charity

New training portal launched for voluntary organisations during Trustees’ Week

Three North East support charities have launched a new e-learning resource for trustees. 

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, Elements Training Portal has been developed by Connected Voice, North Tyneside VODA and Northumberland CVA, who have been working in partnership since 2019 to help trustees overcome challenges such as capacity and geography by giving them the opportunity to access quality e-learning 24/7 from wherever they have an internet connection.

New trustees looking for an introductory course to support their work, will be able to sign up to the Elements Training Platform and study its ‘Good Governance’ course in their own time and at their own pace, and can fit their learning around their schedule and priorities. And what’s more, until the end of December 2021, trustees will be able to access the ‘Good Governance’ course free of charge.

Giovanni Spatuzzi, Strategic Partnerships and Operations Manager at Connected Voice said, “Most individuals who become trustees don’t start out with a well-developed knowledge of governance issues. Instead, they start out with a vitally-important passion for the work of the organisation, and the governance side of things is something they must learn along the way.

“Although we’re just getting started, we want Elements to become the go-to place for people in our sector across the North East, whatever their role, to find flexible, interactive e-learning opportunities that offer a good basic understanding of subjects such as good governance, volunteers and the law, and good fundraising to support them in their work.

“‘Good Governance’ is our first course. It is suitable for new trustees and also for existing trustees who are looking to refresh their knowledge. We’ll be adding new courses very soon.”

Connected Voice, North Tyneside VODA and Northumberland CVA are all well-established and respected membership charities offering local infrastructure support to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in their respective communities across North of Tyne and Gateshead.

The partnership has a combined membership of over 1,500 organisations, with around 3,500 trustee-led charities covering their geographical areas, so we’re anticipating a high demand for the Elements Training Portal.

As well as this new Elements Training Platform, each of the partners also offers a range of other information, training and support.  If you’re in North Tyneside, you can contact VODA for support: email admin@voda.org.uk or call 0191 6432626.

To register on Elements and study the ‘Good Governance’ course free, go to: https://elementstraining.teachable.com/

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VODA is here to support the VCS during COVID-19

The COVID 19 pandemic has affected everyone, right across the sectors with many VCSE organisations facing major changes, challenges and uncertainty.

However, we want to assure you that despite all of the changes taking place and the obvious prominence of our much expanded Good Neighbours project to support local residents, VODA is still operating a full service, albeit with most of our staff working remotely.

We are still here to offer services and information, advice and guidance to North Tyneside voluntary and community organisations and groups on:

  • Funding Advice
  • Governance
  • Trustees
  • Safeguarding
  • Volunteering
  • Policy Development
  • COVID-19 Recovery Planning
  • Sector Connector

And a whole range of other subjects! If you have any questions, queries or concerns, please get in touch call 0191 6432626 or email admin@voda.org.uk and we will respond as quickly as possible. However, please bear with us if our response takes a little longer than usual.

Meanwhile we will try to keep you all updated on the latest news coming out of the sector both locally and nationally. Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter pages for daily updates and take a look at our COVID-19 Information Centre on our website.

** Please note, team photo was taken before the lockdown at the VODA AGM in November 2019**

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North Tyneside comes together to provide a lifeline from the community

Press release from North Tyneside Council 28.04.20

North Tyneside Council launched its dedicated Covid-19 support hub last month for those in need of immediate help and support and who can’t call on anyone else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s part of the local authority’s response to the pandemic, helping to shield its most vulnerable residents who are living in their home without support from others, by providing non-clinical help.

And it’s been thanks to local authority staff and an army of volunteers that the hub has already helped over 3,200 residents.

A 62-strong council team – made up of the existing contact centre and 28 others who volunteered to be redeployed from their existing role – have fielded over 3,200 calls from the public. A further 65 redeployed staff are helping to support the hub by making regular welfare phone calls, checking that people have food, spending time talking to them and helping to identify any extra help and support they may need to help them to shield.

The requests into the hub from the public have included help picking up prescriptions, household supplies, grocery shopping and purchasing pet food.

North Tyneside-based charity VODA has then mobilised 255 newly recruited volunteers to carry out over 700 tasks to date, via their Good Neighbours project.

Volunteers from charities Age UK North Tyneside and Dreamshine are also offering a befriending telephone service to chat with people who may feel lonely during isolation.

It really is a community effort – with staff and volunteers from Family Gateway and Cedarwood Trust, two other local charities, also delivering meals to residents, while other charities and community groups are focusing their efforts on providing support over the telephone and via digital channels.

