Traditional British social divisions of upper, middle and working class seem out of date in the 21st Century, no longer reflecting modern occupations or lifestyles. The BBC teamed up with sociologists from leading universities to analyse the modern British class system. They surveyed more than 161,000 people and came up with a new model made up of seven groups. To find out where you fit in use this calculator.
What if the church saw blood and organ donation as part of its giving? Flesh And Blood is a groundbreaking new campaign launched specifically calling on the church to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK. The initiative aims to profile the need for more blood and organ donors and encourage regular blood donation as an alternative way of personal giving within churches.
Let’s Grow Black Country is an exciting new initiative funded by Big Lottery Local Food Scheme. The scheme aims to support people of all ages and abilities to get involved in gardening and food growing wherever they are. Support from our team is offered across the Black Country.
Who is to blame for rising levels of poverty and homelessness in the UK today? What is worrying is that many are blaming the victims. We won’t tackle poverty and homelessness by blaming those who are poor and homeless. Please join us in Poverty & Homelessness Action Week 2013, and call for an end to this blame game.
The Laughing Sole is a comedy club working under a cleaner, less offensive ethos. It is not just about the content of material being more life-affirming but also the feel of the club as well. The Laughing Sole offers a friendly and hospitable environment for a great night of comedy. On the first Wednesday of the month (with the exception of the months that start on a wednesday) they meet at The Public in West Bromwich.
Housing in our country is in crisis. The failure of successive Governments to build sufficient affordable homes; house prices, mortgages and rents increasing faster than wages; the pain of the recession being made worse by spending cuts. Homelessness is increasing as are the number of people living in overcrowded or insecure homes. Have we gone too far in treating houses as mere “bricks and mortar”, as “a step up”? More than bricks and mortar? is a resource for churches to reflect on the moral, theological, political and practical challenges of the housing crisis.
Looking for a trader? The Tradewell in Sandwell Register covers all aspects of home improvement and repair work, including building, carpentry, external property repairs, decorating and home security.
Christian Aid and Church Action on Poverty are joining forces to take the campaign for Tax Justice on the road, with a seven-week Tax Justice Bus Tour visiting the West Midlands on 29-30 August. In an age of austerity and spending cuts, tax avoidance is morally unacceptable: tax dodging costs lives. It effectively amounts to robbing the poor – in the UK and in poor countries– of the money that should be spent on education, health and welfare. Contact: John Cooper.
High Streets First is campaigning to put local democracy before betting shops. Right now bookies are clustering in some of our poorest areas where they are often more common than corner shops and post offices. They can fuel debt, addiction and put off other businesses from moving in. But current planning regulations treat bookmakers in exactly the same way as banks and building societies, leaving councils with no meaningful say over their numbers. The campaign supports the government's own independent review which gives local people the right to choose what their high streets look like. If you agree, please sign the petition. Giving the go-ahead for more gaming machines on the high street threatens to trigger a surge in problem gambling, say Church groups as parliament reveals its report into gambling, The Gambling Act 2005: A bet worth taking?
Restrictions on Sunday trading are to be relaxed for the eight weeks of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Government has said that this is just a temporary measure to ensure Britain is "open for business" during the Games. But there are concerns that this move could be the first step along the path towards completely scrapping the restrictions on Sunday trading. Churches, unions and others have spoken in favour of maintaining the current trading laws in order to keep Sunday as a time for families, rest and relationships: see this briefing for more.
Are you interested in the people, places, things and events that helped shape our heritage in this area then why not join the Smethwick Local History Society? We were formed in 1984 and have just celebrated our 25th anniversary with, amongst other things, a visit to the Houses of Parliament and the production of a commemorative coaster. We pride ourselves on being one of the oldest and most active local history societies in the region. We usually meet at Bearwood Baptist Church on the second Wednesday of each month.
Sandwellmay not be the first place you would look if you are thinking about food growing or farming. However, Sandwell has over 1600 allotment plots, a working Dairy Farm, a model Victorian Working Farm and Walled Garden, a community garden and a therapeutic garden. Sandwell Allotment Gardeners Association is a voluntary body originally set up to help advise the Town and Borough Councils on matters relating to allotments. It actively promotes allotment gardening as an inclusive activity, regardless of the age, sex, race, creed or disability of aspiring gardeners.
The rich in the UK currently pay a lower proportion of their income in tax than the poor: although high earners pay higher rates of income tax, taxes like VAT and fuel tax account for a higher proportion of expenditure for lower earners.Tax avoidance is big business, and as we’re constantly reassured, is ‘entirely legal.’ But it’s hardly moral. Every pound avoided in tax is a pound less to spend on childcare, social care, health or education. We can Close the Tax Gap...change attitudes, and press for a tax system in which businesses and wealthy individuals pay their fair share, and regulating or closing tax havens. In It's Time to Close the Gap: the Basic Case, 11 prominent Christians were asked to reflect on different aspects of the gap between rich and poor, what can be done to address them, and why the church must get involved.
