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Charities Need Government Cash To Avoid ‘Dire’ Situation

Sterling notes and coinsCharity representatives across the west of England have asked the government for £30m over the next five years to avoid “dire” consequences for local charities.

The group, which includes Bristol mayor Marvin Rees and the leaders of all three local councils, as well as charities and businesses in the region, has written directly to charities minister Baroness Barran, in a campaign coordinated by the Quartet Community Foundation.

The joint letter says that one in five local charities expect to cut services because of income lost due to the coronavirus crisis.

Five-year plan
The £30m would back a recovery plan for the west of England, which includes financial projects to stabilise income for local charities and support for mergers of voluntary organisations where that is in the best interests of beneficiaries.

The letter says: “80% of our local VCSE organisations have kept going through the crisis, using great imagination and energy to keep supporting people in need.

“With recovery on the horizon, 22% of our local charities, voluntary and community groups think they will have to cut services, and a further 20% are uncertain what the future holds.

“With income severely impacted and needs increased, it is a dire situation.”

Sue Turner, chief executive of the Quartet Community Foundation, said: “If charities don’t get financial support now, they won’t be here to help our most disadvantaged people through the tough days ahead.”

ACEVO: No signs of finances improving
The bid for regional support comes as the latest data from ACEVO warns there is no sign of improvements to the sector’s financial situation.

The Charity Health Check, which tracks charities’ financial confidence and is released each month, found that attitudes overall among surveyed organisations had not changed between May and June, although confidence has improved since the first weeks of lockdown in April.

Working with the Centre for Mental Health, ACEVO surveyed 88 charities in England and Wales. ACEVO says that, while the financial decline appears to be stabilising, a third of respondents reported a decrease in donations or new business compared with last month, and a third reported worsening reserves.

One in four reported cash flow was worse.

‘More vulnerable’
Kristiana Wrixon, head of policy at ACEVO, said: “It is positive that the charities we have surveyed are reporting less acute financial health challenges this month.

“However, talking to our members, and looking at data from the previous two months, I am deeply aware that an unchanged picture in June, is still a much poorer, less resilient and more vulnerable outlook than four months ago.”

Read the full Civil Society article by clicking here.

Source: Civil Society


Coronavirus: Spending on Frontline Services in Decline as Income Continues to Fall

DeclineSpending on frontline services is in decline as charities battle with an increase in income loss, new research has shown.

In a survey conducted by ACEVO and researches at the Centre for Mental Health, more than half of charities (54%) said spending on frontline services has worsened in the last month.

The organisations surveyed 124 charities for the second consecutive month on financial changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Charities were quizzed on new business and donation income, cashflow, FTE number of employees, reserves and spending on frontline services.

The overall score for June sat at 42.8 out of a maximum of 100, which is deemed a negative score, showcasing the financial deterioration among the sector.

A score of 50 means no change, and a score of 100 means every area has improved.

The score is, however, higher than April’s score of 30.8, suggesting that although challenges are worsening, it’s at a slower rate.

New business and donations were worse for 40% of charities responding; 36% reported worse cashflow and 44% reported that reserves had got worse.

Furthermore, in a new development, the number of charities reporting spending on frontline services was lower than the previous month increased sharply from 30% in April to 54% in May.

ACEVO said these findings suggest that charities that have been relying on reserves to maintain frontline services are now having to reduce their activity at a time when they are never more needed.

“In April, the chancellor announced emergency funding for charities to support the relief effort but much of it is yet to reach charities,” Kristiana Wrixon, head of policy at ACEVO said.

“This money was always too little, and it is now also too late to stop charities from being forced to scale back frontline services at a time when they are never more needed. The government needs to act urgently to increase funding to charities and civil society groups in order to reduce the risk of further harm being caused to people and communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Source: Charity Times

The Prince’s Trust: Speak Up Sandwell

The Prince’s Trust, in partnership with Outspoken, will soon be delivering sessions in West Bromwich for the ‘Speak Up Sandwell’ project.

‘Speak Up’ and join the Prince’s Trust to make a short film or podcast about issues that impact you and your community! If you are aged 16 – 30 and feel passionate about your community and young lives, the Prince’s Trust want to hear from you. You may be an artist, musician, film maker, social media influencer or just want your voice heard, this is the project for you.

Go and meet representatives of the Prince’s Trust at the first session on Tuesday, 24th March, 2.00 pm at The Arts Café West Bromwich.  They want to hear from you about the issues you care about and the project you want to be part of. Subsequent sessions will also be on a Tuesday, between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm, on the dates listed below, at The Arts Café in West Bromwich.

Gain a fun insight into the performing industry, develop your performance skills. Create a short film or podcast showcasing your skills. Travel expenses will be reimbursed and taking part will not affect your benefits.

