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.
We’re delighted that our Good Neighbours shopping trip has been featured on a new blog from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Let’s Talk Loneliness is the start of a year long campaign to tackle the stigma around loneliness. This campaign will show that feeling lonely is simply part of being human, much like being hungry, and encourage people to act through easy-to-understand messages and information.
The blog features a case study about Min, one of our lovely regular Good Neighbours shoppers. Min, who is 89 this year and lives in sheltered accommodation in North Shields, has been coming to the shopping trip for several months now, ever since the warden at her accomodation noticed how much trouble she was having with her shopping.
“I think it’s amazing that the volunteers give up their time to help people like me. David, who I was first matched with, was such a great support, he not only helped with my shopping but he’d make sure everything was put away for me at home and even did some odd jobs in the house that I couldn’t manage.”
The Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign features a range of resources, toolkits, suggested media posts and ways to get involved.
We had the pleasure of hosting Prince’s Trust participant Nathaniel for two days work placement this week. Nathaniel blogs about his time with us in his own words…
VODA are a charity that provides support, advice, training and information to volunteers and volunteering groups and charities across North Tyneside. They are based in Queen Alexandra College in North Shields, where they work to support and develop the voluntary and community sector by providing a wide range of support and services. They also represent the views of the sector to government and policy makers on a local and national level.
Here’s what I got up to for the two days:
On my first day with VODA, I joined in with the Good Neighbour’s project that VODA run at Tesco on Norham Road. This is set up so that the older generation that may not get out or just need a little bit of help with their shopping, can be able to have some help where they need it or just to be able to have a chat with people. I was then introduced to the team at VODA and was taken for a tour of the building and then told about what activities that VODA do and the support that they could offer people. I was then set a task of where I had to type up about a project that I had been doing with VODA which will be published on the website. After lunch I was taken to the Linskill Centre in North Shields in which I took part in an art session with some members of the community.
On my second/last day I finished my blog for the VODA website and posted it live with the support of the team. Then in the afternoon I participated in a project called “Backpack Buddies” which aims to try and help those who are experiencing food insecurity. I helped by packing food bags up in which will be sent out to those who will need it over the weekend so that they will be able to eat without having to worry how much it will cost.
What have you learnt?
There is this stereotype that older people do not like the younger generation because we can be classed as “disruptive”. But I have learnt that actually although some people do think that, lots of people actually enjoy talking to younger people. I have also found out that younger people actually enjoy talking to older people and that they find talking to other people quite interesting.
What skills did you develop?
I developed my interaction skills massively while on this work experience as I was able to interact with people that I wouldn’t normally interact with and I was able to help/make a difference to those that genuinely need it.
What did you enjoy?
I enjoyed getting an insight into what it would be like to work and volunteer with VODA. I enjoyed everything that I have done on this work experience placement and I would like to thank VODA for giving me the chance to work with them!
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.
Watch our video for the awards submission…
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:
- Monday 4 March, 10am to 1pm at North Shields Customer Service Centre
- Monday 13 May, 10am to 1pm at Whitley Bay Customer Service Centre
- Monday 1 July, 10am to 1pm at John Willie Sams Centre, Dudley
- Monday 9 September, 10am to 1pm at Wallsend Customer Service Centre
- Tuesday 12 November, 10am to 1pm at White Swan Centre, Killingworth
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.
Robin Fry provides an update on the North of Tyne Combined Authority…
Last month, along with my counterparts in Newcastle and Northumberland, I met with officers from the new North of Tyne Combined Authority. During the meeting we received an update on progress made so far and began to explore how the voluntary and community sector can be most appropriately involved.
Those of you who attended the most recent stakeholder event will have heard various politicians acknowledging the importance of engaging with the sector. I was particularly pleased to hear the new interim North of Tyne Mayor, Norma Redfearn, speaking so passionately about what the sector can offer.
