Volunteering

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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.


Spotlight on Girls Friendly Society

Tell us what you do
Girls Friendly Society (GFS) recruits women volunteers to run groups where girls can go make friends, build confidence, have fun and be inspired. At the groups, girls focus on six key themes; feeling a part of their community, being creative, getting active, learning to be happy with who they are, developing skills for life and having a lot of fun.

What is your proudest achievement?
We are a really long-established organisation – we were founded in 1875! – and we are proud of our ability to keep changing with the times while holding the core value of supporting and empowering women. We have a number of volunteers who have been with us for 40 or more years, and their willingness to develop and grow with us to provide something that is relevant for today is something we are also, extremely proud of.

What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
From the first contact, we had with the SCVO a couple of months ago, we received lots of support in terms of local knowledge and useful contacts. Staff have been really helpful and welcoming to Jennie Crosby, our Midlands Regional Development Coordinator.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Everyone Jennie has met have been really friendly and interested in finding out what Girls Friendly Society is about and what we can offer in local communities. Organisations and community groups have been keen to share information about us, putting Jennie in touch with lots of people. We are also finding out what a large and diverse Metropolitan Borough Sandwell is.

What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We are just about to launch two new groups for girls aged 7-12 in the area – one in Cradley Heath and one on Hurst Road, Smethwick. Recruiting volunteers who are passionate about empowering girls and can commit to running the groups for a medium to long term is the challenge. While short term volunteers are welcome, we’re particularly interested in people who can commit to helping us maintain some consistency within the group.

How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Your knowledge of the local area (especially venues) is really useful, as we plan to continue to open groups nearby. Our goal is to establish a reputation for providing amazing opportunities for girls in this area.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Then why not check out their volunteering page by clicking here.


React Martial Arts

Who are React Martial Arts?

React Martial Arts was set up in August 2014 as a kickboxing organisation designed to make kickboxing and martial arts more accessible to all.

For more information on the organisation visit their website at www.reactmartialarts.co.uk

1) Tell us what you do.

We run Kickboxing classes for ages 5+ at St Michael’s School, Rowley Regis on Tuesday evenings between 19:00-20:00. Classes are taught in a controlled and fun environment to encourage everyone to develop at their own pace, with regular grading’s to allow students to show what they have learnt.

We also take a small group of fighters to compete locally, nationally and internationally. And lastly we sometimes do work in schools such as special martial arts taster days.

2) What is your proudest achievement?

Our proudest achieve is having two England squad members who recently won a gold medal each at the ICO World Championships. In total taking 6 medals from 6 categories.

3) What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?

The most valuable lesson we have learnt about working with people in Sandwell is that people need to take things at their own pace and it’s important to listen to what they want and where they are on their individual journey.

4) What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?

Our plans for the future are to continue to make Kickboxing accessible to all and to educate our community that despite common misconceptions that martial arts promote violence and fighting, martial arts is about teaching control, discipline and can help to tackle mental health concern.

5) How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

SCVO can help through reiterating the above point that Kickboxing is not just about fighting but about teaching respect, discipline, and control whenever possible and supporting is to share our accomplishments and success to a wider audience enabling us to demonstrate to others where kickboxing as a sport can take them.

If you’d like to find out more about these services and Tuesday evenings session at St Michael’s school please contact Arron Walker on 07539 383 299 or via email at reactmartialarts@outlook.com


Spotlight on George Road Community Church

1)  Tell us what you do.
We are a Community Church based at George Road, Oldbury who run community activities and several groups that encourage members of our local community to be more active and meeting new people.

We currently offer ‘Extend’ (fitness classes for over 50’s Tuesday/Friday), ‘Thrive’ youth club (for 9-13’s Thursday evening), Knit and chatter (all welcome Thursday morning), ‘Come Together’ (a social group for the over 50’s on a Monday afternoon), Garden group (all welcome Wednesday morning). We also run a coffee morning on Wednesdays 10.00am for all comers.

We also have a number of rooms and Hope House, which are available for hire by other community groups and organisations.

2)  What is your proudest achievement?
We are really proud of the way our community feels they can be part of what we do here at George Road and get involved with us via our volunteer opportunities. It’s great to know that people feel welcome and able to participate in our activities.

3)  What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
It has been good to work with the SCVO team. They are a really useful resource and help us stay connected with life in Sandwell. Libby has been brilliant with helping our church try to improve the work we do. We have attended several courses that SCVO has organised and have come away with lots of advice and new contacts from attending these courses.

4)  What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
We are constantly amazed and pleased with the way in which the local people of Sandwell remain friendly, open to new ideas and, are willing to help with the things we do.

We held a Summer Fun Day last year and several local people volunteered to help us on the day and the run up to the day which really helped to make the Fun Day a great success.

