A Tiny Open Online Course for someone like you


If you’re reading our blog it’s likely that you are involved in some way in a community group, social enterprise, voluntary organisation, social movement, public sector organisation or funding organisation. In which case this Tiny Open Online Course from Organization Unbound and the Barefoot Guide Connection is designed for you! I think it’s quite different from the support which Dudley CVS offers face to face, which is why it felt worth sharing.

Seeding Change from Within will cover four themes across four weeks in October. Each invites you to explore ways in which your group or organisation’s internal ways of working are (or aren’t) aligned with your social change goals, in a light and enjoyable way.

The course will run through Facebook. If you sign up, each weekday over the four weeks you will receive an email inviting you to engage with the ‘learning nugget’ for that day- in the form of a short reading, exercise, provocative question, video clip, podcast or other materials. You can choose to keep to this daily schedule or dip into the material as it suits your schedule. Read more and sign up on the Organisation Unbound website.

Active Citizens in Dudley borough

active-citizens-logoWest Midlands Police are encouraging people to get actively involved in projects that they benefit from and which make a positive difference where they live. The Active Citizens programme was launched in June. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: ”Community-spirited people who want to make real changes to the neighbourhoods in which they live and work should be celebrated. Active Citizens is a great opportunity to fund projects that makes people’s lives better and community’s safer and I would urge people to get involved.”

Dudley Police are taking a unique approach to delivery of the West Midlands Police Active Citizens fund. By collaborating with Dudley CVS they have helped to create an opportunity which is open to all potential active citizens, including children and young people. Our local approach to Active Citizens is starting with what we’ve already got. We’ve called it A Place To _

A Place To _ is connecting people, places and great ideas for projects. Anyone can start a project where they live. People who want to start projects will be supported to build their team, design and test out their ideas in real life, and access Active Citizens funding to take their project forward.


Ways to find out more and get involved

Visit www.aplaceto.net for information and updates, like A Place To on Facebook or follow @aplaceto_ on Twitter

Talk to us: Come along to a drop-in chat, the coffee is on us. See aplaceto.eventbrite.com for upcoming dates (please register if you will be coming along).

Be inspired: Register and come along to an Activate workshop to find out more, learn about imaginative projects from around the world (and right here in Dudley) and take the first steps to start something different where you live. See aplaceto.eventbrite.com for upcoming workshops.

Take part: Come along to projects which have started in Dudley, such as Trade School, Incredible Edible, Crafternoons in Coseley or Dudley SOUP.

Help project teams to form: If your group or organisation supports or works with people who might like to have a go at starting a project where they live, we can come and run an Activate session with them. Project teams will be given a free Activate Pack full of inspiring ideas, and ongoing free support to develop their ideas and access Active Citizens funding.

Start something: Ideas need to be tested in the real world. This can happen quickly with these kinds of projects – think in terms of days to weeks. Get in touch with us if you already have a team and an idea you’d like to try. Contact Lorna Prescott: lorna@dudleycvs.org.uk / 07501 722255

Get connected: Join us for a Bring & Share Supper on 16 November 2016 to get connected to people who share your passion who want to help you.

Offer A Place To_ : Great projects need great places. If your group or organisation has a space people could use to start participatory projects – whether it’s a small room, a large kitchen or a bit of land outdoors that things could happen on, please do let us know.

Become an Active Citizens Assessment Panel member: We are looking for people to join a pool of assessors who will help West Midlands Police to make decisions on Active Citizens funding in Dudley borough. Panel members will be briefed and supported. There will be 4 panel meetings per year, but you can commit to just one if you wish. Contact Lorna Prescott: lorna@dudleycvs.org.uk / 07501 722255

A snapshot of our work supporting people, communities and organisations over the last year


I’m really pleased to share the work that my colleagues and I have been doing over the past year in a our most recent annual report. So new, it’s not yet hot off the press, the 2015-16 annual report is a snapshot of the work we’ve done between April 2015 and March 2016 to support individuals, communities and organisations across Dudley borough.

