New advice service for child Disability Living Allowance

IMG_5461DIAL Solihull is now able to support parents with child Disability Living Allowance claims, renewals and related benefits.

The service has been commissioned by Solihull Council and will enable DIAL to provide families with additional advice and information on grants and other support services.

Alice Singleton, Chief Executive of DIAL Solihull said: “We are delighted to be able to provide this specialist package for parents so that they can access the extra support they need to look after their children. We have in place an experienced worker and two sessional staff to carry out this much needed support.”

Families can access DIAL’s services by calling 0121 770 0333 or visiting the advice centre in Kingshurst.

DIAL Solihull is a free, impartial and confidential information and advice service for disabled people and their carers. For more information visit

Commissioning & Procurement – the Solihull Council Way

Workshop notes

Anneke ClarkeOur thanks to Lorna Ferguson and Anneka Clarke for taking us through public sector commissioning and procurement and sharing their top tips for tendering.

Here are their presentation slides and handouts from the session delivered on 13th January 2016.

Lorna Ferguson, Solihull Council, IAA&S Project Lead

Anneke Clarke, Solihull Community Housing, Procurement Manager


Other handouts

Safeguarding Adults

Social Capital, Social Value Presentation

Equality & Diversity Presentation


Tender portals

Free tender portals:

Volunteer for SoLO. Change a life, forever.

SoLO Life OpportunitiesWould you like to change a life, forever? Could you spare only 2 hours a week to volunteer on one of SoLO’s 28 exciting projects? 

These projects play a crucial part in the lives of our learning and physically disabled members who access them on a weekly basis and in the holidays.

As a volunteer you would become a teacher, role model, protector and friend to our members who attend these projects. You would be supporting our members to access activities and enabling our members to enjoy social and leisure activities that, without your support, they would not be able to experience.

Every SoLO volunteer is unique and their very personal journey begins when they decide to volunteer for SoLO. Why do people volunteer with us? Every answer is always different. Some are deeply personal, others are looking to gain `real life` experience for a future career and some simply want to be part of SoLO. Many will say “I want to help”, “I want to give something back” or “I want to make a difference”. These are the people supporting our members. These are the volunteers who are subconsciously saying “I`m ok, so I`m going to get me and put me to one side and turn my focus and time onto someone who would benefit from my support”. It is this kind of selfless attitude and commitment that earns our volunteers the trust of our members. This is why SoLO volunteers are the extraordinary and unique individuals we are proud to have supporting us.

If you would like to Volunteer for SoLO, visit our website or ring 0121 779 3865

Download flyer

With thanks to: Paul Horton, SoLO Life Opportunities,

WBC Fit Club moves to Grace Academy

Operating from the basement of a butcher’s shop in Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre had served WBC Fit Club well for many years. “It was a good old fashioned boxing gym, cheap, no frills, and everyone loved the place. But unless you knew about us, you wouldn’t know we were there,” says Paul Webb, instructor and founder of the community boxing club.

Paul set up WBC Fit Club in 2009 and provides children’s boxing classes to encourage young people to take up the sport, keep fit and active and in turn help curb anti-social behaviour.

Paul was on the look out for larger premises when the invitation to teach kids at a local secondary school came knocking. “In passing I mentioned to the principal and vice principal at Grace Academy that I was searching for larger and more accessible premises and within 48 hours we’d worked out an affordable package. Best of all we could move without putting up our prices which I didn’t want to do”

Although Grace Academy has a gym, and Paul had taken students there in the past for fun days, demonstrations and gradings, there was still the issue of raising funds for a new boxing ring.

“We decided to hold a sparathon where the kids sparred professional boxers. The deputy principal Mr Spina was very hands on! He sparred pro boxers including two time world kick boxing champion Waine Turner and helped us with one of our boxing shows.

“We held our year end grading and presentations at Grace Academy, just before Christmas. Right at the end we announced to parents and our students that the gym we were in was now our new home. Everyone was over the moon.

“The move means that we have more space, better changing facilities, and easy access. But best of all, somewhere to hold our own boxing shows. It also means that the Grace Academy students have somewhere to continue their training after school.

“This partnership is going to grow. I strongly believe that it will benefit my classes/programme, the school and most importantly, the local community. We have exciting times ahead.”

To find out more about WBC Fit Club visit


Solihull My Life Portal – is your organisation listed?

socialactivities_nmenuLaunched in 2015 – – has been developed to help individuals and families to find information, advice and support about services in Solihull as well as learn how to get involved in and participate in local activities.

Local providers of health and social care services can list details of what they offer in the ‘Solihull Directory’ free of charge. Search categories include ‘Health & Wellbeing’, ‘Housing’, ‘Difficult times’, ‘Advice agencies’ and ‘Things to do’.

Register for the portal here

If you’re already on the portal, is your entry up to date?

