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Concert in benefit of Black Country Women’s Aid

Halesowen Orchestra, supported by The Rotary Club of Halesowen and Rowley Regis, will be performing in a concert in benefit of Black Country Women’s Aid, 7.30 pm on Saturday, 17 March 2018 at the Cornbow Hall, Halesowen.

Music will include Beethoven: Symphony No. 7; Weber: Bassoon Concerto and Mendelssohn: Fingal’s Cave. The conductor will be Christopher Hoggarth and Bassoonist, Richard Tattam.

Tickets cost £10 and are available on line at, by telephoning 0121 550 0956 or at the door on the evening.  FREE admission for children under 12.  Full time students £5 (ID required).

Please book early for an evening of wonderful classical music.

The Dorothy Parkes Centre calls for votes to bag a share of Tesco’s funds

The Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of up to £4,000, raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores, awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

The Dorothy Parkes Centre is one of the groups on the shortlist.

The Dorothy Parkes Centre is a community centre based in Smethwick and is a place of welcome and opportunity, accessible to all, and open seven days a week. The centre aims to help address local needs by providing, or hosting, a wide range of activities and services for children and adults.

Robert Bruce, Chief Executive Officer at the centre, said:
“We are delighted to have been shortlisted and we with plead with the local and wider community to vote for us. Any funding we receive through this scheme will help towards a centre refurbishment which will enable us to provide an improved facility for the local community.”

Voting is open in all Tesco stores throughout March and April. Customers will cast
their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online.

To find out more visit

Can You Help? Kitchen Facilities Required…

The Sandwell Early Intervention Service Community Team is looking for kitchen facilities in order to facilitate a cooking group for clients under an early intervention service. Their outline requirements are as follows:

Location: (From any one, or all of…) West Bromwich, Smethwick, Oldbury, Tipton.

Days: To be confirmed, but only between Monday to Friday (and probably not every day).

Time: To be confirmed – kitchen facilities will be required between 10am – 3 pm for approximately 3 hours in total (see below for additional requirements).

Details: An equipped kitchen together with an ‘attached’ area where the group can eat their prepared meal (the eating area can be part of/separate to the kitchen area).

If you are able to help, please contact: Amandeep Kaur (Occupational Therapist) on 0121 612 6716 or

“Islamophobia: Challenges & Opportunities” – an invitation

Innovate Walsall CIC, cordially invites you to a panel event entitled “Islamophobia: Challenges & Opportunities” with keynote speaker, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, alongside Professor Francis Davies, and another, followed by Q&A and meet and greet.

Innovate Walsall CIC promotes community integration, and challenges all forms of hatred in Walsall, The Black Country and the surrounding West Midlands region.

Incidences of hate crime have spiralled since the Brexit vote in 2016. The rise of Islamophobia in particular is causing concern both in Britain and abroad. We have brought together a panel of experts to discuss the nature of the issue, how it is proliferating and what can be done to effectively counter it.
Considering the vast experience and expertise of the speakers, this panel event promises to be both eye-opening and thought-provoking.

About the speakers:

· Baroness Sayeeda Warsi – Former Foreign Office and Communities Minister; former Chairman of the Conservative Party; and author of “The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain”.

· Professor Francis Davies – Professor of Religion, Communities and Public Policy at University of Birmingham.

The event will take place on Sunday, 22nd April 2018 at The Goldmine Centre, 14a Lower Hall Lane, Walsall WS1 1RL.  Proceedings will will start promptly at 3 pm, aiming to finish by 5 pm. Registration is from 2.15 pm onwards, where light refreshments will be served.

Admission is by ticket only. Book your FREE place by visiting:

Please note it is anticipated to be a highly popular event and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Book now to avoid disappointment.

Sandwell Big Spring Clean campaign

Over the past 12 years over 20,000 people have supported and helped to make Sandwell a cleaner and safer place to live by taking part in the boroughs multi award winning Big Spring Clean campaign. This year’s kicks off on 2nd March and runs through until September 2018.

The campaign is a firm favourite with volunteers across Sandwell. In previous year’s schools, community groups, residents, places of worship, council staff and local businesses have litter picked, planted and painted to make the borough beautiful.

Local parks, community buildings and more importantly your neighbourhoods all have
benefited from the campaign.

Due to popular demand, Litter Watch has extended the campaign to accommodate events over a 6-month period, making it our biggest clean up ever.

