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Update from March 2020

Welcome to the end of March 2020 issue of Digital WM News and our third issue of 2020, a special issue dedicated to information from trusted sources, aimed at supporting mainly small charities at this time .


This issue is coming out at a time when communities around the Midlands and the world are dealing with the impact of a corona virus, Covid 19. In this issue we are bringing together resources aimed at helping those who are helping others in their community.

We continue to help you and your organisation/community group increase your digital skills and knowledge in 2020

In this shorter than usual issue we include:

  • Links to each CVS in your region website page with the latest local information about how they are responding to COVID 19 
  • Links to advice about remote working for voluntary organisations
  • Links to resources for charities about using technology better 
It is easy to become overwhelmed with all the information available right now so we're leaving out loads of stuff including the Vacancies section.

We will probably publish another issue in mid-April and then our usual issue at the end of April

We continue to increase digital skills and knowledge in the VCSE sectors, as part of Project 2020, by curating the most useful items we see on the web during the month.

We'd love to hear your stories of increasing digital skills and knowledge too. Please email them to Pauline at, marking them for my attention.

For our new subscribers in March, we welcome you! We'd love to hear from you so please email or tweet us at our new Twitter account Digital WM News

Please note that this issue of Digital WM News and all previous issues can be found on our website here

In 2020 we aim to reach at least one person in every small charity, non-profit and social enterprise in the West Midlands. 

You can help us increase our reach and increase digital skills in the West Midlands by encouraging your colleagues and friends to subscribe to Digital WM News in 2020. 

They can SIGN UP HERE to ensure they receive the latest issue as soon as it is published.

Regards and keep well,

Pauline Roche,
Editor, Digital WM News

WMCA Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

"...The Mayor of the West Midlands and ourselves are working closely with partners in public health, local and central government, charities and businesses to support everyone throughout this period..."

Full post


WMCA Community Support Hub

"...If you're looking for support (or for somewhere to offer your help) during the Coronavirus outbreak, the WMCA Community Support Hub is here to help...

We need your help in making sure we have all the great social support groups, charities and faith organisations represented on the Community Support Hub.

If you know of an organisation that should be added to the Hub, please submit your details via email to:"


Heart of England Community Foundation launch Coronavirus Resilience Fund

This Fund will be available to constituted groups providing services such as food banks, social eating projects, emergency food parcel deliveries, and those engaging in outreach activities; all vital for various constituencies within the West Midlands.
Here are each of the local Councils for Voluntary Service in the various parts of the West Midlands and the link to information about the local response to the Covid 19 pandemic.

I've also supplied a link to their Twitter feed which should give you their latest information.

Please let me know if I have missed an area or organisation by emailing me at 
Place   Agency   COVID19 info    Twitter
Birmingham    Birmingham Voluntary Service Council
Bromsgrove    Bromsgrove and Redditch Network
Coventry    Voluntary Action Coventry
Dudley   Dudley Council for Voluntary Service
Herefordshire    Community First (Herefordshire & Worcestershire)
Malvern Hills    Community Action Malvern & District
Redditch    Bromsgrove and Redditch Network
Sandwell    Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations
Shropshire    Shropshire Rural Community Council
Solihull    Colebridge Trust & Enterprise   0
Staffordshire    Support Staffordshire (includes Cannock Chase, Lichfield and Tamworth)
Stoke on Trent   Voluntary Action Stoke On Trent (VAST)
Stratford-on-Avon    Voluntary Action Stratford-on-Avon District    0
Telford & Wrekin   Telford & Wrekin CVS
Walsall    One Walsall
Warwick & Warwickshire   Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action
Worcester & Worcestershire   Community First (Herefordshire & Worcestershire) 
Wolverhampton    Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council


23rd Mar - 12th Apr 

Hack Quarantine


"3 week long online hackathon aimed at bringing people from all over the world together to use their skills to help combat the issues that the world is currently facing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

By working with medical professionals and industry, we’ll provide the knowledge and tools to empower hackers to work towards around improving health, remote working and helping vulnerable populations"

