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Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Influencing Change Programme – Sheila McKechnie Foundation

The Sheila McKechnie Foundation is offering places on this programme for grassroots campaigners wanting to make changes on the issues that they care about.

Our popular five-day “Influencing Change” programme will begin again on 8th November 2016. The programme is funded by Barrow Cadbury Trust and is spread over five months. It is aimed at campaigners who are full of passion, but want some extra support and advice to move their issue or campaign on. On the programme you will learn everything you need to know to create real change, with each day focusing on a key element of campaigning, including:

  • Campaign strategy development
  • Influencing policy and political decision makers
  • Getting your message out through social media and broadcast media
  • Winning hearts and minds to persuade people to support your campaigns
  • Building your network of campaigners in the Midlands

Previous speakers have come from: the Houses of Parliament, Forster Communications, the BBC, Shelter, The Daily Mail, Friends of the Earth, Trinity Mirror, Haringey Council and 38 degrees.

The programme is for individuals or representatives from community groups and charities in the Midlands, whether they are seasoned campaigners or looking to learn new skills.

The closing date for applications for the next Influencing Change Programme is 7th October 2016.

Further details:

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Healthwatch Solihull invites applications to join Steering Group

Healthwatch Solihull, the local consumer champion for health and social care, commissioned by the Solihull Council and now delivered by a partnership of local VCS organisations, will be establishing a Steering Group and is seeking applications to join the Group.

The Steering Group will be responsible for setting the agenda for Healthwatch Solihull’s activity, informed by feedback and requests from local people and organisations representing local people with the aim of making positive changes in health and social care.

It will be responsible for receiving evidence and findings from Healthwatch activity and deciding on how to best ensure these findings are fully considered by decision makers to ensure improvements.

The Group will ensure independence, impartiality, transparency and accountability in Health watch activity in Solihull and that the views and interests of all local people are heard and respected.

The core purposes of the Group will be to:

  1. decide on the priorities for local Healthwatch action and have oversight of the Healthwatch action plan
  2. receive reports and results of Healthwatch activity and confirm the action(s) to be taken.

Applications are now sought from Solihull residents:

  • experienced in chairing meetings and knowledgeable in matters of health and social care provision and policy, but independent of any current health or social care provider, to be Chair of the Group;
  • having an interest in, and commitment to, bringing about improvements in health and social care in Solihull and being knowledgeable in matters of at least some areas of health and social care provision and policy to be members of the Group.

Details of the steering group and the roles:

For further details please contact Dave Pinwell, ideally by email –, or, alternatively, on 07500 081216.

Applications will close on 30 September 2016.

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Solihull Switch ‘n’ Save scheme

Solihull Council’s collective scheme to reduce energy bills.

Register by 10 October 2016.

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Invitation from Solihull MP to recognise volunteers

Julian Knight, MP for Solihull, has introduced Solihull Points of Light to recognise ‘some of the amazing volunteers who do so much to enhance life in our community’.

He is inviting organisations in the borough to nominate volunteers who deserve recognition and once a month he will choose one volunteer to visit, to give them a thank you for all their hard work and write about them in his column for the local paper.

If your organisation would like to nominate a volunteer, then please email your details and contact information, the details and contact information of the volunteer you wish to nominate and up to 250 words saying why you are nominating them, to

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Armed Forces Community Covenant newsletter

The July 2016 newsletter of the Armed Forces Community Covenant for Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire has been published.

See below.


Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Talk About North Solihull – Jul/Aug 2016

The July/August edition of Talk About North Solihull has been published. You can view below (or open in a separate window)

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Healthwatch Solihull Service Open Again

Healthwatch Solihull LogoThe Healthwatch Solihull service has now re-commenced its operations in full.

Until at least March 2017, the Healthwatch Solihull service has been commissioned by the Council to be provided by a partnership of local organisations under the leadership of Colebridge Trust’s Solihull SUSTAiN team based at the The Core in Solihull Town Centre.

The other partners, Citizens Advice Solihull Borough (CASB), DIAL Solihull, Experts By Experience – Solihull and Independent Advocacy, will work with SUSTAiN to ensure that the Healthwatch Solihull functions, ie to:

  • Gather views and understand the experiences of people who use services, carers and the wider community.
  • Make people’s views known, promoting and supporting the involvement of people in the commissioning and provision of local care services and how they are scrutinised.
  • Make the views and experiences of people known to Healthwatch England (and to other local Healthwatch organisations), and provide a steer to help it carry out its role as national champion.
  • Recommend investigation or special review of services via Healthwatch England or directly to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
  • Provide information (signposting) about access to services and support for making informed choices.
  • Make arrangements for supporting local people with any complaints they may wish to progress in relation to NHS service provision through referral to a third party contracted by the local authority expressly for these purposes.

