Essential mental health training for the nation’s coaches

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week UK Coaching (in collaboration with its awarding organisation 1st4sport, and partners Mind, the mental health charity, and Sport England) are giving the nation's coaches free access to the Mental Health for Sport and Physical Activity online course.

The news comes at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and runs from the 18-24 May.

Usually £18, the course is accessible via the organisation’s learning and development platform, ukcoaching.org, and will remain free of charge until the 31 August 2020.

Coaches across the UK will be able to increase their knowledge of mental health, and confidence when applying the learning into their coaching practice.

Specifically, learners will be able to:

  • welcome and support people living with mental health problems in their sport and physical activity sessions
  • increase their knowledge of mental health problems
  • apply the learning in their coaching practice
  • make their club or organisation more inclusive

Independent Age announces £2m Grants Fund for smaller organisations

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

Trustees of Independent Age have released £2 million from their funds to help smaller organisations across the UK working with older people hardest hit by the Coronavirus.

Their Grants Fund will comprise of four separate funding rounds. In each round they will make £500,000 available where organisations can apply to receive up to £15,000 each.

Reaching older people most likely to be missing out – now and beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus has changed the lives of everyone in the UK, but this is particularly true for our older generation who remain amongst the most affected. Before coronavirus struck the nation, Independent Age was exploring how to strengthen collaboration with older people and local organisations with the aim of shaping a more active role in supporting communities. But right now, our focus must be directed towards the current crisis. We can’t do this alone which is why our trustees have released £2 million from Independent Age’s funds to help smaller organisations across the UK working with older people hardest hit by the virus.

Our Grants Fund will comprise of four separate funding rounds. In each round we will make £500,000 available where organisations can apply to receive up to £15,000 each.

Applications opened on 18 May. Please be aware you can only apply once.  If you have been unsuccessful, you will not be able to re-apply in a later funding round.

Find out more

Government’s new Coronavirus Community Support Fund will open for applications on 22 May.

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

The National Lottery Community Fund has announced that the Government’s new Coronavirus Community Support Fund will open for applications at 10am this Friday, 22 May.

This new funding makes available £200m in Government funding that will be aimed primarily at small to medium organisations in England.

The Fund has two key objectives:

  1. To increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis, through the work of civil society organisations.
  • To reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services.

Grants will allow organisations to meet service costs, where they are experiencing increased demand and/or short-term income disruption. Grants will also allow organisations to refocus services to address more immediate beneficiary needs in light of COVID-19.

Follow the link for more details on how to apply.

Efforts to reduce violence in the West Midlands to be evaluated

Tuesday, 19 May, 2020

University of Wolverhampton researchers are to lead a project which aims to assess the effectiveness of efforts to reduce violence in the West Midlands.

The West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) was launched in October 2019 as an alliance of organisations in the West Midlands which share the priority of ‘reducing violence’.

The importance of thorough evaluation has been championed by Public Health England who are a key partner within the VRU. 

The Violence Reduction Unit was set up after receiving a £3.37m grant from the Home Office and just over £500,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The University’s Institute of Community Research and Development (ICRD) has been appointed as the lead evaluator of the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit.

The evaluation will be delivered in partnership with Birmingham Voluntary Service Council and the University of Birmingham.

Professor Laura Caulfield, Chair of the Institute for Community Research and Development said “We are delighted to be working with the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) on this important project, which aims to improve the lives of people right across the region.

“The award of this project recognises our significant expertise in this area of research, and we anticipate working with the VRU on an on-going basis in order to capture the longer term evidence of the impact of the work.”

Meanwhile, Dr Lola Abudu, Director of Health and Wellbeing with PHE West Midlands, said: “Violence is a public health issue; living without the fear of violence is a fundamental requirement for health and wellbeing. By taking a public health approach, agencies across the region are working together to understand and address the causes of violence and reduce it. Violence is preventable, not inevitable, and we are grateful to the University of Wolverhampton for leading the project to evaluate the excellent work being done by the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit.”

The evaluation team have been commissioned to evaluate the ‘whole-systems approach’ that is being adopted by the VRU and to develop a Theory of Change, which will inform an evaluation framework for the entire VRU, as well as evaluation protocols for individual interventions commissioned by the VRU. This will:

  • allow the VRU to understand the impact of their work on addressing the causes of violence across the region
  • help the VRU continue to continue to develop their approach through evidence-based commissioning and practice
  • and will provide new understanding and knowledge that can be shared nationally and internationally

The partnership between the University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, and the University of Birmingham brings together unique and impressive expertise in large-scale programme evaluation, violence reduction, and community research.

More information about ICRD.

Good news from Voluntary Sector Network

Thursday, 7 May, 2020

Unfortunately, current circumstances mean we have had to postpone the 2020 Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference. This feels like the only reasonable choice given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, we have two pieces of good news.

