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Black Country Futures

Accord Age Matters are delivering a project called Black Country Futures. The program supports people aged 50 and over and although all-inclusive, will prioritise support to the most disadvantaged and most isolated Black Country residents.

The programme takes a social prescribing and multi- faceted approach to address people’s needs in a holistic manner by utilising Age Matters previous extensive experience. The help covers: dementia support, social prescribing, physical exercise, volunteering, social care, employment, training and social inclusion activities including the use of green spaces and outdoor activities. Support is offered both on a one to one and small group basis to meet the needs of the beneficiaries.

Participants have access to a ‘pick and mix’ approach to the support available across the partnership by being able to access provision from as many, or as few, of the delivery partners during their time on programme. This ensures that participants fully benefit from all the provision being offered.

Accord Age Matters are based within the Pleck area of Walsall but also provide services within the following areas of Sandwell: Blackheath, Charlemont with Grove Vale, Friar Park, Great Barr & Yew Tree, Greet Green & Lyng, Hateley Heath, Newton, Wednesbury North, Wednesbury South and West Bromwich Central.

For further information please contact Mark on 07884865073 or email

WHAT IF…you could change mental health services?

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust invites you to join one of three online sessions to talk about What If?

Everyone is welcome; service users, patients, families, carers, members of the public, community organisations and more. The friendly and informal conversations will be hosted by those with lived experience of health services.

The conversations will take place on 22nd October, 27th October and 3rd November.

For full details see here

Experts by Experience

National charity, Diabetes UK, are looking for local people to spare a little time sharing their experience to help others. Diabetes UK recognises that people with diabetes are the experts on their own lives and condition, and the best people to help them develop support, services and information for others.

Diabetes UK need help with the new ‘Live Well, Move More’ programme. The initiative targets people living with diabetes in England who do less than 30 minutes of activity per week. They particularly need input from people who are:

• living with type 1 diabetes
• living with diabetes who are of South Asian heritage
• newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Other requirements are participants must be available for a monthly online meeting, and feel comfortable sharing their experience and understanding of Diabetes. As advisers, their contribution will help create resources for other people living with the condition.

To find out more about how contributing your experience could really make a difference, contact



Young people sought for Hands, Face and Space Focus Group

Are you between 16 – 25 years old?  Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG would like to hear from you. The Clinical Commissioning Group would like to invite you to participate in an informal group chat, which will last for about an hour and a half. They would love to hear your thoughts on:

• The various national campaigns about Coronavirus. For example, the most recent one on hands, face and space
• Hand sanitising/washing hands
• Face coverings/masks
• Social distancing
• Government Guidelines.

The information and insight gathered from talking to the Focus Group will help the CCG frame messages aimed at young people in the future.

You will have the opportunity for:
• A one to one talk with a team member virtually
• A group chat with a member and other young people virtually
• A group chat with a team member and your friends virtually.

To book a place
If you would like to take part, please email or telephone 0121 612 1447, so that you can be sent the joining details.

If you live, work or study in Sandwell, please book onto Monday 12th October 2020: 2 pm – 3.30 pm.

If you live, work or study in West Birmingham, please book onto Monday 12th October 2020: 10 am – 11.30 am.

The CCG need your help to get the message through to other young people about this virus and see how we can work together to beat it.

Macmillan Coffee Morning Online!

Great news, you’re invited to Macmillan’s Coffee Morning Online! They would love for you to join them via Zoom on 25th September between 11 am and 3 pm. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can go to the hub and take-away a slice of cake or two, too!

The coffee morning will be at Utilita Energy Hub, 3D Astle Park, West Bromwich B70 8NS: (located on West Bromwich High Street, next door to the German Donner Kebab Shop)

Log on and join in for a brew, a slice of cake and a lovely chat to all participants – all for a fantastic cause.

See joining details below.

Topic: MacMillan Coffee Morning
Time: Sep 25, 2020 11:00 AM London

Link to Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 910 3697 5849
Passcode: 3WzTyt

If you cannot attend, but still wish to make a donation, see here.

For those who wish to attend, please get back to Jack Badger at to accept the invite.

Macmillan look forward to seeing you!

Black Country NHS Trust Supporting BAME Communities

Recognising there was a need to further strengthen the resilience and understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust appointed two new Senior Community Development Workers earlier in the year.

Supporting the wider work around tackling health inequalities in BAME communities, Nazima Esscopri and Fareen Hussain have been working hard over the past few months to establish vital links with communities and improve access to and experiences of mental health services across the Black Country.

As well as making links with voluntary organisations and setting up grassroots initiatives, they have also been working with internal NHS colleagues to support the Covid-19 risk assessment process and supporting the development of equality and diversity projects across the Trust.

Across the STP, Nazima and Fareen have contributing to work around pooling resources and information so that we can support our BAME communities collectively to ensure these groups have access to a sound framework of information, guidance and support on their resilience during COVID-19 pandemic.

The team are currently developing a webinar that will bring voluntary sector/stakeholder organisations together to further discuss the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities and how that might impact service delivery and change.

If you would like to find out more about the work of our senior community development workers or would like to participate in the webinar which is taking place on the 28th September at 11.00-12.30pm, please email or you can contact her directly on 07771583635.

