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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 www.healthysandwell.co.uk


£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.


What Is The Future of Remote Working For Charities?

Charity Digital News examine how the last few months of remote working have brought charity service delivery in line with people’s wider experience of digital services – and how the pandemic will shape the future of charity service delivery.

The last few months have seen many charities rapidly digitise their services in order to survive. Initially, these changes were born out of necessity. Faced with an unprecedented lockdown, charities had to move service delivery, fundraising and other operations online – with many small charities taking the first steps on their digital journey.

But several months down the line, most of these changes look like they are here to stay. Charities have been able to increase their reach and their impact – with virtual events and digital service delivery removing barriers to accessibility and helping organisations expand their base beyond their immediate geographic areas.

Much of this change has been driven by remote working. What has been thrust upon the sector as a short-term necessity has begun to look like a long-term solution. The flexibility of remote working offers benefits for both charity workers and service users.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Source: Charity Digital News


5 Best Practice Tips to Make Your Charity Social Media Posts More Accessible

Charity social media is about bringing people together. But you can’t do that if you’re unintentionally excluding some of your audience.

Over the past few years, charities have put significant focus on inclusive website design that accounts for a wide range of diversity among users and the barriers they might face when interacting with digital content.

These limitations fall broadly into three categories – permanent (like when someone has a disability, visual or cognitive impairment), temporary (such as when someone is recovering from a stroke or has an ear infection) and situational (for instance, someone interacting with content whilst holding a baby, in a very loud place or somewhere where they aren’t safe to play content out loud).

Accessibility encompasses a wide range of different audience challenges. And for many organisations, ensuring that everyone has equal access to their information and content is a vital part of their mission.

But accessibility goes far beyond just your website. It is also crucial to reaching new audiences and building relationships with diverse groups of supporters and advocates. Has your charity thought about the content you’re putting out on social media platforms?

Here are some quick social media best practice tips and accessibility features to get you started.

Make sure your built-in accessibility features are enabled

This is probably the first you should do to make your social content more accessible. Explore the settings of the platforms you’re on and enable any accessibility features, as some may not be turned on by default. In Twitter, for example, you have to dig for it in ’Settings and Privacy’ > ’Accessibility’. Take the time to familiarise yourself with them, and with the latest accessibility updates from the platforms you use.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Source: Charity Digital News


‘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 Charities Aid Foundation Hands Out Record £702m to Charities

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) handed out more than £702m to charities globally last year, a record for the organisation.

The figures gave been revealed in its 2019/20 annual report that says charities in 110 countries benefitted.

The figure for 2019/20 is £56m more than the previous year.

CAF, which manages donations on behalf of philanthropists, businesses and individuals, says the record tally comes amid financial and political uncertainty over the last financial year.

This includes Brexit negotiations, the UK general election and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CAF chief executive says the figures give him optimism that there will be a continued willingness to give as the health crisis continues.

“Despite a year that ended with uncertainty such as we have never seen in our lifetimes, our community of donors, be they individuals or companies, responded with record levels of generosity,” he said.

“At CAF, we are proud to have facilitated the distribution of those vital funds to so many good causes around the world, especially as many now find themselves in such challenging straits. The numbers in this year’s annual report translate into tangible, vital support for the millions of people who rely on the work of charities.

“The months and indeed years ahead will not be easy ones for both charities and the people they support, but the willingness to give detailed in this year’s report provide a sense of hope that we will be able to recover, rebuild and thrive once again.”

The annual report shows that CAF’s emergency fund paid almost £6.5m to more than 1,250 small UK charities during 2019/20.

Source: Charity Times


Charity Commission launches New Online Charity Register to Provide More Information to Public

The Charity Commission has launched a new online charity register to allow the public to have greater insight into how charities are run.

The regulator said the new and improved public register ‘widens the public’s window’ into how third sector organisations are managed by making more information about individual charities available to donors and the public.

Around 40 million people currently use the regulator’s ‘check a charity’ facility a year, showcasing the public’s need for greater transparency.

The new and improved register aims to increase the level of transparency, providing donors and the public with more information about where charity money goes and the efficient use of resources.

‘Regulatory alerts’ will be issued when a charity has been held to account by the regulator, highlighting the specific action taken or underway.

Furthermore, financial information will be available, including the number of staff within a charity that receive total income packages over £60,000 and whether trustees are paid for their services. It also highlights income that individual charities receive from government grants and contracts.

The new display also shows whether individual charities work with a professional fundraiser and whether they have specific policies in place, including on safeguarding.

Better service for charities

The new display is also designed to make it easier for trustees to access and update their charity’s information with the Commission.

New data download functions also aim to help sector professionals better analyse information about the charity sector as a whole, including trends and developments in the size and make-up of the sector.

