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Virgin Money Foundation Community Anchors’ Fund (Grant – North East)

The Foundation believes that everyone has the right to live in a vibrant, diverse and thriving community and they want to support those vital local organisations that act as the “bedrock” in a neighbourhood – providing a place where people feel welcome, where problems can be solved and where good ideas are helped to grow. For this reason they have launched the Community Anchors’ Fund in partnership with the Clay Hill Trust.

Grants of £10,000 to £50,000 can be used to cover core costs or on designing and launching new activity.

Organisations should:

  • be a local organisation, committed to making long-term positive economic, social and environmental changes within their neighbourhood.
  • offer open, voluntary access for the local community.
  • have strong, long-lasting local relationships.
  • be independent, but working in partnership with others.
  • bring money and/or jobs into their community.
  • own or trying to acquire or revitalise important local assets.
  • provide a voice for local people in shaping the future of their community.
  • have a track record of resilience.

The Foundation will make awards totalling £500,000 over the year and expect to make between 10 and 15 awards.

No deadline –  but applications will be assessed as part of a rolling grants programme. When all of the available funding has been allocated the programme will close and so organisations are advised to apply as soon as possible.

Read more and apply here.

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New guide to supporting older volunteers

A new online guide has been released to help charities support age-friendly and inclusive volunteering. The Centre for Ageing Better’s Age-Friendly and Inclusive Volunteering guide sets out key principles to avoid missing out on the talents of people in later life.

The Age-Friendly and Inclusive Volunteering guide introduces six principles that organisations working with volunteers can adopt to address barriers to inclusion and widen participation. These include offering more flexibility, providing opportunities for volunteers to meet and spend time with other people, and making use of volunteers’ individual strengths. It also lists practical examples and recommendations that can help support, recruit and retain older volunteers.

The guide is based on a review into community contributions in later life carried out by the Centre for Ageing Better, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Following the review, the Centre for Ageing Better awarded over £250,000 of government funding to five projects to pilot and share new approaches to age-friendly and inclusive volunteering.

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Family Gateway job vacancy – Assistant Programme Manager

Family Gateway currently has a vacancy for an Assistant Programme Manager in their Education, Youth and Sport portfolio. The post-holder will report into the Programmes Manager and will oversee and manage a portfolio of projects that include family support services commissioned by schools, youth social action, employability projects and other projects aiming at improving life chances for families and children.

The are seeking an enterprising and self-motivated manager with experience of working in the community with disadvantaged and hard to reach families and a good track record of working with the range of professional services that support vulnerable families and children.

Salary £23000 to £27000 (depending on experience)

Closing date: 21 June 2019

Read more here.

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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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The John D Fund at the Community Foundation

The John D Fund at the Community Foundation supports creative activities for young people aged 8 to 19 years. Grant requests of between £750 to £2,500 are considered from registered charities and voluntary community projects based in Tyne & Wear or Northumberland. Focus is to encourage young people to enjoy their free time and which could inspire them to take up a creative hobby.

To apply for funding, your charity or constituted community group must meet the following criteria:

  • Recognised voluntary community group or charity within the Tyne & Wear or Northumberland area.
  • Fun, creative artistic projects that encourage children and young people, aged 8 to 19 years, to enjoy their free time and may be inspired to take up a creative hobby.
  • Out of school projects only and NOT IN ANYWAY linked to accreditations or exams.
  • Project must be at a stage where it can start within 3 months of receiving the grant.
  • The funding must be used for a specific project – not just a donation to a larger project cost. i.e. full project budget should be between £750 and no more than £2,500.

Deadline: 21 June, 12pm

Read more and apply here.

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Climate change for charity leaders outside the environmental sector – ACEVO blog

Jake Hayman, CEO of Ten Years’ Time, urges civil society leaders to respond to the climate crisis and shares actionable ideas to join the fight against climate change in a blog for the ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations).

Whether or not your charity has a box ticked in its memorandum and articles saying that you have a specific focus on the prevention of climate change, the current global emergency is relevant for every charity, just as it is relevant to every individual, every leader and every employer.

If you are an ACEVO member then you are the CEO or senior leader of an organisation in one of the most trusted sectors we have. That comes with a duty to be aware of things beyond our direct line of sight. When every scientist you can find says that we need to act, that is a call for you to lead and your organisation to act.

It’s time for every charity to respond to the urgency. Here’s a seven-step guide to how you can do that:

