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Pat: Good Neighbours Volunteer

Pat from Whitley Bay was in Spain with her husband and dog when the Coronavirus lockdown started to happen and they quickly made their way home. As soon as she returned, Pat started thinking of what she could do to help people in her local community most affected by the crisis.

Pat commented: “I was really keen to do something useful, like most of us, and researched volunteer groups on the internet. I immediately found VODA and the NHS volunteer responders’ scheme and applied for both.  Once the application process started with VODA, like all the other applicants, I became eager to do my first job.”

Since signing up, Pat has undertaken a number of roles for VODA’s COVID-19 Good Neighbours, including delivering shopping for a number of residents as well as an emergency prescription pick up. She has also become a regular shopper for one lady who is nearly 90. Pat is keen to keep this relationship going as the older lady has very little contact with anyone else and has begun to rely on the weekly contact with Pat for her food delivery but also for the weekly telephone call Pat makes to her, checking her food order to make sure she’s ordered enough food for herself for the week.

Reflecting on her experience of signing up as a volunteer with Good Neighbours Pat said: “Every member of staff from VODA has taken the actions the volunteers are doing so personally, it’s like we are doing this for them! In every email and conversation you all make me feel that you are personally grateful for everything I do – I feel so valued and appreciated – as if I am unique and special and doing a brilliant job.  I never expected to feel this from the staff as a volunteer. It’s been brilliant.”

As Pat had more time on her hands than was called upon by the volunteer groups, she decided to help the food banks that she’d heard were desperately in need of donations. Pat asked all her neighbours in the surrounding area of her home if they would like to get involved too, and they did, in a very generous way. She set up a donation bin on her drive and wrote to all her neighbours asking for donations of food to be placed in the bin and offered to collect any donations on Thursday evenings after the Clap for Carers at 8 pm for all those neighbours who couldn’t leave their homes. The neighbours left their donations on their driveways for Pat and husband Tony to collect.  For the last 3 weeks Pat and Tony have delivered car boot’s worth of food to the Bay Foodbank.  This is something they are planning to continue and now have another local street involved. As well as being able to support the food bank, Pat says her neighbours are grateful to be able to contribute to helping others during the pandemic, and it helps with their own wellbeing at the same time.

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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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New Happy to Chat scheme to launch in North Tyneside

VODA is working in collaboration with Whitley Bay Big Local and members of the SIGN Network, to develop ‘Happy to Chat’ schemes across North Tyneside to help reduce loneliness and social isolation.

Residents can sign up to be volunteers and will be given Happy to Chat badges to wear out in the community, so that anyone who feels isolated or lonely will know that they can approach them for a friendly chat. The Happy to Chat volunteers will be given a short information leaflet outlining key services available if they are concerned about the wellbeing of anyone they chat to. It’s about kindness, taking time to listen to others and making connections in the local community.

The aim is to extend the scheme further to identify cafes that may be willing to host a Happy to Chat table at a regular time or day, which would allow volunteers to sit at the table and be joined by someone who would like company and conversation.

There are two launch events coming up in North Shields and Whitley Bay and residents are encouraged to call in to find out more, have a cuppa and a chat pick up a Happy to Chat badge if they are happy to head out into the wider world to Chat Happily.

Working with the Beacon shopping centre in North Shields, Happy to Chat will host a fortnightly scheme in the space directly outside of the library in the shopping centre. They are holding a launch day on Tuesday 28 January 10am to 3pm and welcome anyone who is interested to pop along and have a chat. Going forward, this event will happen every other Tuesday, with the times to be decided based on the findings from the launch.

Whitley Bay Big Local is holding the Whitley Bay launch event on Thursday 30 January from 10am to 3pm at their community building, 158 Whitley Road and will be developing a weekly session going forward. The WBBL Community Building is an inclusive welcoming space and they are inviting everyone to call in on the day to find out more about Happy to Chat.

