Social Value

Tag Archives

What’s In The Case?

“What’s In The Case?” is a project that has been awarded funding by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government Windrush Scheme. Sandwell Museum and Art’s Service are looking for members of the Windrush Generation, or their descendants, to take part in a number of interviews (over the phone, skype or Zoom) in order to develop an exciting exhibition in October.

The service is looking for community groups, project leaders and organisations that might be interested in supporting the project.

If you would like to know more about the project, please contact Alex Howell, Arts and Project Officer on 07827305784.

Further information

Black Country Click Start – Referral Information

Black Country Click Start, run by Citizen Advice Sandwell, helps people who are out of work to develop their digital skills and improve financial inclusion.  The project tailors its delivery to the needs of the client and provides support for a variety of tasks, including:

Setting up, accessing, and sending emails.
Increasing skills and confidence when using the internet, including how to stay safe online.
Managing their Universal Credit account.
Searching for jobs and volunteer opportunities online.
Using price comparison sites to save money on goods and services.
Online shopping.
Online banking.
Keeping in touch with friends and family through use of social media, video chat, and voice calls.

Digital Money Coaches work throughout the Black Country to provide both group and one to one support.

The project is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. In order to participate clients must be out of work, have the right to work in the UK and be able to provide evidence of this.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, a letter from an organisation confirming the right to work status and unemployment status, may also be accepted. If eligibility conditions are met but evidence cannot be provided, support may still be available.

For further information, or the possibility of referring clients for digital support please contact Josh Shingleton, the Project Manager for the Citizens Advice Sandwell Click Start team. Contact: mobile 07494 157 550 or

West Midlands Emergency Active Travel Fund – Have Your Say

The Government has announced an Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF), working with local authorities across the country to encourage more active travel. As we respond and recover from Covid-19, the West Midlands Emergency Active Travel Fund Package includes a suite of measures to enable you to cycle or walk safely around your neighbourhoods and town centres.

These schemes include local measures that prioritise active travel, making it easier for you to access local services and enjoy the spaces around you.

The recent Transport for West Midlands Covid-19 travel survey concluded that 81% of you would like cleaner air, and 65% of respondents would like to be more active. In response to that, more than 45 projects will be introduced, including pop-up cycle lanes and pavement widening. These new measures will help you:

• Travel safely and securely

• Get workers and businesses back up and running

• Support school travel and keep children and families safe

• Keep air clean, reduce carbon emissions, improve mental health and increase physical activity that have resulted through lockdown

• Support a green recovery.

The package includes bold initiatives such as pop-up cycle lanes that keep cyclists separate from traffic along busy routes or provide more space for walking by expanding footways.

Please take a look and have your say on the places that matter to you by visiting

The Roll and Stroll campaign offers information about active travel, activities, tips and links to help you keep moving.

Online Donations to Foodbanks Showing Signs of ‘Compassion Fatigue’

Donations to foodbanks via crowdfunding websites have declined in May and June after peaking at the beginning of the lockdown, according to data from the University of Kent.

Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby and Dr Tomas Petricek from the University of Kent gathered information on donations to foodbanks via crowdfunding websites GoFundMe, Just Giving and Virgin Money Giving using data-scraping software.

They found that in February, before the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, fundraising appeals for foodbanks raised about £8,000-£10,000 a week. From early March, the figure started increasing very quickly, going from £50,000 a week at the beginning of the month to £1m week after 23 March, when the national lockdown was imposed.

After that initial peak, donations to foodbanks via crowdfunding websites started to decrease. They amounted to about £600,000 a week in early May and fell to £125,000 a week in early June.

‘Level of support is falling’

The research is partial, because it does not look at other donation channels, such as direct donations via foodbanks’ websites, corporate support, or donation boxes in supermarkets, among others. The crowdfunding websites are scraped every two weeks, so some short-term appeals could also have slipped through the research net.

But it suggests that donors are showing signs of “compassion fatigue”, decreasing their levels of support at a time when need is likely to increase further, the authors of the research have said.

Peter Taylor-Gooby, professor of social policy at the University of Kent, said: “The findings indicate how the amount raised took off in step with the numbers of coronavirus cases and the numbers claiming out of work benefits.

