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Bearwood Gardeners – Gardening Competition

Wow – the entries for 2019 Bearwood’s Front Garden Competition are really coming in thick and fast now, and things are building up to make this their best year ever for their front gardens competition!

The aim of the Competition has always been to encourage and inspire everyone with a front garden, however small, to make that space as green and beautiful as it can be, both for yourself and everyone else walking past. Since the Competition started in 2013, more and more people have been joining in, making walking around Bearwood roads a real pleasure, with so many different and imaginative styles of front garden to admire.

If you haven’t put your entry in yet, please do!

You can enter the competition by emailing, or by dropping your completed entry form off at Thimblemill Library or the Warley Woods shop.

If it’s your first time, don’t forget, they have a special First Timer Award this year, as well as Awards for Most Sustainable and Young Green Fingers (under 16s.)

Entries close on 21 July 2019.

Be part of the legacy conversation for Sandwell Aquatics Centre

In April this year Sandwell Council received planning permission to build a new state-of-the-art leisure centre in Smethwick.  The Sandwell Aquatics Centre will host the diving and swimming events for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

This is great news and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring unprecedented tourism and visitors to Sandwell.

Over the next few months, Sandwell Council will be running events which will give you an opportunity to share your views on the lasting impact of the Commonwealth Games and the Sandwell Aquatics Centre and how they will benefit the community for years to come.

Your contribution at these events will be collated to create a legacy plan, enabling a greater understanding of how we can generate the greatest benefits for our communities once the Sandwell Aquatics Centre is built. The legacy plan will ensure we are making the most of the opportunities the new leisure centre will provide.

If you would like to be involved in an opportunity to help shape the benefits and outcomes of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and Sandwell Aquatics Centre, please contact

The Church on the Rock

1. Tell us what you do.

The Church on the Rock (in Oldbury) is a church, but also a warm and welcoming place for the local community to get together and support each other in many different ways – bringing together people from often quite diverse backgrounds, but in an environment that is safe, warm and welcoming. For example, a “mums and toddlers” group helps to create stronger family bonds; youth groups on Tuesday evenings include activities such as football and crafts, which help young people to be more involved and active in the local community; coffee mornings , on the second Saturday of every month, help to bring local people together on a social basis, and regular Alpha courses explore the basics of the Christian faith.

2. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?

Going forward, the Church on the Rock would like to develop further, both as a church and in terms of how it can support children and young people in the local area. The hope is to promote a ‘can do’ attitude in the community. There is also the desire to provide English Language classes given the significant migrant population arriving in Sandwell from countries where English is not the first language. These classes would be invaluable for community cohesion as language is often a barrier in populations from diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds . Furthermore, almost 30% of Sandwell’s population have no qualifications so providing these easy access, free course would be invaluable to the community and their future job prospects.

3. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

A number of SCVO’s services are very beneficial – the Funding Digest in particular – and networking opportunities are always helpful. These help the Church to gain more funding and ‘spread the word’ about the services on offer. As a result, the Church on the Rock will be able to help more people in the local area to grow and develop, helping to create a sustainable community.

Showtime Community Productions Curtain Call for a Charity Secretary

Showtime Community Productions are a newly formed amateur dramatics group based in Wednesbury. They work with like-minded individuals from their local community interested in developing their skills in performing arts, which they put to good use by developing and putting on community pantomimes, for the benefit of the local community.

They are seeking a volunteer to join their management committee to undertake the role of the secretary. The role would include:

• Calling meetings of the group (with the Chair) and preparing the agenda.
• Circulating the agenda, minutes and other relevant papers prior to meetings.
• Noting the decisions of meetings for future action and compiling the minutes.
• Dealing with the group’s correspondence and, where necessary, presenting it to the group.
• Keeping the groups files, minute book and other essential records.

If you would like discuss the voluntary position or have any questions, please contact Linda Pearsall on 0121 5256459 or email

Celebrating Community-focused Digital in Sandwell

Do you have a great digital project that you want everyone to know about?

