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SLT On Road To Recovery After Weathering COVID Storm

Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) is heralding its latest independently verified success story of generating and delivering £16.5 million of social value* back to the borough.

In the last full operational year prior to the impact of COVID-19, the Black Country-based charity (which runs nine leisure facilities for Sandwell Council across the borough) achieved 16.1% local resident attendance figures. The national average is 15.9% – but with seven of its centres sitting in the top 50% of sites it places them all well above standard for the industry.

The Social Value report measures and benchmarks the contribution services make on improved health, improved subjective well-being, increased educational attainment and reduced crime – and is a key measure of how charitable and leisure operators contribute back to their local areas.

This positive news comes with SLT retaining all frontline staff as all nine centres have re-opened successfully following pandemic restrictions lifting, plus the Trust being given a clean bill of health by an independent Health & Safety advisor following no less than 46 separate inspections of their COVID-secure procedures prior to and during lockdown re-openings.

Click here to read the article in full.

Community Digital Skills Pathway – UK Community Renewal Funding Opportunity

Community Digital Skills Pathway – UK Community Renewal Funding Opportunity with Good Things Foundation who are looking for potential partners in the West Midlands combined local authority area to deliver this key initiative between October 2021 and March 2022.

Their proposal has been recommended to Government for funding by WMCA. They are currently waiting for a final decision from Government to fund the launch of the initiative and, if successful, they will be issuing grant applications at the end of August.

Good Things Foundation: Who are they and what do they do?

They are a social change charity, helping people change their lives through digital.

Their vision is a world where everyone benefits from digital. They want people to be digitally able, equal and safe so that they can be happier, healthier and better off.

Join their Online Centre Network here today; it’s free and there are a host of benefits for your organisation and the communities they serve.

For more information click here.

Have Your Say on Disability Benefits

People with disabilities are urged to have their say in shaping the future of the benefits system by responding to the Health and Disability Green Paper consultation.

This 12-week online survey closes in two months and Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson has issued a “rallying call” to the public to help inform changes that will improve lives.

The Health and Disability Green Paper consultation includes changes, which could, according to the Government:

  • Enable independent living and test the role of advocacy so people who need extra help to navigate the benefits system get the right level of support and information first time.
  • Review how assessments are carried out including exploring the potential for longer-term use of telephone and video assessments and looking at how reassessments work, including testing a new Severe Disability Group (SDG) for people with conditions that will not improve. This could see those who meet the criteria experiencing a more simplified application process, without the need for an assessment to receive financial support.
  • Improve support for disabled people to help them start, stay and succeed in work through the Work and Health Programme, Access to Work.

The online survey is running alongside a series of consultation events with disabled people and those with health conditions and their representatives. This includes virtual and face-to-face events covering England, Scotland and Wales.

Following the consultation, detailed proposals will be brought forward in a White Paper next year, setting out how people can be enabled to take up work and live more independently, and outline the changes Government want to make to the benefits system.

The survey, accessed by clicking here will close on October 11, 2021.


Midlands Open Minded LGBT Group

Midlands Open Minded are a newly formed LGBT group that meets up on a Saturday afternoon in Sandwell or Dudley, with the aim of bringing individuals together to access a social support network for a stronger more connected community.

If you’d like to find out more about the group contact Rupert on 07704908585.

You can follow the group on Twitter @MildandsOpen

Residents Urged to Look Out for Voter Registration details from Sandwell Council

Sandwell residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date.

With elections taking place in Sandwell in May 2022, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.

The annual canvass ensures that Sandwell Council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered to vote so that they can be encouraged to do so.

This year, residents will receive an email or letter regarding the annual canvass – depending on what contact details the council holds for them.

For the majority of residents, unless there are any changes to their circumstances, they won’t need to respond. Please read your letter or email carefully.

A Sandwell Council spokesperson said: “It’s important that residents look out for messages from Sandwell Council so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in the borough.