“The results so far show great and unexpected public generosity. Many people gave money to help vulnerable fellow citizens. But the level of support is falling. As the numbers of cases declined from April onwards, so did the income from the appeals.

“Official statistics show that, although the pandemic is in retreat, the number of benefit claimants continues to rise. All commentators believe even more people will lose their jobs as furloughing is wound down and the recession bites home, with a possible further impact from Brexit. Demand for food parcels will rise further. We can expect more urgent appeals for funds.

“Pandemic is widely seen as a common threat. Will people be as generous when we move into recession and very high unemployment? The indications of compassion fatigue are disturbing.”

To read the full Civil Society news click here.

Source: Civil Society News

Mindfulness with Sandwell Adult and Family Learning

“Remember to live in the moment and be thankful for all the positive things in your life.”

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning (SAFL) is the adult education service for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. As with so many organisations during this period of lockdown SAFL are aware of how isolating it can be when you are unable to visit friends and family, and this can take a toll on us all. That is why they have created a short video encouraging you to be more mindful and focus on the positives in life. Lisa Espinosa, a member of the senior leadership team, reminds us of six areas of our lives where we can focus on wellbeing.

They are:
• Connect
• Notice
• Give
• Move
• Talk
• Learn

You can access the video via YouTube or visit the website.

SAFL offers a variety of accredited and non-accredited courses for adults 19 plus. These courses range from Functional Skills qualifications in English and Maths, to art classes and support for families, with courses like Paediatric First Aid and baby massage.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick receives the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Volunteers from Guru Nanak Gurdwara, a Sikh spiritual centre based in Smethwick, West Midlands have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Established in 1961, the Gurdwara is one of the oldest and largest in the United Kingdom and voluntarily provides a very diverse range of services for the whole community. In 2018 Historic England chose the Gurdwara amongst the top 10 places which bring England’s extraordinary history of faith and believe to life.

The array of activities provide benefit both for those who attend the Gurdwara and the wider community.  Benefits range from spiritual uplift through initiation and nurturing of Sikh practitioners; capacity building of individuals, families and communities with values-based education; engaging in civic activities; providing support to the elderly through youth participation and healthcare; and environmental enhancement and heritage conservation both in Sikh and British heritage.

These projects enable community involvement through voluntary donations coupled with facilitating the provision of physical labour through a planned and professional approach. Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick is one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

Representatives of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick will receive the award from John Crabtree OBE, Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands later this summer. Furthermore two volunteers from Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick’s president, Jaswinder Singh says: “We are absolutely delighted with this wonderful award, it serves as great recognition of the amazing work of all the volunteers (Sevadaars) at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick. The Gurdwara provides a high standard of diverse services to meet the needs of the local community.”

“On behalf of the management committee I want to say a huge thank you to all involved since the establishment of Guru Nanak Gurdwara for making it so welcoming, engaging and impactful for the diverse communities we serve in the name of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.”

Jigsaw Events Activity Packs

Jigsaw Events is the sister organisation to Building Bridges Training, which provides community based social opportunities for people with a learning disability living in Sandwell.

During the current lockdown, Jigsaw have been keeping in touch with members via phone and WhatsApp groups, but they have also been posting out a weekly activity pack containing 10 to 12 items including:
Word searches
Fun activities
Dot to dot
Adult colouring.

The activities are available as free downloads on the website’s home page, just scroll down to the new purple banner. The activities can also be posted out to people on a weekly basis. Get in touch on 07543 194 887 or email

These activities have been made to be printed and posted to Jigsaw’s members, people with a learning disability who live independently in Sandwell. Some questions relate to the organisation – Jigsaw Events – or the local area so you might need to change for alternative questions in the quizzes. Members have requested many of the word search topics, Peter Andre, Owls and Aston Villa ones!

If you see any typos etc., or if there are no answer sheets available and you need one, contact Jigsaw. If you have any similar activity sheets then do let the group know

Items will be added on a regular basis so keep checking the website!

Visit the website here

NCVO’s Volunteering round-up: April 2020

The volunteer response to the coronavirus crisis has been incredible. Despite the UK being under lockdown, we know millions of people across the country are continuing to give their time to help those in need during the pandemic. This includes people signed up to NHS Volunteer Responders, those volunteering for charities and others getting involved with local mutual aid groups.