Colleagues across the Voluntary and Community Sector are asked to please help to promote this by letting service users know that anyone who has feedback about their experience with health and social care service in Solihull, wishes to make a formal complaint about their experience or requires information about access to services can contact Healthwatch Solihull:

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Do you want to help support the Armed Forces Community in your area?

There are ways in which local organisations can support our Armed Forces, Regular, Reserve, ex-Armed Forces and all their families.

To find out more download the latest edition of AFCC News from

This highlights what has been happening across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, plus details of how to access the MOD Covenant Fund. The Covenant Fund can contribute to support the integration of military and civilian communities as well as improve support to the Armed Forces community as a whole.

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Charity IT body – new website and services

The Charity IT Association (CITA) has launched a new website, with a new web address at

The services offered now include:

  • Tech Surgery – free independent advice to help charities make better use of technology.
  • IT Consultancy – a free service that can help you make better use of technology.
  • IT Project Delivery – a free service that helps charities find the right skills for any IT or technology project.

The IT4Communities programme becomes part of CITA’s IT Project Delivery service.

Services are available to charities registered with the Charity Commission (England and Wales) or OSCR.

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Mentoring to pre-GCSE teens

From the Careers and Enterprise Company:

Dear colleagues

Earlier this year, the Government announced the launch of a national mentoring campaign that will connect a new generation of mentors to pre-GSCE teens at risk of disengaging and under-performing their potential.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is delighted to have been asked to provide a coordinating role in this ambitious mission.

Part of our mentoring campaign will involve the launch of an investment fund (£12 million over the course of parliament) to scale up proven mentoring programmes and to build capacity. Of this sum, £11 million is being allocated at the LEP level, with £1 million retained for special projects nationally.  We believe that it is important that any project undertaken supports local initiatives and needs. We value your partnership highly and would like you to be directly involved in the determining the projects we provide funding to.

As many of you are aware, we will shortly be launching a Prospectus for our mentoring campaign, setting out how The Company will provide funding and support to scale up proven mentoring programmes.

How you can help us

We appreciate you are very busy, but we would be really grateful for your support with the following:

  1. Providing a brief summary of your mentoring priorities to support mentoring organisations
  2. Attending, if possible, a briefing session in your region

1. Communicating your mentoring priorities

The Company expects to fund activity across England in each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area and successful organisations will be expected to coordinate provision closely with each LEP area.

To ensure applications are aligned to local priorities, we would like your support to prepare a summary of the mentoring priorities for your LEP area.

Our ask from you

Please prepare a one slide PowerPoint summary of your mentoring priorities in your LEP area.  This slide could also include links to other sources of information that applicants should consider when making an application to scale mentoring programmes in the area and this can include references your employment and skills strategy if this is the most relevant information.

We would really encourage you to share this information at your nearest briefing event (see below).  If it is not possible to prepare this information ahead of the event, we request that all LEPs provide this information by Friday 22 July if possible, so that we can share with the community.

2. Attending and supporting launch events

We are hosting a series of briefing events to launch our mentoring campaign. The events will be an opportunity to understand our mentoring vision, to share and discuss regional needs with mentoring organisations as well as a networking opportunity for attendees.

We would really encourage your attendance at your nearest event to support these discussions.  The events will take place in five locations around the country as set out below:

Exeter, Mercure Rougemont Hotel Thurs 14 July 10:00 -13:00
Birmingham, Birmingham Repertory Theatre Mon 18 July 10:00 – 13:00
Manchester, Greater Manchester LEP, Churchgate House Mon 18 July  16:00 – 19:00
York, Royal York Hotel Tues 19 July 10:00 -13:00
London, London’s Living Room (City Hall) Weds 27 July 12:30 – 15:30

All events will include a 45 minute networking event with lunch or light refreshments served, depending on the timing of the event.

Please do not worry if you are unable to attend the meetings, as we will share highlights of each meeting on our website.  The Company will also be holding two further webinars for all organisations later in July.

We would also welcome your help in sharing details of the events and webinars with relevant local mentoring organisations and employers.  Organisations will need to register their attendance on our website (registration will be live from Monday 11 July)

Please confirm by return of email the event(s) you will be attending. We will be in touch with you ahead of the event to confirm the agenda.

We are really looking forward to working with you to build a strong mentoring community in your area and thank you in advance for your continued support.

Kind regards

Thomas Graham
Chief Investment & Strategy Officer
Careers & Enterprise Company

T 020 7566 3400
Twitter @CareerEnt

Download the Prospectus and other key information: