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Experts by Experience

National charity, Diabetes UK, are looking for local people to spare a little time sharing their experience to help others. Diabetes UK recognises that people with diabetes are the experts on their own lives and condition, and the best people to help them develop support, services and information for others.

Diabetes UK need help with the new ‘Live Well, Move More’ programme. The initiative targets people living with diabetes in England who do less than 30 minutes of activity per week. They particularly need input from people who are:

• living with type 1 diabetes
• living with diabetes who are of South Asian heritage
• newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Other requirements are participants must be available for a monthly online meeting, and feel comfortable sharing their experience and understanding of Diabetes. As advisers, their contribution will help create resources for other people living with the condition.

To find out more about how contributing your experience could really make a difference, contact



Looking to get rid of surplus office furniture?

This is a callout to any organisation which has office furniture that is surplus to need and would like to donate these items to another group.

West Smethwick Enterprise Family Centre is would like to acquire desks, tables, chairs, cupboards and filing cabinets.

If you are able to help, Aman Dhanda, Family Support and Quality Practice Manager, would like to hear from you. Email or call 0121 558 6796.

Macmillan Coffee Morning Online!

Great news, you’re invited to Macmillan’s Coffee Morning Online! They would love for you to join them via Zoom on 25th September between 11 am and 3 pm. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can go to the hub and take-away a slice of cake or two, too!

The coffee morning will be at Utilita Energy Hub, 3D Astle Park, West Bromwich B70 8NS: (located on West Bromwich High Street, next door to the German Donner Kebab Shop)

Log on and join in for a brew, a slice of cake and a lovely chat to all participants – all for a fantastic cause.

See joining details below.

Topic: MacMillan Coffee Morning
Time: Sep 25, 2020 11:00 AM London

Link to Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 910 3697 5849
Passcode: 3WzTyt

If you cannot attend, but still wish to make a donation, see here.

For those who wish to attend, please get back to Jack Badger at to accept the invite.

Macmillan look forward to seeing you!

Reducing Parental Conflict Training

After the success of the Reducing Parental Conflict training arranged by  Sandwell Council pre-Pandemic, the Council have organised two more courses that will take place virtually over two three-hour sessions. The courses will be very interactive to aid learning.

Previous participants’ comments:

“This training would benefit all professionals working with parents and families.”

“The course content is very relevant and explained in a brilliant manner.”

Course 1: 25th September 9.30 am – 1.00 pm and 28th September 9.30 am – 1.00 pm

Course 2: 25th September 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm and 28th September 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm

To secure a place or for further details, please email

Black Country NHS Trust Supporting BAME Communities

Recognising there was a need to further strengthen the resilience and understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust appointed two new Senior Community Development Workers earlier in the year.

Supporting the wider work around tackling health inequalities in BAME communities, Nazima Esscopri and Fareen Hussain have been working hard over the past few months to establish vital links with communities and improve access to and experiences of mental health services across the Black Country.

As well as making links with voluntary organisations and setting up grassroots initiatives, they have also been working with internal NHS colleagues to support the Covid-19 risk assessment process and supporting the development of equality and diversity projects across the Trust.

Across the STP, Nazima and Fareen have contributing to work around pooling resources and information so that we can support our BAME communities collectively to ensure these groups have access to a sound framework of information, guidance and support on their resilience during COVID-19 pandemic.

The team are currently developing a webinar that will bring voluntary sector/stakeholder organisations together to further discuss the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities and how that might impact service delivery and change.

If you would like to find out more about the work of our senior community development workers or would like to participate in the webinar which is taking place on the 28th September at 11.00-12.30pm, please email or you can contact her directly on 07771583635.

If you would like to know more about the BAME workforce you can contact Fareen Hussain via email or directly on her mobile on 07435920675.

VCS Insights Welcomed at ‘Reset and Recovery’ Workshops

Voluntary organisations, charities and community groups in Sandwell are invited to take part in upcoming workshops to discuss how support for local people can best be delivered in light of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Those attending the workshops will have the opportunity to hear about Sandwell Council’s recovery plans and initial findings of the COVID-19 community impact work undertaken by the Council. The workshop discussions will help shape the ongoing recovery work undertaken by the Council and the Council’s planning in how best to support local communities in the future.