May 13th – 18th will see a celebration of ‘all things digital’ in Sandwell via the iSandwell Digital Festival. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about using digital for social good in the region and meet other people who are interested in using tech.

During the week of May 13th – 18th, Sandwell Council and partners will be holding a series of events, which will range from art, community journalism, digital ‘making’ to helping social entrepreneurs and community groups to set up their own websites.

How can you get involved?

You can come along to one of the featured events that will run from Monday to Saturday, write a blog on how you are using digital or even run your own event, which we will help you promote over the week.

To learn more about the festival or get information on how to get involved, email: or telephone: 0121 569 3556

Sandwell is Gearing Up For St George’s Day

The 22nd annual St George’s Day parade, organised by Stone Cross St George and supported by Sandwell Council, takes place on Sunday 28 April.

People who want to take part are asked to meet from 10am in Westminster Road, West Bromwich, and the parade will start to make its way to Dartmouth Park at 10.45am. The council has contributed a £1,000 grant towards the event, after organisers feared it may not go ahead this year.

After the parade has arrived at Dartmouth Park there will be an event to celebrate the patron saint including a funfair, a stage with singers and dancers and other activities.

Sandwell Council’s museums service is hosting a dragon-themed week at the Oak House Museum in West Bromwich.

On Tuesday 23 April from 12pm to 4pm there will be a free St George-themed craft events at Oak House where children will be invited to follow dragon footprints, meet real-life knights and create their own dragons.

The week continues with more dragon-themed crafts events on Wednesday 24 April and Thursday 25 April at Oak House from 12pm to 4pm.

Visitors are invited to celebrate St George at Manor House, West Bromwich, from 11am until 3pm on Wednesday 24 April at a Robin Hood themed family fun day with characters and adventures including outlaws, knights and maidens.

The event includes archery contests, knights and princesses, birds of prey, flower crown making and much more. Admission is 50p per person which includes a trail pack per child. Other activity prices will vary.

The week of St George themed activities comes to an end on Friday 26 April at Manor House Museum where where there is a themed quiz night.  Ye olde England quiz starts at 7pm and will test knowledge of themes such as Shakespeare, St George, the Queen or even the Beatles.

The cost to enter is £1 per person and teams should be a maximum of eight people. Booking is necessary and those interested in entering should call 0121 588 2985.

For details of events go to Discover Sandwell –

New rules on Council Tax Reduction

Sandwell has new rules on Council Tax Reduction – the discount on Council Tax that you can apply for if you are on a low income.  The new rules into force on 1 April, 2019.

There are substantial differences from the old rules and the changes mean some households that previously had a full discount on their Council Tax might have to pay a higher contribution towards their bills, or even pay Council Tax for the first time. You can find full details of the new rules here.

Anyone who is unsure about any aspect of Council Tax, their entitlement to a discount or responsibility to pay, can find further information on the Council website or can contact the Revenues and Benefits Service directly. Council Tax payers are particularly encouraged to set up Direct Debits which can help people avoid missing or forgetting payments. Should a discount be awarded after a Direct Debit has been arranged, the correct adjustments will always be made so that customers are not over-charged. For more information about how to make payments or set up a Direct Debit, click here.

Falling into arrears with Council Tax payments, or notifying the Council late about relevant information, can lead to penalties being imposed and only add to financial difficulties. Never ignore correspondence about your Council Tax or a bill.

Any organisation needing information about how changes to Council Tax Reduction might affect their clients, should contact Oliver Wright, Stakeholder Relations Officer for Sandwell’s Revenues and Benefits Service at

Accord Care and Support comes to Sandwell

Accord Care and Support – Age Matters (formerly Age UK Walsall) offers a wide range of services for people aged 50+ across the whole of the Walsall borough.

Age Matters is delighted to be delivering the Older Adults Physical Activity Pathway in Sandwell. Working closely with the community and existing activity provision, this service aims to increase physical activity participation for older adults, specifically targeting residents who are over 60, who may be frail, had a fall, at risk of a fall, or have poor mobility.

