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Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Solihull Cold Weather Plan for 2018-19

The Met Office launched its annual Cold Weather Health Watch Alert System on the 1st November.

This launch automatically triggers a Level 1 alert – Winter Preparedness and Actions.  As such all Level 1 actions should now be implemented and remain the minimum state of preparedness until 31st March 2019.

Please read The Cold Weather Plan for Solihull carefully and note the checklists designed to help frontline staff.

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Children’s performing arts group – Auckland Hall

Tuesdays 4:15-5:15pm (from 18th Sept 2018)

For ages 5 to 11 years

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Music group for children with additional needs – Auckland Hall


An inclusive music group for children with additional support needs

Aged 5-10 years

Every Wednesday 4:15-5:15pm

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Musical Maggie – for parents and toddlers at Auckland Hall

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Support Solihull’s Zero Suicide pledge

Solihull Council will be launching the ‘Solihull Zero Suicide Pledge’ on Monday 10 September to support World Suicide Prevention Day and we need your help to promote the Pledge.

The Pledge is all about looking after family, friends and colleagues, becoming more aware of any concerning changes and asking if they are ok.  There is free online training to help people spot the warning signs in others and details of support services are provided.

Please encourage your staff/volunteers and customers to sign up to the Pledge – our Communications Toolkit will help you do this. As an organisation you can sign the Pledge too at:

Suicide is a tragedy for those taking their own life and for their families and friends.  Whilst Solihull has a lower suicide rate compared to the national average, each death is one too many.  The Pledge is part of our action plan to reduce suicides and achieve our long-term ambition of ‘zero suicides’ in Solihull.

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The Big Knit – Age UK Solihull

Knit little bobble hats for Age UK Solihull from September 2018-January 2019 and help raise money and awareness for Winter Warmth for older people.

The Big Knit raises money for Age UK Solihull so that we can help older people keep warm and well during the Winter months as well as decreasing loneliness amongst those that get together to create these lovely little hats. Get together with your friends and family to make these little creations.

Each hat that you send to us, raises 25p. Innocent smoothies then top their smoothie bottles with your lovely little hats in the shops – so keep an eye out for them next year! In the mean time, we will keep you updated on all the amazing hats coming into our office on here and on our social media.

More details on the Big Knit and how to get involved.

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Colebridge Accountancy is now Quickbooks certified

At Colebridge Accountancy we are constantly looking at ways of improving the quality of the accountancy and bookkeeping function across organisations in the sector. One particular focus of late is on the various bookkeeping packages available on the market.

With options such as Xero, Sage and Quickbooks on offer, choosing a package based on cost, user friendliness and reporting functionality shouldn’t be a quick decision.

Whilst each of these solutions have some great features our experience is that one size does not fit all. Quickbooks however comes pretty close and provides a robust facility for recording transactions, managing taxes and producing financial reports and it is for that reason we decided to become Quickbooks Online certified.

This means that our clients can be confident that we have undertaken a training programme in Quickbooks online and completed an exam that ensures that we are up-to-date with its features. It also means that we are now well placed to advise on whether or not Quickbooks is suitable for your organisation.

As well as providing a FREE consultation to organisations operating in Solihull we also have access to discounted licenses for newcomers which are available on a first come first served basis. Colebridge also provides accountancy and bookkeeping support as well as payroll services to the sector so do get in touch if you think that we might be able to support you.

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

In case you missed it: what happened at the VCS Conference 2018

The 2018 Solihull VCS Conference took place on 24th May and attracted 85 people to the Core Theatre in Solihull town centre.

After networking over light refreshments, the audience moved into the theatre for a welcome by Janet Down (chair of the VCS Strategic Reference Group) who explained how the Conference theme VCS-Public Sector Relationships picked up from the previous Conference, which took the theme ‘Keep it Local’.

Local VCS-public sector collaboration

Work done at that time had estimated the financial value of volunteering in Solihull at £26 million per year, before looking at the additional value in terms of external investment through grants and the savings to the public purse realised through interventions by the sector. As a result, there is an economic driver for the local public sector to foster and partner with local community sector organisations.

