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Let’s Go…

Here in Sandwell we have thousands of people helping out, formally and informally, every single day of the week. And our new web site www.letsgosandwell.info will help even more people find fulfilment in volunteering and support the work of the sector.

The site hosts all kinds of opportunities to get involved with local voluntary and community organisations, demonstrating the huge range of tasks carried out by willing helpers.

Some are skill sharers – mapping out a new web site for a charity; taking time out to be a trustee or book keeper; running singalong sessions in a residential setting; as a youth group leader or sports coach.

Some are carers – shopping for friends, neighbours and clients; boosting their day with a friendly phone call; advocating on their behalf. And some are skill seekers – helping out with any task feasible to gain experience, friendship and the confidence to build the life and future they want.

If your organisation is looking for helpers, or to find out more about ‘Let’s Go…’ and how we support volunteering in Sandwell, email kim@scvo.info

Lettuce turnip the beet!

A Smethwick pre-school has a great opportunity for a helper who likes the fresh air.

Two Steps in Price Street is hoping for help to maintain the garden where the youngsters spend hours having fun.

Early Years and Quality Practice Manager Zara Hill said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to volunteer and maintain our much loved garden. We are looking for a helpful helper to come and join in the fun, planting, weeding and preening.  We are kind, caring and passionate – a person of any age and ability welcome.’

If you would like to know more contact Zara on 0121 558 3475 or email z.hill@wsenterprise.co.uk

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 Sally.Smith@diabetes.org.uk.



Helping from Home

A little bit of patience and a listening ear are the main requirements of a telephone befriender. From the comfort of your own home you could really make a difference to the life of someone who is lonely and in need of a chat.

One organisation currently looking for trainee befrienders is Murray Hall Community Trust, based in Tipton. The organisation promotes health and wellbeing by enabling and supporting people in need to overcome the challenges of inequality; by advocating on their behalf; facilitating empowerment; pioneering new solutions and delivering innovative services and stronger communities.
If you would like more details contact Paul.dodd@murrayhall.co.uk

They need your wheels for meals!

If you can spare an hour on a Friday lunchtime you could be a great help in Warley, delivering meals to those most in need.

Warley Baptist Church runs a weekly meal project but has lost many drivers who have had to return to work post-furlough.

If you have a car and would like to help, the meals need to be delivered from 12 noon to 1pm on a Friday.

For more information, contact Community Development Worker Carrie Pearson
on 07762 303374 warleyfamilywbc@gmail.com

‘Rapid and Selfless’ Response to Pandemic Across Charity Sector

Jane Ide, Chief Executive of NAVCA, has been reflecting on the response from across the voluntary and community sector and, more specifically, the rapid and selfless reaction from local infrastructure organisations across England, many of them NAVCA members.

Jane writes:

We knew when the pandemic hit, our members would be right at the heart of the response. And the work they have done has been phenomenal.

Local infrastructure organisations are embedded in the communities they serve. Whether they are known as Community Action, a Council for Voluntary Service, Voluntary Action or some other title, the work they do makes a massive impact.

NAVCA members were quick to adapt their operations from day one of the pandemic to co-ordinate all manner of support services, from food deliveries and prescription collections to befriending and dog walking. Alongside direct support to people in need, they have worked tirelessly to connect small charities, community organisations, faith groups, businesses, the NHS, local authorities, mutual aid groups and volunteers in ways that work for their community.

Across the country NAVCA members connected with over a quarter of a million volunteers. We know that the efforts of the voluntary and community sector saved lives.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Source: NAVCA

Innovation and Creativity Inspired By the Pandemic

When COVID-19 hit the UK in March, it brought an initial instant shut down of community organisations and centres delivering much-needed community services and activities here in Sandwell. As doors closed to the physical world though, many organisations took the step of adapting their delivery (through digital innovation) in order to continue to support the most vulnerable within their communities – from children and families through to older people, and everything in between! 

The pandemic lockdown made community organisations, big and small, re-assess what the needs of their community were and how they could continue to address these needs in a re-imaged way. The imagination, resourcefulness and innovation at the height of the lockdown just goes to show the creativity and resilience of organisations, residents and service providers here in Sandwell. With ‘pop up’ COVID-19 support groups appearing overnight at a very local level, to an army of over 700 COVID-volunteers coming together to lend a helping hand during this time of need to support those most at risk.

We’ve seen:

  • New telephone befriending services;
  • Development of ‘meals on wheels’ for those most in need and vulnerable;
  • ‘Fish, Chips and Zoom’ chats replacing, in the short-term, luncheon clubs and other similar gatherings;
  • ‘Zoom Cafés’, where you brought the cake and cuppa and the community centre brought the conversation or short artistic performance (in partnership with a local arts organisation);
  • Events such as ‘virtual afternoon tea’ and ‘dial a story’ through to ‘doorstep fitness’ and ‘virtual fitness sessions’ from the comfort of your own home.