Safe to say, it has been a rather busy few weeks in the volunteering world since the last round-up. Below I recap everything you need to know about the covid-19 volunteering response. There’s also some important updates on other events and goings-on in the volunteering world.

Covid-19 volunteering response

Advice for volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations and groups

You can find out more about how you can help out during the outbreak and read Shaun Delaney’s blog to understand the rules on volunteering during the lockdown.

We have updated our online ‘Involving Volunteers’ guidance: this outlines several key areas for volunteer-involving organisations and groups to consider when involving volunteers in their work during the pandemic.

We’ll be running a webinar on 5 May giving some top tips on involving and supporting volunteers during the pandemic and an overview of the practical guidance and support available. The session is free to join and will be presented by Shaun Delaney, volunteering development manager at NCVO. Find out more and sign up for the webinar.

There will also be a webinar on 14 May focusing on key safeguarding principles and wellbeing tips for volunteers. It will be presented by Jarina Choudhury, volunteering development consultant at NCVO. You can find out more and sign up for this free webinar.

Volunteering and furloughing

The government has introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and many organisations are now taking the difficult decision to furlough staff. Shaun Delaney has written about what this scheme means for furloughed workers who may wish to volunteer and for organisations hoping to take on new volunteers. Two important points to bear in mind are that:
furloughed staff are not allowed to volunteer for their own organisation while they are on furlough leave
furloughed staff do have the option to volunteer for a different organisation while they are on furlough leave.

To read the full article click here.

Source: NCVO

Content Editors Wanted at Creative Black Country

Creative Black Country is looking for four Black Country Content Editors to work on a short-term project to create content both on and offline for their ongoing ‘creative documentation.’ The Content Editors will help to spread some ‘Bostin’ News during these extraordinary times.

They will be commissioning stories, features and articles that highlight the work and creatives from the Black Country (Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall).

Maybe you have been writing a story or some poetry? Maybe you’ve taken a series of pictures during your daily exercise? Maybe you’ve learnt a new skill that you’d like to share? Or know people that do these kind of things and can write about them?  Click here for further information

Deadline to apply – 4th May 2020.


Coronavirus and Social Isolation

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across the UK, it will be harder for people to maintain their social connections.

Campaign to End Loneliness will keep their page up to date with ideas for how we can all combat social isolation and look out for each other during the spread of the virus. They’ll also link to the latest guidance and advice from government, charities and experts on how to stay safe and healthy during the outbreak.

For many people there will be a tough, but necessary period of social isolation. Many of us will miss seeing family and friends and taking part in our usual hobbies, interests and activities.

It shows how important friendship and connection are in our lives, and how difficult it can be when they’re missing. This reminds us that for too many people their lives are often quite a lot like this.

Research shows that half a million older people regularly experience these kinds of protracted periods of isolation, going at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. During the Coronavirus outbreak it’s especially important we can stay in touch with people who are alone.

Staying in touch
Making sure that you stay in touch with friends, family and neighbours can help to ease any feelings of loneliness you and others may experience while in isolation. Technology can help with this enormously.

  • Call your friends, colleagues and relatives regularly on the phone and see how they are.
  • Create WhatsApp groups with neighbours, family or friends. Share how you’re getting on and ask other people how they are.
  • Use Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date and keep in touch.
    Offer to help with shopping or running errands. You could use an app like Nextdoor to see if your neighbours need assistance. If you’re worried about transmitting the virus you can leave the bags on the doorstep.

For many, the telephone will be the easiest and most accessible way to keep in contact. Some of this technology might be new or difficult to use for some older friends and family. Offer help and support to install and use apps.

When using social media be mindful that this may be a frightening and isolating time for many. Be kind. Offer help and advice where you can. Try not to spread unfounded rumours that may cause upset or panic.

Technology can’t replace the feeling of communicating in person, but there are ways of staying connected in isolation that can help.

For many of us this will be a difficult time. Isolation measures are to protect as many people from the worst effects of coronavirus and this will be temporary. If we make the effort to stay connected, we can make a big difference to people who are feeling alone at this time.

Source: Campaign to End Loneliness


Page 1 of 3123