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Do you need volunteers to support your COVID-19 response?

We’re here to help.

SCVO’s call-out for volunteers to support their local communities during the COVID-19 crisis has had a wonderful response; we are very proud to say we have a small army of reserves ready to help.

People from all walks of life have offered their services, from drivers to hands-on carers, from telephone befrienders to local shoppers.

So if you’re a voluntary organisation or community group in Sandwell, tell us where you need volunteers to step in.

We will aim to match your organisation’s need with volunteers signed up to our database. We have a note of their particular skills, whether they have their own transport and if they have current DBS clearance (which many do).

If you have identified a need (maybe something new, or a change to what you already do, in response to COVID-19), but maybe it is the first time you have thought about engaging volunteers in your delivery, why not get in contact with us to see how we might be able to support you.

If you would like to discuss opportunities you have, please email liz@scvo.info cc. kim@scvo.info

Solving the Top 5 Challenges of Onboarding and Motivating the Volunteer Workforce

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many UK charities and not-for-profits. According to the Community Life Survey, volunteers donate over 2 billion hours of their time each year – equivalent to 1.25 full-time employees.

However, research suggests that volunteer engagement is harder to build, and loyalty harder to retain. That presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to find new and better ways to onboard and engage your volunteers – the opportunity is to break down the barriers that are getting in the way so your whole organisation can be more effective.

1. Paperwork

For most not-for-profits, taking on volunteers has more than its fair share of associated – and often essential – paperwork. It’s critical that this doesn’t bog down either yourselves or your volunteers. Everyone hates being asked to provide the same information in triplicate, or wasting hours chasing down missing forms – or turning up on the first day to be told you can’t actually do anything because an essential check has not been completed.

Mapping out your new joiner process can help minimise the risk. What information do you need to collect for each volunteer, how do you get it and who needs to be involved? Once you’ve got to grips with the process, finding onboarding tools that can help you streamline the collection of the relevant documents and data are worth their weight in gold.

To read the full Charity Today news story click here.

Source: Charity Today

Help needed to pack food parcels

Around 50 individuals and families in need each week rely on food parcels from Smethwick Food Bank, and organisers really need a hand to help them out.  If you can spare some time on Tuesdays and Fridays, it would be a big help to pack food parcels at Holy Trinity Church, Church Hill Street, Smethwick B67 7AH.

Smethwick CAN (Church Action Network) also runs a food pantry at the High Street Library and a café at Raglan Road Church, where there are other opportunities for volunteering.

If you could help out at Holy Trinity Church, please call 0121 517 0141 or email foodbank@smethwickcan.org

For other opportunities email admin@smethwickcan.org

Volunteering Opportunities with Beat It Percussion

Would you like to volunteer at a rhythm and sound-based intervention session for well-being? If you care about older people or those living with dementia and would like to learn more about an innovate approach to working with groups in the community, you would be very welcome at Beat It Percussion’s informal session.

At the informal information ice-breaker rhythm activity session, you will find out how you can get involved and make a difference.  As a volunteer, you can become a session buddy or undertake an admin or support role.

The session is from 2 pm – 3 pm on Wednesday, 18 March 2020.
The venue is South Staffs Community Hub, Union Street, Wednesbury WS10 7HD.

For more information and to book a place, please contact 07875 090946 or email info@beatitpercussion.co.uk.

Visit the website

Play amongst the potatoes!

How do you fancy playing out in the fresh air this summer?  The Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick is recruiting a brand new Play Team. The new members will help run summer sessions with youngsters at the DPC Community Allotment.

In conjunction with Sandwell Council’s ‘Go Play’ team, volunteer play leaders will be fully trained in statutory guidance for working with children and the more fun stuff around engaging young people in a variety of activities.

It’s an exciting development for the Community Allotment project, which managers hope will become a host for arts and cultural activities as well as for gardening and growing.

Would-be play leaders could be parents, carers, grandparents or even students and artists looking to gain experience of working with children for future career development.

The team will also get the chance to shape the appearance of the play area on the allotment, which is still in the design stages.

A meeting of potential play leaders is planned for 10 -11 am on Tuesday, 24 March 2020. If you are interested and would like to know more, please register by email to allotment@dorothyparkes.org.

Applications are open to all, subject to the usual checks and regulations in place for working with children.

