Social Investment

Tag Archives

Something Magical Happening This Christmas

The People’s Orchestra invites you to their annual fun-filled festival family concert, “Something Magical” at West Bromwich Town Hall on Saturday, 16 December, from 7.00 pm.

There will be sing-alongs, traditional carols, jingels and stories.  The orchestra will be playing pieces from a number of popular family movies including Frozen, Cinderella, The Muppets, Christmas Carol and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Adults £10
Concessions (65+ and students) £7
Children £5
Care home Residents £3
Under 5’s – Free

To book tickets please visit

If you have any questions call the Box Office Team on 0121 569 2616.


Four Steps to Driving Social Change Through People

How can charities and social enterprises get the best out of their people to drive the change they’re seeking? Mark Norbury, Chief Executive of UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, shares knowledge borne from recent experience.

When I arrived at UnLtd just over a year ago, I found an organisation brimming full of talent. Any given team member was values-driven, emotionally intelligent, smart, productive and thoughtful. That has generally been my experience in the social sector, but the UnLtd team seemed a notch up.

This human factor is critical to the success of any organisation, but for one focused on developing outstanding leaders of social change like UnLtd, it’s an absolute necessity.

Despite this strong foundation, we didn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders collectively. And worse, we were losing our talented folk at a surprising rate.

So with great support from both Board and team, we set about figuring out how we could better unleash the talent in the organisation. We focused on four factors which I think are paramount to organisations seeking to drive long term social change through their people:

1.Make people the top priority
This is of course common sense. But is sometimes undermined by structural factors – in our case cyclical funding driving resourcing decisions, or organisational culture – for us an unwillingness to say no to potential opportunities.
So the first thing we did is listen to our people. We sought everyone’s views about UnLtd as a place to work. With a partner, we ran a comprehensive, anonymised staff survey. We had a fantastic response rate (91%). This gave us a robust mandate to make change happen based on the findings of the survey.

2. Distinguish between people development and HR
The second thing we did was to create a new Head of People and Organisational Development role reporting to me as Chief Exec. This new role was exclusively focused on culture, values, learning and development, and progression.

Together we developed a strategy to address the key issues emerging out of our survey. We presented it at our annual team gathering and got good buy-in.

It’s not just staff who need to commit to this – but our trustees too. Our Chair and Board were really supportive throughout. This included defining that there would be a Board Committee with responsibility for people matters (the Nominations, Remuneration and Governance Committee for us).

3. Establish a common purpose
Obvious as it may sound, having 70 purpose-driven people is not the same as having 70 people driven by a shared purpose.
For us, this meant translating our mission and broad strategic direction into a concrete business plan and a meaningful performance framework.

Perhaps the most important thing to clarify for us was what we were not going to do. I remember our managers showing me a list of 17 funding programmes and an activity map which must have had over 60 priorities. We focused down to three areas of focus and three streams of delivery. We agreed how we would consolidate, exit or handover activities that we were no longer pursuing.
Even so, since then we have had to constantly push ourselves to be clear on what is ‘in’, what is ‘out’ and why. It’s not always easy, and we do find ourselves tempted to add exciting opportunities, or broaden definitions. Sometimes that will be fine, and sometimes we’ll still say ‘no’. But now we have a way of having more robust discussions, making judgement calls and sticking to them.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Bearwood Street Festival – Sunday 11 June 2017

On Sunday 11 June from 11.30 am to 5.30 pm, Bearwood High Street will host its first ever community-led music and arts festival right in the centre of the neighbourhood.

Odd things have been happening and Bearwood’s own paranormal investigator Ivor Goosebump, has been reporting this in his regular blogs. Could the recent reinstallation of Bearwood’s iconic timepieces somehow have caused time to go wrong?

A theatre trail performed by Highly Sprung will bring to life the mystery. Characters from Bearwood’s past and future will help visitors to find the missing ‘cogs’ needed to repair time. Highly Spring’s innovative blend of physical performance and animated storytelling is sure to excite audiences.

Younger visitors will have plenty to keep them busy with futuristic themed crafts, games and street art workshop.

Live music on the main stage will reflect Bearwood’s eclectic musical heritage with something for all tastes. Headliners, The Electric Swing Circus, bring an explosive sound fusion that reverberates back through time.

There will be cultural and audio feasts provided by the Community Stage.