Discussions will focus on: –
• How residents are accessing services and how good practice is making this happen
• Understanding barriers to participation and inclusion
• Sharing perspectives on the impact on communities in the short, medium and long term

Each of the four workshop sessions will be themed to cover the following areas:-

Children and Young People
Over 50’s
Health and Wellbeing
Welfare and Advice

SCVO will be hosting these workshops virtually using a video conferencing platform, and will be welcoming a Sandwell Council Director to lead discussions. Further information is available on this flyer.

Places are available to VCS organisations active in the borough on a first come, first served basis, via the Eventbrite links below:-

September 22nd: Welfare and Advice
September 28th: Children and Young People
September 29th: Over 50’s
October 15th: Health and Wellbeing

Adopt a Street Steps Up in Fight Against Litter

More people are being invited to help keep their neighbourhood litter-free following Sandwell’s Adopt A Street scheme being extended. Funding from Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and Sandwell’s Big Spring Clean campaign mean more streets can now get involved.

The campaign is run by Litter Watch and supported by Sandwell Council and its environmental services partner Serco.
The campaign will complement existing street cleaning across the six towns.

A number of Adopt A Street volunteer schemes started up earlier this year, and with the new funding in place, organisers are particularly looking for volunteers in the following areas:
• Cape Hill and surrounding roads, Smethwick
• Friar Park, Wednesbury
• Tibbington Estate, Tipton
• West Bromwich Central
• Lion Farm/Grace Mary, Oldbury/Tividale
• Cox’s Lane & surrounding roads, Rowley

Participants must litter pick individually or with someone in the same household, adhering to government guidelines around social distancing at all times. Large groups litter picking with other households are not allowed at this time for everyone’s safety.
Equipment must not be shared with anyone outside a family household and cleaned after every litter pick.

Discarded face masks and gloves will be allowed to be collected using equipment. Under no circumstances should the contaminated items be picked up with hands.

Anyone volunteering for the campaign will get litter-picking equipment, bags, hi-viz vest, gloves, Litter Watch T-shirt and advice on health and safety.

Adopt a Street volunteers can share their litter picking photos with us on Twitter. Tag @LitterWatch1 @SandwellCouncil @Sercoesuk
To get involved, email or call Litter Watch on 0121 557 6970 or 07936 359529

The Foundation for Social Improvement Birmingham Online Training – 7th October

Booking for The FSI’s next online regional training event is now open for small charities in Birmingham and Midlands area. This event supported by the 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust will be delivered online, offering 60 delegate training places over 1 day so that small charities, wherever they are, can access the skills they need to become self-sustaining.

You can access a choice of 3 full day interactive webinars covering the popular topics: Developing Your Earned Income, Supporting and Managing Volunteers, Major Donor Fundraising. Spaces normally fills up fast, so book your heavily subsidised place today!



Virtual Volunteering Opportunity for FareShare

FareShareSince the beginning of lockdown, FareShare has seen the demand for its services skyrocket. The number of charities who have applied to receive food has more than tripled in the last few months.

To help FareShare meet this increased need for food, Tesco is running an additional Summer Food Collection in stores across the UK  from 20-22 August in support of FareShare and Trussell Trust.

The collection will support FareShare in delivering vital food supplies to frontline organisations providing a lifeline to those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. However, due to social distancing rules, there won’t be any volunteers in store for this collection to help with handing out shopping lists and collecting donated items.

This is why your help is needed, to help raise awareness of the collection to encourage shoppers to donate in store if they are able to.

Virtual Volunteers can pledge their support for FareShare in a number of ways – every small action can have a big impact!  You can download a Virtual Volunteer pack here.

DSC’s Landing a Grant: Ten Top Tips

The Directory of Social Change (DSC) has been publishing information on grant-making charities for over 40 years. So, it’s fair to say that they’ve learned a few things along the way. They are sharing their top ten practical tips to help boost your chances of securing a grant.

1. Accounts count

A grant-makers’ decision to accept or reject an application may by influenced by more than just your proposal. Grant-makers may also check your account filing history.

In 2013, DSC asked a sample of grant-makers if they check applicants’ filing history on the Charity Commission website. A total of 53% said that they did, of which 17% reported that they would refuse an application if accounts were submitted late.