A YouGov survey has revealed that 61% of UK adults believe that excessive drinking is a problem (from minor to major) in their neighbourhood.The survey, carried out on behalf of The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, asked people to judge the
effects of alcohol on the area within walking distance from their home, or where they use local facilities.The three Churches have expressed concerns about the increasing availability of cheap alcohol and the effect that this might be having on communities across Britain.
Britons are less honest than they were a decade ago, according to research from a new Essex Centre for the Study of Integrity, based at the University of Essex.The online survey, which repeated questions asked in the year 2000 in a large-scale study of citizenship, reveals the public are now more tolerant towards a range of misdemeanours such as having an extramarital affair, drink driving or failing to leave a contact after damaging a parked car.
The Safer Sandwell Partnership's annual review of its work to make the borough a safer, cleaner place includes reports progress on crime levels, the Midlands' first 'premises closure' order, a national charity that has taken over Sandwell's drug and alcohol services, a reduction in the number of young people entering the criminal justice system for the first time, and a new Sandwell Police headquarters.
Today, there are many financial products that take into account ethical, social or environmental issues.However, not everyone is aware of the range of both modern and traditional options now available.National Ethical Investment Week is a cooperative campaign to encourage people to consider green and ethical options for their savings and investments;
Our own Catholic comedian Frank Skinner has called for the Church to go on the offensive against atheism. In an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral, Skinner criticised atheists for ‘looking down their nose’ at Christians, compared atheists with global warming deniers and warned that secularism is ‘a threat to the salvation of millions’.A Bearwood Wiki site, a kind of anyone-can-join-in network where you can register and are free to contribute, aims to provide news and promote events in and around Bearwood.
Graham and Pat Wigley from New Life Baptist Church in Birmingham report on life as 'retail chaplains': visiting traders in the shopping centre, discovering how life is for them, listening to their concerns and offering support. Click here.
Tax dodging and avoidance by some companies are estimated to cost poor countries $160 billion each year. Delegates at the Baptist Assembly in Blackpool have voted to campaign against multi-national companies that evade paying tax in
third world countries.
A global culture of financial secrecy allows some unscrupulous firms to dodge tax - and rob poor countries of more than $160bn a year.Christian Aid's Trace the Tax campaign is about getting their money back.
There is so much news that can bring us doubt, fear and worry, so Christian Media Services believe we should buck the trend and focus on stories that can bring us joy, inspiration and encouragement. FaithLivesInBrum is a collection of positive real-life experiences to build bridges between the Christian community and the media.
Abbey neighbourhood police team is working hard to resolve issues and concerns raised by the local community. If you have a specific concern about the neighbourhood in which you live, you can share this information with them here. If you have you had dealings with your local police recently, what sort of service did you receive? Use this site to let local police - and members of the public - know about your experience - good or bad. You don't have to give your name. Remember - your feedback can influence policing in your area.
Crafty Muthas are a bunch of friends who meet regularly in Bearwood to share our love of crafty pursuits and generally inspire each other to be creative. They've launched 'the bearwood tapestry' - a crafty night attracting 30+ craft lovers to a local pub every third Thursday of the month.
Products of Slavery helps you, as consumers, understand the scale of slavery in the global markets and how you can take action to end slave labour.
Do you love Bearwood but think it could be better? Do you dislike bits of Bearwood but have ideas about how to improve it? Use this wiki to share your ideas. Don't be shy.
A blog site has been set up to keep local people updated about developments around Lightwoods Park in Bearwood.
Calthorpe Haven has a Friends group: a much neglected green space in the middle of Bearwood, and a much needed resource for Bearwood Primary as there is no other green space within half a mile of the school.
Some of the leading clothing retailers in the UK had written to the government asking for a change in the law so that big shops could open on Boxing Day, which this year falls on a Sunday. It’s bad enough that shops want to open on Boxing Day anyway, which was traditionally a gift in the form of a day of rest to people in service positions. The Keep Sunday Special Campaign is firmly opposed to this and has now written to the new Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, insisting that the government does not try to change the law.
Now is the time for governments to make the use or possession of nuclear weapons illegal through a new Nuclear Weapons Convention. Now is the time to put all bomb-grade material under international control. Now is the time to strengthen the non-proliferation regime and build a secure future for all. Now is the time to make your voice heard. Sign the petition.
The British Waterways leisure website is packed with information about things to do and places to visit not only on and around our local British Waterways network but on other rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs.
UK-wide research shows that one in 10 people often feel lonely and half think that people are getting lonelier in general. According to a new report released today by the Mental Health Foundation, relationships that are vital to health and well-being are under threat by modern life, which can isolate people from one another and lead to loneliness.
