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Early Years Funding Update: Temporarily Extending 2 Year Old Free Early Education Entitlements

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Sandwell Council are temporarily extending 2 year old entitlements eligibility to include children assessed as being vulnerable and meeting the definition in Section 17 (s17) of the Children Act 1989 and who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

The Secretary of State for Education has decided to temporarily extend eligibility for the free early education entitlement to two year olds from families in receipt of s17 support who have NRPF, for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak only. This is to support their safety and wellbeing whilst the lockdown is in place. Eligible children are British-born child(ren) who are entitled to be here, yet not receiving support by virtue of the parent’s immigration status which triggers the NRPF. This is a temporary measure during COVID-19, is intended to support vulnerable children usually not eligible for a free early education place.

Local authorities will be reimbursed for eligible children who have physically taken up a temporary free 2 year old early education place by attending an early years childcare setting during COVID-19.

If you think you are eligible for a place or know someone who could be, please pass on this information for them to apply.

Apply using the adjacent link –

For support or to contact the team, please email or for further information.

Sandwell Cash for Sports Clubs – Round 5 COVID-19 Emergency Funding

Sandwell Council understand that sports clubs, like every other sector, may now find themselves experiencing financial difficulties. Therefore, due to the current circumstances we are re-profiling the Cash for Sports Clubs grant scheme this year to make grants quickly available for local Sports Clubs to support you with any immediate or urgent financial issues.

You can apply for up to £1,000 to support with any immediate losses or issues, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Sandwell Council wants to help you to ensure that our sports clubs are still with us when this crisis is over. You may want to apply for funds to support the sustainability of your club during this time, e.g. training and qualifications, if they are currently available from your NGB.

They are also aware of a number of other schemes to support sports clubs during this crisis. The Sport England Community Emergency Fund has recently been created, and Sandwell Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) are also offering support. If you require any further information or support with accessing these funds, please contact the Council’s Sport & Leisure team at

We are also planning on setting up some virtual meetings and Webinars so that clubs can come together to share challenges and solutions to issues faced. We can invite colleagues from local organisations that may be able to provide help and support.

For more information click on the links below:

Sports Clubs Questionnaire

The questionnaire seeks to understand the difficulties you may currently be experiencing, that might require a greater extent of financial support than we can provide. Council officers will follow this up by getting in touch with you to provide you with advice and support.

To complete the survey click here.

Trading Standards Team Warning Against Coronavirus-Related Scams

Sandwell’s Trading Standards team is urging people to be on their guard against falling victim to rogue traders and distraction burglars.

Officers say that opportunists are using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to knock on doors and defraud residents.

Reports include people posing as healthcare workers, offering to shop for older people, taking their money and not coming back, as well as the more usual attempts to carry out often unnecessary work to drives, gardens and roofs.

These rogue traders carry out poor quality and unfinished work, agreeing a price and then claiming more work is needed to increase the cost, they are very persuasive and often aggressive.

Council Leader Councillor Yvonne Davies said: “We want to warn people to be extra vigilant, don’t open your door to anyone that you don’t know.”

There are a number of coronavirus-related scams in operation.

Doorstep crime:
• Criminals are targeting older people on their doorstep, offering to do shopping. Thieves take their money and don’t return.

• Doorstep cleansing services offering to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Online scams:
• Email scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments putting people at the risk of identity theft. Some of these emails have lured people to click on attachments by offering information about people who are affected by coronavirus locally.

• Fake online resources – such as false coronavirus Maps – that deliver malware such as AZORult Trojan, an information stealing programme which can infiltrate a variety of sensitive data.

A prominent example that has deployed malware is ‘corona-virus-map[dot]com’.

Refund scams:
• Companies and websites offering fake holiday refunds to people who have been forced to cancel their trips.

Counterfeit goods:
• Fake hand sanitisers, face masks and coronavirus swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products are often dangerous and unsafe with some potentially harmful hand sanitise containing glutaral (or glutaraldehyde) which was banned for human use in 2014.

Telephone scams:
• As more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.

Residents are urged to stop cold calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service at or by calling 0345 070 0707.

Donation scams:
• There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for a coronavirus ‘vaccine’.

If you are thinking of making a donation, please think about your local voluntary sector which is always looking for additional funds.

Loan sharks:
• Illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and fees through threats and violence.

If you or someone you know has been targeted by a scam please report it to Action Fraud online at or by calling 0300 123 2040.

For advice and information on how to check if something is a scam visit

National Trading Standards is also issuing urgent advice to help prevent people falling victim to coronavirus-related scams through is Friends Against Scams campaign.

They provide free online training modules to empower people to take a stand against scams at

Residents can contact Sandwell’s trading standards team by calling 03454 04 05 06 or online at

Coronavirus – Support for Businesses

The UK Government has announced a package of help for businesses through this period of disruption.

