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Sector Connector Offers of the Month: December 2018

Carney Consulting Ltd is offering a free place for voluntary organisations on their Mental Health First Aid course which runs across the year. At a time when there is a need for voluntary organisations to support people with increasingly complex issues, this two day course will help participants to spot the early signs of a mental health issue to feel confident in offering help and support to people with a range of mental health issues.

There are seven courses planned for 2019 but as the number of free training places are limited, please contact Ian Dodds now if you are interested in this opportunity.

Avant Homes is dedicating an entire day to helping out community projects on 12 June 2019 and will close down its building sites for the day to allow teams of construction workers to use their skills to help voluntary organisations across the North East. If you have a building project that they could help out with and that could be completed in a day (for example, installation of a new kitchen, creation of a disabled toilet, external walls etc.) please provide details to Ian Dodds by the end of January. Avant Homes office staff will also be able to help out with any other community projects on 12 June.

Details of new Sector Connector workshops for 2019 have now been announced – read more and book your place here

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New recruitment services from VONNE




VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East) has launched two new services to help make the recruitment process easier for the voluntary and community sector. Recognising that many organisations don’t have specialist HR staff, and recruiting the right person for teams takes time that could be better spent on your day job, VONNE has developed a:

  • New recruitment support service that can help you by managing the process from job advert to interview, and
  • A salary benchmarking service, which makes use of the valuable data it holds on sector jobs in the region to provide you with insight into fair and appropriate wages

Read more here

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North Tyneside Council Budget Consultation: 17 December





Monday 17 December, 12.30pm to 1.30pm at North Tyneside Council

We are holding a joint event with North Tyneside Council in order to give voluntary and community organisations the chance to hear from Jackie Laughton, Head of Corporate Strategy, about the Council’s budget proposals.

The event takes place in the Council’s Quadrant Building, Room 4.01, NE27 0BY

Read more and book your place here

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North Tyneside Council Working with the VCS event: 13 December







Thursday 13 December, 10am to 12noon at Pathways4All, Rising Sun Park, Benton

As we reach the end of 2018 we are keen to provide an opportunity for VCS members, and others, to come together and share their plans for 2019, whilst also reflecting on this year’s achievements.

This will be an interactive event with a focus on identifying new partnership opportunities and exploring what support you would like from VODA and North Tyneside Council to help realise your ambitions for 2019.

We will also have a presentation on the new ward profiles that can help organisations to clearly evidence need for new projects. This is a free event open to all members of the voluntary and community sector in North Tyneside, as well as others with an interest in working with us.


09:30 Arrivals, networking, refreshments
10:00 Welcome
10:05 An opportunity for organisations to share their key achievements in 2018 and ambitions for 2019. This will be a lively interactive session.
11:20 Ward Profiles – Craig Anderson
11:40 Updates
11:50 Pathways 4 All
12:00 close

Read more and book your place here

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Is your organisation in good ‘health’?





Good governance is a vital part of how voluntary and community sector organisations operate and are held accountable for what they do. Any Improvements you put in place can help with funding applications, sustainability and the avoidance of legal problems.

Health checks are an increasingly accepted way of identifying how your organisation really works and whilst primarily aimed a smaller organisations they can be used as a starting point for larger organisations.

Changing regulations, legislation and guidance can result in the need to update or change your policies, procedures, documentation and practice.

They act as a barometer of how well your organisation is working overall and enable trustees, staff and volunteers to analyse what is working well and what requires attention or further action.

VODA’s Health Check Tool is available online here (along with a number of other useful Information Sheets and resources). We can help you to complete the check and are available to discuss how best to support your groups development – contact us for more information and to arrange a ‘health check’ with our team.

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Charity Commission publishes new five year strategy







The Charity Commission has unveiled a new five-year strategy for the sector, demanding higher standards of behaviour.

In her speech launching the Strategy, Baroness Stowell said that charities must do more to set a good example and hold themselves to the highest standard of charitable behaviour.

The Strategy includes five objectives:

  • Holding charities to account
  • Dealing with wrongdoing and harm
  • Informing public choice
  • Giving charities the understanding and tools they need to succeed
  • Keeping charity relevant for today’s world

Read more here

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Hired, Fired or Sick and Tired






Our Operations Manager, Phil Bagnall, blogs about an important GDPR issue:

“It must have happened to you at some time. The phone rings. A member of staff answers and after a few moments says “Sorry, he’s on the sick. Can I help?” If that doesn’t make you cringe then you are missing an important point: unless the absent staff member has given you permission to tell others that he is unwell you are almost certainly in breach of data protection laws. You simply cannot disclose personal, sensitive information especially when it relates to someone’s health.

Similarly with staff who have left. You need permission from them if you wish to disclose where they went or why they left. If they left under a cloud – perhaps they could not get out of bed in the mornings – do not be drawn into a discussion about any rumours the caller may have heard. And be careful with new staff. You should never announce a new appointment until you have a reference that is acceptable to you, you have undertaken the necessary vetting, e.g. DBS and educational qualification checks, and both you and your new recruit have signed a contract of employment.

The secret, of course, is to train your staff. If someone is ill and absent and the caller wants to know when they will be back then deflect the query by suggesting that you may be able to find someone else to deal with them. Staff have rights. Make sure everyone in your organisation is aware of them.”

If you are a North Tyneside-based voluntary and community sector organisation, and would like to receive a copy of our free GDPR toolkit, please get in touch.

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