Tipton Litter Watch would like more people to get involved in 2018 than ever before. Can you help them achieve its goal?9+

Tipton Litter Watch can support you with everything from providing equipment and a member of the Litter Watch team. All it needs from you is a helping hand getting your family, friends and neighbourhood involved.

If you would like to take part as a volunteer, please contact Tipton Litter Watch on 0121 557 6970 or email

Major Movement to ‘Reclaim Social Media for Good’ Inspires Thousands

A major social media movement to “reclaim social media for good” has gone viral, with thousands of individuals, charities and organisations actively calling for more positivity on social media, including Comic Relief, NCVO, the Institute of Fundraising and Whizz-Kidz.

The movement, which has been trending on Twitter, reached a staggering 10 million people within the first five hours on social media alone.

Leading with the tagline “There’s too much negativity on social media nowadays. Let’s reclaim social media for good”, the #ReclaimSocial movement is designed to challenge the overwhelming negativity on social media, and call an end to fake news, bots and trolls. The campaign, led by tech-for-good platform Lightful, is shining a spotlight on the countless positive stories from charities, social enterprises and individuals – many of whom are already using social media for good – under the single banner hashtag #ReclaimSocial.

From the Plunkett Foundation underlining the role of rural community co-operatives in helping people overcome issues such as loneliness and isolation, to Personal Group raising awareness of their work with the Memusi Foundation helping children escape poverty through education, to the RNLI showcasing the dangers of the water to young men, the #ReclaimSocial movement is giving a voice to an extraordinary amount of positive and high-impact stories that would otherwise risk being drowned out on social media.

The campaign has been amplified by digital OOH specialist Outdoor Plus, who have donated six iconic digital roadside screens to the cause, reaching an audience of approximately 1.7 million people in premium locations across London, including Euston Underpass, Greenwich and Wembley Way. The sites will also share some of the latest live tweets of people using #ReclaimSocial, providing a real-time view of how people are engaging with the campaign.

Vinay Nair, CEO & Co-Founder of Lightful, said: “Charities and social enterprises have some of the best stories to tell, which is why we’re delighted to help grow the potential of using social media for social good – we certainly need that to happen now more than ever. We are humbled to see so many people getting behind the #ReclaimSocial movement, and this feels like just the beginning. We’re also excited to amplify the voices of great causes on some of London’s most iconic billboard locations, via our partnership with Outdoor Plus. It will be brilliant to see live tweets showcasing what people are saying about the campaign in real-time, proving just how well outdoor can complement a live social media campaign.”

Ruth Owen OBE, CEO of Whizz-Kidz, commented: “Social media is hugely important for many of the young wheelchair users we support, not only for connecting with their friends but also the wider world. What’s more, Whizz-Kidz sees social media as a vital tool for raising the voice of young disabled people and challenging negative perceptions of disability, and for us #ReclaimSocial is an opportunity to celebrate the individuals and organisations using these platforms to effect positive change.”

Source: Charity Digital News

How to Measure Your Impact Effectively

Julia Grant, chief Executive of Pro Bono Economics, looks at the importance of impact evaluations and why it should become integral to the entire philanthropic model.

“What is impact evaluation for and what’s the benefit for the people I want to help?” Charity leaders often ask me those two big questions. They are right to consider their priorities: resources these days are tightly stretched and impact questions continue to generate headlines.

“I think there needs to be a national conversation around the complexity [of calculating impact],” said Lee Middleton in Civil Society last year. Managing director of the National Youth Agency and a former local government commissioner, he pointed out that charities are reluctant to commit to demanding bespoke assessments. Meanwhile, Amy Cross, a Blackpool Councillor, explained how local charities that lack a full impact rationale are losing contracts to organisations which are larger and better resourced, but also far less expert at handling local problems.

As public funds get further squeezed, the winners will be the charities that can show they make a difference. But smaller charities, in particular, find it hard to prove how they generate value with each pound they receive and spend. This reflects the discussions that Pro Bono Economics has with charity leaders. The vast majority of them – 86 per cent, in fact – admit to struggling with demonstrating impact. They accept its importance, but their immediate focus is on helping clients, raising money and paying salaries. When it comes to impact evaluation, they often do not know how best to start.

Fortunately, over its nine years of existence, Pro Bono Economics (PBE) has learned a few things that might prove useful. As our name suggests, we harness the potential of economics to help charities understand impact. Our project teams are built around professional economists working on a voluntary basis, and the emphasis is on efficient allocation of charities’ resources.
Economists often draw the analogy of cutting up a cake, so if you’re looking to get your fair share of the funding cake, what are the basic ingredients for impact evaluation? And how will you put them together to produce a successful case for support?