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Barchester Healthcare Foundation

The foundation helps older people (aged 65+) and other adults with a physical or learning disability or mental health problems and favour applications that help improve people’s mobility, independence and quality of life. This year the focus is about connecting or re-connecting people with others in their local community – applications that combat loneliness and enable people to be active and engaged will receive highest priority.

As well as funding individuals, small community groups and small local charities are also supported (there is no formal definition for a small charity, but if a charity has financial reserves in the hundreds of thousands or millions, it is unlikely that they would receive funding).

Activities such as social activities, outings or events, small equipment purchases and specific projects are funded, but there is no support available forgeneral running costs, salaries and indirect services (such as helplines, websites or research).

Grants of £100 to £5,000 available to small charities.

No deadline

Read more and apply here.

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British Cycling: Places to Ride Programme

Grants of £1,000 to £500,000 are available for organisations developing cycling activity in their community for the development of new – or the improvement of existing – cycling facilities in communities. Funding can be used for small-medium scale facility improvements or equipment through to large-scale new build facilities across all types of cycling.

The aims of the programme are as follows:

  • Encourage more people from a range of different backgrounds to engage with cycling in all its forms. Provide more opportunities for people to enjoy riding in an accessible and inclusive environment, focusing especially on provision that responds to the needs of women/girls and people with a disability.
  • Invest in opportunities that connect local communities and address barriers to engaging with cycling. Recognise the wider benefits of riding a bike to enable societal benefits such as community cohesion, reducing social isolation and promoting health and well-being through prevention.
  • Deliver a lasting legacy of active environments that provide high quality and affordable opportunities to engage with cycling now, that will continue to be deliverable in the future.

Deadline: No deadline – decision every 12 weeks

Read more and apply here.

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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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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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Interview with volunteer Emma Ramshaw

Emma Ramshaw has been volunteering with VODA in North Tyneside since 2008. During that time she has changed the lives of hundreds of young people. Emma was recently awarded Volunteer of the Year at the Pitman Superachievers Awards for her hard work and dedication. Emma volunteers for a variety of charities and organisations including VODA, The Prince’s Trust and NCS and despite her own uphill battle, she continues to create change in our local community.

We interviewed Emma to find out more about her volunteering experience and what motivates her to continue to help others…

Emma Ramshaw – North Tyneside VODA volunteer, part one from Robin on Vimeo.

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Allen Lane Foundation – Social Cohesion Programme (UK)

This is a new funding programme, which will focus on funding projects that aim to proactively break down barriers and tensions between different groups of people, and build a more cohesive and inclusive community for all. The aims are as follows:

  • Proactively work towards building better community cohesion and trust, and encouraging respect and understanding in the local area.
  • Proactively promote the inclusion of marginalised groups and individuals in the life of the local community.
  • Fund work which breaks down barriers and tensions in the local community thereby reducing feelings of division and “them and us”.

The Foundation is seeking applications from community-led grassroots groups and organisations that have a focus of work being at a very local/community level; this could be a housing estate or distinct community.

Applications will be particularly encouraged from areas of high deprivation – but not exclusively – and the Foundation is keen to support communities in coming up with their own solutions to local issues of division. New initiatives and those that may have been tried before or are on-going are considered as long as the work has lasting benefits for those people the projects are aimed at.

In 2018, of the 153 grants awarded 112 were single grants with the remainder being for two or three years. The majority ranged from £750 to £15,000.

No deadline.

Read more and apply here.

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VODA – coming to a venue near you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

VODA and the services we offer are available across North Tyneside and although we are based in North Shields we are keen to make sure that volunteers, groups and organisations across the borough know who we are and what we do.

For that reason, we are taking our services on the road throughout 2019! Members of VODA’s team will be available at community venues on the following dates and times to speak to anyone interested in volunteering in North Tyneside, or in finding out more about VODA and the services we offer to the voluntary and community sector:

We have recently launched a new visual representation of our vision and plans – see picture above – and offering an outreach service is just one way of making sure these plans happen effectively. There is no need to book a place at any of these sessions – just pop along to talk to one of our friendly team to find out how VODA can help.

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