“We will send you a letter or an email for you to respond to. To make sure you are able to have your say at elections taking place next year, simply follow the instructions sent to you.

“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the messages we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post.”

People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from Sandwell Council and check the details.

Research by the Electoral Commission, published in 2019, indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those who have lived at the same address for a long time. Across Great Britain, 92% of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered, compared to 36% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.

Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, said: “It’s really important that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so. Checking the messages that you will get from your local authority is the easiest way to see if you’re registered to vote. If you’re not, make sure you provide the necessary information to your local authority when it is needed and register to vote online at”

Further information on the electoral canvass is available at

Information on registering to vote is available on the Electoral Commission website.

Any residents who have any questions can contact the elections team by emailing or by calling 0121 569 3242.

The Community Ownership Fund

The UK government has launched a new £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help ensure that communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can support and continue benefiting from the local facilities, community assets and amenities most important to them.

Voluntary and community groups can bid for match funding to acquire important assets and run them for the benefit of the local community.

The Fund will run until 2024/25 and there will be at least 8 bidding rounds in total.

To find out more about this fund and how to apply click here.


How Charity Chair Pulled Out All the Stop to Help Tackle Isolation

In a new report by Association of Chairs, they found that charity chairs are putting in longer hours to help their charities manage the Covid-19 crisis. 

The existential crisis posed by the coronavirus pandemic has been felt by everyone working in the voluntary and community sector. It isn’t just those who are paid to work for charities that are feeling the strain either!

The Association of Chairs found that 62 per cent of chairs reported that they were spending four or more days a month on their chairing role during the crisis, up from 43 per cent before. And 18 per cent said they had spent more than 11 days a month chairing, versus 10 per cent before the pandemic.

Find out more by reading the Third Sector article by clicking here.

Source: Third Sector News

EU Citizens need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30th June 2021

Did you know that if you’re an EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen, you and your family have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status), to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021? You can also apply if you’re the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.

Why do you have to apply?
Settled status for EU citizens will guarantee access to:
• Public services, such as healthcare and schools.
• Public funds and pensions.
• British citizenship, if you meet the requirements and want to apply.

Do you need help with your application?
If you can’t apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by using the EU Exit ID document check app, Birmingham City Council provides the ID Scanning and Verification Service, to help and support citizens with their applications. It is an appointment only service that the council’s Register Office provides free of charge. The ID Scanning and Verification Service is also available during lockdown. Book an appointment here.

Specialised local organisations in Birmingham have been commissioned to assist people with their applications. The advice and support is free. See the list here.

Camphill Village Trust welcomes new CEO

Camphill Village Trust has announced that Sara Thakkar has been appointed as their new Chief Executive. Sara brings with her many years of experience in the sector – holding Chief Executive positions for over a decade – with a focus on housing, inclusion and supporting service users to lead on strategic decisions.

Sara takes over from Huw John who is leaving the charity after 10 years to explore new opportunities in the sector. Brian Walsh OBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees said, ‘On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we would like to offer our congratulations to Sara Thakkar. Sara joins the Trust a wealth of experience as CEO of several organisations within the social care and housing sectors. The Board extends its thanks to Huw John who will step down as CEO after 10 years’ service and wishes him well in his future ventures.’

Sara said, ‘I am really proud to have been offered such a prestigious role for a charity renowned for its forward-thinking approach to adult social care through support, employability and environmental sustainability. I believe that we are forerunners for future fit care, and I am really looking forward to working with all at the Trust to bring the ambition to reality.’

Sara will formally start her role as the Trusts’ CEO on the 1st June 2021.

Visit the website

Easyfundraising Payments and Webinar

Community groups and  charities in Sandwell that are registered with funding site #easyfundraising are getting a share of £1.1m this month. This is how much was raised for good causes by people using #easyfundraising to collect free donations from leading online retailers. Find out how you can get a share for your organisation by clicking here.

If you haven’t registered for our upcoming funding webinar with easyfundraising yet, you can do that here and filling in the Eventbrite registration.

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