Nail your objectives
Impact evaluation is a business activity and, before you invest in it, you need to be clear on your objectives. It plays a role in delivering strategy and thus needs to be seen in terms of management rather than merely measurement and reporting to funders. Successful charities develop and refine their services continually, so impact evaluation must further your efforts to achieve the best results for the people you serve. It is vital to align your impact objectives with your charity’s declared mission; they will guide you in selecting data to calculate the value of your desired outcomes.

To read the full Civil Society article click here.

Poetry Competition – ‘Sandwell in Words’

To celebrate the diversity of the residents within Sandwell, and the celebration of World Poetry and Story Telling Day, Sandwell Adult and Family Learning is launching a poetry competition called ‘Sandwell in Words’. As a community coming from a wide variety of backgrounds we would like to bring together your experience of living in Sandwell through poems or short stories.

Competition Rules
• Applicants must be over 19 years of age
• Applicants must live or work in Sandwell
• Entries must be submitted by 5 pm on 9th March 2018
• Short stories should be no more than 500 words

To enter your poem or short story you can either:
Email: or post/drop into: Hateley Heath FETC, Huntingdon Road, West Bromwich B71 2RP.

There will be prizes for First, Second and Third places.

The winner will be announced by Wednesbury Poet Laureate, Brendan Hawthorne, at a celebration event at HHFETC on Tuesday 20th March 2018 from 4 pm – 7 pm.

Around 1,500 people choose to learn with Sandwell Adult and Family learning each year with many courses offered free or discounted, if in receipt of certain benefits.

To find out more about what the service can offer and to attend this event, please contact us on 0121 556 7426.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Oldbury Library, based at Jack Judge House, 10 Halesowen Street, Oldbury (opposite Sainsbury’s), is hosting A Trip Down Memory Lane during half term, on Tuesday 20 February 2018, 1 pm to 3 pm.

A Trip Down Memory Lane will reflect on what it was like living in the late 1940s without the mobile phone, computers, microwave and washing machines.  There will also be household items from yesteryear.

The retrospective will include an exhibition of the Windrush Generation – marking the beginning of mass immigration of West Indian born people to the UK – and their contribution to Britain.

Go along to the library for a Trip Down Memory Lane: you are welcome to bring our own photographs and memorabilia of the 1940s to share with others.

Light refreshments will be available.

For further details contact Annette Robinson, the Kingsway Project, telephone 07903 469 025.

‘I Found It Enormously Rewarding’: The Civil Servants Seconded to Charities

Working with a charity gives fast stream graduates a view of life outside government – and the impact for charities can be huge.

Working with a charity that uses rugby to address issues of unemployment, crime and antisocial behaviour probably wasn’t what Yasmine Hafiz had in mind when she applied for the civil service fast stream. But she says the six months she spent with School of Hard Knocks was incredibly valuable.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I found it enormously rewarding,” she says. “You can see positive things happening in people’s lives as a direct result of your work.”

Hafiz’s secondment was organised by the Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG), a not-for-profit organisation that works to improve relations between the public, private and charitable sectors through its Charity Next programme. Originally conceived by the Prince of Wales 10 years ago, Charity Next has placed 275 civil servants with charities and has now been incorporated by the Cabinet Office into the prestigious three-year civil service fast stream scheme, which gives graduates a choice of spending six months with a charity or a private company in their second year.

Around a third of fast streamers choose to spend time with a charity, says Peter Unwin, WIG chief executive and former director general of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). “What it gives civil servants, at a very early stage in their career, is an opportunity to go out and work in a front line organisation that’s going to be organised very differently from government, and a perspective on what government looks like from the outside,” he says.

WIG receives up to 100 applications from charities for each of the two intakes of graduates a year. The process can be rigorous: the roles offered need to be well-defined, and the charities well-organised, with a measurable impact for the charity and civil servant. “The [civil service] is paying the salary for six months, so [the role] has got to be something that’s going to stretch and develop [the fast streamer],” says Unwin.

So far, School of Hard Knocks has successfully applied for seven graduates. The operations director, Jack Lewars, heard about the scheme when the organisation only had three members of full-time staff. “What attracted us to it,” he says, “apart from the fact that it would be a very capable graduate from a very competitive scheme, was that adding a full-time position to a team of three would make an almost unimaginable difference in capacity. It was completely priceless.”

To read the full The Guardian Voluntary Sector News click here.

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