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West Midlands Awarded £3.85 Million to Get the Region Cycling and Walking

Plans for pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements and many other measures to encourage more cycling and walking across the West Midlands have been given overwhelming backing from Government.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and its partner councils a £3.85 million grant to implement these fast-track measures over the next two months.

A list of more than 45 projects includes a pop-up cycle lane linking Coventry city centre to the Canal Basin, a Birmingham city centre cycle lane connecting the A38 and A34 blue routes, and road closures to improve pedestrian and cycle safety in Wolverhampton city centre.

The grant from the Emergency Active Travel Fund is £400,000 more than the West Midlands asked for and means that some projects could be accelerated or new schemes added to the list. The extra money is an indication of the strength of the region’s bid.

TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and the seven councils are now in discussion over the allocation of the extra funding.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said:

It is fantastic that the DfT has not just fully endorsed our quick start plans to get more people cycling and walking this summer but offered extra funding. This money will be used to create a range of pop-up cycle lanes and re-allocate road space and widen pavements to make it safer and easier for people to get around on two wheels and two feet. We have seen a significant shift towards cycling and walking during the coronavirus outbreak and as we emerge from lockdown we want to provide safe alternatives to car use so that we can maintain both the health and environmental benefits we have clearly seen.”

The investment in active travel – the collective term for cycling and walking – also meets the WMCA’s aims of improving the region’s health and reducing carbon emissions as set out in the region’s #WM2041 plan to tackle climate change.

Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, added:

This emergency funding will deliver results for our residents right away. In fact, some schemes have already been implemented to allow people to walk and cycle in greater safety as we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown. But this is just one part of a £40 million investment in cycling and walking we are making across the West Midlands, which will deliver long-term improvements and offer people a safe, healthy and fun alternative to the car while helping us reduce traffic congestion and improve the air we breathe.”

This wider investment includes the £23 million Transforming Cities Fund and a further £14 million Emergency Active Travel Fund grants, which are being used to create permanent cycling and walking infrastructure, including safe cycle routes.

Source: Active Black Country


Black Country Touring Dial-A-Story Launching August

Connecting isolated people with unique performances via a phone call.

Continued social isolation has meant the closure of nearly all of the community venues we work with – libraries, community centres, places of worship… the places that bring people together. Since lockdown began, we’ve been exploring new ways to connect people with the arts, as a way of bringing something special into our ‘at home’ version of normality – through projects such as Zoom Café.

Black Country Touring quickly realised that while online performances are a great way of connecting with audiences at this time, many people without the internet are unable to use these services in the Black Country. These people are some of the most at risk of feeling isolated and lonely during the current crisis.

In August, we’ll launch Dial-A-Story, a project that will see three locally based artists perform 1-to-1 with people via a phone call. We’re partnering with Sandwell Advocacy and other community and voluntary organisations in Sandwell to reach people who would most benefit from a creative connection with an artist.

This project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Heart of England Community Foundation’s ‘Doing Things Differently’ fund, SCVO & Sandwell MBC’s Vision 2030 fund and Creative Black Country. We are really grateful to our funders for enabling us to explore new ways of bringing the arts into the lives of local people at this challenging time.


‘Relax and Chat’ Sessions – Beat It Percussion

Can we help? Beat It Percussion is reaching out to provide free support to people in Sandwell who are being touched by mental health or anxiety issues in this difficult time of COVID19.

Beat It Percussion are offering live Zoom sessions contact them for the zoom joining instructions.

‘Relax and Chat’ sessions offer a live sound relaxation experience using gongs, singing bowls, bells and other beautiful instruments to create a sense of total relaxation and give you some quality ‘me-time’. We work with small groups to give people the chance to chat and share their stories, creating a sense of community and friendship at this time when many of us are still feeling isolated.

Who is this for? Anyone who wants to take a break from the cycle of anxiety, to recharge their emotional batteries and enjoy an informal chat. Get in touch to find out more.

