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Still Time for a Say on Design of Aquatics Centre

There’s still time for residents to have their say on the design of Sandwell’s state-of-the-art Aquatics Centre.

A public survey and drop-in sessions are seeking the views of local people who can help shape the £60million building in Smethwick.

Alongside the swimming facilities, the centre will boast a dry-dive facility, 108-station gym, a 25-station lady-only gym, three activity studios, an eight-court sports hall, indoor cycling studio, sauna/steam room and café.

The centre will also host the swimming and diving competitions for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Plans include a 50m Olympic-sized competition swimming pool, a 25m diving pool, a studio pool and 1,000 spectator seats – plus temporary seats that will be added for the Games.

The site, at Londonderry Playing Fields, will also include 450 on-site car parking spaces, a football pitch and changing facilities, an improved urban park and children’s play area.

The council has organised consultation sessions for residents to come along and discuss proposals ahead of a planning application being put forward.

The drop-in sessions will be held on:

•          Tuesday 8 January – 5pm-8pm at St Mark’s Church, Thimblemill Road
•          Thursday 10 January – 9am-5pm at St Mark’s Church, Thimblemill Road
•          Tuesday 15 January – 4-6pm at Dorothy Parkes Centre, Church Road

Residents can also have their say by completing an online survey at

The pre-planning consultation closes on Sunday 20 January.

Thimblemill Socialise Book Club

A friend of mine and I had the idea of starting up the Book Club around three years ago as there was nothing in the area like it and he already was a storyteller for children, so we thought why not do the same but for adults. Since we’ve started our Book Club has gone from strength to strength and continues to develop as our membership numbers increase.

We are a volunteer led Book Club based in Thimblemill Library that is open to anyone who struggles accessing literature for whatever reason such as a visual impairment. The feedback I get from members and our lovely volunteer readers alike is always promising and positive. Since featuring in the talking newspaper we’ve attracted some new member but there’s always room for more.

We meet on Tuesday afternoons from 2.15pm at Thimblemill Library, Thimblemill Road, Smethwick, B67 5RJ. We provide refreshments and there is always a large bowl of water and a biscuits for the dogs.

Our Book Club brings like-minded individuals together in a warm and friendly space to chat with our readers and socialise with others, as new friendships are made in a nurturing and supportive environment.

So why not pop in to see us and have a chat to see what we are all about. Starting your journey of discovery into the world of books and all the different reading genres just waiting for you to explore and share your insights with other members.

For more information about our club please contact via email Dan Letchford at or have a look at our Facebook page at @ThimblemillSocialisebookclub

Rough Sleeper Estimate for 15th November 2018

Following the feedback from its Rough Sleeper consultation, Sandwell Council has been able to gather some very useful information to enable it to submit a rough sleeper estimate to the MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government). 

The Council would like to focus on Thursday 15th November, the night from which the estimate will be based.  The Authority is again working in partnership with  the neighbouring Local Authorities of Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley, who are also conducting their estimate on the same night.  Please use the attached form with the guidance to inform the Authority of any persons sleeping rough on that particular night and who fell into the criteria below:

“People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments).  People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or ‘bashes’)”

Please respond by 21th November 2016.

Should you not be the right contact for this then please can you forward this email to the most appropriate colleague or service.

Please note :  Any information that is provided on the form will only be used by the Council to calculate how many rough sleepers will be reported to the Government.  The Government return includes the number of rough sleepers and some data, if known, relating to age, nationality, sex but does not contain the names or dates of birth of individual rough sleepers.

If you would like to discuss this matter or require further information, please contact Pam Mander-Masonde on 0121 569 5224 or email

Disco Inclusive

For young adults (18 to 35) coping with Cerebral palsy, Autism or a learning disability, it’s fun time! On the second Wednesday each month, starting Wednesday, 14 November 2018, there will be a Disco Inclusive at the Windsor Theatre Bar, 377 Bearwood Road, Smethwick B66 4DL. The Disco kicks off at 7 pm until 10.30 pm.

As the name suggests, all are welcome, whatever age, impaired or not. There’s a licensed bar and ramp for wheelchair access. Entry charge £5.00. Free entrance for carers.

See more on Facebook, managed by Sarah of Cerebral Palsy Midlands. Enquiries to Graham on 0121 565 2875 or Sharon on 07799 178 562.

“Christmas Spice and All Things Nice” Workshops

Are you and your colleagues looking for something different to do together to celebrate Christmas?  If so, why not sign up for one of SAFL’s workshops and make your own Christmas flower decorations.