Subsequent sessions will also be on a Tuesday, between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm. on the dates listed below, at The Arts Café in West Bromwich.  Take part in all, or as many sessions as you can.

Tues 31 March
Tues 21 April
Tues 28 April
Tues 5 May
Tues 12 May
Tues 19 May
Tues 2nd June

If you’re interested in taking part or have any questions, send a text to 07534 556 859, or call the Customer Services Team on 0800 842 842.

Four of the Best Charities Leading the Push for Digital Transformation

Charities with digital transformation on their list of New Year’s resolutions need look no further. Through efficiencies gained from digital fundraising, operational speed, and time-saving processes, digital transformation can give charities of all sizes a make-over in both online and in offices. Here we showcase four of the most inspirational transformations.

Parkinson’s UK data-led approach to digital strategy
In 2017, the UK charity focused on determining internal digital maturity levels and developing a digital strategy.

“We now talk an awful lot about our data maturity as an organisation and about making sure that our 400 staff know how to use information to make better decisions,” said Ms Dodd, Director of Digital Transformation and Communication, when speaking to Computer Weekly magazine.

“That stretches from our strategic priorities right down to a project-level basis, where our people use information to make better decisions.”

Since then, one of the major challenges Ms Dodd has worked on is to link up data sources across the organisation. A cloud-based solution was found using Snowflake to centralise data.  For the inside scoop on the journey, Charity Digital News interviewed Carolyn Nutkins, Director of Organisational Development at Parkinson’s UK – the video can be found here.

Cancer Research UK’s journey is about digital cultural change
Two years on from the first conversations and implementation of the charity’s digital transformation, leadership and skills have come to the fore. Writing for CRUK’s blog, Ellie Budd, Digital Proposition Manager noticed how the charity’s entire operating model had shifted from demanding services to testing new, innovative digital ideas.

“For us, it’s a little about the technology, but a lot more about the skills teams have. We learnt very quickly those skills needed to be different for every team. Some would need to set up complex A/B tests, some needed to write user stories in BDD format, and some had to optimize their content for search,” said Ms Budd.

For CRUK, digital transformation and experimentation came with not only a shift in digital culture but buy-in from digital leaders throughout the organisation.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

Expressions of Interest invited to manage and develop the former Sandwell Adventure Play Association (SAPA) building

Expressions of Interest are invited to manage and develop the former Sandwell Adventure Play Association (SAPA) building at Wiltshire Way, Hateley Heath. West Bromwich. The single storey building is approx. 130 m2 in size, with its own grounds. The building requires significant investment.

Sandwell Council would be interested to hear from a community based group or groups that may be interested in making use of the building. Any use would be dependent on planning consent and information around improving the building and/or paying a rent to the Council.

If you wish to view the property or have any questions please contact Paul Evans (07581623033, by 5.00 pm on Friday, 8th November 2019.

Wool, Bells and Buttons Needed

Lee’s Memorial Sons of Rest, Greets Green need your help with materials for their Dementia twiddle muffs. They are asking for donations of wool, bells and buttons for their ladies section to knit the twiddle muffs to give to residents who would benefit from one within Sandwell.

If you are able to donate any of these items you can drop them off at Lee’s Memorial Sons of Rest, Farley Park, Whitehall Road, Greets Green, B70 0HF, to find out when the centre is open please call John Lawley at the club on 0121 7921285.

For more information please call John Lawley at the club 0121 7921285.

Dorothy Parkes Centre Launches Community School Uniform Swap Shop

Parents across Smethwick and neighbouring areas will benefit from a community led school uniform swap shop which is launching on Tuesday 13th August 2019 at the Dorothy Parkes Centre, Church Road, Smethwick.

Staff, volunteers and a local laundrette have been busy washing over 250 items including sweatshirts, blazers, cardigans, dresses, polo shirts, shirts, t-shirts, shorts, trousers, skirts and shoes which have been donated by the local community since the donation box arrived at the Centre on 19th July 2019, the day the schools broke up.

The Centre will host the first two collection days on Tuesday 13th August, 2pm – 4pm and Friday 16th August, 12pm – 2pm and invite the local community to attend and take what items they need.

The donations box will be based in the Centre permanently with donations being accepted all year round. Requests will be made throughout the year for fancy dress and costumes for events such as World Book Day and Christmas, etc.

Robert Bruce, Chief Executive Officer at Dorothy Parkes Centre said:

“This latest initiative we have launched aims to help the many parents in the area who may struggle with the increasing costs of school uniforms. The summer holidays can bring many financial challenges for parents regarding entertaining their children, going on holiday and then purchasing new school uniforms. We are also aware of an increasing issue around food poverty during the school holidays. We are in the heart of a residential area and are based near ten schools so hopefully this will have a positive impact.”

