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Community Conversation: From Wednesbury to Wolverhampton

Business in the Community and Midland Metro Alliance would be delighted if you could join them for a virtual Community Conversation, where they will explore how people from all sectors can support the recovery and strengthening of the Wednesbury to Wolverhampton economy. They believe that resilient communities are made up of collaborative partnerships that are willing to work together and build on local knowledge resulting in long term change.

This is a two-part Event. Session 1 on Thursday 24th June 2021 and Session 2 on Thursday 8th July 2021. The sessions are from 10.30 am – 12.00 and you will need to register for both sessions

Midland Metro Alliance
Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) is a team of planning, design and construction experts delivering a number of light rail extensions across the region on behalf of Transport for West Midlands, who have embarked on an ambitious plan to regenerate the region by providing easy access to public transport.

MMA, formed in July 2016, consists of the West Midlands Combined Authority, which owns the West Midlands Metro; a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann; and rail construction specialists Colas Rail – supported by Colas’ sub-alliance partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group.

The alliance works hard to be a best practice organisation and delivers customer-focused liaison services for Metro projects across Birmingham and the Black Country, helping to keep the region moving during construction.

Business in the Community
Business in the Community (BITC) is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business.

BITC inspire, engage and challenge members and mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:

• Create a skilled, inclusive workforce today and for the future
• Building thriving communities in which we live and work
• Innovate to repair and sustain our planet

Community Conversation
Community Conversation is a cross sector networking event exploring working collaboratively. A forum for community, business and public sector to share opportunities, discuss priorities and highlight areas of need to help build a healthier sustainable community.

A key outcome from a Community Conversation is a commitment amongst participants to continue to work together and agree on collaborative actions that can make a real difference in a place. BITC will assess actions / pledges / offers after the event and plan for further action.

This Community Conversation will focus on the benefits of improved connectivity with areas of opportunity and major employment sites. To complement this, we would like to explore wider social and environmental issues that all three sectors can address in a collaborative fashion. In session two, local community organisations have been invited to present a current challenge or idea.

Outline of session one – 24th June
• Welcome and overview – Business in the Community. Click here to register
• Opening speaker – Midland Metro Alliance
• Working together to ‘Build Back’
• Cross sector breakout rooms
• Report back and wrap up
• Close

Outline of session two – 8th July
• Welcome back and recap from previous session – Business in the Community.  Click here to register
• Local Community Presentations x 3 – presenting priorities / opportunities for engagement
• Cross sector breakout rooms
• Report back and actions
• Wrap up / close

The break-out sessions are designed to discuss challenges and ideas and workshop collaborative solutions as a group. This will provide an opportunity for participants to work as part of a cross-sector team, sharing their knowledge to provide real support to local communities.

For questions or to book a place, please email Kelly Stackhouse at You will need access to Zoom to attend this meeting, please click on the links for both sessions above to book your place.

Thrive into Work Webinar on 21 June 2021

A new, fully funded, employment support service is being launched in the West Midlands from 1 July 2021. Come to this free webinar, on Monday, 21 June: 10.00 am to 11.30 am, to find out more.

The webinar will help you understand what employment support resources are available and how to access them. The event is for individuals who want to find employment support for themselves, or organisations who support individuals to find employment.

The Thrive into Work employment service is based on Individual Placement and Support (IPS) principles. The West Midlands Combined Authority are excited that they are now able to expand the service, so that more people can benefit from this type of employment support.

Who should attend?

Register your attendance here.

YMCA looking for Young People’s Volunteer Mentors

YMCA are looking for volunteers who are eager to make a difference in the life of a young person. The mentors will regularly meet up with a young person, offering a friendly ear, support, guidance and advice on making positive life choices. In this instance, to engage with girls in the 9 -14 age group.

Volunteer Mentors will also need to build a relationship with the young person’s parent or guardian, but the main focus is the young person.

Full training will be given. A comprehensive DBS check will be undertaken.

To find out more about the Y’s Girls Mentoring role, click here.

Applications close on Monday, 21st June 2021.

Training for front line staff on ‘The Impact of Covid on Household Budgets’

Following the success of the recent pilot training sessions delivered by Citizens Advice Sandwell & Walsall and Skills Rich, the partners are offering a further two free virtual sessions. The meetings are designed to help front line staff support families to tackle money worries through help with budgeting, at this difficult time.

The sessions is ideal for Advice and Support Workers and Volunteers, and looks at the impacts of Covid on a household budget – “a case study approach to Budgeting & Saving”.

Content will include links to wellbeing support and Healthy Sandwell as well as Better Off Sandwell & Resilient Residents websites. Delivery will consolidate the help and support around the borough with good practice on “managing your money”, which can be shared with the people you work with.

Only one sitting needs to be attended, on:
• Wednesday, 7th July 2021: 10 am to 12 pm, or
• Thursday, 8th July 2021: 10 am to 12 pm

Limited places available –10 people per sitting. Book your place as soon as you can by email to

Keeping Sandwell Safe: 30+ can now receive the vaccine.

With the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, and many organisations looking to restore face-to-face services, it is a good time to remind everyone that those aged over 30 can now receive the vaccine. This is a positive message for staff, volunteers and service users.

Eligible people will receive direct contact to arrange a booking, or you can visit: Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS ( to book online. Support and encouragement of staff, volunteers and service users to take the vaccine will continue the great work already done to keep Sandwell safe.