And 43 businesses have offered their services as part of the support hub too, helping to provide essential groceries and prepared meals, through North Tyneside Business Forum.

North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE said: “Protecting our most vulnerable residents is always a top priority for this council – and the support hub is absolutely critical in helping to do so right now.

“Working side-by-side with so many remarkable organisations, groups and volunteers means we have been able to help everyone who has urgently needed our support. We could not do this without them, and I would like to thank them all.

“The response from the community has been truly humbling – there have been acts of kindness shown right across the borough. We have had so many community-spirted people willing to help in many different ways, and I am delighted we have been able to coordinate so much of this so successfully through the support hub and, of course, only with VODA’s help.”

Chief Executive of VODA, Robin Fry added: “It’s been amazing to see so many local residents, community groups and charities come together to offer vital support to some of our most vulnerable residents. There has always been a strong culture of volunteering and social action across the borough and we are lucky to have some amazing charities who have been able to adapt their services to meet demand. The contribution of the voluntary sector is going to more important than ever to help our communities recover from this pandemic.”

One of hub’s volunteers is Julie Partridge, a retired teacher from Whitley Bay, who has regularly been grocery shopping and doing telephone shifts talking to those feeling lonely, as well as mentoring young people.

Julie said: “The experience has been an absolute pleasure. I have enjoyed so much about this experience – the smiles, the laughter and the feeling of being a tiny helping part of a much, much bigger movement. I would encourage others thinking about volunteering to just do it!

“I wanted to volunteer during this time because there are many things about the present situation that are so completely beyond our control that I am concerned about people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“One of my regular weekly shopping trips has become a ‘chat’ as well. Once a week we chat on the phone as we go over the list and I make sure that I’m not in a rush when delivering the shopping. The person that I shop for has acknowledged that they are struggling with their mental health in the present climate and seems to enjoy the interaction that we have. Many people have used the phrase ‘human voice’ and I believe that is what is needed at this time.”

The opening hours for the COVID-19 support hub are Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, and is available via TEL: 0345 2000 101 or emailing contact.us@northtyneside.gov.uk.

While it is available to anyone in urgent need of non-clinical help in the borough, priority will be given to those identified by the NHS as critically vulnerable due to health conditions.

North Tyneside Council’s contact centre is run by its partner Engie.

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Places to Ride

British Cycling is working closely with Sport England to develop a national network of new cycling facilities that meets local demand. Funding is available to any organisation developing cycling activity in their community, and can be used for anything from equipment packages to activate a local space, through to a new cycling facility.

Support available:

  • Large scale grants (£50,000  £500,000): typically for new facilities or significant improvements to existing venues. Organisations will need to provide partnership funding (ideally 50 per cent). Applicants are likely to be local authorities, charitable organisations or community organisations.
  • Small-scale grants (£1,000  £50,000): for equipment, cycle storage, small-scale facilities or venue improvements. Most grants are expected to be towards the lower end of the amount available. Organisations will need to provide partnership funding (ideally 50 per cent and no lower than 25 per cent). Applicants are likely to be clubs (existing or new), community organisations, educational establishments or charitable organisations.
  • Equipment packages: for equipment packages to activate a local space. Places to Ride will cover 80 per cent of the cost in return for a commitment to deliver and report over three years. Applicants are likely to be local organisations such as clubs, community groups and schools.

No deadline (open until January 2021)

Read more and apply here

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VODA’s AGM and Awards Presentation 2019

Our Annual General Meeting and awards presentation took place on Wednesday 23 October at the Linskill Centre in North Shields.

As well as a presentation of VODA’s latest annual report and accounts, the event featured keynote speaker Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health at North Tyneside Council, who discussed Population Health in North Tyneside and the role of the voluntary sector.

We also announced the winners of VODA’s North Tyneside VCS awards. Earsdon and Wellfield Community Association was the winner of Organisation of the Year. Volunteer of the Year was Rizwan Ali, from Walking With in North Tyneside, Young Volunteer of the Year went to Bobbi-Lou Taylor from Tyne Met College and the Trustee of the Year was Anna McConville from Pathways 4 All, as well as a special commendations for Young Volunteer Abi Jackson from Creative Minds and to the Tynemouth Scouts. Read more about the award winners here.

