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VODA News & Events

BBC Radio Newcastle features Good Neighbours

We were delighted that the BBC Radio Newcastle Breakfast Show was able to join our Good Neighours shopping trip last week. They spent the morning chatting to our shoppers and volunteers to find out more about how this wonderful project helps to support people stay in their own home and keep their independence. You can listen to the feature from last week’s show below. If you would like to get involved, please contact us for more information.

Good Neighbours on BBC Radio Newcastle, 28.6.19 from Robin on Vimeo.

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VODA’s Good Neighbours featured on new Government loneliness campaign

We’re delighted that our Good Neighbours shopping trip has been featured on a new blog from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Let’s Talk Loneliness is the start of a year long campaign to tackle the stigma around loneliness. This campaign will show that feeling lonely is simply part of being human, much like being hungry, and encourage people to act through easy-to-understand messages and information.

The blog features a case study about Min, one of our lovely regular Good Neighbours shoppers. Min, who is 89 this year and lives in sheltered accommodation in North Shields, has been coming to the shopping trip for several months now, ever since the warden at her accomodation noticed how much trouble she was having with her shopping.

“I think it’s amazing that the volunteers give up their time to help people like me. David, who I was first matched with, was such a great support, he not only helped with my shopping but he’d make sure everything was put away for me at home and even did some odd jobs in the house that I couldn’t manage.”

The Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign features a range of resources, toolkits, suggested media posts and ways to get involved.

Read the full blog here.

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New Pavillion and Queens Award for Collingwood Bowling Club

It was a double celebration for the North Shields bowling club this month – not only did their new and improved pavilion get its grand unveiling, but the club was also awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour given to community groups in the UK.

The members of Collingwood Bowling Club have transformed their site at Heaton Terrace over recent years, since taking over the lease of the park from North Tyneside Council. They have also expanded the club’s reach in to the community, involving women players and those of all ages and backgrounds, and is now a thriving club with first class facilities.

Earlier this year, members of the club were nominated for the Queen’s Award by North Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Business Forum and VODA and were surprised and delighted to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Club Treasurer Keith Armstrong said: “The transformation of our Club over the past five years has been just amazing. Our aim has always been to improve our facilities and reach out to the local community to encourage new members to enjoy bowling both socially and competitively. With the new extension to our pavilion and receiving a Queens Award, everyone should be very proud of our achievements. Our new facilities will enable our club to grow and prosper in the future. Thank you for all the vital support provided by our local sponsors, North Tyneside Council, VODA and all of our financial contributors in helping us to reach our goal.”

You can read about Collingwood Bowling Club’s journey in this specially-produced brochure here.

For more information about Collingwood Bowling Club visit their website.


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My time at VODA: Work placement blog from Nathanial

We had the pleasure of hosting Prince’s Trust participant Nathaniel for two days work placement this week. Nathaniel blogs about his time with us in his own words…

VODA are a charity that provides support, advice, training and information to volunteers and volunteering groups and charities across North Tyneside. They are based in Queen Alexandra College in North Shields, where they work to support and develop the voluntary and community sector by providing a wide range of support and services. They also represent the views of the sector to government and policy makers on a local and national level.

Here’s what I got up to for the two days:


On my first day with VODA, I joined in with the Good Neighbour’s project that VODA run at Tesco on Norham Road. This is set up so that the older generation that may not get out or just need a little bit of help with their shopping, can be able to have some help where they need it or just to be able to have a chat with people. I was then introduced to the team at VODA and was taken for a tour of the building and then told about what activities that VODA do and the support that they could offer people. I was then set a task of where I had to type up about a project that I had been doing with VODA which will be published on the website. After lunch I was taken to the Linskill Centre in North Shields in which I took part in an art session with some members of the community.


On my second/last day I finished my blog for the VODA website and posted it live with the support of the team. Then in the afternoon I participated in a project called “Backpack Buddies” which aims to try and help those who are experiencing food insecurity. I helped by packing food bags up in which will be sent out to those who will need it over the weekend so that they will be able to eat without having to worry how much it will cost.

What have you learnt?

There is this stereotype that older people do not like the younger generation because we can be classed as “disruptive”. But I have learnt that actually although some people do think that, lots of people actually enjoy talking to younger people. I have also found out that younger people actually enjoy talking to older people and that they find talking to other people quite interesting.

What skills did you develop?

I developed my interaction skills massively while on this work experience as I was able to interact with people that I wouldn’t normally interact with and I was able to help/make a difference to those that genuinely need it.

What did you enjoy?

