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National Lottery Community Fund begins review on future of Community Support

The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) has launched an 18-month Strategy Renewal process that will shape how it supports people and communities to prosper and thrive in the future.

The process is starting with a six-week anonymous survey which will enable diverse communities from across the UK to join in conversations about their hopes and ambitions and the challenges they face, as well as sharing their views on the best ways lottery funding might support their communities. The input gained will help shape how the NLCF invests in communities going forward as well as the wider support it offers.

Full details along with the survey can be found on the NLCF website.

Step into the Spotlight

Plans have been announced for a huge, exciting borough-wide festival of events from April to September this year – and your organisation could be centre stage! Shine a Light Festival’ will highlight Sandwell’s rich diversity and showcase the best of arts, sports and culture from all ages, backgrounds and parts of the community.

But you have to hurry – applications to take part with your choir for example; mixed ability activity group; product or service must be in by 3rd March 2022.

Events and activities will take place over six weekends – one in each of Sandwell’s six towns – ending with a two week festival at Sandwell Valley from 25 July to 8 August, coinciding with the Commonwealth Games.

The ‘Discover Sandwell’ team in charge is looking for musicians, dancers, artists, writers, athletes, sports teams, crafters and much more to help celebrate Sandwell’s rich heritage and diversity.  Schools, community groups, individuals, businesses, and services are invited to submit their participation application to perform, display, exhibit, run an activity, or sell at any or all of the Shine a Light Festival events from April to autumn 2022.

If you are a group, organisation, business or individual wanting to deliver an activity, display or performance at one or more of the festival events, you just need to complete the short Participation Application saying what you want to do, a little bit about your experience and what support you will need to do this. Go to  to complete your Participation Application. You can also find out more here

Remember, applications must be submitted by Thursday, March 3rd.


To Infinity and Beyond: EHP’s Journey together with young people and families

Sandwell Early Help Partnership know staff and volunteers from across the many agencies in Sandwell regularly go beyond the extra mile to offer early help to young people and families. The Partnership now invites colleagues from Sandwell Council, Sandwell Children’s Trust, the voluntary sector, schools, health, the police and other sectors to come together for this exciting event.  

The event will take place on Thursday, 17th March 2022, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm: (marketplace and networking from 1.00 pm and after 3.30 pm).  The venue is the West Bromwich Albion Football Club.

The event will be the launchpad for the new Early Help Strategy and will outline how the Partnership will work in the coming years towards positive outcomes and fulfilling lives for local families. It will also showcase services and activities for families in these challenging times, as well as emotional and mental health support available locally for young people.

Book your advance ticket on Eventbrite.

For further information, please contact Angel, Early Help Partnership Co-ordinator, on 07587 136072 or email


Free Connectivity to help charities tackle digital exclusion

Vodafone has launched Charities Connected, an initiative giving any charity in the UK the opportunity to apply for free connectivity to help individuals and families it supports get online and improve its own digital capability.

Registered charities can apply for the free connectivity, in the form of SIM cards with 20GB of data, plus free calls and texts, every month for six months.

For more detail and how apply, see here.

EPIC Funding Grant application window now open!

SCVO is working in partnership with the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to help build long-term resilience within Sandwell Communities.

The purpose of the EPIC Grant Programme is to enable local voluntary and community organisations to access funding that supports the following broad outcomes:

  • Increased resilience within communities
  • Increased self-reliance
  • Improved and stronger relationships within the community
  • Residents are involved in the design and delivery of activities that make a positive change in their communities
  • Asset and strengths based – building on what exists in communities Extensive community conversations have helped to shape the elements of this programme.

The grant programme is aimed at improving the wellbeing of communities, and tackling isolation and loneliness. It does this by developing stronger relationships and building on what exists within communities. This could include making the most of community spaces, improving access to transport and using people’s skills, talents and experience.

All potential applicants must have an initial conversation with SCVO Community Partnerships Coach, Liz Webster, for further information please email

The deadline for applications is mid-day on Monday, 28th February 2022.

Call out to Food Banks and Pantries

January can be a draining month for some people, often leading to longer than usual queues at Sandwell Food Banks and Pantries. Together with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, this in turn can have a draining effect on staff, volunteers and supplies at these much-needed hubs.

That’s why we’re throwing a spotlight on this vital service between January 26th and 31st, to not only bring attention to the ongoing need for support from the general public and business sector, but also to celebrate the incredible work they do.

Janine and Sarah at Smethwick Food Bank organise support in the form of three-day food and essentials parcels for 160 nearby households every week. Part of the Trussell Trust and Sandwell Food Banks networks, they prioritise signposting their beneficiaries to services which can help move them on from needing the Food Bank in the future. But that doesn’t alter the fact that they need food…today.

“Some days it’s like a domino effect if our volunteers can’t come in for whatever reason,” said Janine. “One gets ill, then another tests positive, then another has a family crisis – we end up without help and we miss them so much.

“Even if people can’t commit to helping us regularly it would be great to have a few ‘back up’ volunteers we can call in from time to time to help out.”

Our campaign at the end of the month aims to raise awareness of such opportunities, listed on our volunteering web site as well as encouraging residents, and businesses, to donate what they can to their local hub.

To promote your opportunities and get involved in the campaign email



Brandhall Village Public Consultation

Sandwell Council invites you to take part in a public consultation on the proposed Brandhall Village, to be sited on the former Brandhall Golf Course.

The proposals for Brandhall Village include a brand-new large public park with a range of amenities, space for a new primary school and much-needed new homes. The site will also include areas for wildlife and introduce new pedestrian and cycle links.

The Council is currently developing a masterplan for Brandhall Village and are keen to hear residents’ views on our plans so far. This consultation offers local residents, the opportunity to influence key aspects of the masterplan, including how the new Village will look, the kinds of open space to be included and any community facilities provided within it.

Feedback on the proposals is welcomed up to Sunday, 28 November 2021.

Throughout this period, information about the scheme will be available on the website where there will also be the opportunity to provide feedback via an online survey. In addition to the website, printouts of our consultation material will also be kept at Brandhall Library, to view at your leisure.

The Council will be launching a virtual consultation room from Monday 8 November, where information about the development can be viewed and the current master plan options. The room will be available 24/7 and will also contain a link to an online survey.

There will be a face-to-face consultation event on Tuesday 16 November 2021 at Brandhall Library, Tame Road, Oldbury, B68 0JT. This event will present the same information as the virtual consultation room but will also provide the opportunity to ask questions you may have directly to the project team. Feedback will be welcomed at this event, should you be unable to provide feedback online.

Ingeus looking for local partners to assist with Voluntary Work Placements

Ingeus is a government project to help people back into work who have been affected by COVID 19. Since 2002, the employment service has helped find meaningful jobs for over 400,000 people.  Ingeus is looking for partners able to assist them with voluntary work placements and job opportunities in all sectors, including administration, retail, hospitality, cleaning, warehousing, industrial, care, customer service.

The Restart Scheme staff include an experienced and expert frontline team of Advisers, Employment Psychologist, Career Coach – Self Employment, Debt Advisers and Employability Trainers who provide one-to-one advice and support to clients.

Ingeus can provide:
• participants who are carefully screened as per requirements of a role
• interview facilities
• the opportunity for you to meet suitable candidates face to face at their premises.
The local Ingeus office is based at Kingston House, High Street, West Bromwich.

If you have a voluntary work placement or would like to a have discussion on work experience / job placement support for local participants, please call Jeff on 07443 194174 or email

For further information regarding Ingeus and the Restart Scheme, please visit and
Restart scheme – GOV.UK (

SWB CCG “What if”…..Community Conversations

Join Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (SWB CCG) and help to continue the conversation about what really matters to us, barriers to health and happiness and what we can do together to create thriving communities across the Black Country and West Birmingham.

Everyone has story to tell. Jane shared her story at February’s Community Conversation. The CCG want you to invite at least one person to the next workshop on 14th April. Who do you know who has a story to tell but for one reason or another, has felt unable to share their experiences, or perhaps even silenced by the system?

The CCG is listening and learning. So, if you have any ideas on how the organisation can continue to improve the Community Conversations, or how they can reach people and communities who are often left out, they would like to hear from you. You can get in touch by calling 0121 612 1447 or email

To register for the next Community Conversation, via Zoom, on Wednesday 14th April, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, click here.

Networking After party 12.30 pm – 1.00 pm

The Windrush Scandal: The Social Justice Consequences of Identity and Belonging on Victims and their Families in England

Dr Kindy Sandhu is a post-doctoral fellow at Coventry University and leading the research “The Windrush Scandal: The Social Justice Consequences of Identity and Belonging on Victims and their Families in England.” Dr Sandhu is keen to interview participants who experienced the scandal directly so that this episode is not forgotten in our history.

Dr Sandhu is exploring participant’s experiences of the Windrush scandal, interactions with Government agencies, support from family and friends, and how they see their identity and sense of British belonging.

This research has been approved by Coventry University’s ethics procedures and all participants will be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. The research also follows GDPR guidelines for data protection.

Should you wish to have an initial phone call so that further details of the research can be relayed and, more importantly, be assured of Dr Sandhu’s values and ethics in conducting the study, please email



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