You can get the latest information by visiting the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s website by clicking here.

The Council will be responsible for administering the following:

  • Expanded Retail Relief and Relief for Nursery Businesses
  • We are currently awaiting updates from the provider of our Business Rates system which will allow us to award these reliefs. We expect to receive these updates after Easter.

Once the reliefs have been awarded, new bills will be issued.

Small Business Grants and Retail, Hospitality and Retail Grants
We will be writing to all businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less with potential entitlement to these grants during the week commencing 6 April 2020.

The letter will ask businesses to provide information which we need to establish eligibility to the grant and make payment.

This information must be provided on an online form, the details of which will be included in the letter.

Once we have received the completed form, we will carry out checks to verify the information provided.

All businesses will receive a letter confirming whether they are eligible and payment will be made to eligible businesses by BACS.

You can also visit our Budget 2020 page for more information about these grants, including how to apply.

More advice for businesses – Think Sandwell
You can also visit our Think Sandwell website for more information about support available for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Sandwell Council

COVID-19 Sandwell Council Response

Please see below an important message from Sandwell Council, which SCVO are circulating on their behalf, regarding our collective response to the coronavirus situation in the borough.

COVID-19 letter to all voluntary sector organisations in Sandwell

We are reaching out to you as voluntary sector organisations in Sandwell to see how we can work together through this time of crisis to ensure that people in Sandwell who have care and support needs receive the help they require.

We now need you to let us know what assistance you can contribute to ensuring the ongoing care and support needs of people within the community.  We understand that some of you may be considering ceasing your current service provision and we would welcome any contribution of staff time or availability of staff and other support options which we can coordinate across the 6 towns of Sandwell.

Equally, we recognise and understand you may be struggling around your substantiality. It would therefore be helpful to understand what support the council can provide to contribute to your ongoing service provision.

In light of the above, please complete and return the two sections detailed below as soon as possible.  We can then consider not only how best to support you, but also how we can try to pull all of the available resources together to support the vulnerable people in Sandwell.  Once we have received your responses we will be collating them and producing a response that will be targeted to the different elements of care and support provision and will advise you of support options that may be available. We will also be in touch to discuss with you how we can work together to mobilise our shared resources through this difficult time.

When completed please return to:

How can your service support the people of Sandwell? How can the council support you to sustain your service provision?













Public Health seeks champions for Planning for Dementia

As part of the strategic work / planning for Dementia, Public Heath are making a request for two champions from Smethwick for Dementia Action Week (11 – 17 May 2020). Two representatives from each of the six towns are also required to take part in a Virtual Dementia Tour, 12 May 2020.

The tour allows a person with a healthy brain to experience what dementia might be like. In return, the representative will be asked to share the experience locally and become a Dementia Champion.

What you need to do
Write to Public Heath explaining why you want to attend the Virtual Dementia Tour, and outline how it will help you make a difference in your community. You must be free to attend the session for the full duration, 3.00 pm – 5.15 pm, on 12 May. Participants will be required to fill a short medical questionnaire before they take part in the activity.  Letters of interest must be received by 27 March.  Successful participants will be informed on 10 April.

Letters of interest should be sent to:

Maxine Groves
Senior Commissioning Manager for Dementia
Green Floor, Jack Judge House
B69 9EN


To read more, click here.

As places are limited, an information session will be arranged for interested individuals and organisations. Details of the information session will be shared over the next few months.

Shape Summer Festival 2020 Call for Stand Holders

Sandwell Council are looking for organisations who would like to attend SHAPE Summer Festival 2020. They have a stage available if any dance groups would like to perform. If you are interested please return the completed Registration Form by 5pm on 28th February 2020 to and return to

Sandwell Council SHAPE Programme and #MoveMoreSandwell have joined forces to bring ‘Summer Fest 2020’ this year on 2 days Saturday 11th July and Sunday 12th July 2020 at Sandwell Valley.

Aims & Objectives
Summer Fest has traditionally been an opportunity for organisations to promote and showcase services they offer for children and young people, particularly during the summer holidays. It provides a platform to speak to parents and families about the services you offer and keeping their children involved in positive activities. Saturday’s event will be tailored towards children and young people, it will include the careers expo as last year did and on stage will have a Champion of Champions talent show with the winners of SHAPE Your Talent performing.

Move More Sandwell aims to encourage all Sandwell residents to ‘move more’ by being physically active, whoever they are and however they want to. The Sunday Move More Sandwell festival will provide residents with the opportunity to try various taster sessions on offer from local physical activity and sport providers and participate in informal competitions and tournaments. Residents will then be encouraged to sign up to the programmes/ activities that they enjoyed the most.

