bringing together the accessibility and reach of virtual events and the memorable experiences and opportunities for networking that come with physical ones. 

Enthuse have developed a resource that offers practical advice on everything you need to know about setting up your very own hybrid event and maximising its reach. From finding the right idea, through to setting targets, driving participation and tracking engagement.

Find out more or to download the e-book by clicking here.

What are Hybrid Events?

A ‘Hybrid Event’ is any event (such as a fundraiser, networking event, conference, seminar or workshop) that combines a traditional physical event infrastructure with a virtual component.

Hybrid events usually follow the same model as in-person ones, with the addition of virtual components. For example, a conference following the Hybrid Event model would retain many features of a physical event, such as a central venue, a programme of events, and in-person networking. Speakers may be present in person, attending virtually through video-conferencing software, or a combination of both.

Hybrid Events combine the best characteristics of both virtual and physical events. That’s why they are often used as a means of increasing participation and engagement. They enable the participation of people who might be unable to attend physically due to travel or time zone constraints or through a wish to reduce the carbon footprint of the event.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Residents asked to help shape the future of Sandwell

Sandwell Council wants to hear from residents and businesses as its Towns Fund proposals move to the next phase.

In September 2019, the Government announced it had selected Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich to submit a Towns Fund application for up to £25 million per town.

The towns able to submit a bid were selected by central Government. Sandwell Council continues to identify and seize investment and regeneration opportunities for all six towns.

Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member for Inclusive Economic Growth, said: “In August we launched the first Towns Fund survey and I want to thank everyone who responded to that survey.

“We have listened to residents and I’m happy to announce the project proposals are ready for consultation.

“I want as many residents and businesses as possible to tell us what they think about these proposals and help us put forward the best plans to improve the lives of residents and shape the future of Sandwell.”

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, added: “The Towns Fund is a fantastic opportunity to bring investment into Sandwell. These proposed projects will not only benefit selected towns but the whole of Sandwell. I would therefore ask everyone to have their say by completing the short survey.”

The Towns Fund Phase 2 survey is now live and people have until Wednesday 30 September to take part. To have your say or for more information visit

New-look Autumn Safer 6 Campaign Has Online Focus

Sandwell’s annual autumn Safer 6 campaign is getting under way today (Monday 21 September) with a special online focus this year.

The Safer Sandwell Partnership campaign, now in its 11th year, will promote a wide range of safety, crime prevention and healthy living advice over the next six weeks.

The campaign will also support the ongoing promotion of advice and guidelines around Covid-19, to help protect people from the virus.

Each of the six weeks will have a different theme:
• Week 1 (21-27 September): Health and wellbeing
• Week 2 (28 September-4 October): Exploitation
• Week 3 (5-11 October): Domestic abuse
• Week 4 (12-18 October): Hate crime
• Week 5 (19-25 October): Modern slavery
• Week 6 (26 October-1 November): Crime and anti-social behaviour

As well as online activities, the Safer 6 team will be targeting advice and information to people via posters, leaflets and community networks.

The campaign is led by Sandwell Council for the Safer Sandwell Partnership, which brings together the council, Sandwell Police, West Midlands Fire Service and many other partner organisations.
Sandwell Police Commander Chief Superintendent Ian Green, who chairs the Safer Sandwell Partnership, said: “Organisations work closely together day in, day out throughout the year to make Sandwell a safer, cleaner place.

“Safer 6 builds on that by providing extra advice, information and reassurance as the nights draw in – and it’s especially important this autumn with Covid-19 still giving real challenges and worries for people in our community.

Follow the campaign on Twitter and Instagram using the #Safer6 hashtag and on the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for Safer Sandwell Partnership organisations and services. Go to for a list of key social media accounts taking part in the campaign.

Sign up for regular our e-newsletters at

£200,000 awarded to Black Country art and culture project through Spirit of 2012 collaboration with Birmingham 2022

£200,000 has been awarded to Creative Black Country to create a new, inclusive art and culture project linked to the Commonwealth Games, following a collaboration between Olympic legacy funder Spirit of 2012 and Birmingham 2022.

