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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

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Vulnerable people at risk from fire – guidance for professionals and carers

Following the death of a 40 year old woman in Coventry in her own home, which was likely to have been cause from a dropped cigarette or cigarette ignition source Coventry Safeguarding Adults Board carried out an Adult Serious Case Review.

As a result of this review West Midlands Fire Service were asked to develop clear guidance and raise awareness around the responsibilities associated with identifying those most at risk from fire and the need for professional agencies to refer these individuals to West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS), and to work with them to develop appropriate safety plans.

West Midlands Fire Services have developed a comprehensive Guidance document for Professionals and Carers who work with Adults with Care and Support Needs.

The guidance is easy to use and follow and is a useful document to identify risk and vulnerability to fire.  There are also details on how to make a referral for a Safe and Well visit, and details of the equipment and adaptations that the fire service can provide.

Please share this guidance with your staff and volunteers who visit adults in their own homes.

This excellent document can be found on the SSAB Website:

If you are interested to read the Miss G Serious Case Review Executive Summary go to:

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Comic Relief – new grants strategy

Comic Relief have released details of their refreshed grant strategy which will aim to fund new initiatives to help drive great ideas and sustainable change across the UK and the developing world.

In order to pursue Comic Relief’s vision of ‘A Just World Free From Poverty’ – where everyone is safe, healthy, educated and empowered – grant making will be focussed on four key programme areas. These are:

  • Investing in children and young people to be ready for the future
  • Empowering women and girls to be free to lead the lives they choose
  • Improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable and disadvantaged people
  • Building stronger communities in areas of disadvantage, deprivation and poverty.

The new funding programmes will be launched in due course.

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, 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 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: