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VODA Christmas Closing

The team at VODA will be taking a well-earned Christmas break over the festive season. The Spirit of North Tyneside Hub will close at 5pm on Thursday 21 December, and reopen on Tuesday 2 January.
We are incredibly grateful to our staff, volunteers, trustees and wider stakeholders for all of your support over the past year. We have had an amazing 2023, building on our many partnerships with the sector, and working closely with the incredible people who make up the voluntary and community sector in North Tyneside. We wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.
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Community Orchard Funding

Whitley Bay Community Allotment and Orchard before and after picturesFirst published by North Tyneside Council on 30/11/23

More communities in North Tyneside could soon have their own orchards, thanks to new funding from North Tyneside Council.

The council has secured £11,300 of Coronation Living Heritage Funding to help local community groups establish orchards in their area.

The funding covers a one-off payment to set up the orchard, with a small allowance the following year to plant replacement trees.

An orchard is a collection of fruit and, sometimes, nut trees. They can be grown in small spaces and don’t need acres of land for planting. In fact, the minimum number of trees for an application is five.

Community orchards are excellent places for people to come together to plant and cultivate a variety of fruit trees. They can become a hub for community activities and events.

Jean Morrison is Secretary of the Whitley Bay Community Orchard and Allotment. The residents there began planning for an orchard on derelict land 12 years ago, and received funding from North Tyneside Council, along with other partners, to help start the orchard.

It’s now flourishing, with more than 40 fruit trees, and the group has plans to host a hive of honeybees.

Jean is encouraging others to start an orchard: “We started out with some abandoned land, covered in bramble and rubble, with lots of anti-social behaviour problems. We’ve now transformed it into a haven for the community. It’s for everyone, and for anyone to use, including children and community groups.

“The plot is narrow, but you can create an orchard from the most surprising of places. I’d definitely encourage others to start their own. We’re so happy with what we’ve achieved”.

Councillor Sandra Graham, Cabinet member for the Climate Emergency said:

“We’re proud of the work we do to increase bio-diversity across the borough, and our ambitious target to be carbon-net zero by 2030. I am delighted that we have secured this external funding which will enable more residents to have their own havens.

“Orchards contribute to pollinator populations and are an opportunity for schools and the community to learn new skills, like wildlife identification, horticultural skills, and maintenance of the trees.

“These orchards will not only benefit residents now, but future generations to come”.

To register your interest and receive an application form, please email [email protected] and mention the Coronation Living Heritage Fund.

The Coronation Living Heritage Fund supported by £2.5m in funding has been made available through Defra’s £758m Nature for Climate Fund to allow county, unitary, metropolitan, London borough, district and city local authorities the chance to apply for up to two grants for projects ranging between £10,000 and £50,000.

The funding will support the development of micro woods and community orchards and commemorate the King’s Coronation. Funds can be distributed across projects in their area.

Through the England Trees Action Plan and supported by the £758m Nature for Climate Fund Defra will help to transform the treescape and the forestry sector helping to put the UK on track to meet net zero targets, reverse the decline in nature and support economic growth.”’

For more information about North Tyneside Council’s Action on Climate Change, click here.

Image shows the Whitley Bay Orchard and Allotment before and after the renovation and planting of the orchard. For more information about the Whitley Bay Orchard and Allotment Group, please contact [email protected]

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North Tyneside volunteering update

Updated 7 December 2023

Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to a local cause, can be beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing and is a great addition to your CV.

You can search for all available volunteering opportunities on our online database, or take a look at our round-up below, featuring roles with VODA, opportunities with groups and organisations across North Tyneside and Trustee vacancies.

Opportunities available with VODA

Grow & Eat Projects: Grow & Eat seed-sowing session volunteer description

Help Me Be Digital: Help Me Be Digital Volunteer description

DiscoverME Young Person’s Recovery College – Anyone aged 16 to 25 who would like to get involved via this link.

Good Neighbours

Gardening volunteers urgently needed! If you can help, please contact [email protected] or call 07596806378 / 0191 643 2625.

Volunteer opportunities with North Tyneside VCSE groups and organisations

Trustee Vacancies in North Tyneside

Keep up to date with volunteer news by following the North Tyneside Volunteer Centre on Facebook.

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National Lottery Awards for All is changing!

The National Lottery’s flagship funding programme, National Lottery Awards For All, is changing – supporting the ambition to turbocharge funding for grassroots community projects across the UK.

You can now:

  • Apply for funding between £300 and £20,000 to support your project, an increase from the previous £10,000 per year
  • Get your project funded for up to two years rather than one.

These changes have doubled the amount you can apply for and how long they will fund your project.

These changes to National Lottery Awards for All deliver the promise and ambition of the Lottery’s new strategy, This marks the biggest change to National Lottery funding for a generation.

Reimagining National Lottery Awards for All
Read more about these changes to Awards for All in this blog from David Knott, Chief Executive Officer at the National Lottery Community Fund.