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Dudley CCG has launched a public consultation to help shape the development of Dudley’s Multi-Speciality Community Provider (MCP). The consultation is to ask peoples views to help ensure that the new Dudley MCP is organised in the best possible way to meet people’s needs. Consultation is taking place on four key areas including:

Details of services included in the MCP contract (scope)

  1. The targets and outcomes expected to be achieved for Dudley people
  2. A description of the way the MCP is expected to operate (its characteristics)
  3. An expectation on how technology will be used to improve access (for example easier telephone/online access system)

How to get involved

You can share your views any time between Friday 15th July up until midnight on Friday 9th September. Take a look at Dudley CCG’s consultation document. You can return completed questionnaires free to the following address (just write this on an envelope):

FREEPOST RTGH-YKLH-AZXZ Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group Brierley Hill Health & Social Care Centre Venture Way BRIERLEY HILL DY5 1RU

Events taking place across Dudley borough:

Join in with one of 5 public meetings:

  • Monday 1st August at the Zion centre Halesowen – 1pm-3pm
  • Tuesday 2nd August at The Beacon Centre, Sedgley – 10am-12noon
  • Wednesday 3rd August at Stourbridge Town Hall – 1pm-3pm
  • Thursday 4th August at Brierley Hill Civic Hall – 5.30pm-7.30pm
  • Friday 5th August at DY1 in Dudley Town centre – 11am-1pm

To book a place at one of the above sessions please email Keren.Hodgson@dudleyccg.nhs.uk or call 01384 321730

Jump on the campervan between 1st and 5th August and leave your views in the video diary room. Dates and venues to be confirmed.

Come along to more focussed sessions to understand more detail on the following areas:

  •  Diabetes – Tuesday 19th July 4pm-6pm at DY1, Stafford St, Dudley, DY1 1RT
  • Primary Mental Health -Tuesday 6th September, 12pm-2pm, DY1, Stafford St, Dudley, DY1 1RT
  • Respiratory – Thursday 8th September, 2pm-4pm, Bank St Methodist Church, Brierley Hill, DY5 3DA
  • Outcomes, Characteristics and Scope – Monday 5th September 2016 10am-12.30pm, DY1, Stafford St, Dudley, DY1 1RT or Wednesday 7th September 2016 4.30pm-7pm, Brierley Hill Civic Hall, Brierley Hill, DY5 3DH

Alternatively you can:

Bayer Street Allotments flushed with success!

Bayer Street blog‘Flush and grow’ is a great title for a project. This is what Bayer Street Allotments Association have called their new project, which will help people in Coseley grow more green-fingered thanks to a grant of £10,000 from Awards for All. It’s been both fun and fascinating to support this group of volunteers who’ve given so much of their time to the community in recent months.

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Dudley groups that got involved in Small Charity Week

Small Charity Week 2016I just wanted to say a big ‘THANK YOU!’ to everyone who got involved in Small Charity Week in Dudley borough and to highlight the organisations that joined in our conversations.

We had quite a few conversations online and some busy activities that I really hope were useful and stimulating for everyone that joined in.



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Working Together for Change

changeOne of the highlights of my time with Dudley CVS has been the opportunity to help develop and support Dudley Parent Carer Forum – Working Together for Change. Not just because they are a group of awesome people with such amazing strength, that are giving, insightful and bundles of fun, but because they are completely committed to influencing decisions that affect their lives and the lives of other parents with children who have disabilities or additional needs. It has been a privilege to see their confidence and relationships with professionals develop and to see the real tangible outcomes of these collaborations. I truly believe that this has been possible partly because of the liberating leadership model of governance that they have chosen to use.

Strong foundations 

The forum formed just over 2 years ago now and is made up from six organisations, all with three seats each, and a number of independent parent carers and grandparents. The steering group is large in comparison to some organisations but it really works for WTFC; as parent carers have complex lives, having a large steering group removes pressure to have to be at meetings but still gives us solid representation to make decisions and move work forward.

The steering group is working to a liberating leadership style which makes the best use of people’s strengths, skills and experiences. Roles, tasks and groups are allocated based on interest and skills.

The forum spent the first few meetings really getting to know each other, forming a solid team with a collective understanding and vision. The purpose of the first session was to come together and collectively agree what the forum stood for and agree a way to move forward together. It was also an opportunity to agree how we want the forum to be seen. The session was designed to have an interactive and creative focus.

postcardsBox of postcards

To start the process the group was asked to look through a selection of postcards and pick one that they were particularly drawn to and one that they were not sure about. It was interesting to hear the reasons why different postcards were selected and different perspectives.

