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Friday, February 12th, 2016

Solihull Together for Better Lives Awards

Awards for working together

Nominations are now open for the second Solihull Together for better lives awards. The awards recognise individuals and organisations who are working together to make life better for Solihull residents.

They have been created by a partnership of local health and social care organisations: Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Solihull Council, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service, Solihull’s primary care providers, the voluntary and community sector and lay members representing the Solihull community.

This year’s awards

The focus of this year’s awards is on those people and organisations who provide care and support to adults in Solihull, particularly vulnerable and frail people.

There are 11 award categories including the Solihull Together award for Dementia friendly service, Care and Health Professionals of the Year and Outstanding Neighbour. Nominations are welcome from Solihull residents, family members of people living in Solihull and anyone working in Solihull.

Full details and online nomination forms are available at

Posters are also being distributed around locations in Solihull including libraries, GP surgeries and care homes. The closing date for nominations is Monday 7 March.

The Solihull Together for better lives Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 21 April at the Renewal Conference Centre, Solihull.

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

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Trees for Schools Fund 2016

The Tree Council, the UK’s lead charity for trees, has announced that the Trees for Schools Fund 2016 is open for applications.

The Trees for Schools Fund is open to projects where the total tree planting costs are between £100 and £700. Any applications where the £700 limit is exceeded will automatically be discounted, even if funds are available from another source to cover the excess. The Tree Council will fund up to 4 fruit trees (but no more than that) on semi-vigorous, vigorous and very vigorous rootstocks. Schools wishing to plant more than 4 fruit trees, please apply to the Orchard Windfalls Fund.

Eligible costs include:

  • The cost of the trees and any reasonable cost of necessary supports
  • Aids to establishment (stakes, ties and guards, plus fertiliser, mulch and soil amelioration but only where conditions make this appropriate).

The project costs should total at least £100 in order for the application to be eligible for consideration. The school must be able to raise 25% of the planting costs. This grant is open to all schools within the United Kingdom with pupils aged 16 or under. Schools must be local authority run or registered as a ‘not for profit’ organisation and Children under the age of 16 must be actively involved in the planting process.

The closing date for applications is 31st March 2016.

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

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Solihull Faiths Covenant

The following Covenant between the Solihull Partnership and the faiths sector in Solihull was signed on Monday 21 September 2015 by Cllr Diana Holl-Allen for the Solihull Partnership and Shantose Kaur, Chair of the Solihull Faiths Forum:

The Faith Covenant

The Covenant is a joint commitment between faith communities and partners within the Solihull Partnership to a set of principles that guide engagement, aiming to improve collaborative partnerships and to promote open, practical working on all levels.

The Covenant is built on the following principles:

  • Faith communities are free to practise their beliefs and religious observances without restriction, to raise their voice in public debate and to be respected, within the framework of UK law.
  • Public services and faith based social action should respect service users from all backgrounds, with no discrimination on the grounds of religion, gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation or disability.
  • The voice, participation and solutions that faith communities bring are important, and their involvement in the decision making process should enable them to benefit the wider community.
  • Organisations and services will be stronger by drawing on diverse sources of funding, recognising that monopolies of funding, action and participation are seen to be detrimental to the common good or benefit of all.

The Covenant entails the following commitments:

Partners within the Solihull Partnership commit to welcome the involvement of faith groups in the delivery of services and social action on an equal basis with other groups. In addition, they commit to:

  • Building relationships and trust with faith groups in particular through Solihull Faiths Forum;
  • Adopting appropriate strategies for the engagement of faith communities in decision making processes;
  • Encouraging faith groups and their members to be involved in the reshaping and redesign of local services;
  • Clear signposting and open, transparent communication and guidelines around funding;
  • Developing and sharing training and learning opportunities between faith communities and the partners within the Solihull Partnership.

Faith based organisations commit to work actively with partners in the Solihull Partnership in the design and delivery of services to the public. In addition, they commit to:

  • Seeking opportunities to bring people together to serve the community, particularly its poorest and most isolated members;
  • Serving all local residents seeking to access services fairly, irrespective of their religion, gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation or disability;
  • Ensuring excellence in child protection, health and safety, accountability and transparency;
  • Responding to consultations where appropriate;
  • Developing and sharing training and learning opportunities between faith communities and partners within the Solihull Partnership.


The Solihull Partnership is the umbrella partnership for Solihull. Its membership consists of the public organisations in the Borough as well as representation from the voluntary and community and business sectors.

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Skills for Jobs project – success story

The Skills for Jobs service run by the Colebridge Trust in North Solihull, supports people who are unemployed to get back in to work. And it has seen tremendous success, not just in terms of the numbers of people who have been helped back into work but in the unique approach that the project can take.

Theo’s story

Theo is a Smith’s Wood resident in his mid-twenties who has seen success through the Skills for Jobs project.

Theo came to Skills for Jobs to seek support with training and career planning as he wanted to do something different after his previous job in security came to an end. He wanted to pursue a career where he could support others and gain new skills. Having few qualifications and experience only in the gaming and security industries, this was a new challenge.

After spending some time career planning Theo was offered the opportunity to train as an Advice and Guidance worker with Skills for Jobs. Theo undertook a placement over 6 months where he learned about advice and guidance work and gained an NVQ in Advice and Guidance.

