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Friday, May 13th, 2016

Qualifications in volunteer management

Voluntary Action Sheffield is offering its nationally recognised qualifications in volunteer management via distance learning.

Prices start at £350 for a Level 3 qualification.

See details on the Voluntary Action Sheffield website.

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Changes UK launches ‘Recovery Central’ in Birmingham

A new £1m centre to help people recovering from drugs and alcohol addiction rebuild their lives has been completed in Birmingham.

Recovery Central, the brainchild of successful social enterprise and charity Changes UK, is one of the largest venues of its kind ever built in the UK and provides a one-stop shop for the recovery community, including a new café/restaurant, the city’s first dry bar, business incubation space and a multi-purpose conference centre.

Changes UK (L2)Funded by Public Health England, the 50,000 sq ft centre in Digbeth will also house three social enterprises started by people who have been supported by the charity, a gardening business, building company, a state-of-the-art recording studio and a recovery radio station, not to mention hosting the organisation’s 31-strong team.

The revenue generated through the different activities will be channelled into the work of the charity, whose aim is to become fully self-financing whilst continuing to support more than 200 people every year to overcome their addictions.

The official opening of Recovery Central will take place on May 13th at 9.30am, with Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco at Public Health England giving a keynote address.

This will be followed by a show of support from a number of celebrities, inspirational stories of recovery from Changes service users, followed by a guided tour of the building and the chance to meet founder Steve Dixon.

For further information, please visit or follow @changes_charity on twitter. To book your place at the official opening, email


Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Sainsbury’s Local Food Partner Programme

Sainsbury’s continues to expand its Local Food Partner Programme and is accepting applications from local charities to join the network. Local food partner charities can collect dry and tinned food donated by customers and/or fresh food donated by Sainsbury’s to distribute in the community. Applicants must be a registered charity, have appropriate Food Hygiene certification and be able to collect donated food regularly from you partner store.

A Food Partner must:

  • Be able to collect food from their local store regularly
  • Put in place effective procedures for the receipt, storage and security of food provided by Sainsbury’s
  • Ensure all staff involved in handling food are knowledgeable of food hygiene requirements
  • Comply with legally acceptable standards of hygiene in handling, storage, preparation and serving of meals and in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions where available.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Small Charities Week 2016

What is Small Charity Week?

13th – 18th June 2016

Small Charity Week is an annual event to celebrate and raise the profile of the small charity sector (those charities with a turnover under £1.5 million) and the amazing work they do.

Small Charity Week, now in its seventh year, is a week-long event comprising of a series of activities and initiatives to support and raise awareness of the hundreds and thousands of small charities that, every day, make a huge difference to vulnerable communities right across the UK and the rest of the world.

In order for Small Charity Week to have the widest possible impact, we want to encourage community and voluntary organisations throughout the UK to take an active part. This can either be by running an event for small charities during the week itself or by participating in or promoting the existing initiatives.

Below is a brief summary of the programme for the week, along with instructions on how to receive further advice from us about running your own event and what you can expect in terms of support.

Small Charity Week 2016

Small Charity Week 2016 will be taking place from 13th – 18th June and each day is separately themed with free support, events and activities. If you would like further information on any of the events then please contact us and we can send out further information and toolkits to support you.

Monday 13th June: I ♥ Small Charities Day

This day kick-starts the week and is a great chance to raise the profile of small charities. The FSI will be running a social media competition encouraging people to highlight the invaluable work of small charities with cash prizes available for the winning participating charities.

Tuesday is an opportunity for small charities to access expert knowledge for free. In London, the FSI are running a central advice hub at City Hall bringing together small charities with expert volunteers who are able to offer free 1:1 advice clinics. We are calling on other organisations across the UK to think about how they might be able to run a ‘Big Advice Day’ event outside of London. Please email for further information and to receive a toolkit with lots of useful information on how to run a successful Big Advice Day event.

We are calling on Local Authorities across the UK to run a Policy Day event where small charities can engage with and learn from policy makers and influencers.

The FSI, with our partners, will be running a range of free activities and competitions to help small charities to raise funds for themselves, such as:

  • A competition to have a fundraising message featured on the checkout page of eBay UK during Small Charity Week– this has raised in excess of £15,000 in previous years.
  • An eBay auction where we take care of all of the admin and hard work and each contributing small charity keeps the full price their items fetch.
  • We will be launching a competition with Virgin Money Giving which will offer free marathon places for small charities
  • We will be releasing free fundraising toolkits to support small charities to run their own community fundraising activities including the ever-popular Small Charity Week Quiz.

Volunteering opportunities from small charities are highlighted as widely as possible on this particular day and we are also running a range of free events with our partners to help small charities engage with new volunteers who have specific skills and meet with new potential Trustees, as well as to gain new skills.

The week comes to an end with another opportunity for small charities to raise their profile and to celebrate their work. On this day we will be featuring small charity messages on Big Screens across the UK and encouraging small charities to run their own Celebration Day events.

How to get involved

  1. Inform the small charities you work with about the free opportunities available for them in your newsletters, Twitter or Facebook. We will be happy to supply you with draft email /Twitter content.
  2. You can run your own event during the week to support the small charities in your community.
    If you would like to take part in one of the days during Small Charity Week then we ask that it is within the spirit of Small Charity Week and is therefore at no cost to small charities to take part. We will be more than happy to inform the Small Charity Week audience about your events and to include you on the partner’s page of the Small Charity Week website.
  3. Call upon your Local Authority to run an event as part of Small Charity Week to support small charities to engage with their local policy makers and commissioners.

We are happy to hear from you on any alternative ideas you might also have. Please do let us know what you are planning!

What the Small Charity Week Team can provide

We are able to provide you with the Small Charity Week logo and a footer to go on your communications and website so you are able to show your support for Small Charity Week.

For those running their own activities /events we will be able to:

  • Promote your organisation on the Small Charity Week website as a partner
  • Market your event/activity on the Small Charity Week website, communications and social media channels

Key Contact Details

Please let us know if you would like to get involved with Small Charity Week 2016 in some way.



Twitter: @SCWeek2016

Small Charity Week is coordinated by the Foundation for Social Improvement, Registered Charity Number: 1123384,

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Charities at risk of online extortion demands

This warning has been published by the Charity Commission of a scam that is affecting charities:

Charities at risk of online extortion demands

Trustees, charity professionals and volunteers should be aware of online extortion or ‘ransom’ demands currently affecting UK businesses. This is because charities could also be vulnerable to attack and so are encouraged to be vigilant. This advice is particularly relevant for those charities which operate overseas and/or deal with international partners in high risk zones.

The information contained within this alert is based on reports made during the past week, to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre.

What to look out for:

  • a number of businesses throughout the UK have received online extortion demands from a group calling themselves ‘RepKiller Team’;
  • the group have sent emails demanding payment of between £300 – £500 in Bitcoins [a form of digital or ‘crypto’ currency] by a certain date and time;
  • if their demand is not met, they have threatened to launch a cyber-attack against the organisation and damage its reputation by automating hundreds of negative reviews online;
  • the demand states that once their actions have started, they cannot be undone.

Action to take

If you have received such a demand, or receive one in the future, you are advised to:

  • NOT meet their demands and pay the ransom;
  • make a report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website;
  • retain the original emails (with headers);
  • make a note of the attack, recording all times, type and content of the contact.

Carl Mehta, head of investigations and enforcement operations at the Commission, said:

Charities need to be aware of the imminent danger posed by this fraudulent group and to take appropriate steps to protect their charity’s assets and good reputation – both of which could be damaged if the ransom demands of the group are met.

I urge all charities, if they suspect they may have fallen victim to such extortion or ransom fraud, to report it immediately to Action Fraud.

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Solihull Local Account – Adult Social Care performance info online

Welcome to our Adult Social Care Local Account 2015/16 – our first online version!

The Local Account lets Solihull people know how well we are doing in delivering care and support services. Ultimately though, it’s not for us to judge, but for those people receiving services and the families, friends and neighbours who support them. We want people in Solihull to be judging how well we are doing and holding us to account and the new online version supports this, by encouraging people to give us feedback on our services 7 days a week /24 hours a day! It will help us to promote service areas and consult throughout the year using “Stay Connected”, keeping the Local Account “live”, whilst reaching a wider audience.

For our people the Local Account highlights our improvement journey so far, what has been achieved, the areas that we are working to improve and our priorities.

The focus is aligned to the Local Authority’s 4 key objectives in Adult Social Care for our people:

  • I am confident that my care and support will be of high quality and I will be safe, treated with dignity and respect.
  • I can maintain my maximum degree of independence.
  • I can get high quality information and advice from a variety of sources, so that I understand how care and support works.
  • I feel in control of my care and support.

Please have a look at the Local Account online share it with family, friends, colleagues, stakeholders and partners.

For more information on the Local Account please contact Jill Griffin, Commissioning Officer on 0121 7046978.

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Diary dates in the charity world 2016

This calendar of UK charity and health awareness days and fundraising events for 2016 has been compiled by ChangeStar.

It’s available on the page linked to below or as a pdf to download.

ChangeStar what’s on in the charity world 2016


Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Shared Lives Scheme

Solihull Council is working in conjunction with Coventry City Council to develop a Shared Lives Scheme and we are looking to recruit Shared Lives Carers to be part of it. In return, carers will receive a generous allowance.

Anyone can apply to become a Shared Lives Carer. You may have had experience of working in social care, but it’s fine if you’ve had no experience at all. What’s important is that you’re enthusiastic, committed, caring, encouraging and sensitive to others’ needs.

Shared Lives involves sharing family and community life. For instance, Shared Lives Carers and the people they support might go on holiday together, or go to each other’s family parties and events. Shared Lives Carers can support up to three people at any one time.

All sorts of people can be supported in a Shared Lives Placement including:

  • Adults with a learning disability
  • Adults with mental health issues
  • Adults with a physical disability
  • Older people/dementia
  • Young people in transition to adult services

To be considered for the Scheme you will need:

  • Willingness to support adults within your own home
  • Willingness to develop a family environment for the people you support
  • Willingness to be involved in training and the preparation work required to be approved as a Shared Lives Carer

In return, the Shared Lives Scheme provides:

  • Induction, a clear approval process and on-going training
  • Day-to-day support from dedicated team members
  • Contact with other Shared Lives Carers
  • Access to breaks and respite

For more informaiton on the Shared Lives scheme visit:

Friday, December 4th, 2015

The Job Squad! – Skills for Jobs

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Updated Voluntary and Community Directory published

We are pleased to present the refreshed 2015-16 Solihull Voluntary & Community Services Directory.

We hope that through this detailed exercises of mapping voluntary sector provision in the Borough, that this publication will be of use to our stakeholders. We also hope it will be a useful tool for our voluntary sector partners in their work to support communities across Solihull.

Download the full Directory – or see the download link at the bottom of any page on this site.

Download the Solihull Groups Directory