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.

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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

Creative Black Country Brings Arts to Sedgley

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Artists and performers in Sedgley can showcase their talents as part of an exciting new project launching soon.

Creative Black Country is a new Arts Council England funded project bringing the best in high quality performance and visual arts from around the world to the region showcasing the finest the region has to offer.

The Queens Square shopping centre West Bromwich will come to life on the 22nd January with the official launch of the new project, which features performances from ACE Dance & Music, Crashmat Collective Contemporary Circus, an innovative Holographics display by a local artist, some rather unusual characters, and much more. The event is free and open to everyone.

Black Country Creativity

Programme Director, Sajida Carr says: “The Black Country has always been and still is a hot bed of creativity and innovation. Through this project we will celebrate the artistic excellence and creativity that is the backbone of a region that has given the world Led Zeppelin, Noddy Holder, Goldie, Frank Skinner, Julie Walters, Beverly Knight and still has so much to offer artistically and
culturally.”

Her thoughts are echoed by Mark Davis, Chair of the Creative Black Country partnership, who says: “This event is a great opportunity to enjoy and experience something fantastic, fun and
different right on our doorstep. We hope as many people as possible will come and be part of this Creative Black Country launch event, to get a taste of some of the exciting things to come.”

Creative People and Places projects are taking place in parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average, with the aim of increasing the likelihood of participation. The project will support local groups and communities to create their own arts activities as well as commission arts activity across Wolverhampton, Walsall and Sandwell.

Join the Creative Black Country Facebook page here  or follow the project on Twitter here

 

 

Black Country friends say ‘Balls to Cancer’ with 62.5 mile challenge

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The four friends celebrate after completing their gruelling run recently

Four friends from the Black Country have completed a once in a lifetime challenge this weekend and raised over £6,500 for a local charity in the process.

Dave Bytheway, Ian Bytheway, Nick Cockburn and Nigel Bolton ran 62.5 miles from Richmond Park in London to Brighton Racecourse in under 15 hours.

 

The intrepid quartet, who came up with the fundraising idea over a few pints in the local, smashed their fundraising target by over £1500 and will now buy Balls to Cancer its first pop-up screening clinic.

This investment will be taken to events across the UK to provide a discreet place for men to be checked out for all forms of cancer in the hope that early detection will save lives.

“When we dreamed up this challenge none of us thought we’d actually hit the 15 hour mark, let alone beat it by nearly 15 minutes…it’s a great feeling, especially when we saw how much we had eventually raised,” explained Dave, who is a director at Bytheway Accountants in Sedgley.

“Running 62.5 miles or 100km was hard work, especially in the heat and up some big hills, including the famous South Downs as you come into Brighton.”

He continued: “We all stayed together as a team and to see so many of our friends and family at the finishing line made it all worthwhile. The fact we managed to raise so much money and can now help Balls to Cancer buy the pop-up screening clinic was the icing on the cake.”

London to Brighton Challenge

Team Running on Empty spent six months getting ready for the London to Brighton Challenge.

This involved a 500-mile training programme, which included two ultra races, 4 marathons, 2 half marathons and the infamous Groundhog Marathon – 105 laps of Telford Athletic Stadium.

The hard work paid off, with the Black Country runners finishing in the top 150, out of a total of 1900 runners, joggers and walkers.

Nigel Bolton, a firefighter at Walsall Fire Station, picked up the story: “All of this has only been made possible thanks to the backing of some great local companies that have helped us buy training equipment and got our fundraising efforts off to a flying start.

“With this in mind, a big thank you to Bytheway Accountants, Conveyor Units, J Hartill Installations, Danks Cockburn Communications and Jacks Café and Bar in Wolverhampton.”

Team Running on Empty is planning its next big challenge, with early talks focusing on a 100-mile run next year.

Donations to Balls to Cancer are still welcome by visiting www.justgiving.com/londonbrighton2013.

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No Ugly Ducklings at Swan Inn Ladies’ Fayre

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Feel pampered at the forthcoming Ladies’ Fayre in Sedgley

Sedgley ladies can feel pampered and preened in time for summer with a packed programme of fun and retail therapy coming soon to the Swan Inn.

The Ladies’ Fayre event will be held on Thursday, May 30, at the popular pub in Gospel End Street, Sedgley, from 6.30-9.30pm.

Entry is free, children are welcome and there is also a beer garden and outside play area should the sun be shining! Mickey and Minnie Mouse will also be popping in to put a smile on youngsters’ faces from 6.30-7.30pm.

Organiser, Shelley Simpson, has put together a superb range of stalls for visitors to enjoy, including:

Belle’s Baby Boutique: Belle specialises in personalised baby gifts and hampers. She will be there on the night with a large selection of clothes, gifts and accessories just for baby! Personalised orders can be ordered with her for collection on the night of the fayre.

LB Jewellery: Beautiful costume jewellery at fantastic prices, handbags, purses, scarves and lots more.

