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Company staff seeking opportunities to volunteer

Staff from from a pharma company are looking to engage in volunteering. They would prefer smaller community based services that have a strong interest in homelessness or children / young people, but really are open to any community service who could benefit.

There may be a very small budget to support.  The company is largely looking to donate skills, manpower and enthusiasm whether that is manual DIY or something softer such as admin.

If you feel your organisation could benefit from this offer, please contact Sharon Preston direct at sharon.preston@merck.com.


Pioneering Heritage Impact Fund Opens

A trailblazing partnership is for the first time investing National Lottery money in loan finance that will deliver economic and social benefits to communities across the UK.

The Heritage Impact Fund, launched today, is a £7million social investment fund providing organisations with loan finance enabling them to deliver positive economic and social impact through the re-use of heritage buildings.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has until now been solely a grant funder, investing £8billion in thousands of heritage projects, many of which have revived derelict historic buildings and brought wider economic benefits.

“We’ve seen a growing appetite in the heritage world to make use of loans”, Ros Kerlake

But in recent years there has been a growing appetite in the heritage world to make use of loans and other social investments in order to diversify income, strengthen business models and reduce reliance on grants.

A trailblazing partnership

It is a partnership – the first of its kind – with the Architectural Heritage Fund, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland and Rathbone Greenbank Investments. The fund offers tailored loan finance for charities, social enterprises and community businesses across the UK seeking to acquire, reuse or redevelop buildings of historical or architectural importance.

Loan amounts are up to £500,000 per project with a maximum three-year term, which can be extended in exceptional circumstances, with incentivised rates for projects that deliver significant economic or social impact.

Delivering real social benefits

As well as helping deliver projects that support the sustainability of historic buildings, the Heritage Impact Fund will support organisations with a clear social mission seeking to deliver demonstrable local economic and community benefits. This will vary from project to project but it is expected to include job creation, training and volunteering opportunities and the restoration and re-use of heritage buildings for commercial and community uses.

“This partnership is the first of the strategic initiatives arising from our new Strategic Funding Framework,” explained the CEO of new-look The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Ros Kerslake.

“It represents an important opportunity to make National Lottery investment in heritage work harder and deliver positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.”

“An important opportunity to make National Lottery investment in heritage work harder”, Ros Kerslake

The Architectural Heritage Fund is the lead partner in the project and will administer the fund on behalf of the partnership. Its Chief Executive Matthew Mckeague explains how the fund is open to organisations outside the heritage sector.

“The Heritage Impact Fund is designed to be flexible, supporting not-for-profit organisations both within and outside the heritage sector, the common link being the re-use of a heritage building and delivering local economic and social benefits.”

The Heritage Impact Fund opened on 14th February 2019.

Find out how to apply by clicking here.

Source: Heritage Lottery Fund


If We Don’t Support Small, Small Can’t Support Us

Lizzie Walmsley, head of communications at the Small Charities Coalition, argues that smaller charities deserve more support.

97 per cent of charities have an income of less than £1m, but they share 20 per cent of the money that goes to the sector

I probably quote this statistic at least 10 times a week. I tell stakeholders who tell me that there’s a problem with trust in the sector, small charities who think they’re alone and sometimes I mention it on Twitter. As the editor of this publication highlighted, I’m actually wrong. This is a statistic used for ease but the truth is, with an estimated 200,000 unregistered “micro charities” in the UK, the figure is more like 99 per cent.

You could make the argument that this statistic is used to show that small charities should grow their income and become ‘big’. But that is not my intention or why I make myself sound like a parrot week after week.

74 per cent of charities in England and Wales turn over less than £100,000. As a helpful tweeter calculated, even if you took the 123,230 charities in England and Wales who have an income of £100,000 or less and gave them each a £50,000 gift, there would be an additional £6bn between them and yet they would all still be small.

I work for the Small Charities Coalition, a membership organisation representing over 9,000 small charities, not only giving them greater representation, but also providing a number of vital services including a support line, training and mentoring. I’m incredibly proud to champion the work of all small charities, registered and unregistered, across the country.

