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What’s On in Sandwell Libraries in February

There’s always something going on at the library – from regular events like Rhymetime and Knit and Natter to Holiday activities, Author talks, Live Music, courses, and workshops.

Did you know that all of Sandwell’s libraries are Warm Spaces during their normal opening hours. There’s no need to book or call ahead, just turn up. For more Sandwell warm space locations click here.

To find out what’s on in Sandwell Libraries click here.


Up to date listing of Places of Welcome in West Bromwich, Wednesbury, and Tipton

Transforming Communities Together would like to bring to your attention the updated listing of Places of Welcome in the above towns. New venues to note are:

  • Way 2 Wellbeing, Sons of Rest Building, near Brunswick Park
  • Stone Cross Library
  • Great Barr Library
  • Hope Church, Stone Cross
  • Community Transport will be hosting one in the New Year from West Bromwich Bus Station. Date to be confirmed.

Crafternoon has also changed venues to the Sons of Rest Building, near Brunswick Park.

There are now 21 Places of Welcome venues across the three towns and more across Sandwell.


Do you know about the weekly activities at Oldbury Library?

Do you know that there’s lots of activities and events which take place at Oldbury Library each week?  There is a craft group, wellbeing sessions, Knit and Natter, a writing group, one-to-one IT support and much more.

Children activities include play sessions, story time and Saturday morning arts and crafts.

Whether you would like to try something new, brush up IT skills, meet other people or simply enjoy a hot drink in a Warm Space, there is something for everyone at the Library.  Find out more here.


DRSAE Charity, Great Bridge, Tipton

DRSAE is a charitable organisation based in Great Bridge, Tipton.  They regularly meet each Saturday morning where a wide grange of activities take place.  There is yoga and self-defence sessions, run by a qualified yoga teacher and black-belt instructor.  There is free cooking and embroidery workshops, or you can join the music lessons or language classes.  All the activities are free, plus there is always a hot meal available at the end of the sessions.

DRSAE have a strong focus on sustainable living for present and future generations.  For example, resources used at the Centre in Great Bridge are recycled and reused.  The organisation is also part of Spheena (NGO), a non-profit organisation with headquarters in India.  Its aim is to concentrate on reducing global footprint and making an impact in the environment, ecology, and heritage by striving to support ecosystems for all communities.

One of the ways DRSAE promotes and implement sustainability practices on a large scale in Great Bridge, is being involved in an annual International Tree Planation Day.  This encourages involvement from younger members to care for the land at the Community Centre by planting trees, herbs and vegetables, using the principles of organic farming.  All the produce harvested can be used by the community.

Everyone is welcome at the DRSAE Centre at Salem Street, Tipton DY4 7JH.

For further information please contact Indra Kapoor, Branch Coordinator on 07714 279194.


‘Partnership Working for Impact’ – Sandwell Consortium: Impact Report 2021-22

“Partnership working for impact”… that’s the ethos of Sandwell Consortium – a unique partnership of ten established and reputable organisations, each of which represent the diverse communities they serve.

In its 2021-22 Impact report, you can read how the Consortium and its partners supported Sandwell residents through a range of community-based services – including the Sandwell Language Network, advice and advocacy, employment and skills and health and wellbeing.

The report offers a significant snapshot of the Consortium’s work, together with some first-hand feedback from those supported by delivery.

You can download a copy of the report HERE.

To find out more, contact Sandwell Consortium on 0121 533 2688 or info@sandwellconsortium.co.uk


New Mental Health Service for Sandwell residents

Communities in Sync (CIS) is a dynamic not-for-profit partnership of 17 quality health, social care and well-being providers working together to improve the lives of people in Sandwell.  CIS has set up a new mental health service which is delivered by four of our member organisations, all of which have a track record of supporting people with mental health needs.  The service is free to access for any Sandwell resident aged 18 plus.

The four CIS member organisations delivering this service are:

  • Kaleidoscope Plus Group
  • Ideal For All
  • Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation
  • Murray Hall Community Trust

The new service allows residents who are struggling with their mental health to have choice and control over their support options (e.g., counselling, peer support, culturally relevant support), which encourages uptake of the offer and continued engagement.

Referral pathway

Once a referral has been received, the triage process will begin and this conversation will determine which service or combination of services a person can receive support from. Please click the service information sheet which provides further details about each organisation’s offer.

If the individual has any other need in addition to their mental health needs (e.g. financial issues), CIS will ensure that they are concurrently supported via another project, the Sandwell Community Offer.

Making a referral

Please ensure that you download the referral form (word format), complete all mandatory sections and email it to the address below.

Email address: SPA@kaleidoscopeplus.org.uk

Hours of Service: Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm

 


MAC Makes Music

MAC Makes Music is an inclusive music programme for children and young people of all abilities. The Midlands Arts Centre is based at Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham and deliver various music-making opportunities across the West Midlands. It has two free opportunities in Sandwell, and would love to invite you to join them!

Creative Sounds: Sandwell

An after-school opportunity for children, young people and their families, with the aim to help support people with additional needs and disabilities with their musical ambitions, including learning to play new instruments, writing songs and experimenting with technology.

  • Tuesdays at 4 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm. Groups from Tuesday 13th September 2022.
  • At Windmill Community Centre, Smethwick.

Click here for more information

West Midlands Inclusive Choir: Sandwell

A choir that celebrates that everyone has their own way of sharing their voice.  The MAC actively try to remove barriers to participation from those with severe and profound learning disabilities with singing, Makaton signing, using technology, movement and playing our sound makers.

