Understanding the Equality Act 2010

Many thanks to Diane Rutherford at brap, an equalities charity, who delivered a very interesting workshop on Equalities and Diversity for Solihull VCSE organisations on 4th February 2016.

IMG_5523Diane introduced delegates to the Equality Act 2010 and how it applies to everyday situations in the workplace.

Download brap’s explainer handouts:


If you missed the session, there are lots of free resources available on the brap website covering a range of equalities, diversity and human rights issues.

Local Charity SoLO to take part in “PARALLEL LONDON” world’s first large-scale disability led event

Launch Photo
Launch Photo – Janet Down (SoLO) with Nick Ashley – Cooper (12th Earl of Shaftesbury), Sophie Morgan (One Show Presenter), Andrew Douglas (Founder of Parallel London)

On Sunday, 4 September 2016, London will play host to Parallel London, a fully inclusive large-scale mass participation run, built to disable barriers and enable independence. SoLO Life Opportunities, a local charity working with people with learning disabilities in the West Midlands are one of the first to secure places for their members to take part.

Staged in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, this will be a national event looking to attract 10,000 participants and 10,000 spectators in Year 1. Parallel London is a new disability-led event that has been specifically designed for anyone to participate, regardless of age, disability, impairment or health condition. The run will be split into a number of set distances (from 100m to 10km) to cater for every age and ability. The ethos is all about ‘shared experience’, with everyone participating in the run altogether at the same time. Parallel London is not just about racing against the clock, but about celebrating the spirit of togetherness and everyone crossing the finishing line.

Janet Down, Chief Executive Officer, stated “since taking some members to the London Marathon to support our runner, we have been looking for opportunities for our members to get involved in something on a similar scale. Parallel offers just this and we are really excited to be in at the beginning”.

If you have a disability and would like to take part in this run, or if you would like to sponsor one of the runners, please contact Janet Down on


For information about the national event call James Lee

Charity Manager, Innovision T: 0207 0343 266 M: 07960 488 280

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.”