Firstly, we can announce that the conference will take place at Aston University in Birmingham in early September 2021. We are hugely excited to be working with Aston again, and look forward to seeing you all in Birmingham next year. We will transfer the programme we had lined up for this year to next. We are delighted that our key note speaker – Angela Eikenberry – has agreed to postpone her trip from the US until 2021 to make this possible. If you had already started working on your abstract for this year, please just save it for next!  

Secondly, we can announce VSSN and NCVO will be partnering to host a virtual conference - ‘Times Like These’: Researching civil society responses to and recovery from COVID-19 - to be hosted digitally across 7th and 8th September (details below). This eConference will include two plenary sessions, featuring a host of expert speakers reflecting on research into and experience of how the COVID-19 crisis has affected the voluntary sector and volunteering in the UK and around the world. It will also feature four panel sessions, specifically reflecting on what COVID-19 has meant for philanthropy, mutual aid, volunteering, and voluntary and community organisations. The exact format of each of these four sessions will depend on the proposals that we receive to participate in them (see below). Further details are below.

The eConference will be free to join and registration details will be shared shortly. We will also announce the full line-up of plenary speakers in the coming weeks. Details of the four panel sessions and how to register your interest in presenting in them can be found in the conference outline below and will soon also be on the VSSN website (www.vssn.org.uk).

With best wishes from the VSVR conference organising team

Find out more about the E-Conference and how you can get involved.

 

Help Available – Financial resilience support for charities and social enterprises in Birmingham.

Friday, 1 May, 2020

BVSC is offering free financial resilience support for charities and social enterprises, in Birmingham, with an annual turnover of less than 100k. We are aware that the Covid-19 crisis has created a significant financial challenge for the voluntary and community sector in the city and that in many cases individual support is the best way to address this.

This support is intended for organisations who identify themselves as being adversely financially effected by the Covid-19 crisis, in a way that may result in closure or very significant financial losses . The support will be provided by a finance specialist with an in-depth understanding of finances within charities and social enterprises.

The support will specifically focus on your organisations finances, but the support offer will be formed around your need as an organisation. We will enable you to make decisions that best support sustaining your organisation through this period. We will connect you to as much support as possible, but this is not fundraising support.

This support is currently on offer to organisations who have a turnover of less than 100k. This does not include the value of any assets or buildings you may have, and relates specifically to how much income you receive in a year.

We are currently offering free support for this particular group of organisations, as we understand you are currently most likely to be ‘at-risk’ if you are a small organisation and,

•    Reliant on income generated by hiring out physical space.
•    A social enterprises reliant on trading income that has ceased due to Covid-19.
•    Reliant on small donations and direct fundraising by the public.

We know many larger organisations  within the city are also struggling. We have set this initial threshold in order for us to be able to prioritise the parts of the sector that are most vulnerable. However, if you are a larger organisation concerned about your immanent financial sustainability please do contact us to discuss your options.

The support can be accessed by emailing financial.resilience[at]bvsc[dot]org with the name of your organisation, a named individual to contact, a telephone number and a brief description of why you have lost income and how you think this might affect your organisation.

Please don’t feel this needs to be presented in a technical way, if you are concerned the best thing to do is to make contact and let us help you think things through.  

 

Covid-19 vulnerable adults community grants

Monday, 27 April, 2020

Invitation to apply for community grants to support vulnerable adults.

This grant call is made by Birmingham City Council’s Adult Social Care function under the Prevention and Communities Grants Programme in support of the wider Adult Social Care vision. It seeks proposals to prevent and relieve hardships for vulnerable adults because of the Covid-19 situation.

The scheme supports the recent one made by the Birmingham Children’s Partnership for vulnerable children, young people and families, but the focus here is to delivery timey support to adults aged 18 plus with any of these vulnerabilities:

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mental Health support needs
  • Physical and Sensory Disabilities
  • Neurodiverse support needs

Proposals will also be considered for other vulnerable adults not in receipt of other direct Covid-19 government funding sources.

In summary, grants will be made where actions:

  • Help vulnerable adults living at home with additional needs because of Covid-19
  • Provide new or upscaled actions, delivered direct to vulnerable households. 
  • Reduce demand on acute services by providing alternative support pathways.
  • Grants of between £2,000 and £40,000 are available to meet service needs, dependant on the scale of actions to be delivered.   

All voluntary, community and faith groups are invited to bid through a simple and accelerated process designed to get the money out the door to where it will make the most difference.

This invitation is part of the Birmingham Children’s Partnership response to Covid-19 for our vulnerable families.

Birmingham Children’s Partnership includes Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Children’s Trust, Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and West Midlands Police.

Visit the Birmingham City Council website for more guidance and details about how to apply. https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/50233/support_for_residents_during_the_coronavirus_covid-19/2170/covid-19_vulnerable_adults_community_grants

 

Connecting services and communities in ten localities

Tuesday, 21 April, 2020

Families are facing significant challenges during the Covid-19 emergency.  The nature of the pandemic and impact on income and health means many families who were doing well may now struggle once restrictions are lifted.
Across Birmingham we have had a tremendous response to help these families, from schools checking-in, to the voluntary sector stepping-up, and health, GPs, police, social care and other partners working tirelessly.