If anybody would like more information about the swap shop please contact the Centre on 0121 558 2998 or email

The Dorothy Parkes Centre is a community centre which helps to address local challenges around health, empowerment, elderly isolation, low educational attainment and significant unemployment by providing, or hosting, a wide range of activities. These include youth work, children’s activities, older person’s, creative or martial art groups, exercise classes, Macmillan benefits advice sessions, job clubs and dance classes. The Centre also hosts police, fire and council surgeries and promotes other events and programmes happening throughout the borough.

The building is regularly used by local statutory and voluntary organisations as a meeting place for training, displays or fayres. It is available for the general public to hire at weekends and is a popular venue for parties and celebrations.

Significant Rise in Payroll Giving in the UK

The number of companies and their employees taking part in payroll giving schemes is significantly increasing, according to the Association of Payroll Giving Organisations.

Almost 65 per cent more Payroll Giving Quality Marks were awarded to employers this year by APGO, which indicates an upward trend in the number of firms offering such a scheme.

A total of 3,458 employers were awarded the quality mark in 2019, almost 1,500 more than were awarded in 2018.

Andrew Simmonds, chair of Together For Animals, said: “As a small charity we see payroll giving as our key source of income.

“It is great to see the increase in quality marks and therefore the increase in both employers and employees supporting payroll giving, which supports us and so many charities each year.”

‘Vital, robust and sustainable source of income’

Panikos Efthimiou, chair of APGO, said: “Payroll giving continues to demonstrate itself as a vital, robust and sustainable source of income for all charities.”

Nearly 60 per cent more employers achieved the “diamond” award level this year, 95 per cent more attained platinum and more than 1,000 additional employers received bronze.

The government-backed awards are given out annually and are based on participation in the scheme by an organisation’s staff.

Efthimiou said: “We are delighted to see this positive increase in quality marks, and especially those aspiring to reach diamond level as that means more than 30 per cent of all employees are giving regularly to their favourite causes.”

Source: Civil Society

Carers Project….Healthwatch Sandwell want to hear from you

Healthwatch Sandwell is currently conducting a Carers Project and want to talk to people (aged 18+) who provide unpaid ‘care’ for others. This role can include personal care, shopping, befriending and much more. The Project includes people who may not see themselves as a ‘carer’ and have not accessed support.

Healthwatch Sandwell is your local voice for the public in the delivery of health and social care services.

If you would like to be share your experience, the organisation is collating people’s contact details to:

• be part of a focus group in July and August 2019 to discuss their experiences of caring for someone. These will be held in each town and participants will be contacted directly with dates. (one in each town in Sandwell) or

• have a one to one interview to talk about your life as a carer and what support you have had, and what you would like in the future.

If you, or anyone you know is interested in taking part, please contact Healthwatch Sandwell on 0121 569 7210 or e mail

Charity Digital Code Secures Funding Boost

The Charity Digital Code of Practice has secured funding for a second year, with technology firm Cisco and networking group Charity IT Leaders pledging to support the initiative.

The two backers join founding funders Lloyds Banking Group and the Co-op Foundation, with support from the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) to back the code with £140,000 of support.

The Code was launched in November 2018 to increase the digital skills of those who work in charities. This has included the launch of a Charity Digital Code Quick Assessment Tool to give further help to charities looking to improve their digital capabilities.

It is voluntary and free to access for charities and includes a version tailored for small charities.

Securing Charities’ Long-Term Future

The support will be used to help the code to expand its reach among charities, connect with online audiences and help secure charities’ long-term futures.

Further work includes implementing testing and feedback mechanisms to make the code more responsive and to increase awareness and adoption of the code.

“We look forward to working with our fellow funders and the Charity Digital Code Steering Group to build a resource that will help charities of all sizes embed effective stakeholder-led digital strategies and practices into all aspects of their work and culture,” said Co-op Foundation Chair Jamie Ward-Smith.

Michelle Hill CEO of relationships charity TLC: Talk, Listen, Change, which has used the code, said: “The Charity Digital Code of Practice has been brilliant for us.

“It showed us what we were doing well, where we could stretch ourselves and what we’d not even thought of yet. From making the most of the digital systems we have to using our data to understand user insights, we have made improvements across our organisation thanks to advice and resources from the Code.

“Our digital activity is now integrated throughout our organisational strategy and business plan. We now see digital not as a bolt on or a nice added extra but as key to everything we do. It will be our blueprint for the next few years.”

Tech Trust CEO Jonathan Chevallier added: “The Digital Code can be a great help to leadership teams and trustees in achieving a balanced approach to their digital initiatives. It considers leadership and the strategic priorities whilst including other important aspects such as being user led and agile and responsive. I’m delighted to see this further funding which will help to further develop and embed the code across the sector.”

Source: Charity Digial News

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