VODA News & Events

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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Trustee Training at VODA

Trustee training session shows 5 people sat at a table while a 6th person is standing presenting,Did you know that VODA provides free in-person training courses to new and existing Trustees of organisations based in North Tyneside to help them act as effective members of your Board?  

The training focuses on the roles and responsibilities of the Trustee and other principles of governance. The informal session lasts around 2 hours and includes interactive activities as well as a chance to discuss issues and ask questions. 

If you would like your team of trustees to benefit from this training, please contact VODA’s Core Services Team by telephone on 0191 643 2626 or by email at [email protected] to arrange a session.  We also run sessions at VODA 4 times per year, you can view the upcoming sessions on our training calendar

If you are unable to attend our in-person training, you can also access our online trustee training course ‘Introduction to Good Governance’ on the Elements Training Portal. The course will develop your skills and knowledge so you can become an effective Trustee. It provides an overview of key governance issues including essential Trustee duties and how to achieve Board diversity. The course costs £12 per person. However, any organisations with an annual income below £10k can access the course for free. If you qualify for a free course, please email [email protected] for a free coupon code. 

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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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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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Organisational Health Checks: A How-to Guide

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

A health check for your organisation is like an MOT for your car. It enables you to look at all the different elements within your organisation and to check that they are working properly and running smoothly. Like an MOT an annual health check makes sure your organisation is firing on all cylinders.   

Carrying out a health check will enable your trustees to identify how your organisation really works; what is working well and what areas may need further support so that the organisation can function more effectively.  

Changing legislation, policies, procedures and guidance can result in the need to update documentation and practices.  Through regular monitoring and evaluating you can ensure your organisation is in good health. 

We have designed a Health Check Tool, attached here for organisations to help you assess what your organisation is doing well and any areas for improvement. VODA can help you to complete the check and our team are available to discuss how best to support your group’s development. 

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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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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Celebrating the revitalisation of North Shields

Keith HardyWe were delighted to be part of the Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) event on 2 September, which celebrated the completion of the revitalisation of North Shields that focussed on Northumberland Square and its surrounding buildings as well as Howard Street, including the historic Exchange Building. The event was ran in conjunction with the North Tyneside Together event, which took place in Northumberland Square.

As well as the renovation programme the HAZ also tapped into the rich heritage and culture of the town, through the Cultural Consortium that saw local voluntary sector organisations working together to provide a programme of arts and cultural activities for local residents and communities. The consortium included VODA, Helix Arts, Remembering the Past, North Shields Heritology Project and the Exchange Theatre.

Georgian Cluedo The event featured exhibitions on local culture, films documenting local heritage working with local schoolchildren, Geocaching, Robo Painting and culminating in the performance of A Georgian Cluedo, featuring local actors and young people, performed to an audience of over 70 local residents and organisations at the Exchange Building. #

The funders of the project Historic England were thrilled with the impact of the project and the event which, was organised in conjunction with the Together Festival and provided a multi-cultured carnival atmosphere, Tom Frater, Historic England’s Regional Director for North East & Yorkshire said it was fantastic to see Northumberland Square being used by so many people, this project has been a great example of the Council and Community Sector, businesses and residents working together to bring this to fruition.

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Charity move sees Wallsend community sector hub growth

VODA hub receptionThe North Tyneside Carers’ Centre (NTCC) has relocated to the Spirit of North Tyneside Community Sector hub, situated at the heart of Wallsend. The hub, managed by anchor tenants North Tyneside VODA, is also the home to Healthwatch North Tyneside and the North Tyneside Volunteer Centre and provides meeting and hot desk space for local charities and voluntary sector groups.

This move by the Carers’ Centre comes in response to a comprehensive evaluation of the needs expressed by the carers they support. Eager to access services closer to their homes in North Tyneside, NTCC sought a shift away from a centralised location. Consequently, the Carers’ Centre will now conduct sessions at local community venues, while the administrative operations will be centred at its new office in Wallsend.

Commenting on the move the Carers Centre Chief Executive Claire Easton said: “We are very happy to have found such a unique home for the charity. Being next door to VODA, Healthwatch and other local organisations, we are in an excellent position to work together for unpaid carers.”

North Tyneside VODA’s Deputy CEO Keith Hardy commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have the North Tyneside Carers’ Centre as the latest tenants at the Spirit of North Tyneside hub. The aim of the hub is to bring the voluntary and community sector in North Tyneside together to work collaboratively for the benefit of all the sector and having another prominent local charity join us at the hub is a big step forward in achieving this aim.”

Find out more about North Tyneside Carers’ Centre and the work they do here.

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