Grant-makers need to assess the risk to their investment before they commit. If your charity has submitted accounts after the deadline, it doesn’t inspire confidence in your governance or your timekeeping and may harm your chances of securing funding, so don’t get caught out.

2. Keep an eye on timescales

The timescales for decision-making vary greatly between grant-making charities, with some trustee boards only meeting once a year to discuss applications. Be sure to factor this into your planning. If a grant-maker does not have a website, dates of trustee meetings can often be found in annual reports and accounts which are usually available on the Charity Commission or OSCR website.

3. Consider crowdfunding

In recent years, popular crowdfunding platforms such as JustGiving, which raise money for projects by consolidating small donations by members of the public, have become an essential element of any digital fundraising strategy. While most crowdfunding platforms focus on individual fundraising, platforms such as Spacehive and The Good Exchange have more recently begun to collaborate with grant-making charities, companies and local councils to offer innovative solutions to the challenges of grant-funding.

4. Develop strong relationships with your funders

Your funder is also your partner, so working together and maintaining good communication is key. Establish a strong relationship with your funder by sharing information about progress and the positive impact their funding is having on your beneficiaries.

When applying for a grant, some funders may ask for references form former or current funders, so its always good to have a track record of excellent partnerships.

5. ‘Show off’ your funders

Some funders may view causes with support already behind them, or charities with a history of delivering funded work as a safer investment. A simple way to demonstrate a strong track record of working with funders is to list them on your website (with their permission) along with details of work that their funding helped you to deliver. It’s also a good idea to mention relevant examples of successful funder partnerships in your applications.

6. Keep an eye out for new grant-makers

Researching recently registered charities can give fundraisers a head-start in applying for funds. It also provides a chance to establish relationships with those new to grant-giving. The Charity Commission registers over 1,200 grant-makers each year, some of which will have the potential to fund your charity.

Information on newly registered charities is often scarce, and the amount of research involved in retrieving the relevant data is time consuming. For this reason, DSC publishes The Guide to New Trusts each year, which contains 100 new grant-making charities, carefully selected for the guide.

7. Invest in fundraising

Across the UK there are thousands of grant-makers big and small, supporting all kinds of charitable causes, so finding the one to suit you may feel like a needle in a haystack!

Researching funders, deciphering eligibility criteria and finding out what funders potentially support can be a massive endeavour for charities with limited resources. Fortunately, DSC have done the heavy-lifting for you. Our Funds Online website allows you to concentrate on the application, rather than the research.

8. Make it measurable

Grant-makers increasingly want to demonstrate the impact of their funding, so questions on how a grant’s impact will be evaluated are becoming commonplace on funding applications.

Getting this right may give you the edge. If your proposal can clearly state what the outcomes will be and crucially how you will measure their impact, then your application will be all the more enticing to a funder.

It’s important to choose outcomes that are actually measurable, because a funder will recognise those which are not. So be specific and consider your evaluation at the proposal stage. Getting this right will also help your charity demonstrate its own impact, which in-turn can be used to support future funding applications and inspire confidence from grant-makers.

9. Tempting, not impossible!

Sometimes a project looks great on paper, but in reality, the timescale and costing make it unachievable. Trying to create a proposal that will tempt a funder can easily lead to developing an over-ambitious project.

Experienced grant-makers will notice when a proposal is too ambitious, which risks the application being rejected entirely. There is also the risk of being awarded a grant to undertake a project which is unachievable, and the effect of failing to deliver on overly optimistic proposals can carry a significant reputational risk to your charity.

So, be ambitious but also realistic in your application by making sure that your proposed costings, time-scales and staffing are completely achievable. Finally, when writing your application, consider other competing priorities, which although not connected to your proposal, may affect your charity’s ability to deliver what you are promising.

10. A fresh pair of eyes

Before submitting any application, find someone impartial to assess your proposal. As well as spotting any errors, they may be able to provide constructive criticism and raise new questions that will help further refine your proposal.
Some funders will also send your proposal to independent reviewers for assessment, so it’s a good idea to take the same approach before you apply. It’s always better that your team find any issues, rather than the funder and their assessors.

Remember SCVO’s Development Team are here to help you to help others, drop us a line at to see how we might be able to support your organisational needs.

Source: DSC

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