‘It’s like a deep tissue massage for the mind’

Free taster sessions!  Please contact us to get your Zoom invitation:

  • Tuesday July 14th at 12 noon
  • Tuesday July 14th at 2pm
  • Friday July 17th at 7pm
  • Sunday July 19th at 12 noon

Volunteering opportunity. We are looking for people to support the groups by:

  •  Directly by joining the session and taking an active part in the ‘chat’
  • Assisting people with Zoom and helping them build their confidence
  • Helping with phone call reminders and gathering feedback after the session

We look forward to hearing from you by phone: 07875 090946 or email at info@beatitpercussion.co.uk
www.beatitpercussion.co.uk


The UK Civil Society Almanac 2020 is here

The annual UK Civil Society Almanac is now available to download.

Drawing on a range of sources, the Almanac provides a snapshot of what voluntary organisations do, their income and spending, workforce, volunteering and its impact.

Key highlights include:
• 19.4m people volunteered at least once a year during 2018/19 through a group, club or organisation
• The voluntary sector contributed £18.2bn to the economy in 2017/18, representing about 0.9% of total GDP
• The voluntary sector has a paid workforce of 909,088, 5% more than in 2018

Click here to view the UK Civil Society Almanac 2020.

 


Sandwell Valley attractions move towards reopening

A range of activities at Sandwell Valley Country Park in West Bromwich are to be released from lockdown restrictions, starting from Monday 13 July.

Outside staff are returning to normal working to provide maintenance work and services to the public. Staff have been working to make sure animals are cared for and to remove rubbish and tidy the site.
The shops at the visitor centres at Sandwell Park Farm and Forge Mill Farm will reopen from Monday 13 July to provide refreshments, ice creams and other products such as honey and preserves. The tea room at Sandwell Park Farm will also operate a takeaway service. Forge Mill and Sandwell Park Farm will remain closed for now.

This follows the re-opening of Swan Pool to the Sandwell Sailing Club and the mini-runway for Sandwell Model Aircraft Club which is also available to members.

These changes come under phase one of the council’s recovery plan for the Valley and will be welcome news for the many thousands who visit the Valley to use the facilities and to walk and cycle through the local beauty spot.

There will also be an increase in agricultural operations on the farmland and the start of grounds maintenance across all green open spaces and the adjoining Dartmouth Park.

The re-opening of other facilities such as the pedalo boat hire, the farms at Forge Mill and Park Farm will come at a later date, as part of phase two.

Also still on hold is the reopening of play areas and fitness equipment and the toilets at the pavilion. All play areas will need to be inspected and government guidance on their usage considered, before the council can reopen them.


Reset and Recover – Sandwell Communities

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 – dan_jackson@sandwell.gov.uk
Richard Oakes – Head of Service – richard_oakes@sandwell.gov.uk

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


Nominations for the 2020 National Lottery Awards Are Now Open!

The National Lottery Awards celebrate the ordinary people who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

This year,for the first time, the Awards will, honour individuals who have made an extraordinary impact in their community especially those who have adapted during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

There will be no public vote, but your nominations will be put before a judging panel made up of members of The National Lottery family and partners who will crown which of our hometown heroes or lockdown legends will pick up a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy and a £3,000 cash prize for their project.

We are looking for individuals or small groups of people who have made an outstanding contribution in any of the categories below. Young Hero nominees should be under 18 years of age and all suggestions must have been either funded by the National Lottery or be associated with a project which has received National Lottery funding. If you are not sure, don’t worry, nominate them anyway, and our team will check it out.

  • Arts
  • Charity/Voluntary
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Heritage
  • Sport
  • Young Hero (under 18s)

To nominate in any of the above categories click here.

Source: National Lottery


Coronavirus Sees Two-Thirds of Charities Change How They Communicate With Supporters

Lockdown has seen two-thirds (67%) of charities surveyed by Rapidata change the way they communicate with supporters, with use of digital rising sharply and 49% saying they expect to continue using channels they hadn’t used before in the future.

The findings are among those revealed in a new report from Rapidata, released today during Fundraising Convention.

For the report, Rapidata questioned charities on their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, specifically around regular giving and how they had adapted their fundraising.

It found that, among the charities surveyed, communications saw a general shift from donor acquisition to supporter stewardship, with a big rise in the use of digital, and increased impact reporting and thanking.