For further advice or support about vaccinations, for example information in community languages, please email the local dedicated advice service They can also tell you about the free online Vaccination Leaders Training, which gives you even more skills and knowledge to help you play your part.

Digital Boost Offers Free Mentoring, Advice and Training for Small Business & Charities

Digital Boost Free Mentoring & Advice for SMEs and Charities: to help small businesses and charities recover and build back better, Digital Boost is offering free, personalised mentoring calls, advice, and workshops from digital and business experts. Over 1,800 volunteers from organisations including Google, BT, and Visa are on hand to help.

Digital Boost experts can help small businesses and charities with a wide range of issues, including business strategy, digital marketing, e-commerce, data protection, payments and money management. Help is given through one-to-one 60 minute virtual calls, scheduled at a time that’s convenient for the small business or charity. Workshops on topics such as SEO, Google Ads, and B2B Sales are also available.

Getting started is easy. Small businesses and charities simply need to register at

Interested in volunteering to share your expertise? Sign up at

Beyond the Stigma Workshops – Helping break the stigma of mental health in Sandwell

“Beyond the Stigma” will bring together South Asian women from across Sandwell to contribute to a social media campaign that will challenge the stigma that surrounds mental health within their communities and encourage others to engage in the online conversation.

Changing Our Lives will facilitate virtual creative workshops with award winning poet and spoken word artist, Shareefa Energy, to explore how the arts can be a powerful way to share experiences and challenge myths surrounding mental health. The workshop will support self-expression and celebrate inner strength and value, giving women the opportunity to explore ideas and develop their own writing and creative work to share in the social media campaign. To hear a performance from Shareefa, head over to YouTube.

There will also be the chance for your work to be published in a digital book of poetry and have your work shared in a Poetry Slam. An £80 voucher will be awarded to a piece of work selected by the judging panel. To be involved with the project, you must live in Sandwell, and identify as being a South Asian woman.

There are currently no fixed dates in place. The workshops will be arranged to suit those taking part.

To express your interest, please email Georgia at

If you have any further questions about the campaign, please get in touch with Georgia.

Kaleidoscope offers out of hours Mental Health Support

Kaleidoscope’s Sanctuary Hub offers out-of-hours support to people in Sandwell who need help with their mental health. Trained staff can offer assistance either face-to-face, via telephone or through email and text by:

• Giving people space and time to talk in a non-judgmental environment
• Work with them to reduce any immediate pressures
• Providing advice and signposting to specialist services, catering for individual needs
• Supporting them to manage their mental health and discuss coping strategies
• Letting them know about tools and techniques that may reduce the intensity of their feelings.

The service operates outside of daytime hours for anyone who needs help when statutory services are closed. It is also the aim of the service to reduce the pressure placed on A&E departments and crisis teams, by offering an alternative place to seek support for those in need of help.

Call 0121 289 6111
Monday – Friday: 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12 noon to 11.00 pm

WhatsApp / Text 07800 006 472

The Sanctuary Hub is currently operating a remote phone support service due to Covid restrictions but will be opening the Sanctuary Hub on 1st June 2021, to enable face to face engagement.

Similar services are currently offered in Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton. Kaleidoscope are pleased to be able to  offer a similar resource in Sandwell and know it will be of great benefit to residents across the borough.

FoodCycle: Feeding Black Country Communities Webinar

As part of the work to support people and communities to thrive and flourish, Transforming Communities Together are hosting a webinar on the national charity FoodCycle, as it prepares to open its first Walsall-based free meals service for local residents. The webinar will be from 10.30 am on Wednesday, 23 June 2021.

FoodCycle is a national charity established in 2009, with the aim of tackling food poverty and social isolation using donated surplus food. There are currently six projects in the West Midlands, all Birmingham-based. The organisation is now working to set up FoodCycle Cooking projects within Walsall and the wider Black Country.

FoodCycle utilises suitable kitchens in which volunteers cook fresh surplus food, which has been donated, to produce healthy, hot vegetarian meals, for anyone who would like one. The meals are completely free and anyone can just turn up. Typically guests include low income families, homeless people, isolated older people, and people struggling to ‘make ends meet’.

FoodCycle would like to hear from you:
• If you could host a FoodCycle local venue, and have capacity to seat up to 30 guests.
• If you are a local organisation or community group through which potential guests may be reached.
• If you would like to be a volunteer at a local venue.

For more information, please contact on 07377 866347 or on 07593 256805.

Book your free place via Eventbrite.


Black Country & West Birmingham Question Time: General Practice Event

As we start to get back to life in the new normal, and General Practices continue to return to business as usual, the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group want to maintain a conversation with local patients, around the restoration and transformation of primary care going forward.

Do you want to know how the CCG is recruiting the next wave of GPs? Or perhaps you want to know how they are improving access to appointments? Then join the CCG on Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 12.00 pm – 1.30 pm, to have your questions answered by a panel.

Register at Eventbrite, submit your question, and to read the biographies of the panel. Alternatively please email or call 0121 612 1447 to book your place.

There will be time to only answer 7/8 questions on the day, as the panel want to devote time to discussion around the answers, but all questions will receive a response. There will not have time to answer questions about individual concerns or complaints, so please frame your question appropriately.

You will also be encouraged to ask your question directly to the panel, so the Chair may bring you in on the day.

The Clinical Commissioning Group look forward to seeing you there!

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