Some of the best in regional street foods will be available in the Food Parade and a host of local entrepreneurs and crafters showing their goods in Bearwood Indoor Market.

If travelling by car, you can park for free at Lightwoods Park Extension and catch a vintage Midland Red courtesy bus to the festival drop-off point by St Mary’s Church.

Make Sunday 11 June a date in your diary to visit this amazing free event.

visit We are Bearwood

Expressions of Interest Invited by Walsall Council for former Library Buildings and Spaces

Walsall Council welcomes expressions of interest for alternative community use of former library buildings and library spaces from voluntary and community sector organisations, or several organisations working as a consortium.

Organisations should have the necessary expertise and imaginative proposals to take over the management of a former building or a former library space from the 14 August 2017 and make it available for use to the wider community. The primary use of the space must be non-commercial.

For further information and access to Expressions of Interest Forms, please click here.

West Smethwick Park Regeneration Drop-in Consultation

You are invited to attend a Drop-in Consultation event regarding West Smethwick Park on Wednesday, 8 February, 4 – 6.30 pm, at the Community Pavilion in the Park or on Thursday, 16 February, 3.30 pm – 6 pm, at Holly Lodge School, Holly Lane, Smethwick.

Sandwell Council has secured Heritage Lottery Funding towards the £5.1m restoration of West Smethwick Park, subject to a successful Round 2 funding bid to be submitted in 2017. The project involves restoration of the Park’s historic features, new recreational facilities and nature conservation improvements and the building of a major new community pavilion.

Community First Partnership will be finishing the programme of consultation that has taken place during the development of the proposals.  Members of the project team will be on hand to talk through the proposals and answer questions.

The Partnership is particularly interested in hearing what local people wish to see by way of events and activities in the Park and the new community pavilion building.

For further information about this project or the consultation event, please contact Rupert Dugdale at Community First Partnership on 07552 733 175 or email

Visit Friends of West Smethwick Park page on Facebook

First Regional VCS Engagement Event on Combined Authority

West Midlands Combined AuthorityOur twelve local authorities and three LEP partnerships in the West Midlands continue to move ever closer to a devolution deal and to establishing a West Midlands Combined Authority, moving powers and money from Whitehall to the West Midlands. But what will this mean for local residents, for local authorities and for the many thousand voluntary and community organisations across the region?

WMVCS, a recently-formed group comprised of the primary voluntary sector membership and support organisations across the West Midlands, are hosting a Briefing Event for voluntary and community organisations on Tuesday 12th April, 2.00 – 4.00 pm, at The Church at Carrs Lane, Carrs Lane, Birmingham, B4 7SX.

The event will be supported by a representative from the WMCA and will cover:-

• The rationale for and scope of the Combined Authority
• Its current stage of development and what’s ahead
• The future ambitions and priorities of the Combined Authority
• The contribution of the voluntary and community sector across the West Midlands
• Current and future engagement with the voluntary and community sector

Places are limited and are offered on a strictly first come first served basis.  To book a place follow this link:

If you require further information regarding booking on this event please contact Debra Hill on 0121 525 1127,

The WMVCS – which operates under the strap-line “networking community and voluntary groups across the West Midlands Combined Authority area” – comprises Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, Solihull SUSTAiN, Dudley Council for Voluntary Service, Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, Bromsgrove and Redditch Network, Sandwell Council for Voluntary Organisations, Voluntary Action Stratford-on-Avon, Walsall Voluntary Action, Support Staffordshire, Voluntary Action Coventry, and Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action. For more information on the WMVCS, please visit

Sandwell Early Help Innovation Fund

Pound NotesApplications are now OPEN for the Sandwell Early Help Innovation Fund.

The purpose of the Fund is to enable local voluntary groups and not-for-profit /charitable organisations to deliver preventative community-based interventions for children and families in Sandwell. The Fund aims to capitalise on the local know-how and expertise, flexibility, reach and trust that VCS organisations have with Sandwell residents to deliver positive outcomes for children and families that leave them more capable, self-confident, resilient and safe.

The Fund is inviting community organisations, (new/emerging or already established), to take new and creative approaches to working with people towards the outcomes of the Early Help Strategy. This Strategy sets out the need for change to ensure that all local children’s services, working together, are identifying and responding to those issues and needs faced by families in Sandwell that affect their ability to thrive. It states “the basis of our strategy is that the earlier we can provide help for these children and families, the earlier they can thrive and enjoy success; the later we provide this support, the fewer chances children have of living a fulfilled and happy life.”