If you would like to know more about the BAME workforce you can contact Fareen Hussain via email or directly on her mobile on 07435920675.

The Best Digital Tools for Managing Stress and Mental Health

As we face tough challenges taking a toll on our wellbeing at work, here are the best digital tools for managing stress and mental health.Working in the charity sector can be greatly rewarding and unites people with a passion for progress. We love our jobs because we care deeply about what we do. However, we can face challenges at work that affect our wellbeing. We review the best digital tools for managing stress and mental health.

Our sector faces specific challenges. Charity workers face major deadlines, keen regulation and the need for accountability which can induce stress and impact mental health. A significant source of stress is money as charities are largely dependent on donations and raising their own revenue. The threat of cuts and dwindling funding can add to the problem.

Putting Mental Health First
The significance of good mental health is gaining ground in discussions about the workplace. Charity staff are emotionally invested in their jobs but don’t always have a support network to depend on. Putting self-care first is essential for employees, service users and the organisation itself.

‘Self-care is important’, says Lesley Dixon from social support charity PSS. ‘It’s all well and good just putting your all into it, burning out, and that’s not good for you as an individual, it’s not good for the organisation, it’s not good for people who use the services.’

There are distinct challenges in managing self-care for directors and managers in the charity sector. Whether facing bereavement in cancer charities, supporting vulnerable refugees or helping survivors of sexual violence, charity sector staff face enormously traumatic and distressing situations regularly as part of the daily working day.

“We work with a lot of Syrians who have come over on the government’s resettlement programme”, says Maurice Wren from the Refugee Council, “and their level of traumatisation is higher than we’re used to from other resettled refugees. And that worries me because it means that we’re having to cope with that, we’re having to take that on.”

The tendency of charities to depend on volunteers, part-time staff and teammates working remotely also raises wellbeing issues. Judi Rhys from Arthritis Care refers to ‘that sense of isolation… the sense of not quite being connected with the rest of the workforce’ as one problem. The tendency to dedicate and commit long hours is problematic, too. The pressure can be overwhelming.

Read the full Digital Charity News Article by clicking here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Proposed Merger of the NHS Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs discussions

Following two successful listening exercises which began in October of last year, with many local people and partners, the four Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the Black Country and West Birmingham: Dudley, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton, are proposing to merge to create one CCG.

Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG are inviting the views of key stakeholders as they consider the future commissioning arrangements for the area they serve.

To ensure that you can feedback on these proposals, the CCGs have launched a series of formal conversations so you can share your views about these plans. Locally, there are two events. You can either take part in these meetings on-line using a video link through your computer, phone or tablet or telephone into the meeting to hear and take part in the discussions.

Both these events will be virtual due to the current coronavirus, as follows:

30 July: 2.00 – 3.30 pm
Telephone: 0121 612 1447

West Birmingham
4 August: 11.00 – 12.30 pm
Telephone: 0121 612 1447

The CCG also ask that you take the time to read the conversation document and have your say via the on-line survey, which can both be found on the website.

Or you can call 0121 612 1447 or email for more information or to complete over the phone or request a printed copy.

Council advising Sandwell businesses as COVID cases rise

Sandwell Council has written to all businesses in Sandwell in a bid to halt a surge in COVID-19 cases. This is to give the Public Health Team’s advice to firms on how to open and operate safely in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. The council has also created an online advice page for borough businesses.

The letter has been translated into all the main languages spoken locally, including Somali, Slovak, Punjabi (Pakistan and Indian), Polish and Urdu.

Director of Public Health, Dr Lisa McNally, said in some cases recently, by the time her team knew about an outbreak, there were already dozens of cases and a major outbreak underway – making outbreak management very difficult.

Anyone who develops symptoms – persistent cough, temperature or loss of smell or taste – needs to immediately self-isolate for 7 days.

Where possible people with symptoms should be isolated from others in the household who do not have symptoms. If you develop symptoms book a test immediately via or call 119.

Avoid any unnecessary interaction with people from outside your household. Crowded environments should be avoided.

If you have to go out, maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (preferably 2 metres) from other people and wear a face covering.

West Bromwich factory works with Public Health Partners over coronavirus cases

Sandwell Council’s Public Health Team is working with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands to support a West Bromwich workplace in which a third of the workforce are affected by COVID-19.

CBS Packaging Managing Director, Jitha Singh, and his colleagues are working closely with the firm and arranging further testing of the whole workforce starting Monday, 20 July 2020.

Director of Public Health, Dr Lisa McNally, said there was concern over infection transmission into the community – both in neighbouring Smethwick, where cases have gone up recently, and in Walsall.

However, she said it would not be reasonable to connect the factory directly to all of the new cases seen in Smethwick.

Dr Lisa McNally repeated that everyone needs to remember the virus is still all around us and to follow the advice:

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, you need to do three things.

• First, you and your household must self-isolate at home.
• Second, book a test online or by calling 119.
• Third, if you test positive, respond to any messages from Test & Trace.

Social distancing, hand washing and face coverings
Be strict in keeping your distance from people not in your household – 2 metres apart where possible. Keep washing your hands regularly and limit contact with other people.

Stay at home as much as possible, work from home if you can and wear a face covering especially if you are in an ‘indoors’ environment.

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