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Black Country Touring Dial-A-Story Launching August

Connecting isolated people with unique performances via a phone call.

Continued social isolation has meant the closure of nearly all of the community venues we work with – libraries, community centres, places of worship… the places that bring people together. Since lockdown began, we’ve been exploring new ways to connect people with the arts, as a way of bringing something special into our ‘at home’ version of normality – through projects such as Zoom Café.

Black Country Touring quickly realised that while online performances are a great way of connecting with audiences at this time, many people without the internet are unable to use these services in the Black Country. These people are some of the most at risk of feeling isolated and lonely during the current crisis.

In August, we’ll launch Dial-A-Story, a project that will see three locally based artists perform 1-to-1 with people via a phone call. We’re partnering with Sandwell Advocacy and other community and voluntary organisations in Sandwell to reach people who would most benefit from a creative connection with an artist.

This project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Heart of England Community Foundation’s ‘Doing Things Differently’ fund, SCVO & Sandwell MBC’s Vision 2030 fund and Creative Black Country. We are really grateful to our funders for enabling us to explore new ways of bringing the arts into the lives of local people at this challenging time.


SWEDA is Open

SWEDA’s premises are now open, Covid-19 compliant and delivering new projects to clients from across Sandwell and the Black Country.

SWEDA is working hard to engage with those most affected by Coronavirus and help get back on track with employment support, Welfare Benefits Advice, IT and Digital training as well as supporting those considering self-employment. The organisation also have a dedicated team of Advisors to support local small businesses and entrepreneurs with running and growing a successful business in such difficult times.

Contact SWEDA on 0121 525 2558 or email sweda@sweda.org.uk for support needs or to discuss projects in detail.


Invitation to Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG Annual General Meeting

You are invited to attend Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG Annual General Meeting on Thursday, 23 July 2020, from 6 – 7 pm.

This will be a virtual meeting.

Please confirm your attendance by 17 July, by email at SWBCCG.engagement@nhs.net or call 0121 612 1447.

You will be sent joining instructions once you have booked a place.


Age UK Sandwell – Supporting Veterans

The service is available to all veterans, aged 50 and over, whether they served in the Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy or Merchant Navy, in Regular or Reserve forces and includes time spent during National Service.

How we can help:
We can help with a broad range of matters, including:
• Managing at Home – support to access services enabling you to live independently at home, understanding your housing options, ensuring you have enough support at home and accessing aids and adaptations.
• Money – We can ensure that you are claiming all of the welfare entitlements available to you, including relevant service related benefits and grants. We can also advise and review other money matters such as utility bills, pensions, tax and bank accounts.
• Safety – We can help with accessing equipment and adaptations in the home, assist in accessing local authority support services and direct you to other services and age appropriate products.
If we are unable to help then we can put you in touch with someone who can.

Get in touch:
Emma Humphries – Community Support Manager
Tel: 07426 713 788 or 0121 437 0033
Email: emma.humphries@ageuksandwell.org.uk
This is a completely free service and funded by – Because Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Supporting Veterans


Worried about an adult at risk? See something, do something

Sandwell Council continues to protect residents from other dangers during Covid-19.

The Sandwell Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB), Sandwell Council and other partners including West Midlands Police are providing support to victims of abuse and advising on how people can report their concerns.

Councillor Farut Shaeen, cabinet member for living healthy lives said: “During the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a lot of focus on health protection and looking after the vulnerable in our society. Sadly, some people who need our care and support the most become victims of abuse.

“We are continuing to do all we can to protect residents and provide support to victims. If anyone has any concerns I urge them to contact us immediately.”

If you have concerns that an adult with care and support needs is at risk of abuse or neglect, please visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/reportabuse or call us on 0121 569 2266 (out of hours 0121 569 2355).

In an emergency, dial 999.


Borough of Sanctuary to launch in Sandwell

Sandwell launched its ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ on Saturday 20 June, as local organisations join up with towns and cities across the country to provide places of safety and inclusion for people seeking sanctuary in the UK.

City of Sanctuary is a national movement, which began in Sheffield in 2005. The goal is to create a nationwide network of towns and cities which are proud to be places of safety and inclusion.

A City of Sanctuary includes a broad range of local organisations, community groups and faith communities, all publicly committed to helping refugees and asylum seekers seeking sanctuary in the UK.

