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Update on Ukrainian refugee support programme

Support Cambs sit on a number of regional and national meetings (as well as some local ones) that are looking at responding to the potential influx of Ukrainian refugees under the government scheme.

At this stage there are more questions than answers but Govt at all levels are trying to address how things will work and how people can be supported and kept safe. The details of how the scheme will work locally are still being ironed out. There is potential to look at local support hubs to allow families and hosts to meet one another and to be a focus of support but this will depend on where people are settled. Voluntary groups will have an important role to play. Part of this role will be providing specialist services to support families, but also organisations will have a role in helping families engage in communities and have access to non specialist services. Families will potentially be arriving with very few possessions so given the first key takeaway below if you do have donations please keep them for potential local donation.

At this stage there are a couple of important takeaways.

  1. Do not donate goods, the Red Cross and others in Poland and other countries are overwhelmed and are having to divert resources to sort it out.
  2. As a general rule those leaving Ukraine do not have the UK as one of their preferred destinations. But a small percentage of the large numbers leaving the country is still more people than the UK takes in under usual circumstances.

Cyber-attack is an issue so please be aware as individuals and charities. There are lots more scams, there are also potentials for cyber attacks on those organisations known to be helping refugees. Please advise staff, volunteers and those you work with to be vigilant.

What’s in a number?

 

 

Keith Johnson Senior Development Worker at Hunts Forum

 

 

Recently, I was talking with someone who wanted me to tell them if they had been conned as they had given money to what they thought was a charity, but turned out to be a private company. Or rather, a not-for-profit private company. They had checked, so they thought, but had mistaken a company number for a charity number.

What do these numbers mean? And does having only a company number mean that the donation hasn’t gone to a worthy cause?

When a charity registers with the Charity Commission it is given a number it’s Charity number. 1 When you see a charity number you can be assured that the Charity Commission has agreed that the purposes (Objects) of the organisation are entirely charitable. The organisation now has to provide a set of annual accounts, the trustees must write an annual report that details how the work of the charity has been for public benefit. The Charity Commission regulates the activities of the charity and how it is run.

To be a charity in England and Wales the organisation must satisfy the definition of a charity in the Charities Act

The Charities Act says that a ‘charity’ is an organisation which

  • is established for charitable purposes only and
  • is subject to the control of the High Court’s charity law jurisdiction

 

What if a group calls itself a charity, but doesn’t have a charity number?

Firstly, it is important to understand that many legal structures (a charity is of itself not a legal structure, but exactly what these are is beyond the scope of this short piece) cannot register with the Charity Commission until they reach an income threshold- currently £5,000 annual income.  If the organisation has only charitable purposes, then in law it is a charity even if it does not refer to itself as such. There are innumerable small, unregistered charities in the UK that operate without ever reaching the income threshold that would allow them to register. They do amazing work in their communities.

The main thing that both registered and unregistered charities have in common is that they are run by volunteers- trustees. Trustees cannot be paid.

Some Charities are also registered limited companies. This means that they are registered with Companies House as well as the Charity Commission and have to file annual reports to both regulators. By becoming Charitable Companies, Charities can provide their trustees with limited liability and enter into contracts as a separate legal entity. They are still run by volunteer trustees, but some of these will also be directors of the limited company- they remain unpaid.

However, there are many organisations who do similar work to Charities and Charitable Companies, but that are not themselves a charity.

There are a growing number of Social Enterprises. These can come in many forms which I cannot go into detail with at the moment, but they can range from straightforward sole traders and partnerships, through to limited companies, co-ops and Community Interest Companies and more.  A common aspect for all is that they are businesses that aim to make a profit, but also have a social purpose.

It is what a social enterprise does with its profit that makes them different to a mainstream business. A social enterprise will either reinvest that profit into the social side of the work that they do or donate that profit to create social change- sometimes both. Although generating income from trading in goods or services, many social enterprises will also fundraise by asking supporters for donations or even apply for grants in the same way as a charity. However, many forms of social enterprise are ineligible to apply for most grant funding and so may rely on trading and supporter donations.

Social Enterprise UK states that a social enterprise “must generate the majority (more than 50%)  of  their  income through trade.”2

Just like with Charities, not all will have a company number. However, many will. If the social enterprise is a company limited by guarantee or by shares, they will be registered with and regulated by Companies House and have a company number. Co-ops and Community Benefit Societies will be registered with and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and have a registration number that can be checked on the Mutuals Register. 3

An increasingly popular form of social enterprise is a Community Interest Company (CIC). This is a company limited by Guarantee or by Shares registered with Companies House and also with the CIC regulator. The CIC regulator ensures that the company is operating in the Community Interest and the company has to provide an annual Community Interest Company Report to the regulator that can read on the CICs Companies House filings. It is, however, a very light touch regulator, especially when compared with the Charity Commission.