 Drawing with eyes closed

Each member of the group was given a piece of blank paper and a pen. They were then asked to draw a flower with their eyes closed and hand the drawing in without looking at their own or each others. Incredibly everyone identified their own drawing even though they had not seen what they had drawn!

The group again with eyes closed were asked to draw something they liked. They then had to identify who had drawn what. We learnt a lot about each other through these activities as well as identifying some ideas of what our visual identity should be.drawing wtfc

The group began to think about the importance of how they put their message across, and about the key elements that deliver that message such as a logo, the images we use, and our title. It was agreed that as a forum they need to be clear and say ‘this is what we do, and this is what we don’t do!’

After this session a clear vision was formulated which is to “Empowering Dudley Parent Carers to have their voices heard in a way that influences change & service design”

Having solid foundations and a clear vision has enabled the forum to work together, giving over 850 hours of volunteer time to collaborate with professionals, to influence policies, develop statutory organisations’ publicity materials and websites, encouraged partnerships working and discouraged silos and helped to shape new services!

They have achieved all this whilst still offering support, friendship and fun to all parent carers across Dudley borough, communicating and sharing with over 800 parent carers within the network.

You can find out more about Working Together for Change and their incredible journey by visiting the website or following them on Twitter.

Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success!

 Henry Ford

bliss twitter 1

Helping the small charities that do awesome work right here in Dudley

This week is Small Charity Week, an annual and national celebration of the great work of charities, voluntary and community groups and social enterprises that have an income of up to £1.5million. Don’t forget to get involved throughout the week – click this link to see how!

I wanted to share my experience of supporting groups across the last year (April 2015-March 2016), what I’ve helped them with, the amazing people I’ve got to know along the way and the wonderful work they do to enrich people’s lives across Dudley borough.

Supporting groups in numbers

Here’s a little infographic I’ve made that should give you more information about the work I’ve been doing to support groups.


Many people get in touch with me wanting support with paperwork and registration (whether as a charity, a company limited by guarantee or a CIC). These kinds of things really seem to daunt people, but honestly, they’re the easiest part of getting up and running and in many cases, they shouldn’t be the starting point. What I’m always keen to do is getting out and supporting people, hopefully taking that fear away and taking the time to work with individuals on what they want to achieve, bringing people together and helping them plot and develop into a team. Paperwork and structures alone don’t make a successful group. Conversely, getting the foundations right by supporting people to understand what they want to achieve and why, building a shared vision can tell us what structure and paperwork is best suited and necessary to the group.

A good example is the work Donna and I did to support Friends of Lye and Wollescote Cemetery, a Lye and Wollescotegroup of people that had been volunteering on the site supported by West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust. They wanted to ensure that they still had a way to liaise with the local authority and to continue volunteering onsite once West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust’s funded project had come to an end. We worked with the volunteers using a variation of Team Canvas, to get them thinking as a collective about their vision, the great skills each of them brought to the group, the kinds of activities they would like to do in the short, medium and longer term. We also got the group thinking about specific things that people could do to support the group, from keeping a list of members, to looking after the Facebook group and leading guided walks. Finally, we collectively dDYCeveloped a short constitution to get all of this into writing.

It’s been lovely to take other groups, such as Coseley Working Together, Together We Strive CIC, Dudley Youth Council, Ehsas Carers, Friends of Hay Green Recreation Ground and others, on a similar journey.

Particular highlights have included:bcip

  • Seeing the launch of Black Country Integration Project, which works to challenge prejudice and
    to bring communities together
  • Working with determined volunteers to resurrect Friday Night Lower Gornal Youth Club
  • Meeting members of the Roma Gypsy community and supporting them to set up a group, now called Reaching Out For Change, using Google Translate to get over our language barrier!

Lower Gornal Youth ClubSo that was my year. I’m already enjoying the challenges of this one and I’m looking forward to sharing more about the amazing work that Dudley’s community groups, charities, social enterprises, volunteers and active citizens do every day.