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Community launch in Sandwell

A community launch of the Taskforce and its plan for action Race Forward was held on Friday 15 September 2023 at the Bethel Convention Centre in West Bromwich.  More than 70 people joined including strong representation from community groups across Sandwell.

Key messages

  • We heard about lots of examples of good practice, where groups are doing fantastic work to support their local communities.  We also heard about how this good work needs to be valued and celebrated.
  • People talked about the importance of partnerships.  People told us that change is needed to empower, resource and build the capacity of community organisations so that they can act as delivery partners for public services.  Community leaders emphasised the need to "build on what is already there" and "break down barriers" to funding and competition between groups.
  • Together, we developed some 'rules of good engagement.'  A key theme was the need for better communication between communities, public services and employers.  People also spoke about principles such as honesty, openness, coproduction and how public services need to go to local places to meet people.  Community leaders also talked about the need for people to make themselves heard and for different communities to empower, support and challenge each other.


What worked well

  • Strong turn out from Sandwell community organisations.
  • Good format for event: networking stalls and roundtable discussions.
  • Visible leadership from Councillor Carmichael, Shokat Lal, the Mayor and Taskforce Chair.
  • People engaged in discussions. These were informal and ‘not defensive’ – a good starting point for working together.
  • Practicalities: people liked the accessible venue, hot food and offer of travel support.


Next steps

Looking forward, the Taskforce will look to:

  • Set up community sounding boards.
  • Explore capacity building.
  • Understand and showcase good practice.
  • Hold events and build networks in different places across the West Midlands.


Thank you to participants

Thank you to the Mayor Andy Street, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael (Leader of Sandwell Council), Shokat Lal (Chief Executive of Sandwell Council) and members of the Race Equalities Taskforce for making the event possible.  Thank you to everyone who joined the event and participated in the conversation.

Sandwell community organisations

Balaji Temple, Bangladeshi Women's Association, Bangladeshi Islamic Centre, European Welfare Association CIC, Rights and Equality Sandwell Limited, Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation, Skills Work Enterprise Development Agency, Yemeni Community Association Sandwell.

Public service partners

Birmingham City Council, City of Wolverhampton Council, Coventry City Council, Department for Work and Pensions, West Midlands Office of the Police Crime Commissioner, Sandwell Council, Walsall Council, Solihull Council, West Midlands Combined Authority.

Other participants

Aston University, Bourneville Village Trust, Inspire Education Trust, Oxfam, TIN Ventures Ltd, WMCS, Accenture, Accenture Song, Allies Network C.I.C, Birmingham Hippodrome, Black Country Innovate CIC, Chinese Community Centre-Birmingham, DRNET, Evenfields Careers Ltd, Faith Strategic Partnership Group, Health Companion Ltd (Trading as Health Fabric), Irwin Mitchell LLP, Lloyds Banking Group, Macca Tree Holdings Ltd, Maokwo, Mental Health Collective, Midven, NatWest, Nishkam Civic Association, One Walsall, Push On Wellbeing CIC, Reach For A Star, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Shakespeare Martineau, Spectra, St Bartholomew's Church Edgbaston, TAG Network Midlands Limited, Teacheractive, UNITE, University of Leicester, Wesleyan Assurance, William Wilson Turner Foundation.