0191 643 2626


North of Tyne agrees new partnership with charity sector to aid recovery

North of Tyne politicians have struck an agreement with representatives of the voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) sector to assist in the region’s recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Accord commits the North of Tyne Combined Authority to work with the VCSE sector as they start to rebuild once the public health crisis is over.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “Right now attention is on tackling the Coronavirus pandemic. Our voluntary and community sector is doing great work supporting vulnerable people. This Accord shows our commitment to the sector, and our commitment to working with them to aid the recovery of our communities when the virus has passed.”

Read the full story here.

Read more

VCSE Supporting Response to COVID-19

VODA is working closely with North Tyneside Council and Health Services to provide a coordinated response to the current situation.

As part of this we are working with North Tyneside Council and North Tyneside CCG to encourage them to provide reassurance that they will continue to fund VCS organisations even if normal services are on pause.

The Local Authority has set up a Coronavirus helpline – 0345 2000 101 – and we are looking to assess current levels of provision across the VCSE to enable us to provide a cross sector response.

We are aware that many services are currently closed or closing or have altered the way they work. Please help us to keep abreast of what levels of services are currently operating. You can send updates via our website contact page. We will then update our COVID-19 pages and inform the Council and Health Services.

If you have any problems please email our Information & Communications Officer Victoria logan-coulsey@voda.org.uk

Please give us as much detail as possible to help us understand potential provision across the borough, to identify gaps and help support your needs. If you have already provided this detail to our Chief Executive Robin Fry this week then you do not need to do this again.

New online resources

We have updated our website to see a series of animated videos covering essential information for volunteers around safeguarding, volunteering advice, supporting volunteers and telephone befriending. Look out for the latest animation about staying safe when shopping.

Read more

Responding to Coronavirus

In the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic charities and communities groups across the country are pulling out all the stops to support some of our most vulnerable residents whilst also protecting their staff and making plans for business continuity. Here at VODA we are grappling with a number of possible scenarios including staff sickness, the need to cancel activities and the potential shut down of our premises.

To help our members make their own plans we thought it would be useful to share the following links. Please do get in touch if we can be of any further assistance during these difficult times:

Coronavirus Government Guidance –worth checking on a daily basis


NCVO advice specific to voluntary and community organisations


Ward Hadaway advice on supporting your workforce


The Charities Facility Management Group guide to developing a business continuity plan


Read more

Sector Connector Directory of Voluntary Services for use by the Business Sector

Sector Connector has a wealth of local businesses that provide services that might be useful to voluntary and community organisations.  However, we are equally aware that voluntary organisations may wish to raise awareness of the services or facilities that may be able to offer to small businesses or the employees of small businesses. Some of these services might be on a paid-for basis, whilst others may be free of charge.

Sector Connector is therefore compiling a directory for use by North Tyneside Business Forum and which showcases voluntary organisations that provide services that should be of interest to the business community.  This could be anything from counselling or advice services, to room hire and catering.

If you would like to promote your services in the directory, you can provide details here.

Read more

Working With the VCS: how can we make North Tyneside an even safer place to live?

The March 2020 Working With the VCS event, hosted by Whitley Bay Big Local, focused on the vital work of voluntary and community organisations in creating safe, cohesive and resilient communities in North Tyneside. Attendees included representatives from Job Centre Plus, North Tyneside Council, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioners team, and of course the voluntary and community sector. 

We began with an activity to familiarise attendees with one another, moving on to the following presentations: 

Sue Burns, North Tyneside Safeguarding Children Partnership Business Manager 

Multi Agency Safeguarding Arrangements (view presentation here)

  • Sue provided a useful overview of the role of the recently introduced Multi Agency Safeguarding Arrangements which are led by three named statutory safeguarding partners (local authority, clinical commissioning group and the police). Sue spoke about the duties placed on organisations, under Section 11, to have adequate measures in place that safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This duty includes the voluntary and community sector and Sue is keen to hear how the Local Authority might be able to offer additional support around training and advice. Robin Fry agreed to explore this with Sue. 

 Joanne Dean, North Tyneside Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) 

Read here for details of the role of the LADO in North Tyneside 

LADO roles and responsibilities

  • Joanne provided an overview of her role as one of the LADOs for North Tyneside responsible for the oversight and management of allegations made against professionals in the children’s workforce, to include paid employees and volunteers. Joanne explained how this role works in practice and provided an insight into how allegations are dealt with.  

