Volunteers Week 1-7 June 2019

Volunteers’ Week is a time to say thank you for the amazing contribution that volunteers make. During the week, hundreds of events and celebrations take place across the country, giving organisations and local communities the chance to say thank you to people who give their time to support good causes. From trustees and campaigners to carers and fundraisers, this is a great time to think about the fantastic contribution all your volunteers make.

Theme for Volunteers’ Week this year: Time to Celebrate

The theme for Volunteers’ Week is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.

Further information on the national Volunteers’ Week campaign can be found on the NCVO website: www.volunteersweek.org/

What is happening in Leicestershire?
Saturday 1 June & Sunday 2 June

Event:     Leicester Riverside Festival
Venue:    Western Blvd, Leicester LE2 7HN
Time:      Saturday 12pm – 6pm
               Sunday 12pm – 5pm

VAL will be promoting and showcasing volunteering at the event with case studies and members of VAL staff. Come along and meet VAL Staff at Leicester Riverside Festival.

Monday 3 June

VAL’s volunteering drop-in for Leicester City will be available on Monday, 10.30am-12.30pm. If you are interested in volunteering, then pop in to speak to someone from our team who will be able to help you to identify some possible volunteering opportunities.

Tuesday 4 June

Event:     Volunteer Celebration Event
Venue:    The BRITE Centre,
Time:      10.00am – 12.00pm noon

We’re holding a Volunteer Celebration Event at the Brite Centre in Leicester to bring together organisations looking for volunteers with potential volunteers. This event will run a bit different to previous events we have organised as it will involve a speed networking session to give people a chance to meet a range of different organisations and to ask some key questions to get a flavour of the opportunities available.

We are asking anyone interested in volunteering to book a place via Eventbrite to give us an idea on numbers and to prepare the space for the event: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/volunteer-celebration-event-tickets-5921776994

VAL’s volunteering drop-in for Leicester City will be available on Tuesday, 10.30am-12.30pm. If you are interested in volunteering, then pop in to speak to someone from our team who will be able to help you to identify some possible volunteering opportunities.

Wednesday 5 June

Event:     Hinckley Library drop-in
Venue:    Hinckley Library, Lancaster Road, LE10 0AT
Time:      10.30am – 12.30pm noon

Come and meet local organisations looking for volunteers!

  • No need to book, just pop along on the day
  • Meet representatives from local charities and organisations
  • Find out how you can make a difference while learning new skills
  • Make friends and have fun through volunteering

For more information, contact: Voluntary Action Leicestershire Tel. 0116 2575050
or Email volunteering@valonline.org.uk   https://www.volunteerleicestershire.org.uk/

Thursday 6 June

Event:     Hinckley Library drop-in
Venue:    John Storer House – Loughborough, Ward’s End, Loughborough LE11 3HA
Time:      10.00am – 12.00pm noon

We’re holding a Volunteer Celebration and Networking Event at John Storer House Loughborough to bring together local voluntary organisations to celebrate the work of their volunteers and network with one another. Like the event in Leicester, this event will run a bit differently to previous events we have organised as it will involve a speed networking session to give local volunteer co-ordinators, volunteers and members of the public a chance to meet a range of different organisations and to ask some key questions to get a flavour of their work. This event will also be open to people interested in volunteering to find out more about local volunteering opportunities.

For more information, contact: Voluntary Action Leicestershire Tel. 0116 2575050
or Email volunteering@valonline.org.uk   https://www.volunteerleicestershire.org.uk/

Thursday 6 June

Event:     Ashby Event
Venue:    Hood Park Leisure Centre
Time:      3.00pm – 6.00pm noon

This event isn’t just about volunteering, but celebrating everything that goes on in the Ashby area. You might want to take up a new hobby or sport, get involved as a volunteer or show some support for the local community. Ashby has a thriving community and lots to offer, but sometimes people just don’t know what is out there or how to get involved. Whatever your interests, there is something out for you, so come along to find out more!

This session will be open to the public, local groups, businesses and organisations to promote local services, to learn about what is on offer in and around Ashby, and to encourage more people to volunteer and get involved in their local community. There will be information stalls from a variety of different community groups and organisations and the opportunity to chat to people about how you could get involved in their activities. You can drop in at any time between 3-6pm and find out more about what is happening in the local community.