Green fingers? Lend a hand!

There’s a lovely garden space at Lion Farm Action Centre where local people can sit and enjoy the upcoming spring and summer days.  But it’s in need of a little support to keep it lovely, and add those extra features to make it a real haven.

The Oldbury organisation would ideally like a team of gardening volunteers to keep the area looking good, and are happy for the team to be made up of absolute beginners, as well as people with experience.

If you have an hour or two to spare on a regular basis contact kate.lfac@yahoo.co.uk.

Let’s Talk Autism

Getting together for a chat, socialising and creating memories is something we all cherish. But some people need a bit of support to do that. Autism West Midlands is looking for someone to help facilitate group discussions between adults who need that support.

The volunteer opportunity is for someone with understanding and patience but also the confidence to steer a group discussion and facilitate everyone’s needs.

The discussion group runs once a month on a Tuesday afternoon near West Bromwich town centre.

All volunteers receive training in autism awareness, safeguarding, equality and health and safety, and have their DBS check paid for by the organisation. Many volunteers find the transferable skills really useful when they’re looking for either paid work or other volunteering opportunities.

For more information or to express an interest email aspire@autismwestmidlands.org.uk with the reference ‘Sandwell Group Volunteer’.

Appointment of Independent Persons For the Ethical Standards and Member Development Committee

Sandwell Council are looking to appoint two Independent Persons to sit on the Council’s Ethical Standards and Member Development Committee

The role is to assist the Council to promote and maintain high standards of conduct amongst its elected members and co-opted members.

The closing date for submission of applications is 12 noon on 17 February 2020.

Please note this is a voluntary position.  Relevant training will be provided for and out of pocket expenses are payable.

Further information about role can be found here – https://www.wmjobs.co.uk/job/68600/independent-persons-for-the-ethical-standards-and-member-development-committee/

For more information and an application pack telephone Trisha Newton, Democratic Services Unit on 0121 569 3193, e-mail trisha_newton@sandwell.gov.uk

Panel Members needed at Groundwork for Funding Bid Shortlisting

Groundwork UK has been awarded a two-year contract to act as an intermediary funder for Comic Relief in England, to build a new approach to support grassroots community organisations with ‘lived in’ experience, drive change. As the intermediary funder in England, Groundwork UK will provide support and grants to grass roots organisations with an annual income of less than £250,000. The programme will fund projects applying up to £4,000.

Groundwork are looking for panel members with some experience of one of Comic Relief’s 4 key themes:

• Children Survive and Thrive (e.g. has used early years services with their children and has an understanding of the needs of 0-5 year olds and their parents/ carers)

• Mental Health Matters: (e.g. has experience of mental health issues and experience of accessing services to support recovery).

• Fighting for Gender Justice: (e.g. has experience of women’s/LGBTQIA+ equality issues, or has experienced domestic violence or exploitation and has experience of accessing support services).

• A Safe Place to Be: (e.g. has experienced homelessness or forced migration and has experience of accessing support services).

The meeting will be taking place in Birmingham on Monday, 24th February. The exact location and time to be confirmed.

The panel’s task is to choose which projects should receive Comic Relief funding. Panel members will be sent around 10-15 projects to read through before the panel meeting on the 24th. At the meeting they will need to discuss each application with the other panel members and decide which projects they believe should get funding. The panel itself should take approximately 1-1.5 hours with a further 1 hour of preparation beforehand.

The panel member role is a voluntary role, but reasonable expenses will be paid.

If this is something you wish to consider, further information attached.  You may wish to speak with Jenna Small, Community Project Officer at Groundwork West Midlands, on 07769 346033 or email Jenna.Small@groundwork.org.uk.


Volunteer opportunity with Smethwick CAN

Smethwick CAN is a local charity that was set up as a joint response from local churches to tackle poverty, increase aspiration, provide opportunities and support the most vulnerable within the community.

Smethwick CAN have several food projects supporting the local community and providing access to good quality food to people in need.

They currently have a volunteer position available within Smethwick CAN Community Cafe for a kitchen assistant. The role involves assisting other members of the team in preparing and cooking food for a busy lunchtime session which runs every Thursday.

For further information please contact Christina Murray, Food Hub Manager, at foodaction@smethwickcan.org or call 0751 724 1195.

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