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Sandwell Digital Donation

A new Sandwell partnership is urging local businesses to donate unwanted PCs, laptops and tablets to people in need.

Sandwell Digital Donation is a partnership between Sandwell Council, Black Country Housing Group and West Bromwich-based social enterprise Repc Ltd.

It is hoped the programme will help to narrow the ‘digital divide’: the gap between people in society who have full access to digital technologies and those who do not.

Read all about how you can get involved on the Think Sandwell website.


Black Country Women’s Aid Go Purple Campaign

Go Purple campaign, is Black Country Women’s Aids (BCWA) annual event in October where they ask organisations, residents and business for their support to help them raise much needed funds by Going Purple, as part of October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness month. The colour Purple is worn to show you care for women and children going through this traumatic time.

It’s easy to get involved, you choose a day in October and ask staff, friends and family to each put a £1 into BCWA’s purple collection tin and wear something purple on that day such as spraying your hair purple, painting your nails purple or bake and sell purple cakes or of course your own idea, or simply make a donation.

Last year they supported over 9,000 adults [10% Male] with their children to escape violence, overcome trauma and get these families back on their feet.

Domestic Violence is a massive problem in our area and we need your help to raise awareness and to help us to continue to supply our vital services. BCWA currently receives 24 calls every hour.

For more information or to obtain a fundraising pack get in touch with Deborah Slater by emailing her at Deborah.Slater@blackcountrywomensaid.co.uk


Appeal as Rare Breed Lambs Stolen from Sandwell Farm

Devastated staff at Forge Mill Farm in West Bromwich are appealing for help to catch thieves who stole two rare breed lambs on the evening of Sunday 25 July 2021.

The two Pedigree Shropshire ewe lambs were born in February and were due to join the farm’s breeding flock next year. The animals were particularly important to the farm and its work with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST). The Shropshire sheep is one of the success stories to come out of the RBST’s programme to boost numbers of vulnerable livestock in the UK.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member responsible for the borough’s farms and parks Councillor Maria Crompton said: “This theft is a huge loss for the team that works so hard to care for the animals throughout the year and for the people of Sandwell that visit our farm”.

“The farm staff are devastated by this callous act. These lambs are irreplaceable as it takes a huge amount of time and energy to produce rare breed sheep of such high genetic quality as these and for them to be stolen, and most likely slaughtered is disgusting.

“We are appealing for anyone who witnessed people acting suspiciously on Forge Lane, West Bromwich around 10.30pm on Sunday, 25 July or knows anything to call the police.

“The animals taken from Forge Mill Farm are not fit for human consumption. Don’t buy meat except from a reputable shop – it could be a health risk, not a bargain.”

We have CCTV of the incident taking place which West Midlands police are using to identify the individuals involved.

West Midlands Police have issued a crime reference number 20/146 4767/12 and an incident report number 849 26/07/2021. Anyone with any information is asked to report this using the reference numbers to the police via LiveChat at https://west-midlands.police.uk/contact-us/live-chat or by calling 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Any cases of illegal slaughter should be reported to Sandwell’s consumer protection team at EHTS_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk.

 


Cyclists Will Use Pedal Power to Ride from Scotland to Sandwell to Raise Funds for Sikh Helpline

This summer 2021, they look forward to the return of the Sikh Helpline Pro Bike Ride. In their series of rides, the Pro Bike Ride is the most challenging. Using pedal power to travel from the streets of Scotland to the headquarters of the Sikh Helpline in Sandwell, near Birmingham, riders will cover a staggering 350 cycling miles. This ride will take place over 4 days from Thursday 29th July to Sunday 1st Aug 2021.

It will start at 6:00am in Edinburgh, travelling through mountains and steep hills 120 miles to Newcastle, then 100 miles from Newcastle to Leeds, followed by 80 miles from Leeds to Derby and then finally via Derby 50 miles on to the final destination in West Bromwich, Sandwell.

The Sikh Helpline registered charity based in Sandwell offers free and confidential support to anyone in need. High call volumes are received on issues ranging from grooming, suicide, domestic abuse, mental health and wellbeing and hate crime through to racism and substance addiction. Thriving on providing a support platform to help community members without judgement, the Sikh Helpline has been serving the local and national community for over 30 years.

For more information and to make a donation or take part in the bike ride visit http://www.sikhhelpline.com

 


Latest Pop-Up Vaccination Clinics

Hundreds of people in Sandwell have ‘grabbed a jab’,  as more pop-up clinics appear around the borough as part of the on-going vaccination drive. Sandwell Council is working in partnership with NHS colleagues and local community organisations to roll out the programme of pop-up vaccination clinics. Anyone over the age of 18 or over can go along to get vaccinated over the coming weeks.

Details of the latest batch of clinics is as follows:

• Tuesday 13 July at Smethwick Library, High Street, Smethwick, from 10 am-4 pm. (Pfizer only).
• Wednesday 14 July at Rounds Green Library, Martley Road, Oldbury, from 10 am-4 pm. (Pfizer only).
• Thursday 15 July at Friar Park Millennium Centre, Friar Park Road, Wednesbury, from 10 am-4 pm. (Pfizer only).
• Friday 16 July at Jamia Masjid, Windmill Lane, Smethwick, from 3 pm-6 pm. (Pfizer only).
• Monday 19 July at Cradley Heath Community Centre, Reddal Hill Road, Cradley Heath, from 10 am-4 pm. (Pfizer only).
• Tuesday 20 July and Thursday 22 July at Victoria Park Skill Centre, Corbett Street,
• Smethwick, from 1.30 pm-3.30 pm. (Pfizer only).

Details of clinics are also available online at www.healthysandwell.co.uk/clinics.

Anyone aged 40 or over who needs their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, can also go to Tipton Sports Academy, Wednesbury Oak Road, Tipton, Monday to Sunday from 8 am-6 pm. (First and second dose Pfizer and AstraZeneca available).

Please make sure it’s at least eight weeks since your first dose.

Remember
No appointment is necessary.
No NHS number is needed.
No need to be registered with a GP.
No residential address is needed.
To bring your vaccine card, if you’ve had your first vaccination.

With Covid-19 cases rising in Sandwell and across the West Midlands region, being fully vaccinated Is the best way of protecting yourself and others from becoming seriously ill.

 


Places of Welcome relaunched at Dorothy Parkes Centre

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick is relaunching its Places of Welcome group. Starting on Friday 2nd July, sessions will take place every Friday morning and include a free cuppa and conversations offered to anyone who drops in, providing our neighbourhoods with a place where they can feel safe to belong, connect and contribute. People are welcome to stay as long as they like within the session time of 10am – 12pm. Support and signposting to local services is also available.

Dorothy Parkes Centre, CEO, Rob Bruce said “After such a long time being cut off from one another, these meetings will be a good way to safely meet, mingle and make new connections. It’s not just a coffee morning. We provide the place, but it’s the community who provide the presence and the participation. We really want people to become involved and we have lots of ideas for when the group takes off.”

The session is open to all, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity etc and is run by volunteers. Christeen Morton is a volunteer involved in facilitating the group said “I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces but we’re also keen to reach people who’ve not considered what a Community Centre might have to offer them. If you’ve been lonely, felt cooped up or just need a change of scene, pop in and see us. You could drop in whilst out on your walk or if you’re working-from-home stop by for your tea break.”

There is no need to book, just drop-in between 10am – 12pm on Fridays. The Centre is located on Church Road, Smethwick, B67 6EH. For any enquiries contact 0121 558 2998. Find out more about the national Places of Welcome scheme here www.placesofwelcome.org.uk


Sandwell Public Health Briefings with the Community and Voluntary Sector

Sandwell council public health would like to continue to engage with community and voluntary sector partners, to update on the current situation regarding Covid-19.

The briefing sessions will be an opportunity to hear the latest information about Covid-19 and ask any questions or share information about the Covid-19 response in Sandwell. We also hope to discuss and consult on how we can work together to improve the health of Sandwell residents.

As a local authority and public health department, we have found these sessions invaluable for understanding the barriers and issues our communities are facing because of Covid-19. The engagement with CV sector partners has been crucial to supporting vaccine uptake and helping reduce infection rates by disseminating key information.

We are scheduling in monthly virtual briefing sessions (the 3rd Friday of every month) via Microsoft teams which will be delivered by Sandwell’s Director of Public Health, Dr Lisa McNally. You don’t need to book onto the sessions, just click on the link at the time of the session and you will be invited into the briefing.

The dates for future sessions are:-

18th June – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
16th July – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
20th August – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
17th September – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
15th October – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
19th November – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
17th December – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
21st January 2022 – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
18th February – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
18th March – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
15th April – 3.30pm – 4.30pm
20th May – 3.30pm – 4.30pm

The meeting link for all the sessions is – https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZjcxYTJlZmQtZmU0ZC00MWQ2LWE0ODQtZjFlNzJhNGVlZTk3%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22a4c0f89b-23b9-49eb-a8bf-244fb0a4cffc%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%224daca689-2102-46bf-a205-bf6a989c1467%22%7d

If you have any questions, or need support getting onto the sessions please email katie_deeley@sandwell.gov.uk


Hate Crime

The Safer Sandwell Partnership Police and Crime Board which consists of Sandwell Council, West Midlands Police and other organisations in the community has made tackling and eradiating hate crime a key priority.

What is hate crime?
A hate crime is hostility against a person or a group of people where they have been targeted because of their:

  • Race
  • Faith
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity
  • Disability
  • Any other characteristic that is different to that of the perpetrator’s or that which the perpetrator thinks is different

What are the impacts of hate crime?

  • Victims can be left traumatised and terrified
  • Negatively impacts on the health and wellbeing of victims and their family and friends
  • Can be violent
  • Can impact on an entire community
  • Can lead to tensions and conflict
  • What can I do about hate crime?
  • It is important to report a hate crime that you have been the victim of or witnessed. By reporting, you are taking action to stamp out hate crime in Sandwell.

Your report will be taken seriously and can help stop the perpetrator from doing this again and provide the police with information that will help them to protect everyone in Sandwell from hate crime. When a criminal offence is classed as a hate crime, courts in England and Wales have the power to give tougher sentences to the perpetrator. Also, by reporting, victims can get access to specialised support and advice that will help them to feel safe once more.

If you have witnessed a hate crime, it can also be helpful to a victim to speak to them in a friendly manner and make them feel reassured if it is safe to do so. This can show the victim they are not alone and might make them feel safer.

For further information about what to do if you or someone has been a victim of a hate crime please view the link for further information.


Get the vaccine and protect your loved ones as Covid-19 lockdown eases

Sandwell Council reminds everyone living and working in the borough that as lockdown eases, it is vital that they continue to protect themselves and others from Covid-19 by getting vaccinated.

The virus has not gone away and it is still deadly.

Action is being taken to control the spread of the Delta variant first identified in India (B1.617.2), which is beginning to spread in certain areas across the country. While there is no firm evidence yet to show this variant has any greater impact on severity of disease or evades the vaccine, the speed of growth is concerning.

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place across England, including for people who have been vaccinated.

Wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering where you are required to, keep a 2-metre distance wherever possible.

Sandwell’s Director of Public Health, Dr Lisa McNally, said: “For the last 14 months, the people, communities and businesses in Sandwell have done everything they can in assisting us to drive down the rates of Covid-19 infection. And we have seen an amazing reduction of cases in the borough.

“I would ask everyone to maintain this commitment, carry out regular testing using ‘lateral flow’ test kits, observe government guidelines, and protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated. If you’ve had your first jab, don’t forget to get your second vaccination to ensure maximum protection.

“Those aged 30 or over can now get the Covid-19 vaccine. This also applies to those who will turn 30 before 1 July 2021. You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or chemist now. Alternatively, you can book online at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

Councillor Rajbir Singh, the Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “It has been a very difficult time for our residents and businesses with the Covid-19 pandemic, and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part, followed the rules and supported each other. It is very important that you get your vaccinations and continue to follow the guidelines to ensure everyone is protected. The vaccine is your best defence against the virus.

“The council will work with Sandwell people, businesses and organisations to recover from the pandemic, attract investment, and create a healthier, cleaner, greener and safer borough.”

If you’re meeting people, do so outdoors in the fresh air whenever possible to reduce the risk of transmission. You can meet indoors in a group of up to 6 people or a group of any size from 2 households – each household can include a support bubble, if eligible. You can meet outside in a group of up to 30 people.

The new guidance on meeting friends and family emphasises personal responsibility: you are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and the actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others, and in some settings and circumstances there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family.

You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, get a test and follow the stay at home guidance.