Unlike charities, which although they may have paid staff are ultimately run by a board of unpaid volunteer trustees, social enterprises can pay the people who run the business and so is popular with people who want to address a community need, but also earn an income at the same time. If limited by shares, they can also raise funds by issuing shares and pay dividends to shareholders.

Many social enterprises have chosen not to be a charity so that they can be more flexible, nimble, responsive, impactful and perhaps more political in their approach to a social need. No social enterprise should ever refer to itself as a charity or as charitable. If they do, they are at best being disingenuous- perhaps intentionally, but far more likely due to ignorance on the part of those running them.

Displaying Company and Charity information

If a charity is registered with the charity commission it must display its registered name and address on its website, in emails, promotional material, etc. most choose to also provide their charity number. Charitable companies are registered with Companies House as well as the Charity Commission and so file accounts to both regulators and have a company number as well as a charity number. Companies, including Community Interest Companies, must display the name, address and company number.

Being confident in our donation

If, like my friend, you wish to give money to a company claiming a social purpose, remember you can check up on their activities on the Companies House website.4 As we have seen, just because they are a company does not mean that anyone is pulling a fast one. There are many companies doing great community work. If you support the cause and wish to give, you can confidently support a company just as much as a charity. But if you are concerned, find out more about them before you give- check on the Charity Commission website for information about charities, on the mutuals register for co-ops and CBS and on the Companies House website for information on companies, including CICs.

Know who is regulating the organisation you are giving to. Make use of the Charity, Mutual or Company number to give you confidence in the organisation you are giving. And if they don’t have a number, at least now you may have some idea why that might be.

 

Footnotes

 

Managing Volunteers – a package of support

Introduction
Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) is dedicated to supporting innovation in patient care at the Addenbrooke’s and Rosie hospitals. We are the only registered charity dedicated to supporting innovation in patient care across Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

 

Thanks to the immensely generous support of our donors, Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals can provide a level of patient care beyond that which can be delivered by NHS funding alone and make projects happen sooner or to a greater degree than might have otherwise been possible.

ACT have a team of dedicated volunteers who often give their time to say thank you for the care they experienced at our hospitals. Their roles include, Fundraising Volunteers, who help to raise awareness of ACT, in their communities and/or the hospital as well as Office Volunteers, who support us with administration tasks.

This case study has been written by the new Volunteer Coordinator.

The need

My role as Volunteer Coordinator is new for ACT. I joined a year and a half ago and got in touch with the CCVS for support in re-envisioning how ACT involve volunteers and to put in place a formal volunteer programme.
The ACT volunteer team at the Chariots of Fire race 2019

What was done

The CCVS have supported ACT in developing its volunteer programme through the Volunteer Management forums, training and 1-on-1 advice. The Volunteer Manager Forums have provided a welcoming environment to talk to others in similar roles to myself as well as giving a valuable opportunity to learn from how they work with their volunteers. In addition, I have attended training sessions, in-person and online, on topics such as volunteer recruitment, supervision skills and legal issues. This has helped to build my knowledge base and develop a reference library of good practice guidance, that I can
share with colleagues and use on a regular basis. Finally, and importantly, being able to ask for expert advice from the CCVS on a 1-on-1 basis, is extremely helpful. The team have always provided informed and considered feedback quickly and professionally and this has been invaluable when working on bigger projects, such as putting in place the charity’s first Volunteer Policy.

The Impact/change 

The CCVS has helped ACT put in place a supportive supervision structure for our volunteers, introduce a Volunteer Policy and has given me greater confidence in championing the need for a considered approach to volunteer recruitment and management. ACT is now able to grow and extend the reach of the volunteer team whilst having a structure in place that ensures existing volunteers are valued and provided with development opportunities.

Testimony

“The support and quality of training provided by the CCVS, whilst developing and delivering ACT’s volunteer programme, has been exceptionally helpful and of great support. It’s wonderful to feel part of a wider team through the Volunteer Manager Forums and the training has enabled me to make informed recommendations to colleagues and implement positive change. I am also extremely grateful for the additional support offered since the Covid-19 pandemic. This has helped me in my approach to communicating with our volunteer team, whilst physically dispersed, as well as reminding me to maintain an awareness of my own wellbeing when working under difficult circumstances.
Thank you CCVS!”

 

September 2020

To download this case study click here

ACT volunteer management support sc logo

Volunteers needed for Vaccination Programme

The CCG continue to recruit volunteer staff to support the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS. They have asked that the VCS share the below information with their communities.

 

There is an urgent need for volunteer stewards (RVS) and volunteer unregistered vaccinators (St Johns Ambulance) locally to support the vaccine programme.

Stewards

Stewards help and guide people at vaccination sites – this could be at a GP Vaccination Hub, a Large Scale Vaccination Centre, or at Pharmacy vaccination sites.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the steward role is asked to sign up via the Royal Voluntary Service website.  Volunteers are asked to commit to at least 2 shifts at a vaccination site each month. Shifts are up to 4 hours long.

Once registered (takes approx. 48 hours) volunteers will be notified of available shifts via text and email alerts.  Volunteers are then able to confirm which shifts they are able to do.

All vaccination sites (GP hubs, Vaccination Centres and Pharmacies) will advertise their available shifts through the Royal Voluntary Service website.

A DBS is not required for this role, although volunteers will be asked to declare any unspent convictions as part of the application process.

Unregistered vaccinators

Anyone interested in volunteering for the unregistered vaccinators is asked to complete the ‘expression of interest’ on the St Johns Ambulance website.  Unregistered vaccinators administer vaccines under clinical supervision – these roles require training and assessment.

Volunteers can sign up for both options if they choose to do so.

Omicron – VCS Gets Ready

Updated on 13/12/2021

A note from Julie Farrow, CEO at Hunts Forum. She recently was contacted by the CCG regarding government announcement and the support VCS can offer with the vaccine role out.

 

Dear Colleagues

Following the announcement yesterday of the increase in vaccinations required to stem the wave of Omicron, I writing to you to ask you to ‘be ready’ for a potential call to support the vaccination effort. 

WHAT CAN VCS DO?

Now

CCG has put a call out for volunteers via the national Volunteer Scheme for more volunteers: https://nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer/volunteer-roles/steward-volunteer. Would you please promote this amongst your networks?

Moving forward

We are unsure if  the National Volunteer Scheme will meet demand.  It is prudent to ask VCS groups in Cambridgeshire to also think about what they can do to support either by signposting existing volunteers to NHS Responders or

  • Assessing your capacity to manage staff and volunteers
  • Identify staff and volunteers willing/able to help (marshalling, admin)
  • Identify staff and volunteers willing to become untrained vaccinators (need an enhanced DBS check and 2 days training)
  • Have your response ready – Yes we can help – No we don’t have capacity

Things are moving very quickly and there is genuine concern that health may come under pressure.

Please do watch out for more details as soon as I know more, I’ll be in touch.

Steward Volunteer (COVID-19 vaccinations)

Considering becoming a Steward Volunteer for NHS Volunteer Responders? Find out more about the responsibilities of the role and how to sign up.

Steward Volunteer (COVID-19 vaccinations)

Considering becoming a Steward Volunteer for NHS Volunteer Responders? Find out more about the responsibilities of the role and how to sign up.

 Take care

Julie

 

Councillors tell us their communities needs

Back in early July, Support Fenland met with some of the Fenland District Councillors to update them on the project and hear their views on what their communities need.

By Victoria Hopkins

In this meeting we shared with them the themes that had emerged from our engagement sessions earlier in the year, which you can read about in more detail on our previous blog posts, and then we talked to them about their hopes for the voluntary sector in their areas.

We discussed what make a good community, and how it was driven by having a variety of social activities. However, it was about more than just the social aspect of the group, it was about how they become hubs within the community, where individuals can find out about other groups within their community who might be able to help with other issues. It was also important that there was physical infrastructure to allow people to have the space to come together, whether that is parish halls or a play area.

It was also important to have local groups where members of the community can support each other. This has become particularly relevant with the Covid-19 pandemic and the transport difficulties in Fenland.

The challenges the groups were facing were focused on the lack of volunteers and funding. Many groups are relying on the same volunteers to deliver activities. There can be a lot of bureaucracy involved, especially around groups which work with children, which can put other volunteers off joining activities, and there can be a large time burden. When it comes to funding, the traditional fundraising opportunities have all been cancelled due to Covid-19, whilst at the same time groups are seeing increased costs, especially relating to speakers.

We wrapped up the session with a discussion on the ways that the councillors thought that we could help.

Help groups to find new volunteers, including rethinking their volunteering offer to include more flexible, shorter terms and local activities.

Explore ways to reduce bureaucracy to make it easier for groups in Fenland to operate.

