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Tividale Park Group Seeks New Volunteers

Are you a Tividale Resident?

The Friends of Tividale Park Group support plans to improve the facilities in the park, organise and develop a range of community activities and events, to bring people of all ages together to have fun and enjoy the park.

The Friends of Tividale Park Group are seeking community minded individuals to join them on their committee (on a voluntary basis). Don’t worry no prior experience is necessary, as access to training and support will be provided and you can give as little or as much time as you can spare (as a guide you need to be prepared to spare approximately 1-2 hours every week for attendance at meetings and on an occasional basis a few hours in between meetings as required).

The friends of Tividale Park are a residents’ community group who work to improve the park in various ways, including fundraising for new equipment, volunteering, and supporting events. So why not get involved and help them to make Tividale Park a real hive of community activity.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn new skills with like-minded individuals, support the development of the facilities and community activities taking place within the park.

If you would like to become a friend or for more information, please email

They would love to hear from anyone who is interested in making a positive difference within their community or would just like to find out more about what is involved.

The Friends of Tividale Park want to bring Tividale Park back into the heart of their community making it a community facility that everyone can be proud of!

Their next meeting being held at:

Gurdwara, Dudley Road West Tividale, Oldbury, B69 2PJ is on Tuesday 5th December 2017 at 6.30pm.

Why not take a look at their website at www.friendsof

LLoyds Digital Capacity Index

Last week the Lloyds UK 2017 ‘Business Digital Index’ report was published. Just in case you’re not sure what that it, the report measures the digital capability of 2,000 small businesses and charities across the UK, using a combination of actual online behaviour and survey analysis.

Fancy Guppy have read through the report and picked out five of the most interesting new findings about charities’ digital capabilities and attitudes and written them up into a blog, along with some thoughts on all those interesting findings: Five key findings from the UK Business Digital Index, and our suggestion that we need ‘conversations not lessons’.

One of the key findings of this year’s report is that more than half (52%) of charities don’t have basic digital skills (which are divided by different types of tasks, into five categories: communicating, creating, managing information, problem solving, and transacting). 48% of charities can do all five, meaning they do have basic digital skills. But, that doesn’t mean that the 52% that don’t have basic digital skills can’t do anything within those five categories, in fact

• Only 5% of charities have none of the five skills
• 7% have one skill
• 10% have two skills
• 10% have three, and
• 20% have four

So 20% (around 40,000 charities) are very close, only one skill away, from having basic digital skills. The report notes that if those charities were to gain that final skill, that would mean over two thirds (68%) of charities would have basic digital skills!

For more results from this year’s Business Digtal Index, you can read Fancy Guppy’s blog about the report here and access the full report here.

Source: Fancy Guppy

Call-out for Artists for Winter Open All Media Exhibition

Following successful September and October Exhibitions, The Art Yard Gallery & Studios, Cradley Heath, is pleased to announce its Winter Open All Media Exhibition, on Monday 20 November to Friday 22 November 2017.

Are you interested in being part of the Exhibition to showcase Artists working in a wide scope of visual media, including paint, photography, ceramics, sculpture, film, metalwork and crafts?

The Art Yard’s front window and internal galleries have been extended and improved. The central gallery now offers a spacious multi-use environment for exhibitions, Art Classes, micro-cinema, visual and audio shows, crafts and demonstrations, whilst the rear community hub can be used for meetings with other people to socialise or just for a quick chat over a cup of tea or coffee.

The plan is to increase the opportunities for local artists and craftworkers to promote their products and provide greater public access to artworks.

Artists should complete a Submission form listing all works you would like to exhibit stating media, size and selling price. Please include any digital images of each work. Fees are to be paid when delivering your works.

The Submission Form is to returned via email by Friday, 17 November 2017

National Financial Capability Week 13-19 November 2017

During Financial Capability week Sandwell Financial Services Hub, its partner agencies and Black Country Housing Group – BC Click Start, will be celebrating the work they do to improve financial capability within the community by hosting events in and across Sandwell at local libraries.

The theme for Financial Capability Week is ‘Ways to Save Money/Money Saving Tips’ and at the events SFSH will be sharing money saving ideas and:

• a ‘Taste test’
• saving money on shopping
• saving money on energy usage
• healthy eating recipes
• Christmas dinner on a budget
• Information regarding Universal Credit, new BetterOff Sandwell website etc.

See when Sandwell Financial Services Hub will be in your Town.


Give Back with The Albion Foundation

The Albion Foundation is a registered charity that uses the power of football to make a difference, raise aspirations, grow their people and participants and connect West Bromwich Albion Football Club to its communities.

The Foundation prides itself on inspiring to achieve and delivering the highest quality of provision to show that ‘Albion Cares’.  It has four main departments Education, Engagement, Sport Development and Disability.

The Albion Foundation has teams of staff available to visit and support other charities or community organisations in the local area.  As a charity it likes to do a ‘Give Back’ day every year.  There are around 70 staff who are sent out to different organisations to help out for the day. This might be face to face work or just general work that might need doing at your facility.  Previously, The Foundation has supported organisations in the following ways:

Cleaned up the local canals and wastelands of Sandwell
Worked with adults with learning disabilities
Painting/decorating and gardening
Supported and spent the day with elderly residents
Cleaned kennels and walked dogs for an animal charity

 The Foundation is looking to do something on Thursday, 21 December, roughly between 9 am & 3 pm and could send at least eight staff.

If your organisation has anything you think The Albion Foundation could assist with please contact

Visit the website

West Midlands Rail Stations Alliance Survey

West Midlands Rail is currently seeking views from local communities regarding facilities at their local railway stations, priorities for station improvements and how the stations could better serve the wider community. The stations which West Midlands Rail is seeking views on are:

Smethwick Rolfe St, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Sandwell and Dudley, Dudley Port, Tipton, Coseley.

West Midlands Rail is interested in understanding what matters to you when using the stations and the nearby local facilities. As such, it are inviting you to take part in the survey at the following link –

For further information about West Midlands Rail, please visit the website –

Get Active at exercise sessions across Sandwell

Agewell runs a number of weekly exercise sessions for the Over 60s and the less able of all ages.

Sessions last for 1-2 hours, cost £2.50 to participate and are held at various community venues across Sandwell. Meet up with old friends and make new ones, make your heart stronger, maintain and protect healthy bones and improve your mobility.  Contact Agewell on 0121 796 9333 for details of classes near you or for more information.

Agewell have 100 Concessionary SLT Leisure Passes up for grabs which are available on a first come, first served basis.  The passes include up to 50% off swimming, fitness classes, gyms and much more.

Charities Overpaying for IT As ‘Unscrupulous Suppliers’ Take Advantage Of Brexit Confusion

A new study has found that charities could be paying over the odds for IT products thanks to excessive mark-ups blamed on Brexit.

According to the IT Margins Benchmarking Study, an annual report published by KnowledgeBus, charities are paying an average margin of 26%. However, in one case, a charity was charged a whopping 1,165% margin.

Best procurement practice, as guided by the Society of IT Managers, states buyers should not pay more than a 3% margin.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Al Nagar, head of benchmarking at KnowledgeBus, said: “Although there was a period of rapid inflation in the tech market not all prices increased. Some product prices stayed the same and some went down. But what we witnessed was unscrupulous suppliers taking advantage of the perception that price increases were going up across the board.
“Many organisations – without the tools to check what was really happening in the market – were caught out by these actions.”

The Cheapest Option
Many of the largest tech companies in the world donate software to UK registered charities through the tt-exchange donation programme run by Technology Trust. Charities can register to access software donations for free and only pay admin fees per licence received, which is usually around 96% under market costs.

Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and a range of others all list products that they make available to charities. More than 30,000 charities have made use of the programme to date, but Richard Craig, CEO of Technology Trust, says this is not enough.
“We’ve been running the donation programme for over a decade and are constantly adding new partners and hitting new milestones, but there’s still a long way to go until we can say we’ve fulfilled our mission and can go home.”

“The donation programme really is a no-brainer for charities – it takes away the pressure of relying on old systems that aren’t fit for purpose and allows charities to focus on what’s really important. We’re happy that we get hundreds of new charities registering each month, but seeing as the programme would help the vast majority of the c.260,000 charities in the UK, you can tell that the majority still aren’t making the most of the resources available to them.”

Source: Charity Digital News

Charities Urged to Be Alert to Phishing Attacks

The Charity Commission has issued an alert encouraging charities to be alert to potential phishing attacks.

The alert follows increasing reports of phishing scams, when fraudsters attempt to hoax users and get hold of sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details.

Action Fraud, the commission says, is receiving around 8,000 reports of phishing attacks on charities each month, which shows the scale of these scams.

To protect against the harm caused by phishing attacks, the commission is suggesting charities read detailed advice from government on improving cyber security. You can also find out how to become accredited under the Cyber Essentials Scheme.

If you think your charity has been affected by a phishing scam, whether it was prevented or not, report it to Action Fraud through their website or call them on 0300 123 2040.

If your charity has fallen victim to a phishing scam and lost sensitive data or valuable funds, you need to report it to us as a serious incident.

Action to take now:
• make sure charity software has up-to-date virus protection (though it will not always prevent you from becoming infected)
• don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Fraudsters can. ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like it’s from a trusted source. If you’re unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication. Information on how to find email headers is available on the MX Toolbox website.
• always install software updates as soon as they become available, they will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities
• if your current software does not offer an ‘anti-spyware’ function, consider installing software which does, it can detect key loggers
• make regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. But, it’s important that the device you back up to is not left connected to your computer, as a malware infection could spread to that too
• if you suspect your bank details have been accessed, you should contact your bank immediately.

Source: Charity Digital News


YMCA BCG Enterprise units available in West Bromwich

Do you have an idea for a start-up business or maybe you’ve been doing your “thing” for the last 12 months and now feel the need to base yourself in small community of like-minded business people.

We can help…. YMCA Black Country Group currently have 2 of our 5 enterprise units available for hire at Western Gateway our recently developed complex in Carters Green West Bromwich.

Designed specifically for start-up business we can offer discounted rental schemes and flexible lease terms to support  newly established organisations to grow and flourish. The space is adaptable and could be utilised for a variety of different uses including office space, retail, light manufacturing/production etc.

For further details please contact Andy Watson on 0121 524 1950.

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