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Community Inspiration Award 2019

Nominations for the 9th Community Inspiration Awards 2019 are now open. The annual Community Inspiration Awards is organised by the Community Foundation, to recognise outstanding contributions made by staff from public sector organisations, charities, businesses and members of the community, whose efforts have made a positive difference in the community.

Awards will be presented by various dignitaries, including leading businessman and women, chief officers from public sector organisations and Members of Parliament and European Parliament. With 16 award categories to choose from, you can nominate somebody who you think deserves an award. Individuals can also submit a self-nomination, with the support of an independent verifier (basically, someone who can vouch for your good work!)

Nomination is open to all and there is no minimum or maximum age limit. Individuals can be nominated for more than one award category where applicable.

Completed nominations should be sent before 26 July 2019. Application forms can be downloaded for the website.

Happy Birthday Black Country Touring!

Black Country Touring (BCT) is turning 21 this year! To celebrate their big birthday, they are undertaking a sponsored 21 mile walk along the region’s canals on 25th May 2019, from Dudley Port to Wolverhampton and then all the way back to Birmingham via Smethwick. They’ll be joined by artists, performers and board members.

Black Country Touring was established in 1997 as an arts charity, to address the lack of opportunities for local people to access theatre, dance and film, in an area with some of the lowest levels of arts engagement in the UK. The arts have the potential to change lives – they allow us to see new possibilities, develop new skills and strengthen our communities and the places where we live.

They work with local people in the Black Country to programme professional touring theatre and dance into places where the local community can get to see it – this might be a school, community centre, the local library or high street. Through our Young Promoters project, children and young people go behind the scenes of how live theatre happens by transforming their school into a venue. We also make new theatre productions based on the lives and stories of diverse local communities.

Every £1 they raise will be doubled by Arts Council England via their Catalyst: Evolve funding.

More information or to sponsor BCT click here.

For more of their work, please visit or follow them on Twitter @bct_us. You can get in touch via or 0121 533 7129.


Blast! Festival of Photography: Talks and Walks

Blast! is like no other festival because it has been produced with, and for, local people. The festival invites 40 outstanding artists, photographers and curators to showcase work, develop projects and collaborate with communities to present stories about everyday life.

With exhibitions, film screenings, events, talks and walks across Sandwell, Blast! will be presented on the streets, the Metro line, in shops, libraries and pubs, on historic buildings and in the community halls and venues of Sandwell. The festival takes place over six weeks in each of Sandwell’s six distinct towns: West Bromwich, Tipton, Rowley Regis, Oldbury, Smethwick and Wednesbury and is open to everyone and is free.

Some of the artists involved include Martin Parr, Niall McDiarmid, Jon Tonks, Erik Kessels, The Caravan Gallery, Liz Hingley, Mahtab Hussain, John Myers, Janine Wiedel, Billy Dosanjh, Jan McCullough and Laura Pannack, to name but a few!

Please look at the website for more information.

Do you have a gazebo to loan?

Sandwell Visually Impaired (SVI) will be holding a tombola stall at the Hawne Basin Canal Festival in May and, ideally, would like to would like to loan a gazebo.

Are you able to help them out? Please contact Tony Averis, Chair of SVI on 0121 525 4810 or email

Central and Eastern European communities pop up Cafe in West Bromwich

There is a pop up Cafe in West Bromwich for Central and Eastern European communities which is up and running. The Café is from 3 pm to 5 pm every Wednesday at The Library, High Street, West Bromwich B70 8DZ.

The aim is to find out about issues and concerns in their neighbourhoods and how they could be supported by local organisations.

The Police are leading on this and are keen to get as much community engagement as possible.

Just pop in. No need to book.

Couch to 5K Initiative

Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) is running its fifth highly successful and FREE Couch to 5K initiative in May – in the leafy green surroundings of West Smethwick Park.

Back by popular demand, the nine-week course that sees non-runners start from scratch and collectively build up to managing 5,000 metres together, kicks off on Wednesday 1st May (6.30 – 7.30pm) and the only stipulation is that you need to be aged 14 or over. Places are FREE on this programme thanks to funding from Heritage Lottery Fund. Those registering must commit to a weekly group session & two pieces of homework linked in the session.

It follows very popular schemes held in Tipton, Smethwick, Oldbury and Cradley Heath, which attracted record numbers of participant sign ups and retention rates twice above the national average.