Friday 7 June

Event:     On-line drop-in service
Venue:    Online
Time:      10.30am – 12.30pm noon

To try a different way to engage volunteers we are offering a special online drop in service for volunteers and organisations. The way this will work is some of our staff and volunteers will be dedicating time to be available on twitter, Facebook and an online chat during this time ask us any questions, share any comments or ideas related to volunteering we will be responding online to share feedback and learning.

VAL Volunteering Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/valvolunteering/

Twitter https://twitter.com/DaveCliffe_VAL

Email volunteering@valonline.org.uk

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday VAL Drop in Sessions –

Event:     VAL Volunteering Drop-In
Venue:    Voluntary Action Leicestershire, 9 Newarke Street, Leicester, LE1 5SN
Time:      10.30am to 12.30pm

If you are interested in volunteering, then pop in to speak to someone from our team who will be able to help you to identify some possible volunteering opportunities.


Nominate a deserving voluntary group for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The group being nominated must:
  • have at least two people doing volunteering work, and have been running for 3 years.
  • have more volunteers than paid staff
  • provide a local service and meet a need for people living in the community
  • be supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it.
  • have significantly benefitted others and demonstrated excellence in volunteering
Winning groups receive:
  • a certificate signed by The Queen and a domed glass crystal, presented personally by HM Lord-Lieutenant; and
  • two representatives from the group will be invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
So how do you make a nomination?

You must be independent of the group you are nominating.
Nominations can be made online at http://qavs.direct.gov.uk where further guidance is available

Submit your nomination by 13th September 2019 to make sure the group is considered for the 2020 awards. The awards are announced on 2 June each year.

Top tips when nominating:

Make contact with group – they can provide information to support your nomination and it doesn’t matter if they know you are nominating them.
Be factually correct as nominations will be assessed and checked.
Pack as much into as few words as possible – focus on achievements and what difference the group makes
If you would like any advice or support with your nomination, please contact the Lieutenancy Office. We have valuable experience that we can share with you to strengthen your nomination.


Carers caring for Carers – Staying Well Together

As part of this work, VAL gave feedback to the funder about the issues local VCSE organisations had experienced with the stage one-application form.  They are going to take this information into account to make the application more user friendly.

VAL continued to support applicants that reached the stage two process with advice on what to include in various sections of the form and a read and review of the application.  Funding will enable a number of local VCSE organisations, to deliver local initiatives that local people will create and shape which will help their community or neighbourhood to become even better.

People’s Health Trust’s Grants Support Officer Martine Fitt says, “It’s important to the Trust to work with local organisations and use their knowledge and expertise to support groups to apply for an Active Communities grant, and ensure we are reaching people in neighbourhoods experiencing disadvantage.

One of the VCSE organisations that VAL supported with the stage two application was Carers of Leicestershire Advocacy and Support Project.

Support included what to include in various aspects of the application form, demonstrating that the project idea aligned with the criteria and ethos of the Active Community programme.

Kirsteen McVeigh, GP Partnership Worker at The Carers Centre says “Thanks very much for your support with our People’s Health Trust bid, your notes and suggestions were much appreciated. “

Carers caring for Carers – Staying Well Together

The project will offer 6 x 10 week programmes of weekly activity sessions that will support carers to look after and focus on their own health and wellbeing. A Carers Steering Group will directly lead the project. They will decide when and where the activity sessions will take place, as well as what type of activity the different programmes will focus on. Pre project consultation identified a wide range of activities that carers felt would support them to improve their health and wellbeing and included everything from gardening to crafts to yoga and mindfulness

Kirsteen McVeigh, GP Partnership Worker says: “Carers tell us how difficult they can find it to look after their own health and wellbeing when they’re looking after a family member or friend. Stress, lack of sleep, back pain, depression, diabetes; all of these issues and many more result in carers being twice as likely to suffer poor health as well as having 40% raised mortality.