Finding a way to coordinate volunteers across different organisations, and to deliver the services needed for the communities.

Explore other barriers to volunteering and support groups to overcome those issues.

Helping businesses to understand the benefits of employee volunteering.

Encouraging groups to apply for local funding opportunities to help reduce the shortfall from traditional community fundraising activities.

A huge thank you to all of the councillors who gave up their evening to talk to us about their communities. The input that they gave has helped to further shape our proposed work in Fenland over the next 6 months.

Firstly, there will be a big focus on volunteering. We are meeting with our infrastructure colleagues in Norfolk to understand the work that they are doing on volunteering passports, and whether they help to remove bureaucracy for small groups. We will report back on this, along with the national work that is being looked at in this area. Our September Fenland Networking event is all about volunteers, and the great work that is already happening which can be built upon. In November there will a workshop for groups in Fenland on how to gain recognition within their communities, to build relationships and secure volunteers and funding in the future.  We are also discussing potential volunteer fairs for Fenland, whether they are face to face, online or hybrid events, early in the new year to tap into those who are looking to start the new year by supporting their community.

At each of our Fenland networking events we have an update on funding where we discuss upcoming funding opportunities with different grant bodies. We know that groups in Fenland aren’t making as many applications as groups in other districts, so in November we’ll be working to understand what these barriers are, and then working with both the funders and the groups to start to overcome these barriers. CCVS & Hunts Forum also regularly run workshops on different aspects of funding, including making good funding applications and crowdfunding which Fenland groups are encouraged to attend.

When it comes to businesses, Hunts Forum & Support Cambridgeshire are running events in October & November which are focusing on how groups can engage with businesses more effectively. Whether that is by securing funding or volunteers, these workshops will focus on creating a business engagement strategy and practical steps to take. Details of both events can be found on the Support Cambridgeshire website

Vic will continue to be available to any group who would like support on any aspect of running their group. Appointments can be made using an online booking system on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Vic is also available every other Thursday evening for those who need support outside of our usual working hours.

We’ll be back again with another blog post in October, where we’ll update you on our networking events so far, and our training plans for the remainder of the year. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletters to keep up to date with everything that’s happening with Support Fenland, as well as the rest of our work across Cambridgeshire.

Wellbeing Hub comes to WISBECH

Recovery Collage East (RCE) Wellbeing Hub is excited to be expanding to Wisbech! We will be launching a new support program which has been designed to help people gain the skills and confidence they need to be able to take control of their own wellbeing and build personal action plans to help them gain momentum towards taking the next step in their lives. This could be towards work, education and training, volunteering, or even something else.

 

We are due to launch our first group in January and are now taking registrations. We are running some online ‘Find Out More’ sessions where you can meet some of our team and find out more about what’s involved in the program, you will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the wellbeing hub or the courses.

 

Interested…? Curious…? Then, if you are in the Wisbech area or work with anyone in the town, come along to meet us and find out more!

 

Sessions times are: Mon 6th Dec @ 7-8pm, Tues 7th Dec @ 3-4pm and Fri 10th Dec @ 11-12am. Please contact our co-ordinator to sign up, or, to register for the program: robert.hornett@cpft.nhs.uk

 

Cambridgeshire Care Network continue to provide Navigator service

Cambridgeshire Care Network put out the below statement on Monday 8th Oct regarding their services and activities.

 

Support Cambridgeshire partners wanted to congratulate the charity on this achievement. We look forward to continuing to work with Care Network in the coming years.

Training around wellbeing of staff

 

Many people find it challenging to talk about mental health at work. Frontline staff may feel embarrassed about their suffering, while managers may not know what to say. Unfortunately, this can contribute to a vicious cycle as no one talks about it and the stigma and isolation grow.

In this workshop series, managers and supervisors will discover how to notice suffering in their team and start conversations safely. Through a straightforward four-step process, attendees will learn how to :

  1. Notice suffering in their colleagues
  2. Identify and overcome the barriers to engaging team members
  3. Cultivate empathy for their distress
  4. Respond appropriately and effectively to alleviate their concerns

There are two sessions in the series, of two hours duration each.

  • Session One: How to notice suffering in the workplace and start conversations with your staff.
  • Session Two: How to overcome barriers to compassion, build empathy and alleviate suffering.

Upon registering for Session 1, delegates will automatically receive an invite for Session 2 in that series. The series of workshops will run twice each month:

Wed 15th Sept 2-4 pm (Session 1); Wed 29th Sept 2-4 pm (Session 2) FULL

Fri 24th Sept 10-12 pm (Session 1); Fri 1st October 10-12 pm (Session 2) FULL

Wed 13th Oct 6-8 pm (Session 1); Wed 20th Oct 6-8 pm (Session 2) *evening sessions FULL

Fri 15th Oct 10-12 pm (Session 1); Fri 22nd Oct 10-12 pm (Session 2) FULL

Wed 10th November 2-4 pm (Session 1); Wed 24th Nov 2-4 pm (Session 2) FULL

Fri 19th November 10-12 pm (Session 1); Fri 26th Nov10-12 pm (Session 2) FULL

 

More training will be offered to check availability of this please  CLICK HERE

 

Please regularly check the Staff Support Hub website for more information about the Hub and for details of upcoming similar sessions.

 

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Peacocks Meadow Secures Funding as it Provides a Safe Space for Local Residents

Some downtime during lockdown – plus Support Cambridgeshire’s Funding Alert emails – gave this community garden the impetus to go on a fundraising blitz.

Family Learning at Peacocks Meadow community garden

A local family in the Peacocks Pop-up Library

We recently received a lovely email from Deborah Curtis, in which she wrote, “I thought you might like to know that here in the Peacocks Meadow community garden in Littleport, we have achieved £18,000 in grant funding in three months, using your wonderful monthly funding lead newsletter! The funds will enable us to create a sensory garden and woodland play area for our diverse residents.” We were delighted and intrigued, so we got in touch with Deborah to find out more.

Peacocks Meadow is a community garden, tucked away beyond the car park on Limes Close in the centre of Littleport, East Cambridgeshire. It was originally farmland owned by the Peacock family, which was donated as allotments in the 1930s. It is currently owned by Sanctuary Housing, leased to Littleport Parish Council and managed by a community group called Friends of The Woodland Garden (Peacocks Meadow).

In 2017 they received a Facilities Improvement Grant from East Cambs District Council to turn it from a neglected space into a community garden. It’s been well used and looked after since then, but when COVID-19 hit, everything stopped. Funding opportunities dried up as funders raced to support pandemic relief projects.

That left committee member Deborah Curtis with some time on her hands to think about the garden’s future. She is on the mailing list to receive Support Cambridgeshire’s Funding Alert emails, which provide a round-up of the latest funding news plus on-going funders arranged by theme such as Education, Environment and Small Grants.

A weekend of inter-generational nature-based learning, thanks to a Family Learning Grant from Cambridgeshire Skills

This inspired Deb to fire off some funding applications in early 2021, hoping that some of them might be successful. The timing turned out to be fortunate. At the beginning of the pandemic, funders had focused on responding to people’s basic needs, but by 2021, there was much more of a focus on recovery.

“We’ve been astounded at how successful we’ve been,” said Deb, “because the target for many funders now is children – getting them outside, getting them active – and our garden is ideal for that.”

In just three months, she has had seven successful applications. They received £3,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth and Community Fund to engage young people in the creation of a sensory garden area for the benefit of adults and children with learning disabilities. There was £500 from East Cambs District Council’s Covid Recovery Fund for ground clearance and rubbish removal, £500 from Littleport Rotary for skip hire and ground clearance, £9,975 from Awards for All for the creation of a woodland play area, £1,000 from Persimmon Homes Community Champions fund for timber play equipment, £400 from Warburtons Family Grants for balance stones and a mini picnic table, and £900 from Sanctuary Housing for a living willow den. The latter included a certified landscape tutor, incorporating community learning in willow construction. Most recently, Deb secured £1,800 from Cambridgeshire Skills for nature-themed family learning workshops.

Funding has been secured for a sensory garden area, which should be ready to open in September

This impressive list is a testament to Deb’s hard work, but it also goes to show that funders often like to see an organisation or project that has a healthy amount of co-funding, along with a clear vision for how the funding will benefit local people.

Their socially distanced community event at Easter was a great success. Organised by The Port, a local youth club, it welcomed 250 people to the garden in a single day.

Deb sees the pandemic as a time when Peacocks Meadow really found its purpose. “In those months of lockdown, the visitors and volunteer engagement improved astronomically and people really took it to their hearts. We’ve created a safe space for people – people with disabilities, people with young children, older people. That discovery of the garden and the pleasure in it has continued as lockdown has eased.”

Deb has just been awarded Citizen of the Year by Littleport Parish Council – a fitting way to thank her for bringing so much happiness to the residents in her village.

Find out more about Peacock Meadow via the Facebook page.

Sign up for Funding Alert emails here.