North Solihull enterprise hubs on film

It’s a great time to set up and grow a business in North Solihull. First came the launch of Solihull Enterprise Centre in January 2015, and now there’s the brand new Enterprise Zone at Elmwood Place in Smith’s Wood.

Both facilities are showcased in a short film launched by Solihull Council to encourage local businesses and would-be entrepreneurs to take advantage of the modern and fully equipped co-working spaces, meeting rooms and offices situated in the heart of new village centre developments at Chelmund’s Cross and Smith’s Wood – served by excellent transport links.

Enterprise support, networking events and business seminars are also on offer to tenants and co-workers to facilitate new connections, business and learning opportunities.

Competitive rates and introductory offers / trial periods are available.

For more information contact Solihull Council on 0121 704 6894.


Solihull Enterprise Centre: 1 Hedingham Grove, Chelmsley Wood B37 7TP 

Elmwood Place Enterprise Zone: Smith’s Wood Neighbourhood Library, 37 Burton’s Way, Birmingham B36 0UG

Community Christmas Tree lights up business centre

Community Christmas Tree
Pictured left to right: Community Lead for Gro-Organic Daniella Ferrarrin, volunteers Malcolm and Tina, Angela O’Brien, Solihull Enterprise Centre

Gro-Organic CIC together with local volunteers from Chelmund’s Cross, finally revealed their decoration making skills as they presented Solihull Enterprise Centre with their very first ‘Community Christmas Tree’ today.

Gro-Organic’s Community Lead, Daniella Ferrarin, has been managing the project which involved facilitating sessions with residents to hand craft a variety of christmas decorations from surplus wood sourced from local allotments. A cookery workshop to bake scented orange decorations was a great success – filling the air with the smell of Christmas.

Marston Green Christmas Trees supplied the tree which is now sitting proudly in the reception area, greeting visitors and tenants as they come and go.

The Community Christmas Tree project is just one of many structured activities organised by Gro-Organic throughout the year to promote the health and wellbeing of local people in an enjoyable way.

Angela O’Brien, Enterprise Support Officer at Solihull Enterprise Centre said:

“I would like to thank all of the volunteers for taking their time to make the decorations and dress the tree. We are so pleased that local people are included in all aspects of enterprise here at the centre, it’s really lovely to see everyone involved at such a special time of year.” 

Free meeting space at Bosworth Community Centre

Bosworth Community Centre – located within walking distance of Chelmsley Wood Town Centre, near to Asda and opposite Citizens Advice Bureau – offers a varied programme of leisure and learning activities for local residents including yoga, bingo, arts and crafts, luncheon club, computer drop in sessions, support groups and much more.

But did you know the centre has several spacious rooms which are free to use for community groups and activities? The fully accessible facilities with a homely feel also include a small kitchen area and onsite car parking.

Bosworth Community Centre has been managed by Ashrammoseley Housing Association on behalf of Solihull Council for nearly ten years and the friendly staff team – Simeon (Community Organiser), Mumtaz (Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator) and Bally (Support Worker) are always on hand to provide information, advice and ensure everything runs smoothly for centre users.

“Many of the activities are great fun and help people to enjoy and maintain an independent lifestyle,” says Simeon.bosworthlargeroom

“It’s lovely to see familiar faces each week, but we also enjoy welcoming new people. Learn a skill, get fit or just meet friends and chat – feel free to pop in and have a look around.”

Bosworth Community Centre also hosts a number of community services for the NHS and other organisations.

Activity Programme at Bosworth Community Centre

Find Bosworth Community Centre at:
291a Bosworth Drive
Chelmsley Wood
B37 5DP

Open 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday (rooms can be used at evenings / weekends at the discretion of staff)

Telephone: 0121 770 8570

Facebook: Bosworth Community Centre

Twitter: @BosworthCentre

Also find Bosworth Community Centre on Streetlife


Could your organisation offer a supported work placement?

advance_group_logoA new supported employment programme designed to help disabled people to gain skills and experience is looking for host employers in Solihull.

The Supported Business Placement programme is being run by Advance – a charitable organisation and prime contractor for the ‘Work Choice’ programme in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country, working on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

The programme helps disabled people and people with mental health issues to receive the same employment opportunities as everyone else. Applicants are matched to six month placements and a dedicated ‘in work’ adviser is on hand for the employer and individual throughout the process – initial work skills assessments, development plans, regular review meetings and in-house training are part of the package. The main aim of the Supported Business Placement is for host employers to be able to take on the trainee as an employee at the end of the 6 months.

A wage incentive of 16 hours per week (at minimum wage) is paid to trainees who are employed by Pluss (Advance’s delivery partner and supported business provider). 

The model means employers get the support and encouragement they need to recruit, manage and progress disabled people and people with long-term health issues, leading to rewarding, independent and unsupported employment for Advance customers.

For more information about the scheme contact:

Donna Dind – Supported Business Placement Team Leader

Tel: 07920 793942 or 0121 711 1044