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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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Brief Guide to Measuring Loneliness for Charities and Social Enterprises




Hundreds of charities, social enterprises and community groups across the country are working to alleviate loneliness and help people feel more connected to each other. But what’s the best way to know if their activities are working?

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing has released free ‘A Brief Guide to Measuring Loneliness’, a 12 page guide, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, that includes recommended questions for children and adults, plus an editable questionnaire template, to help organisations assess the effectiveness of their work.

The guide is aimed at anyone wanting to understand the impact of their charity on loneliness, especially people with responsibility for monitoring and evaluation. It takes a realistic approach to evaluation to avoid overloading charities and the people they support with too many questions. It acknowledges the strengths of small organisations in collecting evidence about people’s personal journeys, and gives advice on how to have conversations about a sometimes difficult and sensitive topic.

They also acknowledge that those projects that are trying to alleviate loneliness are also aiming to improve the overall wellbeing of people they work with and offer an online guide for measuring wellbeing impact, which can be used alongside this guidance on loneliness to understand the full effect your activities are having on people’s lives.

Read more and download the guide here.

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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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Karbon Homes Grants North Tyneside




Karbon Homes grants are available to organisations in North Tyneside for projects that directly benefit Karbon Homes residents. Before applying, please review the North Tyneside Karbon Homes Properties Map to see where Karbon Home properties are located within the borough. Applications for projects where there are large groupings of Karbon Homes, or where you are certain you will have a direct benefit to Karbon Homes residents are more likely to be successful.

Karbon Homes is looking to support projects that support their community investment priorities:

  • Financial management
  • Employability
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Living environment
  • Positive futures for young people
  • Promoting digital inclusion

Karbon Homes has two types of grant that can be applied for:

  • Small Grants
  • The Investing in Communities Fund

Small Grants

The Small Grants fund supports small scale projects or initiatives that benefit the local communities that Karbon work in. Grants are available from £50 – £1,000 and will support both capital and revenue expenditure.

Before making an application, organisations are encouraged to speak to Karbon Homes to see if they fit the criteria. Please contact Lindsey Porter, Community Involvement Officer lindsey.porter@karbonhomes.co.uk or 0191 2238277.

Please read the Karbon Homes Grants Guidance Notes before completing your application.

Karbon Homes Small Grant Application Form

Investing in Communities Fund

The Investing in Communities Fund is Karbon’s main community investment fund. The fund is open to applications from £1,000- £20,000 that help them achieve their objectives, which benefit residents of Karbon Homes.

As well as supporting projects that support our community investment priorities; funding applications are scored with consideration to the following criteria:

  • The project meets local need
  • The project has a positive impact on the lives of Karbon residents
  • Residents were involved in developing the project
  • Targets are realistic and achievable
  • The project costs are reasonable
  • The project represents value for money
  • The organisation is an appropriate delivery partner
  • The project will provide long lasting sustainable outcomes once the project funding ends

Please read the Karbon Homes Grants Guidance Notes before completing your application.

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Newcastle University Internship Schemes



The  Newcastle University Internships Scheme provides businesses and the VCS across the North East with the opportunity to utilise one of their talented students within a project based internship. They are designed to offer a cost effective, flexible solution to business needs, bringing a fresh perspective that will have measureable benefits to your organisation. The internships are open to all current Newcastle University students, of all courses and stages, so there are a huge range of internships they can advertise. They can facilitate the internship, providing all administrative support, so the student doesn’t have to be employed by you and funding may be available through the Careers Service to eligible SMEs to subsidise part of the student bursary. There is both term-time (100 hours) and summer (up to 10 weeks full time) internship options available.

The Santander Universities Internship Programme can provide funding to support the recruitment of a Newcastle University graduate for up to the first 10 weeks of their employment. To meet the National Living Wage, through the scheme the graduate must earn a minimum of £306.26 per week and you can claim back £1531.30 after their first 10 weeks.

With both schemes they can offer a recruitment service including shortlisting and arranging interviews.

Finally, any vacancies can be advertised for free by registering for the employer portal here, this will allow businesses to upload and manage vacancies directly. All current students and graduates from the last three years have access to this service.

If you would like any more information, please contact Kate Chambers, Internships Manager, kate.chambers@ncl.ac.uk or 0191 208 5183.

Read more here.


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The Office for Civil Society: Preparing for EU Exit





The Office for Civil Society, part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, has released preparation guidance for the voluntary sector stating that the government is “accelerating no deal preparations”.

Information includes the government’s public information campaign, data protection in a no deal scenario, information relating to the Settled Status Scheme, EU funding and Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps.

You can read the special ebulletin here.

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