Accord Care and Support are currently recruiting for two Activity Coordinators and a number of volunteers in order to support delivery of this exciting new project.

The organisation has been delivering the community pathway of the Walsall Falls Prevention service since 2015 through talks, presentations, demonstrations and training. They have trained a number of volunteers as Falls Champions and delivered training to care home staff throughout Walsall. Through their work, they have been able to identify and refer residents who have had falls, or who are at risk of falling, into the specialist nurse team and the sports and leisure team, for individual support as part of the Walsall Falls Prevention Pathway.

Accord Care and Support look forward to building on the knowledge and skills gained from working in Walsall and expanding this into Sandwell. They will be delivering various physical activity sessions, alongside current provision, with a focus on improving physical health as well as targeting social isolation. Falls awareness, and other lifestyle services, will be promoted to community groups and at events throughout the six towns.

For more information about the Sandwell Older Adults Activity Partnership please email or call 07934 296398.

For more information on the current vacancies please email

Sandwell Aquatic Centre – Voluntary Sector Briefing Event

We are sure that you have heard about the Aquatic Centre which is going to be built in Sandwell to support the 2022 Commonwealth Games, but would you like to know more about what’s been agreed to date and learn about future hopes for the legacy of the Games and the Centre?

SCVO, in partnership with Sandwell Council, would like to invite you to a briefing session for local Voluntary and Community Sector organisations in Sandwell to find out more about these plans.  This session will provide an overview of plans for the new Centre and a chance to ask questions.  There will be more specific focus groups organised to discuss the long-term community impact and legacy following this briefing and details of these will be available at this session.

Please join us on Tuesday 14th May 2019 from 11.45am – 1.00pm.

The venue will be confirmed nearer the time of the event.  To book your place, please do so through this link


Children and Young People Needed for Participation Group

Barnardo’s’ Adverse Childhood Experiences project is looking for recommendations of children and young people that may interested in taking part in a participation group.

The participation group will aim to give young people an opportunity to influence training being designed for professionals working with children and young people who may have experienced trauma and difficult childhoods. More than this, it will allow young people to influence the on-going advice and support given to teachers, social workers, police officers, youth offending teams, doctors, nurses, midwives, charity workers and many more, about how to work with children and young people experiencing trauma and difficult childhoods.

We are looking for participants who may:

• Be aged between 11 – 25 (we’re hoping to organise two groups to accommodate 11-15 & 16-25)
• Be a Child Looked After
• Be a Care Leaver
• Identify as a member of the LGBTQ community
• Identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic
• Have additional needs such as a disability or a mental health condition (these do not have to have been diagnosed)
• Have lived through childhood trauma/adversity

We would recommend that:

• Children/Young people are made aware of the aims of the participation groups.
• Children/Young People are in a stable and safe position (i.e stable placement)
• Children/Young people are willing to reflect on their experiences of support received from different organisations.

In return we can offer:
• The opportunity to become a registered Barnardo’s Volunteer – leading on to further opportunities such as training, work placements and recognition rewards (such as discount to Alton Towers).
• The opportunity to work towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award or The Gateway Award
• Rewards and Incentives relevant to the young person.

If you know a young person who may be interested in this opportunity please have an informal chat with them about this, having gained consent to share young people’s contact details with us then please send these across and we will arrange to give them more information. Alternatively, please forward the contact information at the bottom to the children and young people to contact us directly if they would like more information about taking part.

Rosie Pugh – ACEs Co-ordinator –
01384 411 722

Ben Curtis – ACEs Strategic Co-ordinator –

Barnardo’s ACE’s Co-ordinators have been funded by the West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance to work in partnership with Dudley and Sandwell Local Authorities. Within their remit ACE’s Co-ordinators will aim to raise awareness of ACEs and Trauma informed practice across the two authorities.

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