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New Scheme proving successful in recruiting BAME carers across the Black Country

National charity, Camphill Village Trust, is leading the way in recruiting BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) carers to its innovative Shared Lives scheme on behalf of Dudley Council, which offers adults who need support, the chance to live with an ordinary family.

Having only been operational since September 2018, the scheme has drawn on the strengths of the diverse communities throughout the region and recruited nineteen new households already, including seven from the BAME population. There are also many other households registering genuine interest in wanting to become Shared Lives carers given its recent raise in profile across the UK by all local authorities.

Although figures for the local scheme are relatively small in comparison, their upward trajectory is a reflection of wider national statistics according to Skills for Care (2019), where the BAME population represents 21% of the adult social care workforce in England.

Shared Lives is a unique model of personalised support and accommodation, with a very strong track record of transforming lives, going back many years. Shared Lives is extremely flexible, and the person is carefully matched to live or stay on either a live-in, short-break or day support basis.

Married couple, Caroline and Gary Reid from Sandwell, who were approved as Shared Lives carers by the Camphill Village Trust scheme just over a year ago, have after several introductory visits now been matched with Meg, who has a learning disability and was previously living in residential care after her mother passed away some time ago. ‘The scheme was very clear from the start that we wouldn’t necessarily receive BAME referrals, which was never a concern anyway.’

The assessment process can take between three to six months before being approved by an independent panel. By being part of a registered scheme, Shared Lives carers are paid according to the level of support they provide, up to £570 per week, and because of their self-employed status, also qualify for tax relief.

Candy and Derrick Foster from Tipton and who were previously foster carers before recently moving over to be approved with Shared Lives added, ‘Shared Lives provides a great opportunity for individuals with the right values and commitment, to develop a social care career, in what is such a rewarding role. It really does challenge the assumptions of what people who require extra support can achieve whilst living within the comfort of an ordinary home, but with extra-ordinary carers.’

To find out more information about becoming a Shared Lives carer with the Camphill Village Trust scheme, please call on 01384 441505 or go to

Ideal for All Service Recognition

Local Charity Ideal for All are delighted to announce they have been shortlisted in the prestigious national ERSA Employability Awards 2020 as one of only four Disability and Health providers.

Ideal for All (IFA), which is run by and for disabled people, recently celebrated National Employability Day 2020 by showcasing their integrated health, wellbeing and specialist employment support across social media, in collaboration with Future Excel, the Business Development and Employability Specialist.

A great end to the day’s events, Ideal for All were announced as just one of four shortlisted organisations for the ERSA Disability and Health provider of the year sponsored by ICONI software.

The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the representative body for the employment support sector. The award recognises an employment services provider who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting job seekers with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment. CEO Khatija Patel said, “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for such an acclaimed national award for our specialist support, delivered in partnership with Disabled people. It means so much to all of us to be recognised for the difference we make against such strong competition. A huge well done to all of those shortlisted this year, please join us in celebrating our combined achievements.”

The winners of the Awards 2020 will be announced Wednesday 22 July, 5 pm-7 pm via online video conference compered by Lucy Clayton, entrepreneur and author of  ‘How to Go to Work’. More information about ERSA’s Employability Awards 2020 can be found here.

Kooth: Online support for young people

Kooth is a web based confidential support service available to young people from 11-18 years of age (or up to 25 years for care leavers/SEN) in Sandwell. Kooth provides a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people.

Support can be accessed through discussion boards, live forums, articles and a counselling service. There are also lots of activities that young people can access to support their wellbeing. Content is age appropriate, clinically approved and fully moderated.

If a young person would like to chat to a counsellor,  a team is available from 12 noon to 10 pm on weekdays and from 6 pm to 10 pm at weekends, every day of the year, on a drop-in basis. Young people can also access regular booked online counselling sessions as needed. Outside counselling hours young people can message the team and get support by the next day.

To find out more and to register for the service visit

View a short video about the service here.

Sandwell Young People’s Survey on the Effects and Impact of Coronavirus

Sandwell’s Young People’s Service always aims to listen to young people and is kindly requesting young people of Sandwell to take part in this questionnaire.

They want to know how the Coronavirus has affected and impacted on you.
Parents consent will be needed for those under 18 years of age.  The survey is going to be used by Sandwell Council to devise plans and services for young people and promote what you are saying.  The Young People’s Service would like to know how it can help and support young people in the future.

You can can upload the questionnaire here –

Further Information

If you have any queries or require further information about this questionnaire please contact Shafaq Hussain, Senior Youth Officer, on 07977 430626 or You can also send the completed questionnaire to or by post to the following address:

Young People’s Services
Sandwell MBC
Coneygre Arts Centre
Sedgley Road East
West Midlands

CCG Patient Experience Survey – COVID-19

Over the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives considerably. It has transformed our views of what is important and posed a considerable challenge to our health and care services.

As part of the ongoing work to respond to the pandemic, Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG are asking you to share your experience of the pandemic and the impact it is having on you and your family’s access to health services locally, by completing an online survey. Please note the CCG will not be producing paper copies of this survey due to changes to staff working and limited resources.

The feedback you share via this survey will help the CCG to make decisions and design new ways of working. The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your feedback is very important.

At the end of the survey, personal details, such as age and gender, will be asked for to help with the analysis. Your postcode and GP practice will be needed to help pinpoint the town or city you live in. Your house number or house name is not asked for.

The information will be kept secure. The CCG will not be able to identify you through your answers and will not share your personal data with anyone else.

The survey will close at 11.59 pm on Tuesday, 23 June 2020.

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.

Community Website Brings Together Essential Resources

Produced in collaboration with 11 other community sector organisations, My Community is the go-to resource for all the tools, tips and ideas you need to make a difference in your neighbourhood.


Read the Big Local’s report on why My Community has come at just the right time.

SDCA Still Providing Support

Sandwell Deaf Community Association are continuing to provide support to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and professionals working with the Deaf Community throughout COVID-19.

Some staff are office based (safely), while others are working from home.   Some are continuing to provide support in the community.

Should you need to contact us please call/text/WhatsApp/FaceTime on 07885 913225.

Visit the website.


Holding a virtual AGM during COVID-19 lockdown.

Whether you are a registered charity, limited company, CIC or other type of constituted group, many of you would (under normal circumstances) be thinking about holding an AGM at some point between now and the end of September.

Given the current Government guidance in respect of ‘social distancing’ this makes the traditional AGM gathering something of a ‘non-starter’.

So what else might you be able to do?

How about holding your AGM via Zoom for example? (Other digital communication tools are available…simply make the choice that works for you). BUT (and it’s a big BUT…) you need to check whether your governing document allows for this to take place.

Many groups might find that their governing document doesn’t expressly allow for this option (quite probably the majority) because it’s only really become an option in the last few years.

However, both the Charity Commission and Companies House have issued guidance as follows:

If you are a registered charity (or even an un-registered one for that matter) then the Charity Commission has issued this COVID-19-related guidance – Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector

If you are a company then the landscape is a little different (but with similar principles). The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2019 is currently working its way through Parliament with a view to becoming Law in early June. It has, within its raft of proposals, a similar contingency (as above) for company AGMs … here’s some guidance from Solicitors Eversheds Sutherland: … but please keep checking for updates as to the final legislative content, just in case things should change.

Apart from some of the voting technicalities, the mantra seems to be ‘evidence, evidence and evidence’ … if your Board of Trustees/Directors chooses to make such arrangements then it needs to be documented and retained as evidence in the normal course of governance proceedings.


Become a Street Champion during Clap for Carers and support your local Food Bank

Food banks are being relied on more than ever at the moment and are really struggling with supplies. All kinds of people are having to seek out a food bank – especially domestic violence victims who may usually rely on family and friends to help them out.

You can make a real impact in your local area by becoming a Street Champion and collecting donations during Thursday’s ‘Clap for Carers’.

What you need to do:
Message your neighbours to tell them what’s happening. Be safe and follow the rules if you have to do this through the letterbox rather than social media.

Join in your street’s ‘Clap for Carers’ on Thursdays at 8 pm and make yourself visible as a collection point for any items they wish to donate – at a distance.

Safely collect the items in bags/boxes and drop them off at your local Foodbank Collection Point. If you don’t know of one nearby you can donate at the West Bromwich Community Church Food Bank, Victoria Street, West Bromwich B70 8EX (between 11am and 1.30pm Monday to Friday).

For more info contact Denise Turner, Volunteer Coordinator, Black Country Women’s Aid. Call (mobile) 07876 871682, (office) 0121 5530090 or email

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