The creativity and resilience shown has been first class, with so many examples of community organisations thinking on their feet to continue to support their communities and others.

Community organisations have risen to the challenges presented, showing just how determined they are in supporting and continuing their service provision at a time when it matters the most. They have, where possible, joined forces with other community organisations, service providers and others to prevent duplication and to maximise their ability to support local residents by sharing resources and communication channels to get the messages out for those wishing to access the services on offer.

And more is continuing to happen as groups take advantage of the funding provided by a whole range of funding bodies – developing new services and adapting old ones to better meet the needs of communities and individuals in the ever-changing circumstances around us.

SCVO, too, has adapted quickly to the changing environment. Working from home, the staff team has learned a whole host of new skills (mostly digital) to take our support services online; from virtual ‘meet the funder’ events to virtual training workshops and networking sessions (bringing organisations together to share with and learn from each other) all in addition to our regular support services (delivered remotely) – helping them to turn their ideas into reality or simply to champion our sector and the fantastic community opportunities that have arisen.

Whilst the road to recovery is something of an unknown quantity, the message from across Sandwell is loud and clear – groups are wanting to ‘bounce back’ stronger, ensuring the new connections made during lockdown are retained, nurtured and built upon in order to harness the volunteers that came forward and further develop the creativity that was born during the pandemic.

Could You Help ROSA Support Women and Girls in the UK?

Rosa is looking for four Trustees who share our passion for making the UK a fairer, safer place for women and girls. We are committed to being representative of our society and bringing together those with a variety of skills and experiences to shape what we do and how we work.

They’re keen to hear from those who might not have previous trustee experience, or who aren’t sure their experience fits the role in a ‘traditional’ way. Most important to them is who you as a person – your values, thoughts, and knowledge of the people and issues we care about.

Having a board of trustees that reflects the communities they serve is incredibly important to them – so they’re keen to reach people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. You might have experience in communications, research and knowledge management, fundraising, employment law or HR.

See link  https://rosauk.org/2020/08/13/rosa-is-looking-for-new-trustees/ for the full role description.

To apply, please send a cover letter and a CV to Angela Todd Drake, angela@rosauk.org, by Friday 28th August2020. The cover letter should include your interest in the role and a brief description of the skills and experience you can bring to our Board.

If you have any queries or want to discuss the role further, please email ROSA directly with your contact details and they will get back to you.

Join flow at Riverside

If you live on Millfields or Harvills Hawthorn estates, there’s a chance to really make a difference in your local community.

Riverside Housing Association would like any residents aged 14+ to consider becoming part of the team, helping out with social events and maintaining the estates as safe, inviting communities.

As a social landlord Riverside provides support to people of all ages and circumstances, acting as managing agents for Sandwell Council.

For the first time they’re looking for Volunteer Youth Reps as well as adult representatives to join in, or even initiate, a wide variety of activities.

Community Engagement Officer Denise Heginbotham said: “We’re looking for helpers at our events such as celebrations, our film club, exercise classes. We also have funds available to spend on our estates, so they can collect ideas and make suggestions for improvements, and help residents to apply for funding. We provide full training for the role, with other opportunities to take courses in first aid, fire marshalling and dementia for example. We provide passes and uniforms, so they really do become part of our team.”

If you require further information please call or email Denise on 07870 809387 Deniseann.heginbotham@riverside.org.uk

Is Skills-Based Volunteering a Good Fit for Your Charity?

Charity Digital News examines what skills-based volunteering has to offer both charities and charity supporters.

In the past, they’ve written about the principles that drive a successful partnership between charities and corporations. Chief among these principles is the idea that both organisations must be driven by a common goal. Even if they may have disparate aims in other areas, successful partnerships focus on how both sides can contribute towards a shared endeavour. Both participants must gain something from the partnership. These kinds of collaborations have seen great results in the face of COVID-19.

This is also a good model for an increasingly common form of volunteering.

What is skills-based volunteering?
Skills-based volunteering allows qualified professionals to work for charities on a pro bono basis. A simple example might be a doctor lending their expertise to a medical charity in an advisory capacity.

This is particularly useful when it comes to charity digital operations. Many small charities may struggle to pay full-time staff or freelance contractors to perform specialised digital tasks or advise on longer-term digital strategy. It can be difficult to find the money to pay someone with the necessary skills.

But you may not have to. It is possible (perhaps even likely) that one of your supporters will have these skills and would be pleased to volunteer their time and expertise.

To read the full Charity Digital News article click here.

Source: Charity Digital News

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