I enjoyed getting an insight into what it would be like to work and volunteer with VODA. I enjoyed everything that I have done on this work experience placement and I would like to thank VODA for giving me the chance to work with them!

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Help to shape North Tyneside Recovery College – Drop in events on 16 and 17 July

North Tyneside Recovery College is coming soon and we want to hear from potential users and volunteers on how to shape the service.

Recovery Colleges offer educational courses about mental health and recovery which are designed to increase students’ knowledge and skills and to help them feel more confident in self-management of their own mental health and well-being.

For a person, with lived experience of mental ill health, this may help them to take control and become an expert in their own well-being and recovery and move on with their life despite their mental health challenges. This will hopefully help them to achieve or work towards whatever is meaningful in their lives.


We want to hear from:

Potential students: We want to hear about your ideas, opinions, likes and needs to help us create courses that serve you, as an individual, and our wider community

Volunteers: Have you lived experience? Are you a professional or training for a professional qualification? Would you like to volunteer to facilitate a course?

There will be volunteering opportunities around administration and co-facilitation too such as assisting with the enrolment process, engaging with people around their areas of interest, assisting trainers and collecting feedback.

If you are interested in finding out more and helping to shape this valuable service, please drop in to The Hub at The Linskill Centre in North Shields on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 July from 9.30am to 12.30pm – see the poster above for full details.

If you can’t make these dates but would like to be involved, contact Ali Donkin at VODA.

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VODA launches Volunteer Plus for North Tyneside!

We are excited to announce the launch of Volunteer Plus for North Tyneside – our new database of volunteering opportunities in and around the borough. Volunteer Plus allows people to search for opportunities based on a range of factors – location, interests, activities and availability. It also allows you to find out more about roles and register your interest for more information. Search Volunteer Plus here – if you require any support to access volunteering or would like to make an appointment with one of our Volunteer Development Officers, please get in touch.

Any organisations who want to advertise roles, contact our Volunteer Centre team – we can help you to write and develop roles and to promote them on Volunteer Plus and through our other communication channels.

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Arts and Cultural volunteering drop-in


We teamed up with Helix Arts during Volunteers’ Week to hold an informal session around arts and cultural volunteering in North Tyneside, and explore ways to make opportunities accessible and inclusive for all. It was great to hear from volunteers and the teams at VODA and Helix Arts about how we can all work together. Look out for details of a second event on the morning of Wednesday 10 July in North Shields offering more opportunities to get involved, including Helix Arts’ Voluntary Advisory Panel.

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Celebrating Youth Social Action Day in North Tyneside

Today from us is a campaign created by #iwill young people to raise awareness of issues important to North Tyneside. Inspired by Jameela Jamil’s @Iweigh campaign on body positivity, Today from us has created their own images which represent what makes them individual.

Jameela Jamil has recently shared their campaign to her whopping 710,000 followers on instagram. If that’s not the #powerofyouth then we don’t know what is. Thanks to all our wonderful young people who volunteer their time every week to create digital and media content on behalf of the local voluntary sector in North Tyneside!

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New Little Free Library at Meadow Well Connected

Photo Credit – Anthony Todd

The second of our SAINT project’s Little Free Libraries is now in place outside Meadow Well Connected, in the Meadow Well Estate North Shields. The library has been lovingly constructed by volunteers from VODA’s SAINT project and from Meadow Well Connected. The volunteers have also learnt a range of carpentry and contruction skills in the planning and building of the library.

A Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share. Little Free Library book exchanges have a unique, personal touch. There is an understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books with their community.

Visit the Little Free Library website to view the location of all the libraries.

Photos credit – Anthony Todd

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Little Free Library unveiling

This week we unveiled our Little Free Library at The Rising Sun Country Park. This project was developed and constructed with students from Longbenton High School Melrose department with support from SAINT and CAN DO volunteers.

Little Free Library is a community scheme where members of the public are encouraged to take and leave their favourite books. We think The Rising Sun Country Park is a great venue for the Little Free Library and we hope that visitors to the centre will enjoy borrowing and leaving books when at the park.

We had a fantastic time building the Little Free Library and the young people involved learned some valuable skills in construction, teamwork and joinery. Our volunteers also got a lot out of working with these young people to achieve their goal of installing the Little Free Library.

A big thanks to Heather and her team at The Rising Sun Country Park for installing it and to Bay Plastics for providing us a free cut to size Perspex window.

You can view our library on the world map and read more about Little Free Library here

If you have an idea for a community or social action project, please get in touch.

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