In addition, three local businesses –  Carney Consultancy, Bell Group and Accenture – were presented with their Community Friendly Business Awards by Ian Dodds, who coordinates VODA’s Sector Connector project. Read more about the Community Friendly Business Award winners here

 

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Chair Talk: new VODA facilitated free Chairs’ network

The role of Chair or Vice Chair can often seem challenging, leadership can be feel isolating. Do you sometimes think it would be good to talk to other chairs that also face similar demands? Would you like the chance to discuss issues and opportunities, share good practice and participate in peer to peer learning with other North Tyneside organisational Chairs and Vice Chairs?

Collaborate in seeking solutions to hot topics such as:

  • Effective trustees and governance
  • Board diversity
  • Trustee Recruitment
  • Training
  • Staff management

Louise Sneiders, Chair at YMCA North Tyneside says: “As a new Chair I’m getting to grips with my role and would love to connect with and learn from others in a similar position. It can feel like an overwhelming responsibility at times, so meeting others, even for a chat over a cuppa would help.”

As part of our Trustee support network VODA is offering to facilitate a free Chairs’ network providing the venue and resources to get things started.

For further information or to register your interest contact Keith Hardy, Core Services Manager at keith.hardy@voda.org.uk or call 0191 643 2636.

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Charity Digital Skills Report 2019

The new Charity Digital Skills report 2019 is now available. The report reveals the temperature of the charity sector and, more specifically, how it’s using digital.

The report – produced by the Skills Platform in partnership with Zoe Amar Digital – is the definitive survey of the digital skills landscape across the third sector.
The aim of the report is to develop a shared understanding of how digital can help charities to achieve their missions.
Headline findings from the report are that more than half of charities (52%) don’t have a digital strategy – an increase from the last two years; and that more than two thirds of charities (67%) want to use digital to increase their impact.
You can find a summary of the Charity Digital Skills Report here, where you can also download a copy of the full report
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NCSC launches cyber security toolkit for charity boards

The National Cyber Security Centre’s latest roundtable event highlighted its new toolkit for boards – a manual for charities to develop their cyber security strategies and create the right dialogue with their trustee boards.

The vast majority of organisations in the UK rely on digital technology to function.

Good cyber security protects that ability to function, and ensures organisations can exploit the opportunities that technology brings. Cyber security is therefore central to an organisation’s health and resilience, and this places it firmly within the responsibility of the Board.

New regulations (such as GDPR) as well as high profile media coverage on the impact of cyber incidents, have raised the expectations of partners, shareholders, customers and the wider public. Quite simply, organisations – and board members especially – have to get to grips with cyber security.

Why have the NCSC produced a Board Toolkit?
Boards are pivotal in improving the cyber security of their organisations. The Board Toolkit been created to encourage essential discussions about cyber security to take place between the Board and their technical experts.

Read more and access the toolkit here.

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10 tips to help your project reduce loneliness

NPC (New Philanthropy Capital) has published a resource for grant holders of the Building Connections fund which can be used widely for projects that are tackling loneliness.10 tips to help your project reduce loneliness focuses on how services are delivered, rather than what they deliver. It is designed to help organisations plan and implement projects to work more effectively to reduce loneliness and focuses on opportunities to incorporate best practice.

These tips focus on how services are delivered, rather than what they deliver. The aim is to help you plan and implement projects so that they work more effectively to reduce loneliness.

These tips focus on opportunities to incorporate best practice. The diversity of types of loneliness, types of interventions, target beneficiaries and locations are such that there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to fighting loneliness.Drawing out promising factors, mechanisms and approaches that make existing interventions more likely to be effective. As some tips emphasise, approaches should be personalised and localised to tackle loneliness.

Find out more and access full the resource here.

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Joseph Rowntree Foundation – UK Poverty 2018 & Minimum Income Standards

Two recent reports from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), UK Poverty 2018 and Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/09 to 2016/17, highlight the increasing number of children living in poverty and households living below the Minimum Income Standard.

UK Poverty 2018

The JRF annual report which examines the nature and scale of UK poverty and the effect of the UK poverty rate on the people gripped by it.

The report examines how UK poverty rates have changed in our society over the last few years, as well as over the longer term. The research focuses particularly on changes to poverty among children and workers, as well as giving an overview of trends among pensioners and other groups.

This research reveals that, in our society:

  • Child poverty has been rising since 2011/12;
  • 4.1 million children are living in poverty, a rise of 500,000 in the last five years;
  • Four million workers are living in poverty –a rise of more than half a million over five years; and
  • In-work poverty has been rising even faster than employment, driven almost entirely by increasing poverty among working parents.

Read more and download the report here.

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