This fitness and mental wellbeing programme with a real difference is being led by SLT’s Simon Bryan, who is assistant manager for the Trust’s Hadley Stadium and Harvey Mitchell Leisure Centre in Smethwick, plus Tipton Sports Academy.

This particular Couch to 5k is Heritage Lottery-funded and forms part of the fantastic new £5m+ leisure and community facility and legacy that will be located in the heart of West Smethwick Park from January 2021.

Part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s nationwide ‘Parks for People’ initiative, it will feature a striking two-storey pavilion centrepiece, a contemporary new café and a comprehensive programme of targeted community and fitness activities ranging from dance, exercise, and martial arts classes, to environmental training exhibitions and community art projects – with the new facility being managed by SLT on behalf of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
To book your place click here

The Big Lunch 2019!

Great Things happen when you bring people together! The Big Lunch is about millions of people getting together to share food, have fun and get to know each other better. 

It’s a simple idea – that for a few glorious hours, cars stop, shyness stops and neighbours come together in the street to meet, greet, share, swap, sing, plan and laugh. That’s why the Eden Project are inviting you to join them on 1-2 June 2019 for their annual get-together for neighbours and communities.

The Big Lunch idea from the Eden Project is made possible by the National Lottery. It doesn’t matter if you are big or small – whether you’re having a cup of tea with a neighbour or a full-on street party, The Big Lunch is an opportunity to help build connections that create stronger and happier communities.

Sign up for your free starter pack to join in the fun by clicking here or for more information on the Big Lunch click here.

Don’t forget to share your photos using the #TheBigLunch hashtag.

Source: The National Lottery

YCA Cultural Centre – Visit My Mosque 2019

As part of the national #VisitMyMosque initiative, the Yemeni Community Association in Sandwell (YCA) is delighted to invite and welcome you to its mosque open day. The purpose of the day is about helping communities in building bridges and breaking down stereotypes.

The YCA Cultural Centre is opening its doors on Sunday, 3 March 2019, between 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm.

Drop by for a visit, friendly chat and some light refreshments. This free event is open to people of all faiths and none, so please bring your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to our place of worship and cultural centre.

T: 0121 525 3909
A: YCA Cultural Centre, Tildasley Street, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B70 9SJ

Visit the website

100 Masters Shortlisted for Two International Awards!

CBC is a partnership between SCVO, Wolverhampton Voluntary Service Council, One Walsall, Multistory and Black Country Touring who collectively aim to encourage more people to experience the arts in the local area. We work with local businesses, education establishments, the media, libraries and local creatives to develop ideas and realise them.

In 2016, CBC launched the 100 Masters landmark project: profiling the experts of today, in order to inspire the pioneers of tomorrow our aim is to inspire and offer local people a fresh perspective about the strengths, skills, talent and expertise surfacing from their locality and community. The project has included a hugely successful viral video campaign of short films to inspire people across the globe that has received over 9.5m views.

Award success

Over the past 12 months 100 Masters has so far been shortlisted for two international awards and one UK award. During Autumn 2018 Creative Producer, Liam Smyth, and CBC project administrator, Rosalind Argo, were invited to Graz in Austria to accept the award for the winning entry in the European Youth Award’s Open Innovation category.

Managed by the European Centre for Creative Economy the Award for Innovations in Culture and Creativity in Europe (NICE) results will be announced on the 12th February 2019 in Dortmund, Germany.

In March the team will head to Halifax for the finals of the Creative Learning Guild awards as a shortlisted project in the ‘Digital and Film Awards’ category.

If you’d like to find out more about the Creative Black Country click here.

Volunteer Opportunities at Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country have ambitious plans to grow their fundraising opportunities and are looking for flexible, organised and friendly individuals to help with community fundraising.  If you are interested in helping to grow your local Wildlife Trust and have good connections in your local community, please get in touch!

Volunteers will support with delivering a variety of community fundraising initiatives e.g. sponsored walks, pub quizzes, raffles, office dress down days and coffee mornings to raise funds for the Trust.

Volunteers may also be suited to member recruitment by supporting the team at community events.

For more information contact Emma Thompson on 0121 523 0094 or email

You can register your interest in volunteering online at – be sure to identify on the form that you are interested in volunteering as a community fundraiser.

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