Drive to tackle community isolation after lockdown

People left isolated or lonely during the Covid pandemic are being offered a lifeline as a project to bring them together expands. SNJ Charitable Trust, based in Wolverhampton, has increased its Chat and Chai Bringing People Together sessions, with one now taking place every day. Bringing People Together (BTP) is a network designed to connect people and was set up by the organisation Transforming Communities Together (TCT). TCT, which covers Staffordshire, the Black Country and north Shropshire, set up BPT after the success of its Places of Welcome initiative, where members of the community are invited to get together at …

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Training plan to bridge the ‘digital divide’

People in Bilston will be offered free training in how to use technology as part of a new drive to ‘bridge the digital divide’. The SNJ Charitable Trust, based in Wolverhampton, found that the Covid pandemic had had a huge impact on some communities in the area. And many had a fear of computers and digital technology, leaving them isolated and unable to access vital services. SNJ founder Neena Julka said: “We identified a big need and found people could not use digital technology to connect to each other or use the internet to access essential health or care services. …

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Run For Joel colour blast fun run is back

The Smile For Joel charity run returns to Sandwell Valley Country Park this year and entries are now open. Run For Joel will take place on Sunday, September 5, starting at 9am. There will be a 5k and a 3k option to suit all ages and abilities. Last year the run was held remotely, with people taking part at home because of Covid. This year the runners can attend in person again and there will be a colour blast, back by popular demand. The event will raise money for Smile For Joel, the charity set up by Suzy Evans and …

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Family members join skydive challenge in memory of Tunisia terror attack victims

Family members and friends of the 38 people who died in the Tunisia terrorist attack in 2015 will be jumping out of a plane to honour their memories and mark the sixth anniversary of the tragedy.  The skydive will be held on July 3, just after the June 26 anniversary, and will raise money for Smile For Joel, the charity set up by Suzy Evans and her son Owen Richards who lost three loved ones in the attack.  Suzy and Owen will be joined by family members of other victims from across the UK for the event. Suzy, from Wednesbury in the West Midlands, lost her son Joel, …

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Owen and Suzy with store manager Richard Kirk. Picture by Carol Bailey

Currys staff raise thousands for Smile For Joel

Staff at Currys in Wednesbury have raised £2,000 to help the Smile For Joel charity after a year in which donations plunged. The staff held various events, including cake and samosa sales and there were collection boxes at the tills. Suzy Evans, from Smile For Joel, said she was delighted with the donation, which was particularly welcome after fundraising was hit by the pandemic. She said: “We are overwhelmed with the support we have been given by Currys at Junction 9. They have not only been fundraising for us, they have also donated very generous raffle prizes. They are so …

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Caring Staffordshire start-up supports children in women’s refuge with Buddy Bag pack

Staff at a community-focused Burton business filled 180 backpacks of essential items and teddies for children escaping violent homes.  The first Buddy Bag pack at Payaro gave its team a hands-on insight into the charity they have pledged to support with £10,000 a year.  Payaro directors Danny and Lee Dunne then delivered some of the bags to a local women’s refuge.   They were joined by Karen Williams OBE, founder of the Buddy Bag Foundation, which funds the supplies to children entering emergency accommodation entirely through donations.  Payaro is a new start-up where every time a payment is made through its payment technology, a share …

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Hannah’s golden opportunity for businesses to help charity

Businesses are being offered the chance to help elderly people who may be struggling during lockdown with the launch of a new marketing venture. Award-winning marketing professional Hannah Montgomery is launching her new business Golddust Direct this week. Dubbed ‘Moonpig for businesses’ it offers firms a direct mail package to raise their profile. As part of the service, firms can add an extra donation to help Hannah’s charity Re-Engage Lichfield, which helps combat loneliness in the elderly by providing social contact. The donation through Golddust Direct would pay for a letter or card to be sent to an elderly person. …

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