Shami Chakrabarti talks to BMS: Is Christianity under attack in contemporary Britain? Is there a place for public expressions of faith in a society that is becoming increasingly secular? Do issues like homosexuality and religious jewellery or clothing bring some religions into conflict with fundamental human rights?
Industrial Heritage Stronghold has been set up to create physical markers of the disappearing identity of the Black Country, informed and inspired by these sometimes forgotten Industrial communities.
South Asian Concern is for anyone interested in finding out more about South Asians living in the West and the issues they face. You can also explore Asian spirituality, visit our online prayer room, and look at Jesus Christ from a South Asian perspective.
Hope not Hate is a campaign to counter racism and fascism in elections and beyond. They want to make sure that people know the full story about who the BNP are and what they really stand for, providing up to date news, good practice and analysis.Life Beyond Debt: highlighting some of the ways that churches can respond to the economic crisis. With national networks, and local presence, the church is uniquely placed to help those who are struggling with debt, unemployment or other financial pressures.
A worldwide competition for innovation has been won by a teacher running a project at Shireland Academy which encourages open debate between pupils from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.The Bearwood Blog of the Sandwell Abbey Ward councillors, gives residents an opportunity to pass comments on about the items featured.
The West Midlands is one of the areas across the country with significant numbers of people who do not have access to mainstream financial advice, affordable credit or banking. In order to tackle these problems Birmingham City Council established a Financial Inclusion Partnership to tackle the problem of financial exclusion by working in partnership with key organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Consumer Credit Counselling Service, Trading Standards, Job Centre Plus, Credit Unions, Banks and Utilities.
One too many…? outlines the current situation about alcohol misuse and goes on to summarise the measures that are being taken in response. How can we play our part in tackling problems associated with alcohol?
Slavery and the slave trade are connected to the development of Sandwell. Profit from the slave trade is bound up with gun making, chain making, and building the canal network. Commitment to Methodism, Quaker teaching, and the idea of women organising themselves connected Sandwell to the opposition to slavery. Guns, Shackles & Chains is a learning resource for anyone interested in Sandwell's past.
The Skillseeker zone offers information on a variety of services which have been gathered through the help of voluntary and public organisations in Sandwell.
Take Five Café, at Dorothy Parkes Centre, Church Road, Smethwick, has become part of the Community Café network, trying to provide local people with a choice of healthy, fresh and nutritious food at an affordable price. The café is run in an environmentally friendly way, and their menus include regional produce and Fair Trade food.
Credit crunch. Housing crash. Debt. Redundancy. As the recession bites, it’s tempting to hold on extra tight to whatever money we’ve got, and dream of the stuff we can buy when it’s over. But Jesus challenged us not to worry about money, and to look after the needs of others instead. Simplify is a Church response to the recession. For one month, we will live on the amount of money
we would receive if we were on benefits.
We’ll learn how to economise from people who
already live like this, and we’ll give the money we save away to support those who don’t have the choice.
Scene Central is your online guide to what’s on in the West Midlands. From plays to club nights, exhibitions to book groups, it offers the most comprehensive set of arts and cultural listings in the region.
Bearwood Breeze: local services for local people: if we buy our goods and services locally, then there's a better chance that our money will stay within the community...
It's Fruitless: the government is proposing to double the amount of money that can be staked and won on the kind of fruit machines found in Bearwood Road's pubs and amusement arcades. We are very concerned about the possible impact these increases will have on problem gambling: join us in urging the government to reconsider.
Sandwell Volunteer Bureau is your voice about volunteers and volunteering in Sandwell.
Reserve and renew library books, book a squash court, check out planning applications, apply for a school place, report fly tipping: just some of the things you can do with Sandwell Council on line.
Look after yourself. Are you getting your 5 x 30 minutes of exercise a week? There are lots of different ways and places to be active in Sandwell. Love Food Hate Waste: do more to make the most of the food we buy; events and promotions will be held across the Black Country. 70% of smokers say they want to give up. Sandwell Stop Smoking Service is a FREE NHS service who has helped over 1200 people give up since April 2008. EQUIP is an NHS gateway to more quality health and social care information for the West Midlands.
Life Beyond Debt is a response to the current economic crisis. We firmly believe that the Bible is outspoken on issues of poverty and injustice and we want to encourage others to be equally vocal.
Click here for all the latest exciting news and developments from Sandwell Leisure Trust, who run Smethwick Swimming Centre and Hagley Stadium.
Are you in touch with how your shopping choices impact on the people and the planet around you? Take these 10 quick questions to plot your own Ethical Compass.
Ever wonder what heaven will be like? I think it will be like dancing with Matt...