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Christmas Appeals 2023

If you would like to do something to support your local community this Christmas, there are lots of different initiatives taking place across North Tyneside. Listed below are just some of the great things going on over the festive period. If you have anything you would like added, please email [email protected] with details and we will add it to the list.

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VODA 2023 VCSE Award Winners

We are delighted to share with you the recipients of the 2023 VODA North Tyneside VCSE awards, which were presented at our AGM on 7 November. Find out more about each of the winners below.

Trustee of the Year – Ben Appleby Dean – Phoenix Detached Youth Project

Trustee of the Year Ben Appleby Dean (collected by Anne Marron)As Treasurer of Phoenix Detached Youth Project for 12 years, Ben has not only ensured that the charity’s funding is used correctly but he has played a key role in governance of the organisation and ensuring that safeguarding is in place. He is committed to supporting not only Phoenix’s staff but also doing whatever he can for the young people of Riverside and Chirton wards.

The Awards panel felt that Ben has demonstrated commitment and going the extra mile for Phoenix Detached Youth Project helping the Board, management and young people.

Ben was unable to attend on the day, so his award was collected by Phoenix Chair Anne Marron (pictured left with Vicky Smith from VODA).

Volunteer of the Year – Becky Porter – Support and Grow North East

Volunteer of the year Becky PorterBecky has had a wonderful journey as a volunteer with Support and Grow North East. When she first started to volunteer, she had little confidence and only felt able to work outside alone sorting clothing donations. But with the support of the Support and Grow, she gradually started volunteering inside the centre, welcoming other visitors, and using her extensive lived experience to support and encourage others.

Becky is now Centre Supervisor and has found her voice, often advocating on behalf of clients and facilitating peer support groups. She is much loved by the community and all the families that Support and Grow work with and is an inspiration to everyone.

The Awards panel felt that Becky has demonstrated great commitment to her volunteering. She now contributes greatly to the organisation and is an asset to Support and Grow.

Picture shows Becky with Ashleigh Jones from Support and Grow and Vicky Smith from VODA.

Young Volunteer of the Year – James McDonald – Justice Prince CIC

Young volunteer of the year James McDonald James has also had a remarkable journey as a volunteer. James suffered for many years with anxiety and was not been able to leave the house as a result. But he was determined to do something for his local community and started volunteering with Justice Prince CIC. He initially helped with the food bank, unpacking and organising donated food items. One day a week volunteering quickly developed into two, then three and James became a regular volunteer.

Since then, James helped to set up the Longbenton Youth Group and spent many days walking around Longbenton chatting to other teenagers to gain a real understanding of the issues they face and how they could be supported. He now offers support to other young vulnerable adults, helps in the Community Garden and food hub and makes a real difference to the lives of the young people he supports.

The Awards panel felt that James has shown true commitment to volunteering and is an invaluable member of the team at Justice Prince. Picture shows James with Vicky Smith from VODA.

Young Volunteer Special Commendations

There were two nominations in the Young Volunteer of the Year category that the Panel felt were worthy of commendation:

  1. Wallsend Jubilee Primary School ECO Club for the work they have done in volunteering to make their school and the local area a more environmentally friendly place to live in.
  2. Ella and Lloyd from LD:North East for using their volunteering to create, produce, and deliver sessions at LD:North East which have put smiles onto faces and entertained many who would have been alone.

VCSE Organisation of the Year – The Bay Foodbank

VCSE organisation of the year The Bay FoodbankThe Bay Foodbank currently supports between 150-200 people per day through a mixture of emergency food parcels, support of school breakfast clubs, food waste reduction program and support of pantries in schools/nurseries.

This year has seen a massive 55% increase in referrals when compared to last year but there has been a reduction of 80-90% in donations of stock. The Bay Foodbank hasn’t let this deter them and a considerable amount of work has gone in to pivot the organisation into purchasing stock. The volunteers, staff and trustees continue to work tirelessly to help those most in need in North Tyneside and beyond.

The Awards panel felt that The Bay Foodbank demonstrated what an integral part of voluntary sector provision in North Tyneside it is, but that it has shown that it has been able to develop its services and is no longer just a foodbank. Picture shows Joe, Jackie and Maggie from the Bay Foodbank.

David Bavaird Award for Community-Minded Businesses

Rothwell Group

Morgan Sindall PLC

This award was given to Morgan Sindall for their sterling work in providing free-of-charge Mental Health First Aid training to support voluntary and community organisations in North Tyneside.

Rothwell Group

The Rothwell Group has gone above and beyond in supporting voluntary and community organisations in North Tyneside with plumbing work that have enabled community growing projects to develop and thrive.




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UK Shared Prosperity Fund: 3 grant schemes announced in North Tyneside

North Tyneside Council has secured £1.5 million of funding that organisations in the North West of the Borough can bid for. This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority.

The UK Shared Prosperity Funding (UKSPF) will be made available to any voluntary and community sector organisations, including individual resident’s groups or youth organisations that provide services in Camperdown, Weetslade and Longbenton.

