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Sandwell Adult and Family Learning Commission Opportunity

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning (SAFL) wishes to commission provision to support local voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver learning opportunities to targeted priority groups of residents. Any organisation that receives funding from SAFL will be classed as a subcontractor. 

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning have grants available of between £10,000 to £50,000 per project for the delivery of training in security, logistics, warehousing and digital skills on our behalf.

Full details can be found by clicking here.

Applications open 28th September 2020.


  • Release of the 2020-2021 Community Learning Offer – 28th September 2020
  • Invitations to submit applications for delivery to commence from November 2020 28th September 2020 – 9th October 2020
  • Notification of results from Project Panel Review 19th October 2020
  • Contracts Awarded W/C 19th October 2020

All applications for funding will be received using the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council procurement process. If you are interested in submitting an application, please complete an application form available from the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council procurement web page by clicking here.

To access the full specification and application form, organisations will need to be registered on the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council procurement system click here.

Please note: Applications will be approved subject to sufficient funds being available. Projects can be short or long but all activity must be completed by 30th June 2021

Community Learning Specification and Guidance can be accessed by clicking here.

For an informal chat about this opportunity please call SAFL on 0121 557 0837 or email

Covid Recourses for voluntary and Community Groups in Sandwell

The new COVID-19 restrictions do not mean activities organised by community and voluntary organisations have to stop.

Community & voluntary sector sessions focused on activities like physical exercise, education, supporting vulnerable people, youth groups, charitable and voluntary work are allowed to exceed the limit of 6 people based on their individual risk assessment.

Be really stringent on social distancing, handwashing etc – and always take attendees’ details for purposes of contact tracing. There is guidance on how to produce a poster with a QR code for your community venue which you can access here . This is an easy way for you to know who has been in your venue and help with test and trace moving forward.

Your public health team can help you stay COVID-19 safe. Get in touch via

Residents asked to help shape the future of Sandwell

Sandwell Council wants to hear from residents and businesses as its Towns Fund proposals move to the next phase.

In September 2019, the Government announced it had selected Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich to submit a Towns Fund application for up to £25 million per town.

The towns able to submit a bid were selected by central Government. Sandwell Council continues to identify and seize investment and regeneration opportunities for all six towns.

Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member for Inclusive Economic Growth, said: “In August we launched the first Towns Fund survey and I want to thank everyone who responded to that survey.

“We have listened to residents and I’m happy to announce the project proposals are ready for consultation.

“I want as many residents and businesses as possible to tell us what they think about these proposals and help us put forward the best plans to improve the lives of residents and shape the future of Sandwell.”

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, added: “The Towns Fund is a fantastic opportunity to bring investment into Sandwell. These proposed projects will not only benefit selected towns but the whole of Sandwell. I would therefore ask everyone to have their say by completing the short survey.”

The Towns Fund Phase 2 survey is now live and people have until Wednesday 30 September to take part. To have your say or for more information visit

Innovation and Creativity Inspired By the Pandemic

When COVID-19 hit the UK in March, it brought an initial instant shut down of community organisations and centres delivering much-needed community services and activities here in Sandwell. As doors closed to the physical world though, many organisations took the step of adapting their delivery (through digital innovation) in order to continue to support the most vulnerable within their communities – from children and families through to older people, and everything in between! 

The pandemic lockdown made community organisations, big and small, re-assess what the needs of their community were and how they could continue to address these needs in a re-imaged way. The imagination, resourcefulness and innovation at the height of the lockdown just goes to show the creativity and resilience of organisations, residents and service providers here in Sandwell. With ‘pop up’ COVID-19 support groups appearing overnight at a very local level, to an army of over 700 COVID-volunteers coming together to lend a helping hand during this time of need to support those most at risk.

We’ve seen:

  • New telephone befriending services;
  • Development of ‘meals on wheels’ for those most in need and vulnerable;
  • ‘Fish, Chips and Zoom’ chats replacing, in the short-term, luncheon clubs and other similar gatherings;
  • ‘Zoom Cafés’, where you brought the cake and cuppa and the community centre brought the conversation or short artistic performance (in partnership with a local arts organisation);
  • Events such as ‘virtual afternoon tea’ and ‘dial a story’ through to ‘doorstep fitness’ and ‘virtual fitness sessions’ from the comfort of your own home.

The creativity and resilience shown has been first class, with so many examples of community organisations thinking on their feet to continue to support their communities and others.