Although the Combined Authority is now in existence, most of the work programme work will not commence until after the Mayoral elections in May 2019. In the meantime an ‘Economic Vision’ has been published on the North of Tyne website, setting out some key priorities. This document does not make any reference to our sector – something we are keen to address.
The ‘Inclusive Economy’ agenda is fundamental to the North of Tyne combined authority and will consist of specific programmes of work but it will also be a cross-cutting theme across other areas of work. The Inclusive Economy Board is where we see a key role for VCS representation and a commitment has been made to ensure this will happen. The Combined Authority has also committed to having a ‘VCS Ambassador’ who will attend Cabinet meetings in an advisory capacity.
In order to move these promising conversations forward we have agreed to hold VCS events in North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland, each with the same format and content. The purpose of the events will be to bring VCS organisations up to speed with devolution progress and discuss how the sector can most effectively be involved.
VODA will be hosting the North Tyneside VCS event on Tuesday 12 March from 9.30am to 12 noon, on place of our regular Working with the VCS Event, at the Linskill Centre, North Shields. Booking details will be shared on our website and social media channels. Please do get in touch if you require any further details.
In December we held a Working with the VCS ‘Christmas special’ at Pathways4All. The event was attended by 32 people from 25 different organisations. Not only was this an opportunity to enjoy mince pies and hot drinks with colleagues and friends, it also enabled us to shine a spotlight on what an amazing voluntary and community sector we have in North Tyneside.
Everyone fully embraced the festive theme as they shared information about their key successes in 2018 (why they are on the ‘Good List’) as well as their ambitions for 2019 (what’s on their Christmas wish list). It was amazing to hear about Whitley Bay Big Local’s collaborative plans to tackle social isolation this year, the fantastic number of support sessions offered last year to asylum seekers and refugees by Walking With North Tyneside, SomeOne Care’s plans to celebrate their 30th anniversary, and the ambitions of Earsdon and Wellfield Community Centre to develop more provision for young people.
There was also an opportunity towards the end of the event for organisations to identify key areas of work that they would appreciate some support with, as well things they can offer to others. Amongst the 44 calls for help were things such as help with volunteer recruitment (in particular support to identify new trustees), support to secure funding and opportunities to develop new networks and promote specific areas of work. There were 47 separate offers of support from attendees covering everything from access to facilities to free training. HealthWatch North Tyneside shared their offer of small grants for working with children and young people about their health and social care issues, while the Linskill Centre pledged to offer support and advice on the community asset transfer process. Earsdon and Wellfield Community Association even offered access to their Race Night equipment for fundraising!
In addition, Craig Anderson from North Tyneside Council gave an informative presentation about the North Tyneside Data Store, highlighting the key data sets that are available and the different ways organisations can access the information. The Ward Profile information demonstrated provides quick and easy access to some of the most regularly requested data. This could prove to be a really useful way to support organisations in evidencing need for increased services and investment from funders. You can access the data store here.
The next Working With the VCS Event takes place on 12 March from 9.30am to 12 noon at The Linskill Centre, North Shields. The event will focus on the new North of Tyne Combined Authority – spanning Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
At a recent event we asked local voluntary and community organisations to share their successes from 2018 and ambitions for 2019. This is what they told us…
Our Annual General Meeting and awards presentation took place on Wednesday 28 November at YMCA North Tyneside.
As well as a presentation of VODA’s latest annual report and accounts, the event featured keynote speaker Kirsten Edmondson, discuss digital transformation and what it means for the third sector.
Two local businesses – TSG and Turncoach – were presented with their Community Friendly Business Awards by Ian Dodds, who coordinates VODA’s Sector Connector project, and VODA’s main awards were presented by special guest, Chairman of North Tyneside Council, Cllr Tommy Mulvenna. Read more about our award winners here.
What does VODA mean to you?
During the networking lunch, we asked attendees to write three words or sentences describing ‘what VODA means to you?’ We are delighted to share the submissions below and intend to build on this exercise in to next year, in celebration of a special anniversary for VODA…