With a focus on creating a sense of renewed pride, identity and connectivity in local communities, the Council has announced three exciting funding schemes that will run until March 2025.

The funding on offer ranges from large-scale projects to smaller grants for individual residents and residents’ organisations. North Tyneside Council is the lead organisation and is partnering with North Tyneside VODA to deliver the programme:

  • Up to 50k for large voluntary and community sector organisations, they don’t have to be currently based in the North West of the Borough, but the funding must be used on improvements in this area.
  • Up to £500 for individual residents and resident’s organisations.
  • £220k is available for up to 20 different schemes supporting young people in the North West.

You can view all of the funds and links to the application via our UK Shared Prosperity Fund page.

Cllr Carl Johnson, Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside Council, said: “Bringing investment into our borough is a huge focus for the council, and this funding focused on the North West of the borough means we will be able to support a range of projects and programmes that will offer opportunities for our residents,

“The funding packages available will give organisations with ambition and creativity the chance to help our local communities thrive and leave a long-lasting legacy for the area.”

Independent North of Tyne Metro Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, said:

“Getting more cash into our communities is a must. Having emerged from the pandemic into a cost-of-living crisis, people are really struggling. When money is tight, people rightly prioritise the essentials of food, heat and shelter. With this new funding, we can begin to also build back the networks and services that support us when times are tough. There are so many organisations doing great things to improve the lives of their friends and neighbours, this fund will give them a much-needed boost.”

Applications will open in November with funding going live in January 2024.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.



The North of Tyne Combined Authority is a partnership of three local authorities: Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, and Northumberland County Council and the North of Tyne Elected Mayor.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukshared-prosperity-fund-prospectus

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Social Media Guidance for Charities

An update on the new guidance on social media produced by the Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has released new guidance on the use of social media for charities which provides a very useful tool for trustees.

The Charity Commission recognises that social media has become a powerful way for many charities to promote their work, engage their supporters and campaign for change. The public is also using social media to engage with or debate the work of charities.

However, the Charity Commission’s casework suggests that some trustees have limited oversight of their charities’ use of social media compared to other aspects of their communication and engagement strategy. This might be due to a lack of confidence or understanding, or because uptake of social media has developed through staff or volunteers.

The Charity Commission understands that whilst it is reasonable for trustees to delegate the day-to-day operations of social media, it is important that there is an appropriate shared understanding of the charity’s use of social media and the risks it can bring.

The aim of the guidance is to help trustees improve this understanding, and to encourage charities to adopt a policy on social media as a means of setting their charity’s approach.

The main takeaway from the guidance is that whilst social media can be very useful, it also presents risks as its fast pace can increase the risk of posting content that is inappropriate or, in extreme circumstances, breaches the law and removing or deleting content can be difficult.

As a result, if your charity uses social media, you should ensure that you:

  • adopt a social media policy so that you have internal controls in place that are appropriate, proportionate and are clear to everyone using social media;
  • ensure you use social media only to help you achieve your charity’s purpose(what your charity was set up to do) and in a way that is in your charity’s best interests;
  • comply with relevant laws and regulations;
  • ensure any campaigning or political activity that you do on social media complies with the rules on political activity and campaigning; and
  • ensure your processes help you keep people safe online.

View the Charity Commission Guidance here.

Any further queries? VODA can offer support, advice and training to your VCSE group. Please contact VODA’s Core Services Team by telephone on 0191 643 2626 or by email on [email protected].

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Embedding the VCSE sector in Integrated Care Systems

NAVCA has announced (25/09/23) the publication of a new set of resources for the VCSE around embedding the sector in Integrated Care Systems.

The aim of these resources is to help VCSE organisations work effectively with ICSs to create a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, ensuring that community concerns are identified and acted upon through effective VCSE representation.

The resource is split into two pages.

Page one covers:

  • Understanding the value of the VCSE sector
  • Building business cases for VCSE alliances
  • Alliance structures
  • Job and role descriptions
  • Embedding the VCSE as an equal partner in ICS governance and decision making
  • partnership agreements,
  • alliance vision, values and mission statements

Page two covers

  • representation roles
  • sustainable investment for VCSE Alliances
  • harnessing data and intelligence
  • working with VCSE sector to address wider determinants of health

Read more about these new resources and the importance of the VCSE Sector in integrated care in this NAVCA blog.

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Volunteer Fair 2023

Volunteer Fair 2023Saturday 7 October, 10am to 2pm at Park View Shopping Centre, Whitley Bay, NE26 1DG

Join VODA and a whole range of local charities and community groups to find out more about the fantastic volunteering opportunities there are in North Tyneside at our upcoming Volunteer Fair in the Park View Shopping Centre, Whitley Bay.

Try out micro volunteering – give 10 minutes to make a difference by making a card, crafting or planting a seed – all ages can take part in these activities.

If you are looking for something in particular, or just want to learn more about volunteering, pop along between 10am and 2pm and one of our friendly team will be there to help you.

For more information call 0191 643 2626 or email [email protected].

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