  • Monthly Saturdays at 11 am.  From Saturday 17th September 2022.
  • At Cradley Heath Community Centre.

Click here for more information

 


Sandwell Achieves Another Regeneration Milestone: £19m secured for Rowley Regis Towns Fund

Sandwell’s Towns Fund Programme has taken a leap forward this week, with £19m funding for five regeneration projects in Rowley Regis being approved by the government.

In 2020, Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich were among 101 places selected by central government to bid for funding in the national Towns Fund initiative. All three bids were successful.

This week the government has approved the funding for the five individual Rowley Regis projects.

Together, the Rowley Regis Town Fund projects will deliver ambitious projects that will have a positive effect on Rowley Regis residents through improved transport links and community space, and a new skills centre. As it is a five-year programme, projects will come to life at different points during this period.

The five Rowley Regis Town Fund projects are:

• Britannia Park Greenspace and Community Hub (Sandwell Council) – improving the infrastructure, facilities and environmental quality of Britannia Park through the delivery of a new low-carbon community building. This will provide changing rooms, new allotment plots, tree planting, reconstructed skate park, new play and fitness equipment and improve the main entrance and driveway, car park and constructing footpaths within the park.

• Canal Network Connectivity (Canal & River Trust) – improving active travel connectivity within and across Rowley Regis by upgrading the Old Main Line Canal and Dudley No.2 Canal towpath surfaces, and access points onto the canal from surrounding areas.

• Rowley Regis Satellite Education Hub (Sandwell College) – a new, dedicated education and training centre in Cradley Heath, Rowley Regis, to enable the engagement of young people and adults. The Hub will work in conjunction with local community groups to provide access to social, medical and other education advice and services – providing a ‘resource centre’ with Sandwell College as the anchor institution.

• Blackheath Bus Interchange and Public Realm (Sandwell Council) – the creation of a central bus interchange around Blackheath Market Place. This will improve arrangements for pedestrians and cyclists, creating new public realm and a focal point to the town centre, adapting delivery arrangements and excluding through traffic.

• Rowley Regis Connected (Sandwell Council) – a phased set of infrastructure improvements to link transport (rail, bus) and employment hubs in Blackheath, Cradley Heath and Oldbury. Delivering new pedestrian and cycle routes including segregated cycle routes, resurfacing and widening footpaths, upgrading crossing facilities and lighting, introducing traffic calming, improving signage and road markings.

Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “The council, working in partnership with Sandwell College and the Canal & River Trust, has achieved government approval for the £19 million funding for the five Towns Fund projects, which will enable us to drive the town’s economic regeneration.

“As a result, we will deliver long-term economic growth that will benefit Rowley Regis’ residents and businesses, gearing up the skills of our workforce so they can respond to changing business needs and play their part in a growing, resilient economy.”

About the other Towns Fund bids in Sandwell

Sandwell Council has worked in partnership with Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Canal & River Trust, Greets Green Community Enterprise Centre and Sandwell College (Sandwell’s Towns Fund Partnership) to help secure £67.5 million Towns Fund investment in total for Sandwell. This is the largest amount for any local authority area under the Towns Fund programme.

To date, 13 out of 16 projects have been approved by the government, securing £46m for the benefit of Sandwell. Sandwell’s Towns Fund Partnership looks forward to receiving a response from the government on the remaining West Bromwich Town Deal projects.

 


Important Information about £150 Energy Bill Rebate

What do I need to do?

If you already pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit and you live in a property in bands A, B, C or D, you don’t need to do anything.

The rebate payment will be made into your bank account. Payments will start to be made from April.

If you don’t pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit, we’ll be in touch. And if you don’t pay Council Tax, we’ll also contact you as you will need to apply for the £150.

Council Tax bills for the 2022/23 financial year are being sent out now. Direct Debit is the quickest and easiest way to pay Council Tax, and the best way for most people to get the rebate. If you’re not already paying by Direct Debit, you can set up a Direct Debit online.

If you’re not sure which Council Tax band your home is in, you can check it online.

What if I don’t live in a Band A to D property?

If you live in a home in Bands E to H, there will be a discretionary scheme that you may be able to apply to. Information about this will be shared on the council website.

In the meantime, please don’t call us about this scheme.

Do keep an eye on the council website for updates.

More information

You’ll find details on eligibility and updates on how we will contact those who don’t pay by Direct Debit on our website.

If you’re not a Sandwell Council Tax payer but you’re signed up for these emails, you can find out more about the scheme on the Government website. Your local council will be in touch if you are eligible for the rebate.


Expressions of Interest – Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is for exceptional groups of volunteers who are making a positive impact in their community and benefiting others through their work. We are looking for volunteers who have taken the initiative to create, lead and drive forward the work of their organisation and are doing this in a way that is truly distinctive and excellent.

If your Organisation is interested in applying for this exceptional award then please let me have your expressions of interest by no later than Friday 13th May 2022 by emailing:Comm_Partnerships@sandwell.gov.uk

Once I receive the expressions of interest I will be inviting all those interested to a virtual workshop via Microsoft teams on:

Save the date Tuesday 14th June 2022 at 2pm for 1.5 hours where the Mayor of Sandwell will open the meeting, and the Deputy Lieutenant John Wood will go through the process of the nomination form and the support provided to each group via a presentation.

Please ensure that you read all the information to see if you qualify (see below links for the QAVS)
https://www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntary-service
https://qavs.dcms.gov.uk/


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