Nobody knows more about the impact of caring on health than carers themselves and that is why we really appreciate this funding from Peoples Health Trust, which will allow carers to decide for themselves what they need. This project is a great opportunity for people to take some time out for themselves and focus on their own health and wellbeing – something which can often seem impossible during the caring day but with a little extra support, can make all the difference.”

To find out how you as a funder, or business interested in setting up a grant scheme as part of your corporate social responsibility initiatives could value from taking to VAL contact them on their sector support helpline 0116 257 5050  helpline@valonline.org.uk.

If you are a VCSE organisation and are looking at how to fund your service delivery/projects please contact VAL at 0116 2575 5050 helpline@valonline.org.uk. VAL can provide various support including guidance on funding criteria, read and review of draft applications, and funding searches.

About Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL)

Voluntary Action LeicesterShire is a charity that focuses on improving the lives of people in Leicester & Leicestershire. We do this through direct service delivery and by providing support to the local voluntary and community sector. Find out more at www.valonline.org.uk

About Carers of Leicestershire Advocacy and Support Project

Based in Leicester City Centre overlooking the Train Station, the charitable company is known as The Carers Centre, they support family carers across the diverse population of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who look after people with different needs.

The project Carers caring for Carers – Staying Well Together funded by People’s Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery East Midlands,is open to all unpaid carers who live in Leicester City or Oadby & Wigston. The project starts in the autumn.

If you are interested in finding out more or would like to be involved in setting up and directing the project through the work of the Carers Steering Group please get in touch with Kirsteen McVeigh at The Carers Centre on 0116 251 0999 or email:  enquiries@thecarerscentre.org.uk

About People’s Health Trust

People’s Health Trust is an independent charity investing in local neighbourhoods to help create a society without health inequalities. It works closely with each of the regional and country lotteries raising money through The Health Lottery, and distributes grants.


Charity Landscape Report

Every year, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) surveys charity leaders to understand the challenges they face, and to assess the impact these challenges have on the sector’s ability to meet the needs of its beneficiaries.

This year’s survey reveals an ongoing backdrop of uncertainty of change facing charities and their leaders.

The report also revealed that a fifth of charities with an income of less than £1 million are struggling to survive. Several recommendations are made to help charities adapt to current challenges and ‘brave’ the current landscape. You can read a summary here where you will also find the full findings of the report.


Launch party for new VALUES base in Leicester

The main base for VALUES is at Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL). VAL created VALUES in 1998 for a handful of people, and twenty years on they now support over 120 clients to take part in over 100 activities each week, with over 30 full or part-time staff and volunteers.

The service is paid for through Personal Budgets, so each VALUES client has a choice over which activities they want to do. Activities could include anything from cooking skills to travel training or learning to play a musical instrument in the VALUES band, and clients have access to the same support worker each week.

The new base includes conveniences like onsite parking and large disabled toilets, and the onsite gardens and hair salon will offer exciting new activities for VALUES clients to get involved in. Clients will also have the chance to mix with the residents of the retirement village and have fun playing bingo or singing around the piano!

Mikaela Paterson, VALUES Team Manager, said:

“We’re really excited that Danbury Gardens has offered for us to use their fantastic facilities for our new VALUES base.

This is a great opportunity for us to offer new activities not only to our new clients, but hopefully to offer our support to even more people across Leicester who struggled to get to our main offices.

We’d love to meet anyone who’s interested in joining VALUES, or even just wants to find out what we do, so come along on the 10th of April to see what support we can offer. And there’s free tea and cake too!”

The launch event is open to anyone who wants to come along and see what VALUES does.


Association of Chair’s Beacon Programme Webinars

Sessions complement their 4-module programme and are ideal for people who have less time, missed dates or who are unable to get to the workshop locations. They are currently taking bookings for Being an Effective Chair, and Strengthening your Organisation webinars.

There are also in-person workshops running in Newcastle, Manchester, Somerset and Cornwall in March and April.

If you would like to promote the programme to your network, AoC have created a page with prepared copy for newsletters and social media.