The participatory performing arts project, entitled Shine A Light, aims to build bridges between D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled people using theatre and mime to tell stories of people around the Commonwealth.

The project will include live taster activity sessions and workshops for 280 people, with 165 adults going on to participate in regular performance workshops which will culminate in a touring performance and set of films to share across the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme.

Partners including Deaf Explorer, Black Country Touring, Disability Arts in Shropshire (DASH), Zebra Access, Deaffest and Deafscope will support and consult across different areas of the project.
Creative Black Country, based in West Bromwich, works closely with local communities to discover, explore and grow an exciting and meaningful programme of cultural activity in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Please view to find out more.


Black Country workers urged to save with credit unions.

money-351078_640A new campaign has been launched to improve the financial health and resilience of employees across the Black Country and encourage workforce savings through credit unions.

The campaign, called #PaydayYourWay, aims to encourage staff to save regularly, help them manage their money and keep them out of the clutches of loan sharks.

The partnership involves the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), Black Country Chamber of Commerce, and Just Finance Black Country, along with four local credit unions (Wolverhampton City Credit Union, Walsave, Castle & Crystal and 6 Towns), working together to promote savings through payroll deduction.

Credit Unions offer access to safe and legitimate financial services, helping to reduce the risk of people going to illegal money lenders who often target the financially vulnerable.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce are encouraging employers and businesses to sign up to a payroll deduction savings and loans scheme through a credit union.

Chamber Chief Executive Corin Crane said: “We are pleased to support the launch of the Payroll Savings campaign and offer this free service to businesses, which can improve the financial wellbeing and productivity of their staff in the workplace.

“It’s important that we help people to save and build up their financial resilience, protecting them against future unexpected events and falling into the trap of unscrupulous loan sharks.”

The payroll deduction scheme allows employees to save regularly or pay off an affordable low-interest loan directly from the wage packet.

The scheme provides employees with greater financial stability as they can build up their savings and access low-cost loans should they need to borrow.

Wolverhampton City Credit Union (WCCU) currently has 16 payroll partners signed up to the scheme and credit union members who save directly from their salary have amassed nearly £250,000 during the pandemic.

WCCU’s Chief Executive Rob Shearing said: “Employers know that their staff could face a tough few months financially – so it makes sense for them to encourage employees to save and borrow responsibly at work.

“The scheme can be set up in minutes and is virtually cost-free for the employer. Most important, having money put aside cuts money worries and helps employees keep their minds on the job.”

All money saved in a credit union is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to the value of £85,000 per person.

26% of UK adults have little or no savings. This means that when an unexpected bill arrives or a family crisis occurs some households may be vulnerable to high-cost lending, including loan sharks.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of financial resilience to deal with unexpected life events. 

“We welcome the launch of this campaign and encourage businesses to set up a payroll deduction scheme for their employees that provides them with easy access to savings and affordable credit.

Continued economic uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic means loan sharks may look to take advantage of people in a vulnerable position who feel they have nowhere to turn for help.

Mr Quigley added: “We are urging victims of illegal money lending to recognise that they are not alone, and to come forward to seek support by calling our 24-hour helpline.

Just Finance Foundation is a financial inclusion charity helping to improve practical skills for people to manage their money well, such as saving more money and getting out of debt.

Rev Cassius Francis, from Just Finance Black Country said: “We are really pleased to support the payroll savings campaign with our credit unions across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton because our aim is to support people and communities to thrive and flourish.  At Just Finance Black Country we want to promote a culture of regular saving – it doesn’t have to be a lot, but we know regular saving can make a difference.  If we can promote a culture of regular saving from our earned income it will help us to be better prepared for financial shocks in the future.