A number of local organisations including Bearwood Action for Refugees and Brushstrokes community project have been working hard to create and promote the work of Sandwell as a ‘Borough of Sanctuary’.

Sandwell Council Leader Yvonne Davies said: “I am extremely proud of Sandwell’s diversity. We are an inclusive borough, made up of people from countries and cultures from around the world. We welcome those seeking safety and the Council wants all residents to feel they are safe and a valued part of our borough.

“Sandwell’s ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ is growing and already doing great work, and I want even more organisations and individuals to join up and support their local communities, helping to create a stronger and more united Sandwell.”

For a full list of local organisations already involved and how to join please visit sandwell.cityofsanctuary.org or email info@sandwell.cityofsanctuary.org


Can You Be A Hero – For More than Just One Day?

Sandwell Children’s Trust have announced an innovative new campaign to recruit foster carers, following on from the success of their online ‘Lockdown Stories’ from foster carers, telling of their fostering experiences during the Covid-19 lockdown, which have reached over 20,000 people on Twitter.

The ‘Superheroes’ campaign will be seen in more than 50 poster sites all across Sandwell as well as appearing on video screens outside local supermarkets around the borough, featuring comic book super hero figures commissioned for the campaign.

As Frances Craven, Chief Executive of Sandwell Children’s Trust explains: “Here at Sandwell Children’s Trust, we are passionate about improving the lives of the children and families that we work with every day.

“We understand the importance of providing stable, secure and loving homes for children and young people who can’t live at home and we can’t thank our current foster carers enough for the amazing things they do.

“But, we need more special people to become foster carers for us. So, we are proud to launch our brand-new foster carer marketing campaign. Our foster carers are true ‘superheroes’ and we know that there are many more people out there who could be too! If you or anyone you know has ever thought about becoming a foster carer, please get in touch with us.”

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the work of foster carers, who have carried on every day, providing safe, stable, loving homes for children, as we have all had to change the ways we live and work and appeal to more people to take up the challenge and become foster carers for Sandwell.

Or, as Frances Craven puts it: “Learning to support children with home-schooling, becoming proficient at virtual meetings with social workers and helping the children they look after to come to terms with life under lockdown.

“These are just some of the challenges our foster carers have risen to and just like all the other care workers who have looked after us through this difficult time, we think they are all super heroes. Now we just want a few more people to step forward and join us.”

The Sandwell Children’s Trust ‘Superheroes’ campaign will be on display across Sandwell for two weeks starting on Thursday 18 June.

If you want to know more about becoming a foster carer for Sandwell, call 0800 358 0899 or for more information on fostering visit the website www.sandwellchildrenstrust.org/fostering

For further information please contact:

Out of hours/emergency: 07920 027 723
www.twitter.com/sandwellct
www.sandwellchildrenstrust.org/


CCG Patient Experience Survey – COVID-19

Over the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives considerably. It has transformed our views of what is important and posed a considerable challenge to our health and care services.

As part of the ongoing work to respond to the pandemic, Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG are asking you to share your experience of the pandemic and the impact it is having on you and your family’s access to health services locally, by completing an online survey. Please note the CCG will not be producing paper copies of this survey due to changes to staff working and limited resources.

The feedback you share via this survey will help the CCG to make decisions and design new ways of working. The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your feedback is very important.

At the end of the survey, personal details, such as age and gender, will be asked for to help with the analysis. Your postcode and GP practice will be needed to help pinpoint the town or city you live in. Your house number or house name is not asked for.

The information will be kept secure. The CCG will not be able to identify you through your answers and will not share your personal data with anyone else.

The survey will close at 11.59 pm on Tuesday, 23 June 2020.


Sandwell Readers Still Going Strong

Libraries may be closed but that hasn’t stopped Sandwell’s bookworms.

Sandwell Library service has reported a huge surge in online library membership and eBook and eAudio loans.

During April 2020, library members downloaded a total of 2,539 eBooks and eAudiobooks, almost double the number of downloads than in February 2020. Active membership of BorrowBox (readers who renewed, issued, or reserved a title) increased by 58% from pre-lockdown figures.

Anyone can borrow a book online via any smartphone, tablet or computer. To sign up, please visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/librariesonline and start borrowing books today.


Revenues and Benefits latest newsletter

Sandwell’s Revenues and Benefits Service have just released their latest newsletter.

This is a special edition looking at how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the issues they deal with of benefits, Universal Credit, Council Tax and housing.

Read the newsletter


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