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2019 National Campaigner Awards

Each year, the Sheila Mckechnie foundation celebrates the best campaigns and campaigners – whether working locally or nationally, and from individuals and community groups to people working in large organisations.

The Foundation would like to find those who have made change happen – most effectively, creatively and courageously. So, if you know someone or an organisation who you think deserves to be celebrated, please do nominate them. You can also nominate yourself!

Winners will receive their award at a fantastic evening ceremony in central London, on Wednesday 27th March 2019. To find out more and to nominate please visit:

There are no fees associates with these Awards, it is free to nominate and attend!

Charities Putting Kindness at the Heart of Campaigns

For many people, ‘doing their bit for charity’ is a simple case of setting up a standing order or putting some spare change into a collection tin.

Of course, monetary donations such as these are always gratefully received, but many charities are also starting to ask their donors for something different. Instead of just asking for financial gifts, they have been encouraging people to donate acts of kindness.

Whether it is passing on beloved old clothes or toys to those less fortunate, sending used Christmas cards to be recycled into new ones, or carrying out an everyday gesture of goodwill, acts of kindness can foster a real sense of purpose – bringing donors and benefactors closer together.

Over the past few years, there have been many innovative and inspiring kindness campaigns. Here, we take a closer look at some examples.

The Bike Project

The Bike Project is a small, London-based charity that refurbishes donated bicycles and distributes them to asylum seekers and refugees. Since its creation in 2013, it has given out more than 4,000 bikes.

For Giving Tuesday in 2018, the charity provided its beneficiaries with a little extra. Marketing Manager Anna Chapman explains: “We decided to join in with Giving Tuesday in a different way this year. Rather than asking for donations, we encouraged people to write seasonal cards that could be handed out with our bikes.

“We felt that sharing personal messages of welcome would enable our supporters to better connect with our beneficiaries. A lot of the work we do is about community, and a simple act of kindness can mean a lot to the people we support.”

The campaign was a huge success. “We were delighted with the response we received,” says Anna. “We put the call out via our social media channels using an eye-catching image. Lots of people got in touch saying they were going to take part, and it created a real buzz online. We plan to give out [the greeting cards] with our bikes at upcoming bike donation sessions.”

Women in Prison

In 2017, the charity Women in Prison asked people to send in the front page of their used Christmas cards. The idea was that prisoners could recycle these into cards and decorations for children in the run-up to Christmas.

A call-out on Twitter went viral, and was even retweeted by Hollywood stars Cher and Bette Midler. As a result, Women in Prison received more than 5,000 cards. “People included lovely messages of support alongside the cards,” said a spokesperson for the charity. “It was a highly inspiring and warming experience.”

In fact, so popular was the campaign, that the charity had enough cards left over to distribute this Christmas. So, instead of asking for more, it is asking people to donate the postage they would have spent on sending them. To facilitate this, it has created an online platform.

To read the full Zurich article click here.

See Beauty and the Beast

Join Dorothy Parkes for a post Christmas ‘pick me up’ as they work in partnership with Black Country Touring.

Multi Story Theatre Company presents Beauty and the Beast – A pre-Disney version of a well-loved tale.

An old woman who claims to be a princess and a reluctant security guard use music, song, puppetry, and projection to play out the traditional tale of Beauty and the Beast. Nothing is quite as it seems in this lively and inventive version of the hugely popular story presented by on one the UK’s most respected children’s theatre companies.

Children and adults alike enjoy both the bravura fun of the storytelling and the genuine drama and pathos of the tale as it unfolds.  The production, for children aged 5 – 11 and their families,on Saturday, 19 January 2019 at 2.30 pm and 4.00 pm.

Tickets are £3.00 adults and £2.00 children and can be purchased online or at the Centre, Church Road, Smethwick B67 6EH.

There will be light refreshments and the chance to enter a raffle.

Nominations now open for the Rowley Regis Community Awards 2019

Nominations are now open for the Rowley Regis Community Awards 2019. It’s an opportunity for local people and community organisations to be recognised for their outstanding contributions to their local town and its people.

The Rowley Regis Community Awards Panel is seeking nominations for six categories. The categories open for submissions are:

Outstanding Volunteer Award: Someone whose volunteering makes a huge impact on the local community.
Outstanding Young Person Award: A young person who makes a positive contribution to the local community.
Outstanding Good Neighbour Award: Someone who helps their neighbours & makes a difference to someone else.
Outstanding Community Organisation Award: A community project/organisation that makes a difference to the local community.
Outstanding Partnership Working Award: A Group has shown that partnership working has had a positive impact.
Community Special Award: An individual that has contributed positive lifelong service to the area.

To enter, organisations and individuals must be based in Rowley Regis and all projects must take place in the town. All entries will be judged by an independent panel involving local Councillors.

The deadline for nominations is Friday 18th January 2019.

Please visit to submit your nominations online.

All selected nominees will be invited to an Awards Gala Dinner on 8th February 2019 from 6 pm to 9 pm, which will be held at the Platinum Plaza.