An additional function of the tool will allow potential supporters – donors or grant makers – or those thinking of setting up a new charity to search for charities in their area, or to identify charities that promote a certain cause.

Charity Commission CEO, Helen Stephenson CBE said she hopes the new display will “encourage charities to continue to respond to growing public expectations around transparency and accountability”.

“Recent months have demonstrated the volunteering spirit of the British public and its generous support for charities. The Commission’s online register has an important role to play in ensuring that generosity supports good causes, and we continue to urge people to check the register before donating to be sure that their money is going to a genuine charity,” she said.

Source: Charity Times


Utilita Community Hub Now Open In West Bromwich!

Utilita are an energy company committed to supporting the local community, charities and small to medium locally owned businesses. They have recently opened their Energy Hub in 3D Astle Park, West Bromwich, B70 8NS. Why not pop in to see them Monday to Saturday between 9am till 5.30pm to find out more about them and what they are up to here in West Bromwich.

They are keen to get involved with and help local charities, community and voluntary groups out. They are also able to host energy efficiency workshops within the hub, in their ‘community room’, which is free for community use and community minded activities.

So what have Utilita done since moving into West Bromwich:

  • They have raised over £2,700 for Options for Life a local Charity supporting people with a learning disability and/or autism, where they took part in the Hub2Hub challenge (cycle, walk or run a total of 516 miles).
  • They’ve volunteered with Tipton Litter Watch helping to keep clean the streets of Tipton.
  • They are currently in talks with the local West Bromwich Basketball team to see how they can support them financially and create a partnership.
  • A drop off and collection point for Salma Food Bank food donations, a patron of the Princes Trust.

Utilita have come to West Bromwich to connect and engage with new and existing customers to discuss their energy bills and how they can potentially save you money, receive expert energy advice and look at the possibility of switching energy providers by receiving an energy quote for those looking to change their energy supplier to Utilita.

Why not pop in to see them have a friendly chat and a cuppa to find out how they may be able to help you or your community organisation.


DHSC invites charities to join Health and Wellbeing Alliance

The Department of Health and Social Care has invited charities to apply to join the Voluntary,  Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Alliance. Members of the alliance receive grant funding on an annual basis of up to £80,000 for their core work. 

The Health and Wellbeing Alliance is part of the Health and Wellbeing Programme to promote health equalities and reduce health inequalities.

The closing date for applications is midday on 6 November 2020.

For more information click here.

Source: Gov.UK


Time to Move On From Emergency Funding Say VCSE Leaders

It is now time to move back to more conventional cycles of funding and away from the demands of applying for and issuing short-term emergency grants, a new briefing from The Institute for Voluntary Action Research has found.

The Institute has been producing regular briefings on the challenges faced by VCSE leaders during Covid-19, based on what it is hearing through the online peer support sessions it is running for VCSE leaders. The latest, Between a rock and a hard place is published today, Monday 17 August.

In it, it reveals that VCSE leaders now see the idea of linear progression in funding from emergency to recovery and then to renewal becoming unhelpful as restrictions are tightened in virus hot spots, with a difficult winter predicted, and medical solutions to Covid-19 not yet been found.

However, both funders and VCSE organisations need to move on from the demands of applying for and distributing six-month grants, and the challenge is now to move back to more conventional cycles of one, three and even five-year funding, without losing the urgency and lightness of touch that has characterised the immediate response by so many.

According to the briefing, at the forefront of VCSE leaders’ minds are:

  1. Staff and personal welfare, with comments including: ‘Our clients are really suffering at the moment, which means staff are hearing difficult stories and clients are becoming harder to help – they are starting to take their frustrations out on our staff more, which is very hard.’
  2. Navigating the easing of lockdown: ‘Like many others, we’ve come out of the crisis phase and we’ve survived it. But planning for increasing capacity with physical distancing, infection prevention and having control measures in place is going to make our services very, very limited.’
  3. Long-term strategy: ‘The support that clients will need in six months will not be what they normally need. We are having to rethink our strategy for the long term.’

The briefing also shares what VCSE leaders say they most need, with the top three being: access to peer support, supportive funding structures, and collaboration and cross-sector engagement.

As well as moving on from short-term funding, the briefing calls for funders to develop and prioritise:

  • Trust: by selecting organisations whose values and ambitions align with their own and then backing their knowledge, experience and skills.
  • Flexible funding, with trust best expressed through genuinely unrestricted funding, which grantees can use as they see fit in response to changing circumstances.
  • Support: by respecting organisations’ own analysis of their needs and circumstances, and funding them to create the capacity to engage with and use support, and giving them the freedom to decline it, if the timing or focus isn’t right for them

The briefing can be read in full on the Institute’s site.

Source: Fundraising UK


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