I am also supportive of our member’s growth ambitions – some are the perfect size for what they want to achieve and their ambitions are to maintain their small but vital purpose. Some want to grow slightly bigger, others want to merge with bigger organisations, many just want to be financially stronger and a minority have huge growth goals that they will one day no longer be small. They’re all part of the ecology of the rich civil society in which they exist.

To read the full article click here.

Source: Civil Society


Have you say on a Strategy for West Midlands Economic Growth

A West Midlands Voluntary & Community Sector Leaders’ Group (WMVCS) is urging civil society organisations and groups across the West Midlands region to take part in an important survey which will feed into a local strategy for inclusive growth.

This strategy aims to ensure that economic benefits of growth across the West Midlands are transferred equally to individuals and communities.  Localise West Midlands has been commissioned by the West Midlands Combined Authority Inclusive Growth Unit with funding from Barrow Cadbury Trust to bring civil society organisations together to explore some big questions:

1.  What does inclusive economic growth look like in the West Midlands?
2.  What is blocking it – and what is enabling it?
3.  How will it be delivered?

The answers to these questions will feed into the vision and draft strategy for inclusive growth in the West Midlands – into the burgeoning Local Industrial Strategy’, and into other West Midlands Combined Authority business such as the Forum for Growth conference.

Localise West Midlands will ensure that a model for ongoing civil society engagement emerges from this work.
Your responses are needed by the end of November 2018.
Get involved!

There are a number of ways that you can join the debate and influence the Inclusive Growth Agenda:
• Join the LinkedIn Group – https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12120828

• Respond to the survey [Once you have completed the first page, you can freely scroll backwards and forwards until you click ‘submit’. The deadline is 31 October 2018 but any responses received by 20 September can be fed into the workshops and interim briefings which will take place in September and October.]

• Discuss the three questions at one of your meetings and send your thoughts to Localise West Midlands by 31 October 2018 (contact details below)

• Send information to Localise West Midlands (contact details below)

• Attend a workshop or coffee drop-in (Book a place by emailing Rosemary directly – details below)
o Workshop (Birmingham) 27 September 10.30 – 1.30
o Workshop (Birmingham) 18 October 10.30 – 1.30
o Coffee and chat drop-in (Coventry) 29 October 10.00 – 4.30
o Coffee and chat drop-in (Wolverhampton) 1 November 10 – 4.30

• Suggest a meeting (email Rosemary – details below)
Get in touch!
• Telephone: 07971 249858
• Email: rosemary@localisewestmidlands.org.uk

Download a background briefing to find out more about this consultation.
The introduction to the work and the survey questions can also be found at: http://localisewestmidlands.org.uk/7738-2/


Ending Poverty the Way to Better Health

We must tackle the economic causes of ill health, says John Bird, and Martin Houghton-Brown praises the contribution of volunteers to the health service.

May I thank Sonia Sodha for her insightful piece (The only way to protect our NHS? Set up a National Care Service, 4 July). She offers an important starting point for a much wider conversation we need to have about Britain’s health. At present, the NHS is locked arm in arm with poverty. We will never get over the crises facing the service until we tackle the poverty that underlies the worsening health experienced by a growing section of British society.

This means taking on poverty capitalism and the consumerism that traps the poorest in the worst food options. If you have a zero-hours contract, earning £7 an hour and working extremely long shifts, you don’t have the time or the finances to cook nutritious food or get the exercise you need.

We can change this by realising the cost that poverty has on society as a whole, and then transitioning to a health system that focuses on prevention. This requires a societal mind shift, and a change that must begin by helping our young people understand why good health is important, and how they can avoid making the mistakes of earlier generations.
John Bird – House of Lords

To read the full Guardian Newspaper article click here.


Want to Win £100 of Shopping Vouchers?

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) – the transport arm of the West Midlands Combined Authority is currently undertaking a travel survey which is designed to understand the needs of vulnerable groups and explore fairer, more inclusive travel in the future.

Despite already supporting many people across the region through our concessionary travel schemes, we want to ensure we have the right mechanisms and transport services in place, so that all communities and groups can benefit from the economic growth happening across the region and that no-one is left behind because of transport barriers. We therefore want people to have a say in what their travel barriers are, and how they feel about a range of transport initiatives.

