Sedgley Beacon Blind Centre Secures ‘Social Enterprise’ Double Award

 

SEWM BC (P)One of the region’s best-known charities was the major winner at this year’s Social Enterprise West Midlands Awards after its pioneering new venture secured a ‘double triumph’.

Beacon Opticians Plus+, which provide optical healthcare, beat off a host of challengers to take home the SE Potential and SE Prima titles after impressing judges with the way it is competing with high street and independent opticians.

Just two months on from its official launch and the social enterprise has turned over £3500 in sales, completed 50 eye tests and offered people additional support and services through the Beacon Centre for the Blind in Sedgley.

Held at the University of Birmingham, the high-profile event also saw eight other social enterprises honoured for their commitment to the region, including a manufacturing assembly specialist, a creative youth engagement agency and an individual who champions getting ex-offenders back into employment.

Recognising Innovation in the West Midlands

Sallie Ryan, Partnerships Manager at Social Enterprise West Midlands (SEWM), commented:

“This is one of the biggest award ceremonies in our sector and it is only right that we recognise organisations, enterprises and individuals that are creating businesses that have a sustainable impact on the communities in which they operate.

“We had a record number of entries this year, showcasing tales of expansion, innovation, passion, community spirit and employee development. These are serious businesses, with clear strategies that are being delivered and helping to add wealth and jobs to the West Midlands.”

She continued: “Once again we have had a fantastic response from our supporters who make this event happen, including sponsors Amey, Big Society Capital, PwC, UnLtd, Development in Social Enterprise and the Enterprise Foundation.”

Other winners on the evening included:

  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s Paul Smith (SE Partner) – Providing expert support and facilities to social enterprise start-ups.
  • Beatfreeks (SE Passion) – An agency that uses creative arts to engage with and inspire young people.
  • Nick Comley, Community First (SE Professional) – Providing expert advice to social enterprises in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
  • Production Assembly Services (SE Profit) – Providing assembly outsourcing services to the region’s manufacturers.
  • Witton Lodge Community Association (SE Planet) – Enhancing the local environment by replacing sub-standard housing and organising gardening, walking and wildlife clubs.
  • Changes UK (SE People) – Delivering innovative person-centred support for people seeking abstinent recovery from drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Bill Longmore (SE Inspire) – Leading the West Mercia Police and Crime Commission’s approach to helping ex-offenders back into employment.
  • PM Training (SE Aspire) – Demonstrating best practice in delivering apprenticeships and work placements

The final award on the evening went to the Social Enterprise ‘Moment of the Year’, which went to The Key Fund’s Sam Tarff for his involvement in the recent Pitcher’s Platform.

With the ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to a panel of finance and funding experts drawing a tie from the audience vote, the decision was made to award the £500 grant and social finance mentoring for 12 months to Green Revolutions.

Rather than see Approachable Parenting’s valiant efforts go unrewarded, Sam stepped in to match the offer.

Beacon Opticians Plus+’s Nick Comley concluded: “It was fantastic to be surrounded by some of the finest social enterprises in the West Midlands and even better that we came away with two of the main awards…just a couple of months after starting to trade.”

Social Enterprise West Midlands is the leading business network and consultancy for social enterprise in the region.

The membership-led organisation offers access to expert consultancy, advice and guidance, as well as a series of event and workshops designed to educate, inform and promote a sector that has the highest percentage of social enterprise start-ups outside of London in the country.

The SE Awards were backed by a host of sponsors, including Anthony Collins Solicitors, iSE, and Lister Trade Frames.

For further information, please visit www.socialenterprisewm.org or follow @_sewm on Twitter.

Gornal Colts net Sixes ‘Academy’ Deal

Gornal SixesA local junior team has joined forces with a Kingswinford indoor football centre to develop the next generation of footballing talent.

Gornal Colts and Gornal Girls has taken the ambitious decision to create a new academy in partnership with ‘Sixes’ in Ham Lane as part of its 10th birthday celebrations.

The club, which currently operates ten teams made up of over 100 players, will provide a number of special courses and training sessions to get children as young as 3-years old involved in the game.

These will be staffed by experienced FA coaches and utilises Sixes’ two indoor pitches and changing facilities.

Gornal Sixes action pic“This is a really exciting development for our club and provides us with a constant stream of young players, who are well coached and understand the game,” explained Alan Moore, Chairman of Gornal Colts and Gornal Girls.