Janet illustrated her point by describing the work of Meriden Adventure Playground, which she had become involved in supporting, and the benefits being delivered there to the local community, especially its young people, with the active support of the Council.

Calderdale double-act: VCS and council working in partnership

Guest speakers from Yorkshire, Sian Rogers of Calderdale Council and Graham Mynott of Hebden Bridge Community Association, then took to the stage to deliver what they called ‘a double act’. They described the benefits of their close working relationship and the consequent benefit to community delivered from the former Hebden Bridge Town Hall, consequent to the transfer of the asset from the Council to the Community Association in 2010.

They described how the benefits of that new relationship came into sharp focus as the heart of the town was flooded when the River Calder burst its banks in December 2015. The Town Hall became a relief centre with the Council, the emergency services and the community all working together from the building to respond to the emerging crisis.

They both underline the value, for community impact and economic resilience, of a ‘keep it local’ commissioning policy and the development of community anchor organisations.

Working with the Combined Authority

Henry Kippin of the West Midlands Combined Authority was next to the microphone. After an outline of the remit of the Authority, he referred to the imminent launch of its Inclusive Growth Unit, a cross-sector collaboration working together to transform peoples’ lives by developing new ways of positive social change. He went on to explain how collaboration is a key to growth in the region, and the importance of finding approaches that can embrace the contribution of the voluntary sector.

SMBC view: partnership with the VCS for Solihull residents

Alison McGrory, the Assistant Director at Solihull Council responsible for Stronger Communities, then set out the local vision for our communities through creating conditions for strong, cohesive and inclusive communities and networks of co-production and participation. She outlined approaches to locality based working, community wellbeing, voluntary sector development and partnership working as elements of a strategy underpinning a universal offer to residents. Places, she explained, would be shaped ‘with people’.

After a brief question time with the panel of speakers, there were more refreshments for keep delegates fuelled whilst they continued to network and engaged with the speakers.

An average evaluation score of 4.2 out of 5 gave a good indication that the event had succeeded in its goal and been well received.

Conference presentations

The PowerPoint presentations from the event have been combined into one pdf. It can be downloaded (pdf, 7MB) or viewed below.

The Calderdale slides begin at slide 10.
Alison McGrory’s slides begin at 27.

Further discussion

If you would like to discuss any follow-up from the Conference, please contact Dave Pinwell (Colebridge Trust CEO) at or on 0121 704 7860.

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

The Relate Macmillan Counselling Service

The Relate Macmillan Counselling Service

is now established in Solihull and offers appointments at Solihull Relate, The Core, Theatre Square, Solihull B91 3RG. Friday mornings and Monday early evenings.

‘Let’s talk about Relationships’

If you or a family member are living with or are recovering from cancer, or you care for someone with cancer, you can receive up to 8 free counselling sessions from a Relate counsellor.

We can help with issues such as:

  • changes and problems because someone in the family has cancer
  • difficulties talking to and supporting each other
  • challenges in getting ‘back to normal’ as a couple or family when cancer treatment is finished
  • problems with intimacy and sex life resulting from surgery, treatment, tiredness or anxiety

Macmillan Cancer Support is working with Relate Birmingham to offer this service. Appointments can be booked for individuals, couples, families or young people.

To find out more or make a referral to the service contact:

Eileen Clews, Service Coordinator on 0121 643 1638 or email

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Solihull Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment – now published

Back in January Solihull Council’s Public Health team asked for comments on its draft Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA).

Comments have been taken into account and have helped create the recently published PNA 2018-2021, which will help ensure residents have good access to local pharmacy (chemist) services.

The document looks at the current provision of pharmaceutical services across Solihull and whether they meet the current and future needs of residents, identifying any potential gaps in services.

NHS England will use the PNA when making decisions regarding applications for new or changes to, existing pharmaceutical services. It will also be used by NHS England, Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Council to help make decisions about commissioning local pharmaceutical services.

Read the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment 2018-21 here.