The survey can be found at: www.wmca.org.uk/survey

As part of an incentive to completing the survey, we are giving away £100 in Amazon and £100 in High Street Vouchers as part of a prize draw. Simply complete the survey to be in with a chance of winning.

The survey results will then help TfWM understand how people travel in our region and their experiences of using public transport. The deadline for the survey is 8th July 2018. For general enquires about the survey, please contact TfWM on 0121 214 7408.


Why Celebrating Volunteers is Important

Imagine our society without any volunteers. No one to take the refreshments trolley in hospital to patients. No one to drive elderly people to lunch clubs, giving them a chance to get out of the house. And no one to help run the youth centres that are a lifeline for some young people.

That’s why volunteers’ week is so important. To celebrate and thank those hundreds of thousands of volunteers who make such a huge difference to us all, and also to encourage more people to volunteer.

As Community Foundations we believe in the power of volunteering. Not just for the benefits it brings to society but also for the benefits it brings to those who volunteer. That’s why we run programmes to help people get involved in volunteering.

But it takes confidence to take that first step to becoming a volunteer and in Sunderland it was a local swimming group that made the difference. Volunteer-led local group Khushi applied for funding to take a group of Bangladeshi women and their children swimming. Due to cultural issues the group could not use ‘public pools’ and needed to swim privately. The funding allowed the group to privately hire a local pool and instructor to teach the women and children to swim.

Since attending the swimming club, two participants have gained confidence to volunteer at a local school, four women have started college and three have gained employment locally.

There are 165,801 voluntary organisations in the UK, many of whom rely on volunteers. We know through our work with small, local charities that most of these wouldn’t survive without volunteers.

But how do we make sure that volunteering is ingrained into our society and isn’t something that is seen as special and unique but is something that we all do?

We believe it’s about starting early which is why Community Foundations are involved in #iwill – the UK wide campaign aiming to get six out of ten young people volunteering by 2020. And it’s had some great results already. In Suffolk, the local Community Foundation awarded a grant to help run the Street Reach Project which encourages youth volunteering. Coordinated by a group of young people aiming to support people in need, one team helped a 90-year-old woman who was too elderly to work on her overgrown garden; this made a big difference to the quality of her life as she was able to enjoy her garden once again.

It’s initiatives like #iwill which will make volunteering second nature to the next generation. Which means the future of our small and local charities should be safe in our volunteers’ hands.

Source: Civil Society News


Unprecedented Level of Joint Working is Transforming Lives of Older People

Robert spent the best part of 11 months in hospital after suffering shortness of breath and rapid weight loss. He lost his wife during that time and the outlook for the 77-year-old seemed bleak. But now he is living independently with help to maintain his home and garden, advice on benefits and tips on healthy living.

The transformation in Robert’s life reflects the evolution of health and care services in Croydon, south London, where the local council, the NHS and charity Age UK Croydon have come together to support people like him.

The One Croydon Alliance was given the green light in March to develop its work for the next nine years, after demonstrating early benefits, including a 20% reduction in length of hospital stays, up to 14% fewer hospital referrals by GPs and cash savings of at least £12m a year.

Jo Negrini, Croydon council’s chief executive, says: “This unprecedented level of joint working between council staff, the NHS and other alliance partners has meant better health and social care outcomes for residents who might otherwise have continued to [be] in and out of hospital.”

The alliance was set up last year for an initial 12 months during which it focused mainly on people aged 65 and over. The two principal strands of its approach have been a Living Independently for Everyone (Life) programme – an integrated reablement and rehabilitation service for older people on discharge from hospital – and an Integrated Community Networks (ICN) scheme based on weekly “huddles” of professionals from all disciplines to discuss people at risk of going into hospital.

These huddles, with support from an Age UK personal independence coordinator, are critical to keeping Robert living at home.

Rachel Soni, the alliance’s programme director, says the whole-system initiative stemmed from a realisation by care commissioners that expecting care providers to work together was only half the battle – it was “throwing stuff over the fence” for other organisations to deal with.