We encourage people to take a rapid (lateral flow) test twice a week. If you test positive for Covid-19 using a rapid test, self-isolate with your household and take a PCR test within 48 hours to confirm your positive result. Continue to self-isolate until you get the result of the PCR test.

And it’s really important to get your second vaccine jab to give you the maximum protection. The dates for some second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will move forward to be given eight weeks after the first dose. Your GP and the NHS will be in touch with you to make any changes needed to your appointment. Please wait to be contacted and ensure you get your jab when asked.

Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas are permitted to open with Covid-secure measures in place.

People can attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events is capped according to the type of venue, and you should follow the Covid-secure measures set out by those venues.

Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
Organised indoor sport can take place for all, including gym classes. It must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.

Funeral attendance is no longer limited to 30 people but will be determined by how many people the Covid-secure venue can safely accommodate. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events have been increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings will also be able to take place with 30 people.

The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors have changed, allowing up to five named visitors – two at any one time – provided visitors test negative for Covid-19.

All higher education students are now able to access in-person teaching.

Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits have been increased to 30 people (not including under-fives).

Remember, if a business is not doing all it can to keep you safe and following Covid-secure measures, don’t go there.

For updates from Sandwell Council about Covid-19, visit https://www.sandwell.gov.uk/localrestrictions

 


Sandwell charities scoop royal honours

Two Sandwell charitable organisations have been awarded the highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) for 2021.

The People’s Orchestra and the Volunteers Action Group (VAG) based at Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple in Oldbury are among just 13 West Midlands charities recognised for their exceptional service within their communities.

Founded by Sarah Marshall, the People’s Orchestra is a wonderful example of an organisation delivering important contributions to its local area while the people involved have fun and enjoyment.
The orchestra has a reputation for creating exciting music and has been selected to play at the Commonwealth Games handover next year.

It is made up of 80 volunteers who often hear about it by word-of-mouth and join in. There are no auditions, and all are welcome and made to feel valued. They have a tremendous reach of 6,000 with their concerts and a further 50,000 online audience. On top of this they play to 1,000 elderly people in care homes.

There is skill training, and they inspire self- confidence and a sense of worth in individuals, as well as providing vital work experience. And the group’s support goes beyond making music. Many volunteers start with contributing to the orchestra, then receive help with CV writing, referrals, mentoring and wider guidance.

Sarah Marshall said: “We are delighted and honoured to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the hard work and commitment of our wonderful volunteers. It’s brilliant that our music-making has the power to help people and make a difference to their lives. Through TPO Bridge, we offer back-to-work support to local volunteers and this work experience helps instil confidence, self-esteem and leadership, giving each person the very best chance to develop the skills and confidence they need to secure a job or go on to further education.”

The Balaji Temple in Oldbury serves the religious needs of more than 500,000 Hindus every year, along with 10,000 school students 2,300 teachers and adult learners. It is home to the first Ghandi Peace Centre outside of India, with a full exhibition of Mahatama Ghandi’s life, teaching and achievements.

The Balaji VAG has more than 300 volunteers, who carry out some fantastic community support initiatives, including health and well-being workshops, business support seminars and conferences.
It works closely with local charities to support them, collecting food items for the foodbank, spectacles for Sightsavers and makes donations to St Giles Hospice and other charities – and provided more than half a million healthy meals and 100,000 snacks for children last year.

Members are also transforming a 12-acre landfill site for walks, cycling, nature and wildlife trails and they have an ambitious project to remove plastic from buildings and upgrade them with the latest technology and environmental features.

Temple chairman Dr Kanagaratnam said: “We’re so delighted that the hard work of all our volunteers – their seva – has been recognised with this prestigious award. It’s the outstanding award for voluntary service, so we’re absolutely over the moon.”

Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands John Crabtree OBE said; “Through the activities of the West Midlands Lieutenancy, I come across many people providing amazing support and giving their time to help others. It is heart-warming to see these organisations gain the recognition they deserve. I am so grateful for everything they do and am thrilled that we can praise their efforts through the QAVS Honour.

“These special charities make such an effort to support others and, like many people and organisations, have faced some huge challenges in the way they supported their community through the pandemic last year. It is truly inspirational to hear the lengths and imaginative ways the volunteers have gone to keep up their magnificent work.”


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