Civil Society Futures: Final Report Published

Civil Society Futures is a two-year independent inquiry into the future of civil society in England, the first major inquiry of its kind for over two decades.

It has engaged more than 3,000 people in debate about civil society and their hopes for its future through hundreds of workshops, meetings, events, blogs and academic research — what have they said?

The Story of Our Times: shifting power, bridging divides, transforming society.

The final report identified four areas (PACT) which are in need of major changes to ensure that charities and other civil society organisations increase accountability to their beneficiaries:

  • Power: there needs to be a shift so that decisions involve everyone.
  • Accountability: organisations need to be accountable to the communities they serve.
  • Connections: broader and deeper connections are needed within and between communities.
  • Trust: trust in organisations needs to be built and earned in line with their values.

The Summary report can be viewed by clicking here.

Source: Civil Society

Tipton Litter Watch’s new environmental clean-up campaign

Tipton Litter Watch is encouraging communities to get together and help clean up their area as part of its new environmental clean-up campaign.

There are currently 18 groups taking part in the project across the Sandwell. However, Little Watch want to encourage more people not only take part, but to continuously clean up in their area.

Little Watch will provide training and equipment such as litter pickers, hoops, bags and hi-vis vests. Waste gathered will be collected by Serco, a partner in the campaign.

If you wish to know more, please contact Elyshia Harpin, Project Coordinator.  Call 0121 557 6970 or mail

SAFS’s Winter Wonderland

SAFS will be holding a Winter Wonderland at their offices at Windmill Community Centre, Messenger Road, Smethwick B66 3DX on Friday, 14 December 2018. The fun starts at 4.30 pm.  Everyone is welcome.

There will be refreshments, table top sales, Santa’s Grotto, a selfie station, karaoke korner, choirs/performances and surprises!!!!

Call 0121 558 2198 if you would like more information or would like to volunteer.

Murray Hall Volunteer Recruitment Event

Murray Hall Community Trust is a registered charity supporting people in Sandwell and the surrounding areas. To celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2019, Murray Hall will honour the support given by volunteers and hope to recruit more volunteers to enable them to continue to support the most vulnerable in the community.

Murray Hall will be holding a Volunteer Recruitment Event on Thursday, 22 November 2018, 12 noon to 2.30 pm, at The Bridge, St Marks Road, Tipton DY4 0SL.

Volunteering can be an enriching experience and can enable you to meet new people, try new things and gain valuable experience.

The volunteer recruitment team will be on hand on the day to tell you more about the various volunteering opportunities across Murray Hall’s services, and talk you through the application process.

If you are interested in volunteering but cannot make it on the day, please call 01902 826 513, when a member of the team will be happy to help you.

Additional £2M for Vulnerable and Homeless

Heart of England Community Foundation which supports projects in the West Midlands & Warwickshire says it is ‘overwhelmed’ after receiving a further £2 million from an anonymous donor who gave the charity £4 million just ten months ago.

The Community Foundation is celebrating receiving the major donation which will be used continue its work supporting vulnerable people.

The donor, who opted to remain anonymous, gave the foundation £4 million in December last year and requested that the funds be used to provide accommodation solutions for those who are homeless or vulnerable.

The funds were used to launch the Foundation’s Building Better Lives programme, which is to support a maximum of three initiatives which will upgrade, extend or develop existing accommodation to provide additional capacity.

The same donor has now given another £2 million to the Foundation – with £666,000 of this being added to the programme and £1.333 million put into the Foundation’s endowment fund, which is invested to guarantee a legacy of giving for communities in years to come.

Organisations across Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire were invited to bid for between £500,000 and £1.35 million from the Building Better Lives fund, and stage one applications are now being reviewed.

Heart of England Community Foundation is a specialist charity which awards funding to grassroots projects across the West Midlands through corporate and private donors that want to make a lasting difference to their communities. It is the only one of its kind in the region.

Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said:

“To receive £6 million from the same donor is absolutely incredible and further represents the confidence placed in the Foundation and the work that we deliver.

“The donor has enormous trust in our approach and has generously continued to support us. We are overwhelmed but delighted to accept such a generous gift and we can’t wait to put this funding to good use.

“It will make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable people across the West Midlands.”

Source: Heart of England E-newsletter

Disco Inclusive

For young adults (18 to 35) coping with Cerebral palsy, Autism or a learning disability, it’s fun time! On the second Wednesday each month, starting Wednesday, 14 November 2018, there will be a Disco Inclusive at the Windsor Theatre Bar, 377 Bearwood Road, Smethwick B66 4DL. The Disco kicks off at 7 pm until 10.30 pm.

As the name suggests, all are welcome, whatever age, impaired or not. There’s a licensed bar and ramp for wheelchair access. Entry charge £5.00. Free entrance for carers.

See more on Facebook, managed by Sarah of Cerebral Palsy Midlands. Enquiries to Graham on 0121 565 2875 or Sharon on 07799 178 562.

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