Key to the first-year success of the alliance has been the strong commitment at the most senior levels of all the partner organisations, bottom-up co-design of the programmes and neutrality of the coordinating team, says Soni. “I report to the chair of the GP collaborative [a grouping of family doctors] but I am a council employee and I am on secondment to the [NHS] clinical commissioning group.”

To read the full Guardian Public Leaders Network news click here.


Report Reveals How Orgs are Using Blockchain for Social Impact

The promise of blockchain technology to drive social impact is said to be huge. A new report, ‘Blockchain for Social Impact: moving beyond the hype‘ released this week explores how much of it is hype and how much reality.

The study by Stanford University’s Center for Social Innovation and non-profit foundation RippleWorks analysed 193 social impact organisations and initiatives that are leveraging blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

“Are we at the pinnacle of a history- altering technology that will drive massive social impact, or is blockchain the latest tech buzzword — more noise than substance?” asks the report.

Bitcoin became the first decentralised digital currency, or digital ‘cash’ system that allows people to exchange money instantly, without having to go through intermediaries like banks. Its creation has led to over 1,500 cryptocurrencies that get purchased and traded globally.

Its underlying technology, blockchain, is a digital, secure, public record book of transactions that is linked in a chain with other blocks of data. This makes it a highly secure, transparent and fast to do things like facitilitate payments and verify records.

By mapping and cataloguing the landscape of such blockchain applications, the research captured which applications have already begun to demonstrate proven social impact, which industries and use cases are more or less advanced, and what we should be learning from the hundreds of test cases, pilots, and experiments.

Blockchain initiatives dedicated to social impact are still early-stage — 34% were started in 2017 or later, and 74% are still in pilot / idea stage. But 55% of social-good blockchain initiatives are estimated to impact beneficiaries by the end of 2018.

Of the 193 blockchain initiatives researched, 20% are providing a solution would not otherwise have been possible without blockchain.

The health sector is seeing a particular interest in blockchain, with nearly twice as much activity (25% of all initiatives) than the next leading sector, financial inclusion (13%). Other sectors trying out blockchain projects include philanthropy and aid, democracy and governance, energy, climate and environment, and agriculture.

Source: Charity Digital News


Development of Greets Green Learning Hub

In partnership with Sandwell Early Years, Veolia Environmental Trust and Enovert Community Trust, the Confederation of Bangladeshi Organisations (CBO) Ltd is developing a new modular building, called the ‘Learning Hub’, which will house the new Green Garden Community Nursery. Construction work will commence in April 2018.

This new project aims to create a one-stop shop and community hub at the heart of Greets Green and West Bromwich.

The project will cost in the region of £150,000. The bulk of the funding is coming through the Landfill Communities Fund. This lets landfill operators distribute a proportion of their landfill tax bill to community and environmental projects in areas where they operate.

The Veolia Environmental Trust have awarded £75,000 through the fund and Enovert Community Trust £40,000. The remaining £35,000 will be funded by Sandwell Early Years – Capital Grant funding.

In 2011 CBO took over the management of Greets Green Resource Centre (GGRC), a former housing office, from Sandwell MBC and transformed the building into modern and vibrant community facilities. Over 6,000 people use the Greets Green Resource Centre each year, benefitting from a wide range of activities including advice (in 2017 the Resource Centre’s advice team secured £1.3m of financial welfare benefit gains for local residents), health and wellbeing activities, sports and recreational activities, and other community development initiatives.

In 2017 CBO completed the development of Greets Green Play area to the rear of Greets Green Resource Centre consisting of; a Multi-use Games Area (MUGA), a children’s play area and a community garden.

Shabud Ullah, Manager said: ‘We are very delighted and grateful to our funders and partners Sandwell MBC, Veolia Environmental Trust and Enovert Community Trust for funding this unique project which will be first of a kind in the area. Greets Green Learning Hub will attract and benefit wider community. We have been planning this project over the last two years and engaged key partners, stakeholders, local residents and grass roots organisations/groups who will be empowered to play pivotal role in overseeing the management and delivery of the project’.

Angela Haymonds, Trust Secretary for Enovert Community Trust, said: ‘The Trustees were delighted to fund this project, which will provide a wide range of activities to assist and support isolated and vulnerable people in the local community.’


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