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Half-Term fun at Sandwell Park Farm

There’s lots happening at Sandwell Park Farm in West Bromwich this February half-term.

Take the kids along to meet our animals – including the alpacas, goats, chicks and lambs. Plus we have craft activities on every day during the holidays (Saturday 15 February to Sunday 23 February).

Every day, visitors will be able to:

• 10.30am – Meet the alpaca
• 11am – Chick handling
• 12pm – Feed the lambs (limited spaces)
• 2pm – Meet the farmer
• 2.30pm – Chick handling
• 3.30pm Feed the lambs (limited spaces)

Plus there will be craft activities for children to enjoy and every child will receive a free carton of apple or orange juice.

Visitors can also check out the tearooms for breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks.

You’ll find Sandwell Park Farm in the heart of Sandwell Valley, West Bromwich – the address is Salters Lane, West Bromwich, B71 4BG.

Admission charges for Sandwell Park Farm during school holidays:
• Adults – £3.50
• Children and concessions (over 60s and visitors with disabilities) – £3
• Family ticket for two adults and up to three children – £14
• Family ticket for one adult and up to three children – £11
Sandwell Park Farm is open almost every day of the year from 10am until 4.30pm. Last admissions are at 4pm.

If you visit regularly, you may benefit from one of our annual passes. We have cut the price of our 12 month passes – giving you 12 months access for the price of six.
• 12 month adult individual pass – £37
• 12 month adult individual concession pass – £27
• 12 month joint pass for two adults – £53.05
• 12 month pass for two adults (concessions) – £42.44
• 12 month family pass (two adults and up to three children) – £68.96

Find out more about Sandwell Park Farm on our website – www.sandwell.gov.uk/sandwellparkfarm


Sandwell Council – Online Anti-Social Behaviour Reporting

Sandwell Council has launched a new online form to help people report anti-social behaviour.  The form – which is available on MySandwell at www.sandwell.gov.uk/asb – provides a single point of entry for all anti-social behaviour reports to the council.

It will make sure reports are sent to the right team to deal with the matter and also enables customers to be regularly updated.

Sign up for a MySandwell account today to save time and do it online.  From reporting anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles to paying bills, applying to join the housing register or booking a bulky waste collection, find out more at www.sandwell.gov.uk/mysandwell

People can also report anti-social behaviour by calling 0121 368 1166. If you or your family feel in immediate danger, call the police on 999


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.


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 dj.letchford@gmail.com or have a look at our Facebook page at @ThimblemillSocialisebookclub


Spotlight on George Road Community Church

1)  Tell us what you do.
We are a Community Church based at George Road, Oldbury who run community activities and several groups that encourage members of our local community to be more active and meeting new people.

We currently offer ‘Extend’ (fitness classes for over 50’s Tuesday/Friday), ‘Thrive’ youth club (for 9-13’s Thursday evening), Knit and chatter (all welcome Thursday morning), ‘Come Together’ (a social group for the over 50’s on a Monday afternoon), Garden group (all welcome Wednesday morning). We also run a coffee morning on Wednesdays 10.00am for all comers.

We also have a number of rooms and Hope House, which are available for hire by other community groups and organisations.

2)  What is your proudest achievement?
We are really proud of the way our community feels they can be part of what we do here at George Road and get involved with us via our volunteer opportunities. It’s great to know that people feel welcome and able to participate in our activities.

3)  What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
It has been good to work with the SCVO team. They are a really useful resource and help us stay connected with life in Sandwell. Libby has been brilliant with helping our church try to improve the work we do. We have attended several courses that SCVO has organised and have come away with lots of advice and new contacts from attending these courses.

4)  What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
We are constantly amazed and pleased with the way in which the local people of Sandwell remain friendly, open to new ideas and, are willing to help with the things we do.

We held a Summer Fun Day last year and several local people volunteered to help us on the day and the run up to the day which really helped to make the Fun Day a great success.

5)  What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Part of our future plans include trying to increase the use of Hope House, which is a property we own within the church grounds. It has several small meeting rooms for hire that we are keen to work in partnership with others to increase their use for the benefit of our community. We would love to see more groups within Sandwell using this great facility.

6)  How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO has been a great help to us and we hope to continue working with SCVO staff moving forward to help us to develop new partnerships, projects and supporting us to build our local contacts.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can get involved with George Road Community Church or for more information on their current activities please call Karen Palmer on 0121 423 3822.


Spotlight on Aspire4U CIC

1. Tell us what you do.
Aspire4U CIC supports people, developing future-proof skills and the capacity to identify and meet their own needs. We deliver activities and share resources with all members of the community, especially those experiencing social, psychological, emotional and economic disadvantage.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Supporting 20,000 people to come together have an amazing time at the free community festival – Simmer Down Festival, who we helped to secure sponsorship, grow a communications strategy through social media and even managed their Best of Brum stage for local artists to develop.

3. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lesson we’ve learnt as a team is that people from Sandwell have a great community spirit which is infectious.

4. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our long term plans are to continue to work with more organisations that care about helping people to develop themselves and those organisations that care about the journey and long term planning.

5. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
We’d like SCVO to look to promote or provide more opportunities for groups and organisations to meet up to share best practice and support the exchange of information.

For more information on Aspire4U CIC visit their website at: www.aspire4u.co.uk email: hello@aspire4u.co.uk or call on 0121 6223603.


Spotlight on Black Country Housing Group Click Start

1. Tell us what you do.
Black Country Housing Groups is delivering the Black Country Click Start project, a free service for people aged 18 – 64 who are unemployed or ‘economically inactive’ e.g. Not in paid employment, self-employment and are not available for or not seeking work. The aim is to help people to develop their personal financial and digital skills to enable them to make the most of the internet, manage their money and find training, volunteering or employment opportunities online.