Charlie’s mom’s chocolate factory: Home-made chocolates, hot chocolate spoons and personalised chocolate pizzas!

Auntie Mary’s: Home-made soaps and bath bombs.

Molly’s Buttons: Handmade button brooches and wine charms, stunning items.

Enchanted Dove Release: A wonderful business providing a service for weddings/christenings/funerals with beautiful doves

Mrs Bouquet: Beautiful floral arrangements, sweet trees, balloons and lots more

Bodyshop at Home: Bodyshop products

Partylite: A chance to view Partylite products and also purchase on the night

Cute as a Button: Beautiful keepsake bears made from your babys own grows and vests

SpareLetters: Wooden names, plaques and more decorated to your own colour schemes

Forever Living products

This event promises to be a huge success and fun for all the family, with Shelly adding: “Parking is available on the night, but if the car park is full please use the car park at the back of Monty’s wine bar.”

The Swan Inn is situated in Gospel End Street, Sedgley, DY3 3LP.

Email Shelley at shelleybabybaskets@yahoo.co.uk for more information

 

Discover why females and real ale are a beautiful combination

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TV presenter Marverine Cole will be inviting local ladies to sample the best regional real ales

Sarah Hughes, Ma Pardoe, Sally Perry. Throughout Sedgley and the rest of the Black Country, women have always played an integral part in the history of real ale. And, with the numbers of women drinking real ale on the increase, local ladies who’d like to learn more about the region’s fine brewing heritage can put their taste buds to the test this week.

An evening of ale and fun is guaranteed at The Jolly Crispin this Thursday, 18th April, as part of CAMRA’s Community Pubs Month, hosted by Sedgley’s newest purveyors of fine crafted ales, Fownes Brewing Company.

For the ladies, the fun begins at 6pm in the lounge, with an ale tasting session hosted by Marverine Cole (Beer Beauty). Tickets are £10 in advance, purchased either from The Jolly Crispin or directly from the brewery by emailing info@fownesbrewing.co.uk. Ticket holders will have great fun trying a range of Fownes ales, learning about foods that match well with particular beer styles and get a Fownes Brewery bag. Marverine is an accredited beer sommelier who appears regularly on TV and will ensure all the ladies come away having enjoyed themselves and being more knowledgeable about beer. So, why not get a group of friends together and come along for a great evening out?

From 8pm gents will be able to rejoin the ladies in the lounge and listen to Ali Capper from the British Hop Association talk about the UK hop industry and the essential ingredient British farmers produce for traditional English beers. Also, John Edgar will be performing the latest instalment in the tale of Korvak to celebrate the launch of Korvak’s Triumph: Honey Porter.

Those loyal customers who’ve finished collecting all 8 ales on their card and returned them by the 31st March will receive their Fownes Brewing Co. T-shirts.

On the bar will be three new Fownes ales: Korvak’s Triumph: 5.2% Honey Porter, Storyteller: 4.7%  Bitter and Best of British Hops: 4.3% Cascade. Guests can also enjoy a range of food made with Fownes’ ales, including Frost Hammer beer biscuits and Korvak’s beer cake as well as a large cake shaped like a hop cone.

The bearded drinking fraternity can also take part in the brewery’s  Beard of the Year competition by having their photo taken and submitted to the website.

Consider Yourself an actor? Family-run local theatre company issues appeal

phoenix-theatre-oliver
The flyer for Phoenix Theatre’s forthcoming performance of Oliver

Aspiring actors in Sedgley are being urged to tread the boards for an exciting new production of the classic musical, Oliver, which will take place at Dormston Mill Theatre next February.

The event will be the first production from Phoenix Theatre, a  new Wolverhampton-based company that aims to produce high quality musical theatre productions.

Choreographer and spokesperson, Lindsey Grant, says: “Phoenix Theatre is run by families for families and we intend to create a local community that encourages all kinds of talent. Having been formed by a like-minded group of people, Phoenix Theatre displays a wealth of theatrical expertise both onstage and behind the scenes. And, organisers hope that the invaluable experience and knowledge showcased by the group’s founders will ensure Phoenix ‘rises to new heights’ of popular entertainment.”

Phoenix Theatre embraces all theatrical talent, from set-building to stage performers and is looking to recruit an array of people to become part of its exciting new team. Company auditions will take place on Wednesday, 8th May, and producer Jan Cole and Choreographer Lindsey Grant will be looking for ensemble, dancers and children to star in this new and exciting production.
Phoenix is proud to announce that Oliver! will be performed at the Dormston Mill Theatre, Sedgley, from Tuesda,y 4th February 2014  until Saturday 8th February 2014.
If you ‘Consider Yourself’ interested in this exciting  new venture and want to find out more, contact Phoenix on: phoenixtheatreco@hotmail.com , visit the website: www.phoenixtheatreco.co.uk and follow them on Twitter: @PhoenixTheatreC