Local Community Organisations
For the last 2 years we have successfully had a culture theme for the festival celebrating the diversity of Sandwell and linking to Sandwell’s Vision 2030.  This year we would like to do the same. As a community organisation if you would like to promote your services to young people and would like to host some activities to share your culture.

We are also looking for cultural music, dance or entertainment for the music stage, if you are aware of any artists who can bring your culture to life on stage then please also send us details.

Local Businesses/ Careers/ Apprenticeship/Training Providers
If your organisation offers careers, apprenticeship, training or further education opportunities then please also get in touch to be part of the careers expo taking place at the event.

If your organisation would like to be a sponsor for the event please let us know to be sent the details of our sponsorship package.

Sports/Physical Activity Providers
If you are a sports/activity provider and would like to organise a tournament on one or both of the days, then please register your interest.

Register your interest by clicking here and returning to by  5pm on Friday 28th February 2020 (please note all forms after the deadline date will not be accepted).

Businesses and Voluntary Groups To Give Views on Spending

Company bosses and voluntary groups are to be given the chance to talk to council chiefs on how money is spent on local authority services.

The council has invited business organisations, groups representing local firms and the voluntary sector to a meeting of its Cabinet.

The meeting will give representatives a chance to give feedback to the council on its proposals for expenditure for the next financial year and give their ideas on how services could be improved.

Sandwell Council is required to consult with such groups under the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
An informal consultation meeting will be held at 5pm on Wednesday 19 February at Sandwell Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury.

Councillor Wasim Ali, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for resources and core services, said: “It is important that the business and voluntary sectors are given a chance to have a say on how they think money should be spent in the borough.
“We will listen to any suggestions or ideas they come up with and they will be discussed by the council at a later date.”

Anyone who wishes to get involved in the consultation should contact Suky Suthi-Nagra on 0121 569 3479

Sandwell Council Launches Climate Change Consultation

Sandwell council has started an eight-week consultation period on 20 January for people to give their views and ideas on how emissions can be reduced.

A Climate Change Working Group has been set up to improve upon emissions of 4.6 tonnes per person in Sandwell, which have been reducing in recent years but are still above the regional average.

The council has been working to reduce emissions through more energy efficient housing, better heating systems, LED street lighting and moving to hybrid vehicles, encouraging more recycling and planting trees for every reception child starting school.

Climate change had been identified by the World Health Organisation as the number one priority for public health this century, so the ‘do nothing’ option was not sustainable.   Under the Sandwell Air Quality Action Plan, officers would work on ways to reduce nitrogen dioxide concentrations at ‘hot spot’ locations and encourage taxi operators to reduce emissions from vehicles.

The council is also working on ways to promote better public transport, walking, cycling and encourage people to switch to low or zero emission cars.

Throughout the eight-week consultation period, people will be able to provide their views through an online questionnaire and the council will also be holding events in each of the six towns. Details of events will be announced in the New Year.

Have your say at

Spotlight on Rowley Community Activity Network

Tell us what you do.
Rowley Community Activity Network (CAN) forms part of Sandwell Council’s drive to boost the physical activity within the six Sandwell towns. The network brings people of all ages and abilities together to organise and develop sporting, physical and well-being activities.

CAN also supports community organisations with their ideas to introduce new sports facilities or improve existing ones and actively encourages residents to become more active and lead healthier lifestyles within their community.

What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement has been empowering local community organisations to develop activities that improve the health of local residents’ and seeing the positive differences these activities are having on those participating within Rowley.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
Rowley CAN has engaged the services of SCVO to support the development and establishment of new and existing community organisations within Rowley and to assist with the identification of funding opportunities and the development of these applications.

We have also recently worked in partnership to promote a local funding opportunity to community organisations located in the Rowley Regis ward which proved to be a great success and demonstrates what can be achieve with a little joined up thinking.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most important thing is to listen to the residents and groups, take time to understand their issues, opinions and aspirations and then together design activities and programmes. Involving the people you are trying to help in designing the activities and programmes is vital to success. The organisations in Rowley have great passion, skills, knowledge and ideas. The Rowley CAN just brings people together to share those attributes and offer support, advice and guidance where needed.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our plans for the future are to continue to support the community organisations within Rowley and help them to develop activities that are meaningful and worthwhile for both the organisations and participants.

It’s important to us to be a part of the positive changes in improving people’s health and encouraging new social networks within our community.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Rowley CAN is looking forward to working in collaboration with SCVO in the future to support the diverse number of community organisations delivering valuable community services in Rowley.

If you want to find out more about the Rowley Community Activity Network or come along to our next networking meeting please contact Matt Hill on 07790 945111 or via email at

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Tel: 0121 525 1127

1st Floor, Landchard House
Victoria Street, West Bromwich
B70 8ER