Black Country Click Start is funded by the European Social Fund and the BIG Lottery and any Sandwell resident currently in receipt of Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit will be moved over to Universal Credit by July 2018 can apply to participate in the project.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement is that we support individuals (complete beginners or those who’ve not used the internet at all) with the skills they need to enable them to use a computer, show them how to get onto the internet and even in some cases show them how to set up an email address.

3. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
What we’ve learnt from working with people in Sandwell are that you can’t assume that people are comfortable or familiar with technology.

4. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We’d like to obtain more funding to continue offering this valuable services to those that need it.

For further information, contact Kevin at Black Country Click Start BCHG on 0121 561 7935 or email BBO-Clickstart@bchg.co.uk


Spotlight on My Time Active

1. Tell us what you do.
Mytime Active a are a social enterprise commissioned by Sandwell Public Health to deliver a 24week Healthy Lifestyle and Weight Management programme for Adults and Families who want to learn about healthy eating, physical activity and weight management. We offer a variety of support pathways for individuals, including access to our weight management packages (free for the first 12 weeks), discounts to local gyms and leisure centres and 12 weeks of free weight watchers vouchers (subject to eligibility). Alongside this, we offer all individuals tailored 1:1 support.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Every day we help people to make long-term positive changes to their, supporting individuals to lose weight and keep it off for good.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
We have found SCVO to be invaluable in supporting the growth of our programmes, through attending both network events and using their various platforms to advertise our service.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Everyone person, town and community in Sandwell is unique. We have dedicated town teams who work within the local area, in local GP practices, community centres and libraries to support individuals to access the service locally.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We want to continue to grow our groups and provision, ensuring we have a vast presence across the whole of Sandwell. It is a challenge; however our team are committed to improving the health of Sandwell residents.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
With continued promotion and networking opportunities!

For further information please contact Louise Pickard the Senior Healthy Lifestyle Specialist on 0121 366 0966 or view their website to see what other services are available at www.mytimeactive.co.uk 


Spotlight on FareShare

1. Tell us what you do.
FareShare is a food redistribution charity. We save good food destined for waste and send it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people. We work across 21 regional centres in the UK where we sort and redistribute surplus food, which we give to local charities and voluntary organisations with the help of our own fantastic volunteers.

We also facilitate connections between local groups and nearby supermarket stores, in order for them to receive the surplus food from the store on a regular basis. In the West Midlands, we are currently focusing on Tesco Express stores in Black Country, with the aim of getting as many organisations as possible connected to their nearby store in order to make use of the surplus food on offer.

We work with a range of organisations, including lunch clubs, youth groups, breakfast clubs, foodbanks and various support groups to provide them with high quality surplus food on a regular basis. Across the West Midlands, there are 151 charities signed up to receive food from our Regional Centre in Nechells, and 420 collecting food from their nearby supermarkets. We never give food past its use by date and work with charities to ensure high standards of food hygiene are maintained.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
In March 2017 FareShare in the West Midlands celebrated its 10th birthday. In 10 years we have provided 10 million meals to voluntary organisations across the West Midlands. It is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates the real difference surplus food can make to the community.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
We have attended breakfast meetings, which has been a fantastic way to meet other local organisations.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
To never underestimate the dedication of those in the voluntary sector. We continue to find amazing charities and organisations who are committed to doing great work in the area.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We hope to continue to expand our work – reaching more community groups, feeding more people, and tapping into more unsold, surplus food and putting it to good use!

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Networking is so important to us. We are constantly looking for new organisations who could benefit from surplus food, and we always need more volunteers to help us with our work. Any opportunity to get the word out there and meet local groups is invaluable.

For more information on FareShare click here or call Hannah Feld on 0121 328 6640 or email hannah.feld@fareshare.org.uk if your interested in getting involved.

 


Spotlight Feature: Action on Hearing Loss

1 Tell us what you do
We are a National Charity providing opportunities for sharing best practice, skills, knowledge and advice to Deaf people or people with acquired hearing loss/tinnitus. We aim to be a key point of contact for commissioners and providers of health and care services including all aspects of audiology and general care and support.

Our core business outlines the prevalence and impact of hearing loss, deafness and tinnitus across the UK. We focus on society’s response and what needs to be done across three key areas – The growing need for better support and care, improved technology and treatments and equality of access to services for people confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.

2 What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement was obtaining a Level A from Sandwell Supporting People Commissioning Team, evidencing they fully understand our service provision and the support we provide. We against a recognised Quality Assessment Framework.

3 What is your experience of support received from SCVO
Action on Hearing loss has been an active member of SCVO’s forum meetings and we find these useful for liaising with other organisations, and knowing what other services are available which we use to signpost our members to other services.

4 What is the most valuable lesson you learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Deaf people need communication support in place to reduce stress; anxieties; mental health and general health issues but more importantly to reduce any misunderstandings due to communication barriers.

More basic support provision needs to be in place to address the needs of our deaf community to increase their opportunities to participate within their community. When support is not in place for deaf people there is a risk of communication break-down; frustration; mental health issues; health concerns and isolation.

5 What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our main focus is working towards meeting our overall strategy aims-Taking Action Strategy 2013-18 and our Care and Support Midlands operational plan. This is pivotal to maintaining our purpose of delivery support to those people using our services, engaging with key commissioners and new customers.

6 How can SCVO help you to support your organisation in the future?
Sharing information about our services with other organisations and exploring potential ways for joint working.

SCVO can also help us to promote our services together with signposting and attracting individuals who are interested in volunteering with our organisation.

Action on Hearing Loss Information Line: Telephone 0808 808 0123 | Textphone 0808 808 9000 | SMS 0780 0000 360
informationline@hearingloss.org.uk

For more information please see their website by clicking here.


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