5)  What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Part of our future plans include trying to increase the use of Hope House, which is a property we own within the church grounds. It has several small meeting rooms for hire that we are keen to work in partnership with others to increase their use for the benefit of our community. We would love to see more groups within Sandwell using this great facility.

6)  How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO has been a great help to us and we hope to continue working with SCVO staff moving forward to help us to develop new partnerships, projects and supporting us to build our local contacts.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can get involved with George Road Community Church or for more information on their current activities please call Karen Palmer on 0121 423 3822.


Spotlight on Sandwell Advocacy

1) Tell us what you do
We are an independent charity offering advocacy, established in 1993, to ensure people are listened to and have a voice, that peoples rights are taken into account and that prejudice and discrimination are challenged. We work to safeguard and protect people’s rights.

Advocacy for Young Carers- we have advocates to bridge short and long-term support needs of young people who take on a caring role. We look to support them and their families in any number of ways. We ensure that the young people are at the heart of the decision making process and that their voices are heard and their needs are taken into account.

2) What is your proudest achievement?
We have been operating in Sandwell for over 24 years. I am sure you will agree this is quite an achievement for a small charity.
I’m proud to be part of an organisation like Sandwell Advocacy, working towards making a difference. All of our staff have worked in Sandwell for many years and have a wealth of knowledge and experience across the voluntary and public sector.

3) What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
We are proud to be SCVO members and we’ve got value for money for our membership.

In recent months we have secured small pots of money which have enabled us to add value to the service we provide by offering services to the people we support. We were made aware of these through SCVO emails and meetings.

More generally, SCVO is there pulling people together so we’re stronger.

4) What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Our staff and volunteer workforce and advocacy partners work well together. Despite what we are told in the national media we have found that Sandwell residents are willing to pull together and support each other. People are proud of their culture and history and have a strong sense of belonging within the six towns.

5) What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We continue to look at offering advocacy in new areas using the models that we know work well. Additionally we are interested in creative and innovative ways of having voices heard. Our latest HLF project, Living Memory will be exploring and sharing unique photography collections and life stories from the diverse communities across the Black Country. We believe that heritage and arts projects are an ideal platform to advocate for the wider community.

6) How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Continue what you do best – keeping us up to date with relevant legislation, information, funding, training and networking.

For more information:
www.sandwelladvocacy.org
Contact: 0121 520 8070
Email: sandwelladvocacy@btconnect.com


Spotlight on Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives

1 Tell us what you do.
We are developing a new and innovative service for the national charity, called Camphill Village Trust Shared Lives. Shared Lives is sometimes described as a bit like ‘foster care for adults’…but it’s so much more than that, as we enable the people we support to be in control and make their own choices in life.

People are carefully matched to stay with specially trained Shared Lives Carers on either a long-term, respite or day support basis, who provide tailored-support to maximise independence, build self-esteem and encourage new social skills, so the person can lead the same ordinary life just like you and me.

2 What is your proudest achievement?
Throughout 2017, we were busy establishing the new scheme, which to date we have already approved three households, with another four currently being assessed.

We are particularly proud of the fact that we have recruited several local Afro-Caribbean and Asian families to become Shared Lives Carers, as we are very keen that our scheme reflects the communities in which we all live.

3 What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
Mazeline has been so supportive of the new scheme from the start, by regularly publishing our articles, helping us spread the word and recruit Carers from across Sandwell.

4 What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The people we know and work with in Sandwell, are hard-working, happy to help-out and always have a smile on their faces, regardless of how stressful life might be at times. They are straight-talking and say it how it is.

5 What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We plan to carry on recruiting and training prospective carers, so that we can provide a choice of high-quality Shared Lives Arrangements across the region. However, the challenge is, in finding those special households who want to welcome someone into their home.

You don’t need any qualifications or previous experience, just the right values, commitment and of course a spare room. You are paid according to the level of support you provide and with self-employed status, qualify for tax relief.

6 How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
It’s really important to us that SCVO carry on being supportive and getting our message out across Sandwell, as research suggests that people who use Shared Lives, are known to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about what we do, then they can go to: www.cvt.org.uk/sharedlives or follow us on twitter: @CVTSharedLives or call us on 01384 597264.


Spotlight on KeyRing

1 Tell us what you do
KeyRing offers low level tenancy support for vulnerable people in their own homes across Sandwell.

Our vision is for vulnerable people to be at the heart of their community, sharing their skills and talents for everyone’s benefit.

2 What is your proudest achievement?
KeyRing’s proudest achievement is being able to provide extra levels of support for people in the Sandwell area. We believe that communities and informal support are very important and work hard to encourage people to be good neighbours, to each other and to share their skills.

3 What is your experience of support received from SCVO
Our experience of support received from SCVO is great, they are there to support voluntary organisations within the Sandwell area.

4 What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
Our most valuable lesson we’ve learnt about working with people in Sandwell is that there are so many organisations out there that do wonderful things for Sandwell residents.