Community organisations have risen to the challenges presented, showing just how determined they are in supporting and continuing their service provision at a time when it matters the most. They have, where possible, joined forces with other community organisations, service providers and others to prevent duplication and to maximise their ability to support local residents by sharing resources and communication channels to get the messages out for those wishing to access the services on offer.

And more is continuing to happen as groups take advantage of the funding provided by a whole range of funding bodies – developing new services and adapting old ones to better meet the needs of communities and individuals in the ever-changing circumstances around us.

SCVO, too, has adapted quickly to the changing environment. Working from home, the staff team has learned a whole host of new skills (mostly digital) to take our support services online; from virtual ‘meet the funder’ events to virtual training workshops and networking sessions (bringing organisations together to share with and learn from each other) all in addition to our regular support services (delivered remotely) – helping them to turn their ideas into reality or simply to champion our sector and the fantastic community opportunities that have arisen.

Whilst the road to recovery is something of an unknown quantity, the message from across Sandwell is loud and clear – groups are wanting to ‘bounce back’ stronger, ensuring the new connections made during lockdown are retained, nurtured and built upon in order to harness the volunteers that came forward and further develop the creativity that was born during the pandemic.

Free Bike Checks for Children in Sandwell

Dr Bike is visiting parks in Sandwell to fix children’s bikes this autumn.

The council’s youth services has received a £3,000 grant from Cycling UK as part of the Big Bike Revival initiative.

Children’s bikes can be taken along to any of the sessions where an expert will spend a maximum of 30 minutes repairing and giving bikes safety checks including looking at breaks, gears, tyres. No booking is necessary.

Dr Bike will be at the following parks on these dates:
• Jubilee Park, Tipton – 6pm – Wednesday 16 September 2020
• Victoria Park, Tipton – 6pm – Thursday 17 September 2020
• Brunswick Park, Wednesbury – 6pm – Wednesday 23 September 2020
• Britannia Park, Rowley Regis – 6pm – Thursday 24 September 2020
• Jubilee Park, Tipton – 6pm – Wednesday 21 October 2020
• Victoria Park, – Tipton – 6pm – Thursday 22 October 2020
• Brunswick Park, Wednesbury – 6pm – Wednesday 28 Oct 2020
• Britannia Park, Rowley Regis – 6pm – Thursday 29 Oct 2020

Healthwatch Sandwell Insight Public Meeting

This is to inform you that we will be holding our next ‘Insight’ public meeting online via Zoom on Thursday 3rd September 2020 starting at 1.30pm until 3.00pm

The topic of our meeting will be “Future arrangements for NHS commissioning across the Black Country and West Birmingham.”
This follows public events being held across Sandwell and West Birmingham to hear proposals to merge the CCGs across the Black Country and West Birmingham.

At our meeting we will hear from Dr Ian Sykes (Clinical Chair) and Michelle Carolan (Managing Director), both from Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG.

Background information together with a survey is available from our website

To book for our event, please register on our Eventbrite page

Before the event we will send you details of how to join our Zoom meeting (if you do not hear from us by 1st September and you have booked please contact us.)


Remembering the HMT Empire Windrush Generation and First Commonwealth Arrivals

Sandwell Museums are launching a project to remember the first Commonwealth arrivals to the UK.

The ‘What’s in the case?’ project is funded jointly by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s Windrush Scheme and Sandwell Council’s Museums and Arts Service.

The aim is to collect the stories of the first wave of Commonwealth citizens travelling to Britain to live, work and make it their home in the years after the Second World War.

Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member responsible for museums, said: “Sandwell and the rest of the UK would not be the diverse and culturally rich place it is today without the Windrush generations and every new Commonwealth arrival since then.

“We want to hear from that generation and their descendants, about their journey and the lives and experiences they have had since arriving.”

Councillor Jackie Taylor, cabinet member for sustainable transport, who became the first African Caribbean councillor elected in Sandwell in 2014, said: “‘What’s in the case?’ captures the dreams of my parents when they arrived in Birmingham in 1957.

“I am immensely proud of the bravery of that generation of people who travelled into the unknown from the Commonwealth. My parents arrived from Jamaica with not only the dreams for themselves and their families, but also that of British society and what they could contribute to it. I look forward to the project and richness of stories that I know will emerge, to inspire a new generation.”

Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton added: “It’s important to remember the first Commonwealth arrivals to the UK and to celebrate diversity and the many cultures and people that make Sandwell great.”

Sandwell Museums would like participants to take part in a series of interviews via phone, Skype or Zoom to collect their stories and memories of their journey to Britain and of course, what they packed in their cases.

To take part and request more information, please email

Source: Sandwell Council

Highways Improvement Works Begin for Sandwell Aquatics Centre

Sandwell Council will shortly be starting highways improvement work surrounding the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick. These much-needed works are the start of a phased approach to the improvement of the highways infrastructure in the area and will have a focus on sustainable forms of travel.

The initial works, which will be completed by March 2021, are detailed are below:
• Holly Lane / Manor Road Junction Improvements: The mini roundabout at the junction of Holly Lane and Manor Road will be upgraded to a signalised junction that will improve road safety, create safe pedestrian crossing points and provide cycle advanced stop lines for improved cycle safety.

• Londonderry Lane / Manor Road Junction Improvements: The mini roundabout at the junction of Manor Road and Londonderry Lane will be upgraded to a signalised junction that will improve road safety, create safe pedestrian crossing points and provide cycle advanced stop lines for improved cycle safety.

• Pedestrian crossing facilities at Holly Lane and St Pauls Road: A new signalised junction at Holly Lane and St Pauls Road to incorporate full pedestrian crossing facilities. This will also help with concerns raised previously by Councillors and residents around speed and pedestrian facilities on St Pauls Road. In addition to this, the crossing would have additional benefits of improving pedestrian routes and encourage a modal shift for Holly Lodge High School pupils.

• Bristnall Hall Road Crossing: Install double Zebra crossing with central refuge, widen footway and resurface carriageway as necessary.
• Dog Kennal Lane Crossing: Install double Zebra crossing and resurface carriageway as necessary.

The completion of these highways works will not only improve safe, sustainable travel in the area but will also support access to the new world-class Sandwell Aquatics Centre that is being delivered in the area.

Sandwell Council Offers Back to School Advice and Support

With children due back to school in a few weeks, Sandwell Council has a set up a dedicated website for parents and young people.

The website has a number of questions and answers as well as links to organisations who can help and support families with the return to school. The website can be found at

Schools are working hard and planning for the return of all pupils for the autumn term and are making sure they ready to welcome children back in September.

The website will continue to be updated as government advice is received.
Sandwell families can visit for full details

Domestic Abuse – How Employers Can Help An Employee or Colleague

Measures to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak have drastically altered people’s day to day lives. Many organisations have been preparing for a resulting increase in domestic abuse.

Sandwell Council is encouraging employers to consider how they may be able to support staff who are victims of domestic abuse.
Councillor Farut Shaeen, cabinet member for living healthy lives, said: “Working at home can increase the sense of isolation that victims of domestic abuse can often feel, and employers may need to consider this in planning and prioritising staff returning to the workplace.

“Victims may feel they are isolated, but we want them to know that their voices are being heard.”
Sandwell Council Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton, added: “Employers have a crucial role to play in helping staff who are victims of domestic abuse, by reassuring someone at risk that they are not alone and signposting them towards help available.

“Employers and colleagues can be a lifeline for people living with domestic abuse.”
Sandwell Council has compiled a wealth of valuable information including helpful, practical information for employers and employees at the webpage.

The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse website has a range of resources to support employers. See also this toolkit from Business in the Community which can help employers deliver their duty of care in relation to domestic abuse.

Victims of domestic abuse can contact Black Country Women’s Aid directly for support:
• Call the 24-hour helpline on 0121 552 6448
• Text or WhatsApp on 07384 466 181 (9am – 9pm weekdays)
• Call 999 in an emergency

If friends, family or work colleagues are worried about someone who may be in a violent or abusive relationship, there’s valuable advice in an information leaflet which you can download at
If you are worried about your own behaviour towards others, call the Respect helpline on 0808 8010 327.
Always remember that, if a situation is critical, call 999 and ask for the police. If you are in danger and unable to talk there are systems in place to help:

* Listen and try to respond to the operator’s questions by coughing or tapping the headset.
* On a landline, the operator will automatically connect to the police if they cannot establish if an emergency service is needed.
* On a mobile, the caller can use the silent solution system by pressing 55 when prompted by the operator to transfer the call to the police.
* If someone is unable to call 999 because of hearing or speech impairments, please consider registering with the emergency text service website at

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