“Sixes is often the first experience some children get of football so we thought we’d build on our existing relationship with them and formalise a clear progression route into our teams and hopefully into semi-professional or professional clubs.”

He went on to add: “We’ve seen a gradual decline in the number of players wanting to get involved in organised teams, especially on the girls side. Hopefully, this move will be rectify this and enable us to build our club up so we can compete at every age group from under 7s upwards.”

Natural Progression for Gornal Colts

Sukh Johal, Director of Sixes Football Centre, added his support: “We have been involved with Gornal Colts and Gornal Girls for many years so we see this move as a natural progression.

“It also raises our profile in grassroots football, which can only be good for our business. If we can also give a little back by helping develop the next England internationals then all the better!”

Gornal Colts and Gornal Girls were formed in 2005 after breaking away from Gornal Athletic’s youth structure.

It plans to mark its 10th anniversary by exploring new commercial partnerships with local businesses and building relationships with schools and colleges.

Longer term, the club is looking at the possibility of developing its own dedicated sporting facility in Gornal, including full size pitches and ‘3G’ training surfaces.

For further information, please contact either info@sixesfootball.co.uk or Alan.moore@gornalladiesfc.co.uk or visit www.gornalladiesfc.co.uk/development-centre

 

Explore The History of The Gornals With Sedgley Local History Society

ned williams the gornals sedgley

Ned Williams and photographer Graham Beckley celebrate the publication of The Gornals.

The inaugural Andrew Barnett & Trevor Genge Memorial Lecture takes place on Thursday 8th October at 7:30 pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

The speaker is Ned Williams the well-respected Black Country historian and author.

Ned explores the Gornals (the subject of his fiftieth book) and shares his warm affection for the villagers and their traditions. This illustrated presentation reflects a flavour of Black Country life still around, but fast disappearing.

For past and present Gornal folk, it is an evening not to be missed.

As usual, visitors are invited to come along – admission £1. Annual membership of the Society costs £5 and gives free access to the programme of talks.

Schoolteachers, Andrew Barnett and Trevor Genge, were co-founders of the Society in 1984. Andrew launched the Sedgley Local History Museum (closed 2004) and Trevor published five books on the Sedgley Manor villages. Both were avid researchers and staunch supporters of conservation projects.

Visit Sedgley Local History Society for more information.

Sedgley Real Ale Beer Festival Rolls out Again for 2015

sedgleyscene-sedgley-beer-festival-2This year’s Sedgley Real Ale Festival promises to be even bigger

You could say last year’s Sedgley Real Ale Beer Festival was a success. In fact, it was so popular that thirsty visitors managed to down 2,000 pints in just 17 hours!

So, as organisers prepare for this September’s event at Sedgley Jubilee Scout Hall, more beers are most definitely the ‘order of the day’.

The festival, which combines real ale and live music, is fast becoming a regular autumn fixture for beer lovers across the Black Country.

Chairman, Ian Foster says:

We are very excited with the amount of interest in the beer festival. It is really satisfying tasting beers for good causes, and with so many local people turning up, everyone seems certain to meet old friends.”

Sedgley Real Ale Beer Festival Helping Charities

The money raised from the beer festival will be used to benefit the Scout Group, Children in Need, and Cystic Fibrosis.  The Scouts used their share of the proceeds to complete work on a fantastic logged cabin and new toilets.

The landlord of the Horse and Jockey at Woodcross will also be on hand to offer expert advice and recommendations.

Beer managers, Ron and Paul Reynolds, say: “In our first year, we got through almost 4,000 drinks in 17 hours! Last year it was 5,000, so this year we are ready to take it close to 6,000 glasses of ale, cider and wines.”

Drinkers will be entertained on Friday night with live music from locals Ben & Alun Davies, who will be serving up a range of 60’s, blues, folk, and classic rock numbers.

Joining the line-up on Saturday afternoon will be Sedgley Ukulele Strummers, and 1st Sedgley Morris Men.

sedgleyscene-sedgley-beer-festival-5

The Four Rossis will be keeping crowds rocking on Saturday night

Star billing on Saturday night will be ‘The Quo’ also known as ‘The Four Rossis’, who will reel out ‘Good Time Boogie’ and a wealth of other favourites to re-create the ‘full-on, driving rock’n’roll that is Status Quo’.

This year’s festival will take place at Jubilee Hall, (rear of Sedgley Co-op), Friday evening 25th 5pm to 11pm and Saturday 26th of September from noon to 11pm.