Mon 30th Mar - Fri 3rd Apr

Small Charities Coalition sector themed online meetups 


Monday - 2pm Education, 3pm Health/Saving of Lives
Tuesday - 11am Disability, 12 Prevention of Poverty, 1pm Overseas Aid, 2pm Housing & Homelessness
Wednesday - 11am Religion & Faith, 12 Arts/Culture/Heritage, 1pm Science, 2pm Sport & Recreation
Thursday - 1pm Animal Welfare, 2pm EnvironmentConservation, 3pm Community Development, 4pm Economic Development
Friday - 11am Armed Forces, 12 Equalities



31st Mar
Social Enterprise Solutions for the Environment: Hackathon - CANCELLED


Regular Meetups
*new this issue*
Birmingham Open Code - next one 21st Apr
- weekly (Tues) open study session for folks who program or those who want to get started
Birmingham Settlement IT Club - For more information please contact Rob on or 0121 250 0764.

- weekly (Wed, 1-3pm)
Brum SMC - next one virtual 27th Mar
– monthly (last Fri) social media meetup
Coding Wednesday - next one 22nd Apr
- monthly, last Wed 
Digital Skills courses (Fircroft College)
– semi-regular - improve your digital skills
Lock picking (fizzPOP) - next one 6th May
– monthly (2nd Wednesday)
Net Squared Midlands – regular #techforgood meetup 
- Net Squared Midlands meetups will start again as soon as we identify a new venue - watch this space!
Tech Wednesday – monthly meet up for like-minded individuals in tech industry in Birmingham area

Digital and IT
Fircroft College, Birmingham

Oliver Dowden MP

Mr Doden has been appointed as Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the recent reshuffle.

The Digital Secretary has urged social media users to do their bit in tackling coronavirus-related “fake news” and backed a five-step plan to fight misinformation.

Mr Dowden said the public must “remain absolutely vigilant to inaccurate stories” and has recommended online users adopt advice issued by the Centre for Countering Digital (CCDH), a non-profit group researching online hate, in the battle against those peddling falsehoods.

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Searchable map of charities in the West Midlands

The map shows all 13,653 charities that were registered with the Charity Commission in September 2016, and had registered with a postcode that falls within the West Midlands.

The layers tab on the right allows for filtering by category of activity (proportional by income), the search function on the left searches by charity name.

The layers are ordered by frequency of type (with 82 umbrella bodies and 2383 religious orgs).

This map was made by James Bowles, an ESRC funded PhD student at the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham (2017-2020).

COVID Guidance for small charities

The Small Charities Coalition website has information on various aspects of dealing with the COVID19 pandemic for small charities

Guide to remote working
by SCVO, Scotland

"...See our blog with ten top tips for remote working. There are now thousands of such guides online. Three key points to remember are:

  • It will impact team members differently, and will require flexibility and understanding
  • Clear, frequent communication is really important. Modern collaboration tools such as Microsoft TeamsSlackGoogle Hangouts Meet or Zoom make this easier.
  • You will learn as you go – so be open to reflecting on what is working and change your approach as you need to..."

How to stay connected while working remotely
by Chris Thorpe, CAST

"...Due to COVID-19, more people and organisations are starting to work remotely. We at CAST have been doing this for a while and we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve learnt and some of the research we’ve done which shapes our practice.

In this short piece we’re going to talk about how we keep each other updated about what we’re doing and importantly, how we’re doing. Some of you who have worked in software development teams may already know a lot of this, as that’s a sector we’ve borrowed some of our practice from...

Full piece

Designing and Facilitating Remote Events

A guide by Tom Walker, March 2020

Today, meeting face-to-face has become a challenge. We all need to adapt. But this also means we have an opportunity to improve the way we meet online.

Many tools and tips can be found on the internet. This is a selection of them.

Full guide


Hi, I'm Pauline Roche. I'm a freelance journalist with a special interest in data journalism.

I'm also M.D. of RnR Organisation - we're a social enterprise and we aim to increase digital and data literacy amongst smaller non-profits, including by running the Net Squared Midlands meetup and the VCSSCamp unconference for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations.

If you've learned something through this newsletter, or you just think DWMN is great, you can read back issues here. You can also encourage others to subscribe.

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RnR Organisation is registered as a Company Ltd by Guarantee in England and Wales,
Company Registration Number 9140623 
Copyright © 2020 RnR Organisation, All rights reserved.

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