Robin Fry, VODA 

Safeguarding support available to the voluntary and community sector (view presentation here) 

  • Robin shared details of local and national support available to voluntary and community organisations helping them to develop and review their Safeguarding practices as well as manage allegations about their own workforce. Robin said that this information will feature in the next issue of VODA News. 

Rebecca Brown, Project Delivery Lead, Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit 

The work of the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit (view presentation here) 

  • Rebecca provided an overview of the work of the Violence Reduction Unit across Northumbria. Rebecca spoke about the work that has already been achieved during the last six months and outlined plans to develop a more in-depth understanding of the key themes and areas of focus that may be driving the prevalence of violence across the area. This will result in a programme of work over the next 12 months that looks to support work in a variety of setting including schools.   

Lindsey Ojomo, Resilience, Security Services and Community Safety Manager, North Tyneside Council 

Janine Charlton, Community Safety Officer, North Tyneside Council 

Safer North Tyneside Partnership 

  • Lindsey and Janine ran an interactive workshop providing an opportunity for attendees to explore ways in which their current work adds value to the key Safer North Tyneside’ outcomes. This information will be shared with the Safer North Tyneside Partnership Board which is a  statutory body consisting of North Tyneside Council, Northumbria Police, North of Tyne Clinical Commissioning Group, Northumbria Probation Service, VODA, Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service and Community Rehabilitation Company. 


Read more

Invitation to join the North Tyneside SIGN Directory

Help us end loneliness in North Tyneside and become part of the SIGN Directory!

The SIGN Directory is an online directory of community services and events for the residents of North Tyneside.

It is designed for the public and professionals to search for and find services and activities that may support people to connect to their local community and improve overall wellbeing.

The directory brings together a number of diverse providers in one place, working to support local residents and professionals to access more information and activity to end feelings of loneliness and isolation. You can view the directory here

Join over 220 providers sharing over 787 services and 100’s of events

Registration is Free and you can sign up via their Welcome Page.

Once registered and approved you will be able to add as many services and events to your profile as you need.



Read more

Working With the VCS: Population Health in North Tyneside

Following on from our recruitment of a North Shields Wellbeing Coordinator in the summer, VODA has continued to focus on health and wellbeing. This year’s activities culminated in our final Working With the VCS event of 2019 being focused on Population Health in North Tyneside.  

The event was extremely well attended, with over 50 people from a range of organisations from the VCS and health sector.  Hosted by VODA’s Robin Fry and North Tyneside Council’s Felicity Shoesmith, the day started with a Christmas themed speed networking event with a health theme.  

Claire Howard from VODA introduced ‘A Picture of Health in North Tyneside’, a film where representatives from health, the public sector and North Tyneside CCG who are involved in social prescribing came together to build a picture of what population health management looks like in North Tyneside. The aim of the film is to develop confidence in the VCS around how they can become key partners. 



The attendees were then encouraged to discuss in groups “What can we do to work together to improve population health in North Tyneside?” There was a diverse range of responses which included: 

“Develop one stop shops in public places e.g. shopping centres etc. to include health, local authority VCS orgs, schools colleges, universities etc. to deliver health messages, provide information and signpost into services.” 

“Collaboration of the sectors to enable a bigger and more comprehensive offer this may include pooling and sharing information and data and sharing resources.” 

“Empower people – acknowledge that they are the experts on their own health and lifestyles.  Work with trained people to navigate through issues and problems that present as barriers to resolving health issues.” 

“Providing safe and supportive spaces for people to explore their health and wellbeing options, taking into account their motivations and preferences.” 

Two local VCS organisations showcased their work and how they support people with their mental health and wellbeing. Paul Hillier from the North Tyneside Art Studio talked about art and the benefits to mental health and highlighted their new studio NTASii which has just opened in Wallsend. Janice Irving from the Linskill Centre talked about their recent CCG funding to develop a men’s community shed and the support they’ve received from VODA’s Sector Connector.  

We then moved on to four themed discussions, where attendees were invited to choose one of the topics to find out more about.  