Key survey findings:

  • 67% of charity respondents changed how they communicate with regular giving supporters during lockdown.
    Use of digital: 71% increased their use of social media, followed by email (62%), online advertising and online virtual events (both 46%). The latter also saw the biggest increase in first time use, at 16% of respondents.
  • A quarter (24%) increased their use of the telephone to thank supporters and reinvigorate relationships.
    Social media, additional impact reporting and thank you mailings were the top three activities used to tackle attrition.
  • Almost a quarter of charities (24%) pre-empted cancellations by offering payment options such as skipping a month, taking a holiday or reducing their gift.
  • The most successful channels for recruiting regular supporters during lockdown were social media, email and online advertising,
  • The most successful channels for stewardship were email, direct mail, and telephone.
  • Almost half (49%) expect to continue using channels they hadn’t used before lockdown.
    75% expect to continue their increased use of digital.
  • Barriers to digital uptake remain: 23% would like to make more use of digital but lack the skills or resources, while 17% are impeded by lack of budget.

Survey responses were received from 87 charities of all sizes. The highest proportion came from London and the South East, followed by Midlands and South West, with causes ranging from children and young people, to hospices, religious causes, animal welfare, and the environment.

As well as asking participants to share how they reacted to lockdown, and to the initial recovery phase of lockdown easing, Rapidata also asked about the strategies implemented to drive donations, mitigate attrition and protect regular giving income, and for their thoughts on the future of regular giving.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Source: UK Fundraising


Sir Lenny Henry wins Special Recognition in Fundraising Award

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising has awarded Sir Lenny Henry with the Special Recognition in Fundraising Award for his contribution to fundraising.

The one-off award was announced yesterday morning just before Sir Lenny began his opening plenary at this year’s Fundraising Convention, presented entirely virtually for the first time.

The award was made in recognition of Sir Lenny’s achievements with Comic Relief and for his continued role in championing diversity and inclusion across the creative arts.

Henry co-founded Comic Relief in 1985 with comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis in response to the famine in Ethiopia. Through a series of telethons on the BBC, expanded with the introduction of Sport Relief, Comic Relief had by 2015 raised over £1 billion for charitable work in Africa and in the UK.

The first live fundraising show was held on 4 April 1986, and the first Red Nose Day campaign was held on 5 February 1988.

Henry is also a campaigner for the greater representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in the entertainment industry.

He addressed the issue of diversity and representation in the charity sector in his opening plenary, together with sharing his experience of fundraising through Comic Relief.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Source: UK Fundraising


Barnardo’s 175 Challenge

Thomas Barnardo’s has a significant birthday (175) on Saturday July 4th.

We thought it would be a good time to come together and do something positive and show what a great organisation Barnardo’s is, especially given how challenging the last few months have been.

Local challenge
Between Barnardo’s colleagues in the Black Country/Central region we are going to complete a 175 kilometre run/walk on Saturday 4th July. Please feel free to join us for the run/walk by either completing 1.75K, 17.5K and anywhere between. Do as a team/individual (10k, 5k, 2.5=17.5k). Or why not do 175 minutes/seconds of exercise/s.

Your challenge
If Running/Walking isn’t for you how about doing something else with 175 in it? Examples 175 seconds of juggling or balancing something on your head, star jumps, dancing! It could be minutes, seconds, meters, miles, anything it doesn’t matter. The more creative the idea the better. You can join us on Saturday July 4th or the closest day to it that suits you.

Post it
Post a picture/video of you doing you activity. Wear something green and post on workplace if you can.

Solidarity and Reflection
We will be supporting the Black Life Matters campaign at the start of our run by ‘taking a knee’. It can also be a time to think about our colleagues that have lost loved ones during the pandemic and those that have lost their own lives.

Fundraising
If you want to raise much needed funds for Barnardo’s why not support our Crisis Appeal.

Safety
If you are able to join us whatever you are doing stay safe and well and follow government guidelines.

For more information please contact Jonathan Oldham – Children Services Manager, Barnardos –

T:  01384 411 722, M: 07739 256266 or e-mail – jonathan.oldham@barnardos.org.uk


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