The workshops, at Tipton College, Alexandra Road, Tipton DY4 7NR, are:

Fruit and Nut Wreaths, Thursday 29 November 2018, 6 pm – 8 pm.
Traditional Christmas Wreaths, Friday 30 November 2018, 12.30 pm – 2.30 pm.
Christmas Table Decoration, Friday 7 December 2018, 12.30 pm – 2.30 pm.

All resources will be provided for the price of £10 per workshop. Enrolment must be done by Thursday, 22 November. Places are limited.

Each workshop will include mince pies, Christmas music and non-alcoholic mulled wine.

Contact Tipton College on 0121 557 0837 or email

The Big Switch On

Yes, it’s that time of year! The Big Switch On of Christmas Lights by the Mayor of Sandwell is coming up….. Blackheath (Saturday, 17 November) and Cradley Heath (Saturday, 1 December), 4 pm to 7 pm.

WalkWorks CIC is offering a limited number of free stalls to non-profitable organisations from post code areas B64, B65 and B69, to raise awareness and funds. Other attractions include a fun fair and a festive grotto.

Further information available from Fran 07952 563725 or Vicki 07970 497742 or email


Suicide Bereavement Support Groups

Gillian Reeves will be running monthly groups in Sandwell at Hawthorns House, which is where the Kaleidoscope Plus Group is situated. Please see attached poster for dates of groups in November, December and January.

The service provides a safe space for people who have been bereaved by suicide to come together and talk openly about their experience. The groups are facilitated by trained professionals, who bring with them the skills and knowledge around coping with grief, loss and bereavement.

Those bereaved by suicide are welcome to drop in and meet the team, find out more about this brand new service and enjoy light refreshments.

For more information contact 0121 565 5605 or email


West Midlands Police: Scams Booklets

Online scams are unfortunately on the rise as we turn to the use of technology more and more, with this comes the danger of inadvertently being caught out by some very suffocated scams that at first glance may seem legitimate.

West Midlands Police are pleased to bring you ‘The Little Book of Cyber Scams‘, reproduced by kind permission of The Metropolitan Police Service. This booklet has been specifically designed to offer small and medium Enterprises on staying safe in the cyber world.

The Little Book of Big Scams is an extremely accurate booklet which discusses some of the types of frauds people are experiencing today, whether face-to-face or online and how modern life is being exploited by those fraudsters who wish to steal our valuable information or money.

Source: Sandwell Public Health and West Midlands Police

Special BBC Media and Journalism Event for Young People

Are you part of a group working with 11-18 year olds? If so, this is your opportunity to attend a young people and media event at BBC Birmingham, hosted by BBC School Report on Saturday 27th October, 12pm at The Mailbox, BBC Birmingham.

As part of BBC School Report’s extended work with youth and community organisations we are inviting 11-18 year olds from the Midlands area to come into the BBC at the Mailbox in Birmingham for a special opportunity to develop their understanding of journalism and media skills.

The theme for the half-day event is ‘Real News’ and will include a workshop about news literacy – checking facts and sources, and filtering out fake news and false information – and a chance for young people to understand what makes a great news story and develop some of their own ideas and original journalism. The activities will be run by BBC producers.

The attendees will also get a chance to hear from our BBC Apprentices about what is like to get a media job and the key skills needed to succeed in the industry.

The event will start at 12:00 and finish at 3:30pm.

Refreshments will be provided but you will need to be able to make your own travel arrangements.

If you’d like to book a FREE place for you and 6-8 students, please complete the following and email the information requested to Naseem at

Name/Address of organisation
Name of Lead/s
Contact email & number
Number of students attending (approx.)
*Please note students must be aged between11-18. We will get names at a later date.

Spaces are allocated on a first come, first served basis and are limited, so please do reply by email as soon as possible.

If you need any further information please drop Naseem Akhtar an email or call 07711 912704 for a chat.

Creative Communities – Connecting People and Places

Creative Black Country (CBC) is looking to work with community groups who want to explore, participate and develop creative projects in the places where they live.

Creative Communities project, a 3-year development programme that will help groups in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton connect with artists, arts organisations and spaces (museums, theatres, fab labs) to do amazing, creative things in their community! CBC will work with you to experiment and trial different activities, then build your ability to fundraise, programme and promote exciting cultural experiences in your community.

To read more about Creative Communities and how to apply please visit our website.

Deadline for submitting applications is the Friday 16 November 2018.

For more information contact Creative Black Country on 0121 525 1127 |

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