  1. Declare a climate emergency: call a joint staff-trustee meeting to discuss climate change, share a briefing on the science and discuss what it could mean for your work and the communities you serve. Consult your communities if you need to. If you are prepared to act then tell your world. Use your website and other communications channels to declare that you recognise that there is a climate emergency, and that you are looking at how best you can respond and that we all need to act.
  2. Find and use your climate voice: use 20% of your communications space to raise awareness about different organisations directly working to prevent climate collapse and encourage engagement with them. Whether it’s one in five tweets highlighting climate change work or a fifth of every newsletter you send linking to campaigns and petitions, find your climate voice. Start with the Climate Coalition for content. And if you want to progress to more grassroots climate justice organisations, Friends of the EarthGreenpeaceClient Earth, the UK Student Climate Network or Extinction Rebellion are among the groups that need your voice the most.
  3. Pay your climate emergency tax: the climate movement receives less than 1% of UK philanthropy and it is totally and utterly starved for moneyIf you can, put 1% of your income aside as a ‘voluntary tax’ to help fight climate change. You can either give it to a pooled fund or pick a partner (such as one of those above). I know many of our organisations and causes are starved for money as well, but this is an investment in your mission not outside of it.
  4. Follow the BBC guide: this helpful guide says that you should go renewable with your energy, go vegan in your office (start veggie if you need to) and at your events and look up the OneHome website for more ideas on how to decarbonise your world.
  5. Pay your air tax: put aside just as much as you spend on every flight to support afforestation programmes. If that motivates you to take fewer flights, great news.
  6. Use your money: whether you have £100m in the bank or just a small staff pension pot, that money will be doing one of two things – either supporting a carbon-intensive economy that will harm those people you exist to serve or financing an alternative. Call your pension fund providers and/or wealth managers, and ask them to align your money with a just transition to a low-carbon economy. If they don’t know what you are talking about, fire them and find some that do.
  7. Push your funders: ask for a carbon contribution of 1% on all new applications you put into funders to show them your commitment and encourage them to be partners in this.

Read the full blog here.

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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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New Trustee Recruitment Guide Launched




Charity trustees are some of the most important people in a charity. They have the potential to enable a charity to thrive or bring its operations grinding to a halt, and a charity’s service users are dependent on its trustees to make good decisions and lead well. Charities need a wide range of skills from their trustees, to understand and address the many challenges charities can face and navigate the changing context in which they operate. They need trustee boards that can challenge one another and the status quo, that bring different experiences, knowledge and ideas, but that are able to work constructively and enthusiastically as a team. That is why board diversity is so important – because diversity brings together the rich mix of qualities that make a healthy and effective board.

Getting on Board has launched new free guidance for charities looking to recruit diverse, robust and effective trustee boards. Getting on Board is a charity that helps individuals, employers and members of professional networks become new leaders in communities through board-level volunteering. They collated the learnings from their Trustee Recruitment Pathways programme into a comprehensive eight step guide to recruiting trustees.

Read the full guidance here.


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VODA’s Sector Connector Project Scoops NAVCA Award





On Tuesday 19 March NAVCA held their first ever national awards event in London, showcasing the brilliant achievements of their member organisations. We are delighted that North Tyneside VODA’s Sector Connector project came home with the ‘Collaboration and Partnership Working Award’.

The NAVCA Awards have been designed to celebrate local third sector infrastructure – the unsung heroes of our sector – and a total of nine awards were handed out during the evening, including two for the Newcastle CVS. See all the award winners here. 

Robin Fry, VODA’s Chief Executive, said “We nominated our Sector Connector project in the category of Collaboration and Partnership Working as we believe it is a shining example of how the private and third sectors can work together for mutual benefit. Since the project began, over 100 businesses have engaged in Sector Connector, having a hugely positive impact on North Tyneside’s voluntary and community sector. Collaboration is one of our five core values at VODA, and facilitating cross-sector partnerships is a key strategic objective. I am immensely proud of the work that our Sector Connector project has achieved to date, and look forward to seeing what the future holds.”

Sector Connector recognises that, at a time when voluntary and community organisations are being encouraged to be more entrepreneurial, the private sector has skills and experience that are useful to charities, whilst those same charities and community organisations can help businesses to better understand the communities they serve.

The project enables any business, irrespective of size, to engage with its local community, whether it’s through the giving of time by providing one-to-one mentoring and advice; taking part in team volunteering days; sharing skills and expertise by delivering workshops for groups of community organisations; or by becoming trustees.

Businesses involved with Sector Connector offer a wide range of support including:

  • Making free spaces available for voluntary organisations on a two-day Mental Health First Aid training course.
  • Provision of free support to design branding and marketing for a community orchard.
  • Delivery of a workshop on ‘getting the most out of your team’ from a private sector personal coach (feedback from which indicates VCS managers who attended have completely transformed the way that they are working).
  • A collaboration project between the business sector and the voluntary sector to explore the regeneration of North Shields town centre.

VODA is always looking for new businesses to get involved in the Sector Connector project, if you would like to get involved, please contact Ian Dodds.

You can sign up to our Sector Connect e-bulletin here.  

Watch our video for the awards submission…

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Free Basic First Aid Training from the British Red Cross





The British Red Cross is working with local community groups, charities, retirement homes etc, to deliver some basic first aid skills relevant to the participants. The sessions are free and are delivered at your venue. Generally they are approximately two hours but this can be altered to suit.

The sessions are informal and interactive allowing participants to freely ask questions and giving them the information which is relevant. Topics covered are based on the needs of the group, thereby making it useful, with the aim of improving people’s confidence in an emergency situation. They can also run the sessions as a talk as some groups like to have a guest speaker at coffee mornings/evenings etc.

Any groups interested in this training should contact Nikki Willis, Adult Education Coordinator on 07803 013232, 0191 2334183, or email nwillis@redcross.org.uk

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