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New Shared Lives Scheme thriving

It is a little over two years since national charity, Camphill Village Trust, decided to add Shared Lives to their already established Stourbridge community in the Black Country. In this time, the new scheme has gone from strength to strength, networking closely with other community-based organisations to gain momentum.

Shared Lives is still a relatively unknown model of care that is similar to foster care, where specially trained Carers open up their home and support people with additional/complex needs to lead as independent life as possible and stay connected with the local community. Currently, there are approximately 14,000 people being supported the UK in this way.

The scheme is nearly a full year into the new contract and has already set up 11 Arrangements, receiving over 60 enquiries with a variety of additional support needs from learning disability, autism, mental ill health, through to older people and hospital discharges.

Shared Lives offers opportunity for those people with the right values and commitment to develop a social care career and earn up to £29K annually as a self-employed Carer. It is a rewarding role which challenges the assumptions of what can be achieved within an ordinary family home.

If people wish to find out more about how the scheme is developing, please contact Kate Morgan on 01384 441505 or

Follow Shared Lives on twitter @CVTSharedLives.

Fircroft College Partner Update

Fircroft College of Adult Education has finalised a timetable which compiles a list of new English courses in Birmingham and Sandwell that will be available from September. Extra courses will be added in October so if you are interested in hosting a course please do get in touch.

The next free teacher training programme is on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th September at Fircroft College. The training is for anyone who is interested in delivering an English course.  You can apply here, including for dates in October, November 2019 and January 2020. The course outline is attached along with the volunteer application form.

Please note the College now accept students who have been in the UK less than 12 months.

Contact Fircroft College on 0121 472 0116


Free Level 2 Qualifications with Orangebox

Orangebox is currently offering free training for a Level 2 vocational related qualifications. The courses are funded by the Adult Education Budget and qualifications are accredited by the NCFE and CACHE.  Eligibility criteria for the courses states that all learners must:

• Be aged 19+
• Have lived in the EU for 3 or more consecutive years and be a resident in England
• Not have completed the course before.

If there is a group of 8 or more learners, Orangebox will ask for a list and then book a suitable date and time to induct learners onto their chosen courses. The group do not have to do the same course but can only complete one course at a time. Learners have to be completely finish one course before another can be started.

Anyone at all can enrol on a course so long as they meet the criteria: parents/guardians/carers/families/friends. For example, if a child suffers from Autism and their parent or guardian wanted to enrol on the Understanding Autism course, this would be possible.

The courses are Flexible/Distance Learning which means the learners do the work in their own time from a location of their choice, including from the comfort of their own homes, they do not have to attend a classroom.

The marking, support and feedback is given remotely by a dedicated tutor.

For further information please call 01429 874 530 or email

West Midlands Trains Update

The latest edition of the stakeholder newsletter – ‘West Midlands Trains Business Update – August 2019’ is now available.

Features include:
• Managing the biggest timetable changes in over a decade
• Major investment in cycling schemes
• Wolverhampton Interchange project moves forward
• Staff uniforms win top award

Click here for he online newsletter.

Office Space at YMCA West Bromwich

The YMCA have a smart and reasonably new office space available at its Carters Green site in West Bromwich. The office space is intended for new organisations or start-ups.

The space can be made available for a few years but is not intended as long-term accommodation. The size is 45sqm and the cost is £553.50 per month inclusive of VAT

For further information, please contact Luke Tyler at the YMCA Black Country Group at or call 0121 524 1950.

Route2Wellbeing Reaches New Milestone

Sandwell’s popular Route2wellbeing website reached a new milestone this week with the listing of its 500th service.

The website, available at, provides residents, local agencies, GPs and health professionals with information about a wide range of community-based activities and guidance which support and promote peoples wellbeing.

Since its launch in 2013 the website has become a well-established signposting tool which enables small voluntary and community groups as well as larger charities to advertise their support to the wider community. Over 200 organisations now use the website to promote their offer to Sandwell residents. Use of the website has also increased dramatically over the last couple of years with a 50% rise in visits since 2018.

Groups and organisations wishing to advertise themselves can do so by contacting Mazeline Hemmings at SCVO on 0121 525 1127 or Services can be listed free of charge.

Meeting Room available for Free Hire

Sandwell Leisure Trust has added an additional venue to its suite of facilities for hire with the addition of a meeting room in Tipton. There is no cost for the use of the room.

The meeting room is situated in the Carnegie Building (old Tipton library) on Victoria Road, Tipton.

The meeting room comfortably sits twelve people in modern furnishings. The room has a large screen TV and use of flipchart / pens. Free WiFi and roadside parking is available and being just three miles from junction 2 of M5, it’s ideally located for Sandwell companies and clubs.

For a tour of the facilities or to make a booking please email

Let’s Talk Football

BUDS is working with Birmingham County Football Association, who host a football focused Dementia Cafe for people living with dementia and their carers.

Would you like to attend?  Please contact BUDS on 0121 565 3721.

Transport can be provided for a small charge.

CCG Celebration Event and Annual General Meeting invitation

Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group would like to advise you of their celebration event (incorporating Annual General Meeting) which is taking place on Thursday 5 September 2019 at the West Bromwich Albion Football Ground, The Hawthorns, West Bromwich B71 4LF.

This event will be staged in two parts. There is no need to book for the drop-in celebration event.

12.00 – 3.00 pm: celebratory drop-in event. The CCG would encourage you to go along and talk to staff about their fantastic achievements to improve health outcomes for patients/public and enjoy the entertainment.

You are more than welcome to stay for the AGM and evening entertainment but you will need to book a place. Tea and cake will be served in an alternative room while you wait for the AGM to start.

If you would like to attend the Annual General Meeting booking is essential, as this is part of the event is seated.

4.00 pm – 7.00 pm: Registration, Annual General Meeting, refreshments and early evening entertainment to round off the celebrations.

Please book a place by telephoning 0121 612 1447 or email

Introducing Smethwick ChangeSpaces – a new co-working office space

If you are a not-for-profit organisation, community group, social enterprise, charity or individual with a passion for community projects in need of a suitable place to work, then Smethwick ChangeSpaces could be for you!

A small but beautiful office set up in the old vestry chapel of Holy Trinity Church, just off the Smethwick High Street, ChangeSpaces is fully-flexible and affordable.

There are three levels of membership (starting at £25 a month) to suit a variety of needs – so if it’s a couple of days a month, or couple of days a week that you need, ChangeSpaces has something for you.

• Please get in touch with Lizzie Palmer or Sally Taylor for more information or to view the space at

Sally introduces the space just before it opened in June

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