For information on how to become a member of your local credit union, speak to your employer or visit

To report a loan shark, call the 24 hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 or complete an online reporting form at


A Powerful Pound

Food charity FareShareUK has had to triple the amount of food they deliver to frontline charities since the start of the pandemic.

If you would like to be a ‘virtual helper’, just a pound to the @sainsburys Food Donation Programme would ensure FareShare can keep feeding people who need it most.

‘Rapid and Selfless’ Response to Pandemic Across Charity Sector

Jane Ide, Chief Executive of NAVCA, has been reflecting on the response from across the voluntary and community sector and, more specifically, the rapid and selfless reaction from local infrastructure organisations across England, many of them NAVCA members.

Jane writes:

We knew when the pandemic hit, our members would be right at the heart of the response. And the work they have done has been phenomenal.

Local infrastructure organisations are embedded in the communities they serve. Whether they are known as Community Action, a Council for Voluntary Service, Voluntary Action or some other title, the work they do makes a massive impact.

NAVCA members were quick to adapt their operations from day one of the pandemic to co-ordinate all manner of support services, from food deliveries and prescription collections to befriending and dog walking. Alongside direct support to people in need, they have worked tirelessly to connect small charities, community organisations, faith groups, businesses, the NHS, local authorities, mutual aid groups and volunteers in ways that work for their community.

Across the country NAVCA members connected with over a quarter of a million volunteers. We know that the efforts of the voluntary and community sector saved lives.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Source: NAVCA

The Importance of Authenticity For Charity Virtual Events

2020 has been the year of the virtual fundraising event. But with the sudden boom of charity activity now taking place online, it can be even more of a challenge for charities to move audiences to give and take part. Especially when there are so many competing voices vying for peoples’ attention.

In an increasingly content-saturated world, it can be challenging for charities to get their message heard when there is so much out there already. Transparency and authenticity are the key to successful and sustained charity communications and donor relationships.

The importance of defining your message charity’s is invaluable to lasting and memorable donor relationships and ultimate growth. By clearly outlining your mission, and connecting the format and style of your event to your cause, you can help your audience to better understand your mission.

Anyone can throw a virtual fundraising event together these days, but how do you take a great idea and make it your charity’s own? How do you make it memorable, compelling and human without the traditional face to face element?

The key lies in carefully defining your event’s message and relating it to supporters in a way that feels authentic, by keeping your charity’s story centre stage. Here are a few pointers.

Tie your fundraising activity to your mission

When thinking of an idea for your virtual fundraising event, try and come up with something that has a direct impact on supporters and is tied to your cause. Is there a way you can give back something of value to those fundraising for you? If you’re a foodbank, you could run an online cookery class and ask people to donate. If you’re an education and awareness charity, it could be a virtual quiz related to your area of expertise.

To read the full Charity Digital news article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Helping Health and Wellbeing through Sandwell’s Residential Service

Are you looking for opportunities to develop the health and well-being of those in your community group? Are you interested in alternative ways to help people in your community recover and reset, following the challenges of lockdown?

How about trying one of the centres in the Sandwell Residential Service.

We are four centres with one basic goal; to create enjoyable, meaningful opportunities and experiences for the people who step through our doors. We can work with you to develop experiences that use a variety of environments to:

• Build self-confidence and self-esteem in the aftermath of lockdown.
• Provide opportunities for vulnerable groups to develop in a safe, supportive environment.
• Facilitate team work and leadership opportunities
• Develop resilience and a growth mindset through the medium of adventure and challenge.
• Use engagement with the outdoors and/ or creative arts to develop mental health and a sense of wellbeing.
• Create opportunities for people to engage in meaningful environmental activity that develops their sense of community.

If you are interested in forming new and exciting partnerships that will benefit the people around you then please get in touch.

Dan Jackson – Senior Tutor at Plas Gwynant Outdoor centre –
Richard Oakes – Head of Service –

If you want to get a further taste of what we offer then have look at our website or follow us on Facebook.

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