5 What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Our contract is coming up to tender so our current plans are to stay in the Sandwell area by securing a new tender and to develop more KeyRing networks that benefit more Sandwell residents.

6 How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
SCVO can help KeyRing moving forward by assisting in the promotion of the support KeyRing provides here in Sandwell and by continuing to hold their breakfast meetings which support interaction with other local organisations to promote and raise awareness of our services and others in attendance.

If you would like to know more about KeyRing and what we have to offer please contact Lucy Haddon on 07534350167 or via email at lucy.haddon@keyring.org


Smethwick Library – Friends Group Recruitment Morning

Are you interested in supporting your local library?

Would you like to find out more about what we do?

If the answer is yes, join us at our friends group coffee morning and chat to staff about how you can get involved.


Spotlight on Friends of Tividale Park

1. Tell us what you do.
Established in 2015, the Friends of Tividale Park are a resident’s community group who work to improve the park in various ways, including fundraising for new equipment, volunteering, and supporting events. Our website www.friendsoftividaelpark.org.uk states our monthly meeting dates and location. Tividale Park celebrates the 90th anniversary of its opening during this year.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
To date, we have held we have three held annual Family Fun Day events in the park, working with Sandwell Council and K9 Search UK. We are bringing back an historic tradition of park community events lost over recent years.

Friends of Tividale Park have helped with a park clear ups and held a Christmas event. The event featured a blow-up grotto and a visit from Santa. The event coincided with unseasonably strong winds ever meaning the grotto had to be held down at times. Lots of fun was had regardless of the gales!

The group were award postcode lottery funding which was spent on nature/environment projects such as bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog homes, bug boxes, and planting hedge saplings. We also donated money to a neighbouring group to buy Beehives. We have our biggest plans and projects lined up for fruition in 2018.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO
This will be the first time the group has worked with SCVO, although read the bulletin for example we have now established links with Art Yard thanks to an advert regarding one of their events.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The Lesson we have learnt is how many volunteers and charities there are out there. Sandwell people are hardworking and when they commit to a project see it through to the end.

5 . What are your plans and some of the challenges you face?
We are commissioning a sun sundial as a centre piece for the park, as well as bespoke benches, wild meadow planting, and our Black Country Festival Event with a Tividale’s Got Talent theme. Local schools and the general public will be able to audience to appear on our stage at our biggest event to date; organisation is well underway.

Challenges including having the right number of volunteers and do-ers types to make our grow and provide the insight or experience that a smaller group may not readily have. It is also establishing links with other groups to learn from experience.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Help us to raise our profile in the community, offer advice or input into group projects such as review lottery applications. Help us establish links with other local groups with mutual benefits.

For more information on the Friends of Tividale Park or to become a volunteer please email our Secretary at secretary@friendsoftividalepark.org.uk


Spotlight on Midland Film and Art

1. Tell us what you do.
Midland Film and Art (MFAA) was established 2014 with the aim of advancing the education, understanding and appreciation of all aspects of art, film, craft and allied techniques.

In August 2017 MFAA took on The Art Yard in Reddal Hill Road, Cradley Heath; with a view of improving public access to art and creating three distinct multi-purpose art and craft galleries.

Our first monthly exhibitions commenced in September 2017 showcasing the work of local artists and others. MFAA’s exhibitors demonstrated a wide range of skills, abilities and experiences all adding to the eclectic mix we are keen to encourage.

MFAA relies on volunteers to run the galleries during normal weekly shopping hours and plans are underway to introduce Life Drawing and painting classes led by former college tutors and experienced professional artists.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement to date is that by using funds donated by Cradley Heath Film, MFAA members and sponsors, together with volunteer time, the demise of The Art Yard was prevented and the premises refurbished, access to art increased and the first pubic exhibition was opened within one month of MFAA taking over the premises.

The anecdotal evidence from visitors and exhibitors alike is that The Art Yard is a welcome facility that is providing new life within the surrounding community and a much required outlet for artists to publicly showcase their work.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
The Art Yard is new to SCVO and what it however, SCVO have been extremely interested in what The Art Yard can offer within the community and have agreed where possible to help MFAA going forward.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lessons MFAA has learned is that Sandwell is made up of one of the most diverse blends of communities in the West Midlands which taps into and maintains links with a wide range of arts and crafts that emanate from such a diverse range of people from all walks of life.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Moving forward, MFAA intends to ensure that The Art Yard remains financially independent of its patrons’ support.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
MFAA (at The Art Yard) would welcome any support SCVO can provide to help move the project forward; help obtain resources; assist in promoting The Art Yard to the wider public and help to establish the organisation within Sandwell’s communities.

If you are interested in exhibiting in the Art Yard  please refer to our e-bulletin post entitled ‘The Art Yard – Call for Artists’ or would like further information on how you can get involved at the Art Yard please email Warren at infoartyard@gmail.com


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