Join the Association of Chair’s Beacon Programme

Calling Chairs / Vice Chairs of smaller charities (with an income under £1m) in England. Join the Association of Chairs Beacon Programme. The programme offers:

    • low-cost workshops in nine locations in England
    • the unique opportunity to meet and learn from other Chairs and Vice Chairs of smaller charities
    • free online resources
    • free webinars

A workshop travel bursary is available for organisations under £100k if booked a month ahead.

Learn more about:

    • being an effective Chair
    • strengthening your organisation
    • managing relationships and board dynamics
    • developing an effective board

Stephen Lawrence Day – Grants Open

Stephen Lawrence Day is for all ages and individuals from every background. The day will have a strong focus on young people and the communities they live in, enabling them to make positive choices and live their best life.

There is up to £400 funding available for community groups offering a day of activities, which should focus on.

    • Young people from the most disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds
    • Urban/inner city or coastal areas where there is clear evidence of deprivation which impacts on young people and communities

SHIRE Community Grants Programme 2019-20

SHIRE Grants are available for charities, community organisations, social enterprises and Town/Parish Councils to deliver projects which improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Leicestershire.

Leicestershire County Council is holding their annual SHIRE Grants Launch Event on:

Monday 8th April 2019
5.00pm to 8.00pm
County Hall, Glenfield, Leicester

The event will provide an opportunity to:

  • Find out more about the SHIRE Community Grants Programme, including some of the achievements in 2018-19 and the Grant programme’s objectives for 2019-20
  • Hear from successful projects which have been supported through SHIRE Grant funding
  • Meet and connect with other local community organisations and other relevant stakeholders
  • There will also be an opportunity to visit a marketplace of agencies who can help you to achieve your aims as a community organisation.

The Council will be providing a buffet and refreshments from 5.00pm, with the event to begin at 6.00pm, in Sparkenhoe Committee Room at County Hall.

If you are interested in attending this event, please book a place.

Please note that space is limited, and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so please ensure you book a place as early as possible.

For more information about the event, please contact noel.singh@leics.gov.uk, tel: (0116) 3057020, or andy.hayes@leics.gov.uk, tel: (0116) 3057269.


Have your say on how Leicester City Council supports local VCSE organisations

Leicester City Council currently commissions support for local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Groups in the City.

The current contract provider is Voluntary Action LeicesterShire. The Council would like your views on how they support VCS Groups in Leicester. They want to hear about your experiences of these services how they are being delivered now and what you think the Council might do in the future.

As the council is in receipt of diminishing financial support from national government, they need to consider how they support the local VCS. In the light of changing circumstances, they are seeking your views on their support for VCS groups and organisations in Leicester.

They want to hear about your experience of these support services: how they are being delivered now and what you think they might do in future.


VAL wins £18,200 Connect Fund bid

Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) has been awarded £18,200 through the £3 million Connect Fund programme to promote social investment, a means of funding which could be vital to the future of the local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector.

The Connect Fund is managed by the Barrow Cadbury Trust in partnership with Access – the Foundation for Social Investment. It is designed to strengthen the infrastructure of the social investment market in England to better meet the needs of a wider range of charities and social enterprises.

Social investment is a type of funding where approved social investors offer funds directly to VCSE organisations to enable them to deliver social good in local communities. These funds can be used to buy assets, provide key services and work towards generating a surplus, at which point the investments can be repaid. With charities increasingly struggling to find income through traditional sources like grants and public sector contracts, social investment could be key to the survival for many.

VAL will be working with CASE to develop an East-Midlands-wide network to promote social investors and investments to the local VCSE sector. The funding awarded from the Connect Fund will enable VAL to train its staff to better support VCSE organisations in creating social enterprises, developing trading strategies and using social investment as a tool for organisational growth.

Kevin Allen-Khimani, VAL’s Voluntary Sector Support Manager, said:

“We know our voluntary sector does some amazing things, and VAL is here to make sure that charities in Leicester and Leicestershire can continue delivering vital services for our local communities.

The Connect Fund gives us a great opportunity to promote the benefits of social investment to the VCSE groups we support. We’re looking forward to opening up a whole new area of potential funding for many groups, and we’re excited about the impact social investment could have for our local voluntary sector.”

VAL will begin to deliver training and support around social investment for charities and community groups from March 2019.