David Fellows from North Tyneside Council hosted a discussion on Healthy Conversations training, an offer to the VCS. Rachel Martin from Diabetes UK presented on Tackling Diabetes. Collette Horner from Tyne Health provided more information on the local Primary Care Networks and Susan Meins from North Tyneside Council looked at the Dementia Friendly Community initiative.  

We ended the session with what’s becoming a bit of a tradition at our December event, with a VCS networking Ceilidh, where everyone was invited to a have a 5 minute discussion with the person opposite them on “What one thing will you take away from today?”, after which, the person from one end swapped to the other, with some shameless showing off, and onto the next topic of “What can your organisation contribute to this agenda?” 

Feedback from the event has been extremely positive. 

It was great to get the opportunity to network, collaborate and talk about the potential of new opportunities.” 

“The event was well structured, had good variation and allowed for opportunities to meet people from different sectors.” 

Great opportunity to learn about the work of other organisations.” 

Read more

Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust is Seeking New Trustees

Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust, a registered charitable incorporated organisation, consists of a group of volunteers who fundraise and provide management, advice and guidance to playground staff. The Trust is currently aiming to expand its membership and is seeking people from a broad range of backgrounds with skills in HR, PR and marketing, financial management, legislation, governance and campaigning. The Trust is committed to strengthening diversity and inclusion, to better understand and reflect the needs of the communities that we work with and the recruitment process is open to all.

Find about more about Shiremoor Adventure Playground by reading their most recent Annual Report.

Trustees currently meet in the evening of the first Wednesday of every month, at the playground. Outside of meetings, trustees are expected to engage in other tasks to support the charity, depending on their expertise. This is not likely to take more than an additional few hours a month.

If you have the skills we are seeking, have an interest in children’s play and would like to contribute to our work, please let us know by contacting Keeks McGarry (manager at the playground) on keeks.mcgarry@northtyneside.gov.uk

Read more

Accenture free tech workshops for the VCS

Accenture is proposing to run three free workshops in 2020 to assist the voluntary sector in various aspects of technology:

Workshop 1 Social Media: You may be aware of the basics of social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, but do you know about the many great business features that they offer? Social media is so important these days to market your organisation and you can learn how to use tools that can help you track when your readers are online in order to schedule your posts to reach the majority of people; how to incorporate book now, contact us, and sign up into your posts, as well as a host of other useful tools. There will also be a chance to ask questions and advice from Accenture’s experts.

Workshop 2 QR Code: Increasingly charities are using bar codes that can be scanned using a smartphone. QR codes offer a fantastic opportunity to engage supporters with print and outdoor campaigns. Instead of copying out links, people simply snap the QR code with their phones and are taken directly to your content. This could be your website, YouTube account, your Twitter page or your Just Giving account (“scan here to make a donation of £X”). The workshop will cover how to build a QR code and connect to different sources (i.e donation payment or a link to websites).

Workshop 3 HTML to help your organisation: HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the most basic building block of most websites. Rather than trying to teach you a lot of mind-boggling theory, this workshop will focus on giving you the practical skills to build enhance your website with features that will be most beneficial to you as a charity.  Accenture aims to keep this session to the most basic level of html as possible and again there will be a chance to ask experts questions or get advice on the best way to meet your needs.

If you’re interested in a session for your organisation, please contact Ian Dodds.

Read more

Lights, Camera, VCS Action…

VODA is planning to develop a short film showcasing the breadth and variety of important work delivered by the Voluntary and Community Sector in North Tyneside.

The film will be aimed at health professionals and will highlight how VCS organisations in North Tyneside actively contribute to and support the local health agenda.

We are looking for expressions of interest from a variety of VCS organisations, from small volunteer led projects to larger charities delivering in the borough.

We are interested in speaking to organisations that can show how they support people to:

  • Improve their mental health and wellbeing
  • Improve their physical health
  • Decrease social isolation
  • Gain new skills & confidence

We would also like to hear from organisations who work:

  • Collaboratively with other organisations
  • Who have identified gaps in health provision and have then created projects to meet need
  • Who currently work in partnership with health

If you feel that your project or organisation fits the bill and would like express an interest in being part of the film, then please get in touch with Claire Howard by Friday 31 January claire.howard@voda.org.uk or call 0191 643 2625.

Read more