We Are All Born Free: Everybody video from Amnesty about the universal declaration of human rights with Julian Rhind-Tutt.
Get Fair wants to secure the commitment of all major political parties deliver on their
existing commitment to end child poverty by 2020, and to extend this goal to ending
poverty across every generation in the UK.
The Salvation Army has produced The Seeds of Exclusion report in order to understand the indicators in early life which can lead to future problems of social exclusion and to understand the nature, complexity and severity of problems facing people in various regions of the UK.
Options for Life are a registered charity providing a range of day opportunities, leisure, work experience and support services for people with learning disabilities who live in and around Sandwell in the West Midlands.
Thomas organises the Salsa workshops at the Bear Tavern pub function room every Monday at 8pm: "it's a fun exercise class with music".
Take the Future Generator quiz: a game to look at the effect of everyone's attitudes and lifestyle choices and predicts four likely scenarios for city living in the future; while its about London, it applies to all UK Cities.
One Small Barking Dog at the Custard Factory in Birmingham is an arts and media complex that keeps us very connected to emerging culture.
Adrian Goldberg is The Stirrer: news that matters, campaigns that count for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond.
Birmingham Alive the number one guide to concerts, music, gigs, theatre, & what's on in Birmingham UK this week.
Climate Change in Our World: a video demonstrates a new Google Earth layer showing potential temperature change and its impacts during the 21st century. Meanwhile, My Global Impact helps you to calculate how much carbon dioxide you emit, find ways to reduce it, then share what you have to protect poor people from the devastating impact of climate change.
Red2Black is a brand new campaign to encourage and support you in tackling debt issues in your community.
In Transit: stopping the trade in people: watch a short video about work in Albania and Birmingham featuring the 'Cuddles' brothel in Hagley Road.
The Still Human Still Here campaign is dedicated to highlighting the plight of tens of thousands of refused asylum seekers who are being forced into abject poverty in an attempt to drive them out of the country.
Find It In Sandwell: a FREE business networking website that keeps Sandwell organisations in touch with the latest business opportunities, supply and buying needs.
The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign aims to raise awareness of the need to reduce the amount of food that we throw away, and how by doing some easy and practical things in the home we will benefit our purses and the environment.
Eatwell in Sandwell is our local award-winning healthy eating campaign. Through fun activities with school children, support for shopkeepers, and work with community groups, Eatwell makes it easier for people in the Borough to improve their diet and enjoy the benefits of a healthier way of life.
Sandwell Council's guide to where you can get help with problems with Alcohol,Tobacco,and other drugs.
Abortion: the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, expected to be introduced into Parliament after the Queen's Speech on 6th November, will open up the entire 1967 Abortion Act to amendment. Pro-choice MPs have pledged to liberalize the law and intend to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act this autumn with a push to bring in 'abortion on request' in the first three months of pregnancy.
Pressures faced by those in their 20s & 30s:
a summary of the survey ‘Your thoughts on being 20 or 30 something’ carried out by 2030vision.
IndependentAge helps older people on low incomes to live with dignity and peace of mind by providing a regular extra income, grants for emergencies, equipment to aid independence, the support and friendship of our volunteers, and nursing and residential care homes.
Staying active as you get older can improve your health and quality of life. Just 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five times a week can make a vital difference. Best of all, you can get your 30 minutes through simple, everyday activities.
The Black Country Bugle: 'the voice of the Black Country'.
Agewell has for 10 years supported and enabled older people in Sandwell to have a voice in the decisions that affect them: from transport to health, libraries to social care, parks to ‘meals on wheels.’
Find It In Sandwell: local products and services sourced from 1000's of local businesses, what other businesses in Sandwell are currently on the lookout for, and useful links for relevant advice for your business.
Abbey Ward Neighbourhood Forum is your opportunity to raise issues around anti-social behaviour and environmental issues in Bearwood and see something done. Representatives from West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Sandwell Council and Sandwell Homes are there to listen and take action (meetings held once a quarter).
The Money Secret Adult Education Course: face your finance fears, discover the secrets to debt-free living, avoid common costly mistakes, regain control of your finances and become the master of your own destiny.
ministry for peace is an organisation working for the creation of a Ministry for Peace within government and an independent civil society body working alongside it.
After 3 years hard work by campaigners around the world, governments at the UN have voted in favour of a resolution to start work on an Arms Trade Treaty.
2007 is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. Today slavery still affects millions of people around the world (and in Bearwood). Join the Fight for Freedom as part of a movement to end slavery and sex trafficking today.
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough. Local meetings are organised by the Smethwick Town Committee, who have produced a local action plan.
Local MP, John Spellar, MP for Warley
European Parliament members for West Midlands
Write to Them facility to help you contact your political representatives
You Gov polling organization for people's views on political issues of the day