You can download the application form (in either Word or pdf) and guidance notes below – please ensure you have read the guidance notes before completing your application. We will be posting a list of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ below and updating these as and when any further ones are raised – but please contact Stuart Ashmore at SCVO (0121 525 1127 or with any questions you may have that are not addressed in either the guidance notes or FAQs.


Application Form (Word format)
Application Form (pdf format)
Guidance Notes

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I apply for more than one grant per round? ‘Yes’, provided that each application is for a distinctly different project / activity. The Grant Panel would also wish to distribute the available funds as widely as possible and will take into consideration the number of different applicants when considering awards.

2. Can I apply for grants in each of the three proposed funding rounds? See answer to Question 1.

3. We’re a new organisation that’s in our first year of operation so we don’t have any financial information / audited accounts – can we still apply for a grant? ‘Yes’, but we’ll need to see your Business / Operating / Activity plan together with up-to-date income/expenditure details for your activities.

4. What sort of projects / activities will you fund? The funding is being offered for projects that are able to deliver the outputs and outcomes detailed in the guidance notes – we don’t want to be too prescriptive as to what this might look like so that applicants are free to be creative in their approach.

5. How much money is available in each round? The initial indication of the availability across the rounds is as follows: Round 1 – £50,000 / Round 2: £75,000 / Round 3: £75,000. However, this will be reviewed in light of demand and may be subject to alteration.

6. If my application is rejected in one round can I re-apply in another round? ‘Yes’, provided you have addressed the feedback given by the Panel regarding your original rejection.

7. If funding is fully allocated in a round, but our application merits further consideration, will it automatically be carried forward to the next round? In the event of such a situation arising, the Panel will communicate with affected applicants in order to agree an acceptable outcome/solution.

8. What methods of outcome measurement are acceptable? Given the varied nature of potential project delivery and the wide variety of available outcome measurement tools, the Panel does not wish to be prescriptive in stipulating a single method of outcome measurement. The grant applicant will need to demonstrate that their chosen measurement method/tool is appropriate/relevant for their proposed delivery.

9. When will we know the outcome of our application? The grant Timeline is detailed in the Guidance Notes – section (v).

10. This is the first time we have applied for grant funding – are you able to help us complete the application form? ‘Yes’, we can help you with guidance regarding completion of the form but we can’t ‘do it for you’.

11. Will I get feedback if my application is rejected? ‘Yes’, the Panel is keen to ensure that unsuccessful applicants receive constructive feedback regarding their applications so that they may be able to submit revised applications in subsequent rounds.

Community Shares

Pound NotesCommunity shares are a way to raise money to get projects off the ground by offering your community a chance to own shares in your organisation. Community shares can help raise significant funds for community projects.

But community shares are about more than financial investment. Each person who buys shares gets a vote in how your organisation is run. Community ownership means you gain dedicated investors and advocates who want the project to succeed.

Hundreds of community enterprises across the UK, from football clubs, community renewables, pubs and heritage buildings have already raised millions of pounds of investment from community shares.

Running a community share campaign is a bit like a crowdfunding project, so you’ll need access to a group of people who support your idea and put their own money in to make it a reality. That’s why Crowdfunder UK have teamed up with the Community Shares Company to combine their expertise and provide a new way for community groups to create and manage their community share offer.

Click here to find out more.

Social investment — made understandable, relevant and available

social investmentWhat do social investors look for in organisations? What’s it like for a social enterprise to go through the process of securing investment?

Big Issue Invest (BII) and Charity Bank have put together a social investment workshop to answer these questions. Peter Hughes (Charity Bank) and Kevin Lloyd-Evans (BII) have been working with social enterprises and charities for the past 15 years. They will share their insights and experiences alongside Bromsgrove based charity NewStarts, which recently secured a £400,000 joint investment from BII and Charity Bank (more in this post).

The workshop takes place from 2.00pm-4pm at Unit G2, The Arch, Floodgate Street, Birmingham B5 5SL on Thursday 30th July 2015. It will be informal, open to all and of particular interest to charities and social enterprises seeking to borrow to:
» purchase a property
» purchase a piece of equipment
» boost working capital to scale up existing operations

If you want to book up, follow the link.

Page 4 of 4First...234