But there is a need to coordinate this help in each locality.  So Birmingham Children’s Partnership is accelerating plans for a new model of connected services and communities to help families in ten localities across the city.  Here are some of the changes for children, young people and families:

1.    Each of the ten localities will be led by a voluntary sector and public sector partner.  There will be frequent partnership meetings to coordinate support.
2.    All local universal services (e.g. nurseries, schools, GPs) can contact their locality for advice and guidance from professionals.  We want to build relationships between local services to serve our communities.
3.    You will be worried about some families during Covid-19, so local schools and universal services can refer families to the locality arrangements to arrange extra support.
4.    There will be resilience funding available for individual families in the week commencing 27th April.  The money is for emergency help such as food, nappies, medicines, supplies.
5.    There is a community grant fund for voluntary, community and faith groups who are supporting vulnerable families during the Covid-19 emergency.

Go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/Covid19CYPF for more details including a mind map of locality and city-wide contacts.

The ten localities are: Edgbaston, Northfield, Erdington, Hall Green, Hodge Hill, Ladywood, Perry Barr, Selly Oak, Sutton Coldfield and Yardley.  We understand that schools are arranged by clusters and GPs are in Primary Care Networks.  So these new locality arrangements are about developing personal relationships rather than being focused on geographies.

This is part of the Birmingham Children’s Partnership response to Covid-19 for our vulnerable families.  Birmingham Children’s Partnership includes Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Children’s Trust, Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and West Midlands Police.

 

Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund (CMHRF) grant.

Monday, 20 April, 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand for mental health services is increasing.   

To help VCS organisations based in England continue to provide mental health services - or provide additional support - you can apply for a Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund (CMHRF) grant.

Thanks to £5m support from Government (the Department of Health and Social Care), grants of £20,000 or £50,000 are available for projects lasting up to 12 months.

On the behalf of mental health providers in England, Mind is administering the fund in partnership with the Mental Health Consortia (MHC), who represent the leading mental health organisations in England.

The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) will be administering part of the fund to support user-led organisations and smaller, un-constituted community organisations, who might not otherwise be eligible for a grant. Details will be available from Monday 20 April on the NSUN website.

You can find out more about the fund and how to apply on both the Association of Mental Health Providers website and the Mind’s website.

Kathy Roberts, CEO Association of Mental Health Providers, said: “This is a challenging time for the whole nation and consequently, it is having a detrimental effect on our mental health and wellbeing, especially for people with pre-existing conditions severely affected. The VCSE mental health sector continues to face many challenges in delivering services during Covid-19 and it is vital that service providers working in the community are supported to enable them to continue delivering essential, life-saving services to vulnerable people who need it most.

“The £5m grant made available by the Department of Health and Social Care for the voluntary and community sector will provide much needed support to services and allow us to respond to the needs of people who need it the most in these anxious and unsettling times. We look forward to working with our mental health sector partners to continue to support the VCSE sector, and most importantly, those who rely on these services in the community.”

Paul Farmer, CEO Mind, said: “We’re yet to fully understand the long-term impact of coronavirus on our mental health. But right now, many people are struggling to cope through the lockdown period in isolation or without access those things that help them stay well. For anyone with a longstanding mental health problem this impact is unimaginable.

“We’re really pleased that Government has recognised the vital role that voluntary sector mental health organisations have in working alongside NHS colleagues in the fight against coronavirus. And we’re delighted to be working in partnership with other leading mental health organisations in England to ensure that this government money can quickly reach those organisations who urgently need it.”      

 

Invitation for community grants to help children and families

Friday, 17 April, 2020

Birmingham City Council has announced £0.8m emergency funding to help children and families.  

Community, voluntary and faith groups who are helping children, young people and families through the challenges of Covid-19 are invited to apply for grants of up to £10,000 to continue supporting families through this difficult period.

Birmingham has flourishing communities which have stepped up heroically to support vulnerable people.  This announcement extends our community grant scheme for older people to reflect the needs of our city, and responds quickly to the Covid-19 emergency.  

All voluntary, community and faith groups are invited to bid for funding to support their activities, through a simple and accelerated process designed to get the money out the door to where it will make the most difference.  Go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/Covid19CYPF for more details.  

All support should be designed to put prevention and early help first, for example:

  • A local community group for parents of children with autism wants to provide online activity packs for the children but needs new software.  A grant of £300 would help to support the children and parents.
  • A local mosque that previously ran family support sessions, with stay and play, and lots of activities for children wants to ring all the parents that are on their database, three times a week.  A grant of £2,500 will enable the mosque to pay a professionally trained worker to support families.
  • A local charity runs services for families in the city, particularly more vulnerable families and young people.  The £10,000 grant will enable them to expand over their domestic abuse support programme over the next four months.

This is part of the Birmingham Children’s Partnership response to Covid-19 for our families.  Birmingham Children’s Partnership includes Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Children’s Trust, Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and West Midlands Police.