The entrance fee of £10 includes drinks, a souvenir festival glass and three live bands.

For more details, contact David Baugh, tel: 07795370712 or
email: davidbaugh@blueyonder.co.uk

Black Country History Goes Digital in Sedgley Local History Society Talk

black-country-industry-sedgleyKeen photographers in Sedgley can get a fascinating insight into the history of the Black Country when the new season of talks from Sedgley Local History Society begins this Thursday, September 10th.

This week’s talk will feature society member Eddy Hickey –  a keen photographer and member of the Compton G. Camera Club, Wolverhampton.

His illustrated talk will appeal to everyone who treasures old photographs. Eddy has digitised around 100 images found on glass plates dating from the early years of last century. It is thought that many of the scenes were used on postcards.

Eddy will begin his presentation at 7:30 pm in St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

As usual, visitors are invited to come along. Individual talks cost £1. Annual membership of the Society costs £5 and gives free access to the programme of talks.

Full programme & Summer Teaser – www.sedgleylocalhistory.org.uk

The Rise and Fall of the Whitehouses of Turls Hill

sedgleyscene-sedgley-local-history-society-whitehouse-turls-hill

Sedgley residents can uncover the fascinating story behind the rise and fall of one of Woodsetton’s most influential families at the Sedgley Local History Society meeting this Thursday, 14th May.

Lorna Stevens has spent more than 10 years researching the Whitehouse family, whose money was made and lost in coal mining and running blast furnaces during the Victorian era.

And, in the course of her research, Lorna has discovered some intriguing stories, papers and diaries which shed light on this famous local family’s dramatic fall from grace.

The Whitehouses, whose grand home was Turls Hill House (pictured above), had strong links to All Saints Church, Sedgley and St Mary’s, Hurst Hill.

The meeting, which starts with a very short Annual General Meeting before Lorna starts her presentation, begins at 7:30 pm at St. Andrew’s Church, Bilston Street, Sedgley.

As usual visitors are invited to come along.  Individual talks cost £1.

 

 

 

Black Country Accountancy Firm Finds New Home in Sedgley

Accountants-Sedgley-Bytheway-Team-Sedgleyscene

The team at Bytheway & Co Accountants, Sedgley, l-r: Hannah Duerdin, Dan Bytheway, Alison Murray, Reg Bytheway, Helen Kershaw,
Dave Bytheway and Amy Massey

One of the Black Country’s leading family-owned accountancy firms is celebrating its 35th birthday in style with a move to prestigious new offices in Sedgley.

Bytheway & Co, which was set up in a small home garage by current director Reg Bytheway, has invested substantially into transforming a derelict building in Sedgley into its new home.

A string of new contracts with local businesses has paved the way for the expansion, with its Bilston Street premises now having additional meeting rooms, the latest technology and dedicated parking.

Backed by a £19,500 grant from the Green Shoots Fund, the company has already taken on two new employees and expects turnover to grow by 10% this year.

“We’ve come a long way from when I first started in 1979 and I’m delighted that we have grown the business by keeping it in the Black Country and in the family,” explained Reg, who is joined at the helm by his two sons David and Dan.

“The new office provides us with a modern image that reflects our new branding, not to mention giving us more space to grow and take on additional clients. We’re also about to launch a new website as part of the marketing push.”

He continued: “There is no doubt the Green Shoots Fund has brought forward our plans by 12 months and hopefully we are starting to pay some of that back by employing more people and bringing an important building back to life.”

Accountancy Services for Black Country Businesses

Bytheway & Co, which has the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants accreditation, offers a comprehensive range of accountancy and business advisory services to starts-ups, sole-traders, partnerships and Limited companies across the West Midlands and the UK.

Its family-orientated approach has seen it build strong relationships with a client base that spans construction, entertainment, manufacturing, professional services and retail.

“Most of the firms we work for have been with us for more than 15 years, some even from the start…back in 1979,” continued Reg.

“We try to do things differently, offering a pro-active and personal approach to their requirements, whether it is around payroll, personal/business taxation, tax planning or corporate transactions.

“One example is the free initial consultation we provide for small business, an offer that companies have already taken advantage of in 2015.”

He concluded: “There definitely appears to be a growing demand from clients to seek support from independent accountancy practices that offer both excellent advice and importantly value for money.”

For further information, please visit www.bythewayaccountants.co.uk or contact 01902 675243