CV and Job Search

Theo found a local opportunity to help support the development of new projects in the area where he lived. He was supported by Skills for Jobs to update his CV with his new qualifications and experience and was supported to identify his skills and match them to the job role in his application. He was invited for interview and impressed the panel.

He was then able to use his newly gained skills and experience to secure an Apprenticeship as a Community Development Apprentice in his local area. Theo went from strength to strength and proved that his local awareness, marketing knowledge and skill set enabled him to be successful in reaching the aims of the company. As his apprenticeship role came to an end Theo was offered a part-time position to support the development of the Big Local Project in Smith’s Wood.

Developing Business Skills

Theo always had an interest in understanding why people are the way they are and their behaviour habits and Theo proved to have a great understanding of this through effectively engaging with people using Social Media. Alongside his part-time role with Big Local Theo decided to use his passion for people and social media marketing to add value to people’s daily lives. Theo was able to take up learning opportunities so that he could turn his passion into a business. Theo was self-taught and later mentored by some very successful people while building his business. Theo was able to do this whilst working and taking care of his family.  His ability to network and influence local organisations gave him a platform to share his knowledge on social media marketing. Theo opted to seek support to start his own company and was successful in gaining funding to help him launch his business.

Theo is now working on a range of social media marketing and branding projects and contracts for the local authority and other private and voluntary sector organisations across the West Midlands and has his own very successful business.

Someone to help identify strengths and weaknesses

Taking some time to figure out his strengths and interests has enabled him to move forward with a positive career choice that gives him flexibility in working hours and time to spend with his family whilst earning a healthy income.

Theo says, “Sophia was really helpful and actually listened and picked up on the direction I wanted to go. Sophia quickly spotted my strengths and weaknesses and helped to point me in the right direction. Sophia and the Skills for Jobs staff speak to you as real people not just as someone who is paid to work there so their approach is very different to other places.”

To find out more about Big Local please visit their Facebook page at

To find out more about Theo’s Social Media Marketing see Nourish Social at

To find out more about Skills for Jobs and how they can help you get back into work please contact Sophia on 07825 414 372 or find us on Facebook at or search Skills for Jobs

You can also find local vacancies on the North Solihull Job Vacancy Page on Facebook

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid – community outreach service

A new venue has been added to BSWAID’s Community Outreach Service

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Talent Match in Solihull

What is Talent Match?

Talent Match is a 5 year programme, working with 1000 long-term unemployed young adults (18-24) across Birmingham & Solihull. The programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the local partnership is led by BVSC with Solihull SUSTAiN.

For Young People

Talent Match is a pre-employment preparation programme with a suitcase full of opportunities that will support you on your journey to secure long term employment. We aim to harness your potential and to support you to shape new skills that will enable you to unleash your talent to local employers.

A taste of what we can offer:

  • Paid work experience placements
  • Opportunities to upskill
  • Volunteer tasters
  • Business start up advice
  • Personal development budget
  • Personalised support from a dedicated Coach/Mentor

Talent Match will support those young adults in Birmingham and Solihull who are 18 – 24 and have been unemployed for 12 months or more.

Contact: 0121 643 4343

You can download the Talent Match flyer for young people here.

Work Placements

Tackling youth unemployment is an issue that requires a joined up response. Young adults need to put in the work to overcome their barriers to employment, specialist agencies need to provide the right support and resources at the right time, and employers need to give young adults a chance to develop their talent.

We understand the concerns of employers and throughout the Talent Match business planning structures have been developed to minimise risk, red-tape and costs of employing a young adult through the programme.

Volunteer Placements

We believe in volunteering and the positive impact it has on the individual and communities. Talent Match participants are encouraged to take on a volunteering placement with a voluntary sector organisation in an area of their interest to broaden their skills and benefit their community.

We recognise there are costs to supporting volunteers and are able to cover volunteer expenses and provide a small subsidy  to the organisation (subject to criteria). Talent Match participants will continue to access specialist support and engage with the Coach/Mentor throughout their volunteer placement.

For more information on how you could take on a supported volunteer in Solihull please email

Subsidised Work Placements

We’re looking for host businesses to take on a young adult for a 6 month paid work placement with the potential for ongoing employment.

Read about one employer’s experience of Talent Match Company

Download the flyer

Talent Match supports employers. We…

  • reduce the financial burden to host employers through wage subsidies.
  • minimise the risk to host businesses by employing young adults through the Talent Match Company.
  • only recommend suitable participants and encourage hosts to interview prospective candidates.
  • prepare young adults to be ‘work ready’ before matching them with a host employer through sustained, personalised wraparound support.
  • continue to support the young adult throughout their first six months of employment.

For more information on how you could take on a young adult for a subsidised 30 hour paid work placement, please email or call 0121 643 4343.

Alternatively, please check out our FAQs for further details.

Friday, March 13th, 2015

NHS England publishes guide for grants to VCS

NHS England has published ‘A bite size guide to Grants for the Voluntary Sector’, aimed at Clinical Commissioning Groups.

It “sets out the benefits and principles of providing grant funding for the voluntary and community sector and suggests some Practical Steps commissioners can take to use grants in the most effective way to support local priorities”.

You can download the guide here.