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Voluntary Action in Kirklees 2009 - 2010

What do we do and why? • VAK supports local charities, voluntary organisations and community groups • We help new groups to get established and assist existing groups to improve what they already do • The Volunteer Centre signposts thousands of prospective volunteers to groups across the whole of Kirklees. Much of our work is behind the scenes. It all gets bundled up into the term ‘infrastructure’ and at a time when our services are under threat it makes sense to say it loud and say it proud.

Infrastructure matters! in·fra·struc·ture – noun 1. the basic, underlying framework or features of a system or organisation. 2. the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area

Our role is to help voluntary and community organisations to be the best that they can be. That is our agenda. Our challenge is to do it as effectively, efficiently and sustainably as possible. Voluntary Action Kirklees, 15 Lord Street, Huddersfield, HD1 1QB Charity Registration No. 1086930 Company Registration No. 4115459


Headlines show hard times • Sector to lose between £3.2 and £5 billion • Over 70% of organisations expect to lose some funding over the next year Against this bleak backdrop government ministers have pledged to open up new opportunities in public services for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises.

Headline figures

Promoting and developing volunteering:

• 2,402 requests from possible volunteers (an 84%

on the previous year), dealt increase of with by The Volunteer Centre

• 300+ organisations used the service to advertise vacancies.

• 38 organisations sought help with volunteer policies and good practice.

Expert support for organisations:

• 183 groups given one-to-one fundraising support – resulting in 103 successful applications.

Voluntary and community sector organisations are innovative, efficient and expert. They are often also working at capacity, on a shoestring with a specific focus. Change takes time and resources. VAK develops, influences and connects the organisations looking to make change happen. We have learnt our trade alongside the voluntary and community organisations in Kirklees. We offer an independent source of understanding and practical expertise. “I had my training just in time. After our club on the Friday of the same week, a 13yr old girl disclosed to me that she had been assaulted that day. This was reported straight away to my CPO who in turn informed the police and we were appraised at how well we had dealt with the incident. I am sure I would not have been as wise had I not taken in what the training course had offered. I would like to add that as training courses go, the safeguarding course was very well presented and I enjoyed being a part of it. We need dedicated people like yourself who can spell it out in an understandable and pleasant way, rather than text book procedure.”

• 88 groups given one-to-one support with legal status issues, policy development, employment advice and quality systems.

High quality training:

• 54 short courses delivered to 498 participants.

• 90% of participants rated the training as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Subjects included health and safety, working with children, fundraising skills and marketing and promotion.

Information and practical support:

• 40 organisations with a total of 138 employees use our payroll service

• 1,000+ organisations and individuals

kept up to date with local and national policy developments, events, resources and research, through our weekly e-bulletin

• 1,500+ organisations receive our featurefilled quarterly VOICE magazine

• 164 voluntary and community groups used our room hire service


Infrastructure in action 2009-2010 Making the money go round. Giving money away is easy; awarding it strategically and responsibly is another matter.

Valuing Volunteers

Community Re-gain

“We’ve got two new committee “We ensured the scheme had a members as a result of our light touch and quickly got the open afternoon!” money out to people that can make things happen.” Slaithwaite Playgroup & Toddlers “Our two day events were hugely successful, the volunteers were very pleased with their certificates and accreditation.”

Val Johnson, Director of VAK.

Huddersfield Pakistani Community Alliance Summer 2009 38 organisations received funds to reward, recognise and recruit volunteers in Kirklees. From parties and pampering to having a go at sports and coaching, the grants of up to £250 helped to spread the word about volunteering throughout the district. Administered and distributed by VAK, the Valuing Volunteers scheme was funded by Kirklees Council.

Autumn 2009 – The Dewsbury and Mirfield Neighbourhood Policing Team approached VAK to help them make £10,000 available to local community groups. The police were keen to see the money (seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act) do some good in the local community. Working with the neighbourhood team and the Dewsbury Reporter VAK’s grant giving expertise distributed money to 23 groups.


Grassroots Grants – getting government money to local groups • £540,709 awarded over three years • 575 applications received • 295 projects funded • Average award £1,833

• Ran two “amazing cash giveaways” with local newspapers • First applications received 12 August 2008 • First projects funded…exactly one month later!


Volunteering Kirklees Volunteering Kirklees sets pulses – expertise in action racing Time to spare? Help needed? Simply put the two together and . . . if only!

Recruiting, placing and managing volunteers takes time, energy and knowledge. Organisations need help to do it well. • What are the rules for volunteers who claim state benefits? • Are volunteers covered by Health and Safety legislation? • Can we reimburse volunteer expenses in advance? • How should I vet volunteers working with children? Our work with groups ensures that they are continually devloping good practice within their organsiation.

“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this and it has been really useful”

Our Volunteer Supervisor’s Network ensures that good ideas and best practice are shared and put into action across Kirklees.

Huddersfield Deanery Project

When supply beats demand:

First dates can be nerve wracking, but pulses were racing and eyelashes were fluttering for all the right reasons in the Summer of 2010. Volunteering Kirklees Speed Matching event at Huddersfield’s Cotton Factory attracted 17 hopeful volunteers to be, and 16 organisations.

• Tough economic times generally means increased numbers of volunteers.

Participants were matched up for a succession of relaxed three minute ‘dates’. Afterwards Volunteering Kirklees played matchmaker, passing on details of which candidate was interested in what to all of the organisations involved. “It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this and it has been really useful,” said Judith Pringle from the Huddersfield Deanery Project. “We hope to get some interest from the people we’ve spoken to, and we’ll definitely take it forward. I’ve been involved in the recruiting of volunteers for 15 years, and I just wish I’d been involved in something like this before, that’s how good I think it’s been.”

• Our ‘Introduction to Volunteering’ workshops build interest, lay foundations and help keep people motivated until they can volunteer. • Our brand new website (created in partnership) is seen as the place to go for volunteering across Kirklees. • We are using all aspects of social media, including Twitter and Facebook, to reach new people. Facebook:



www. volunteeringkirklees.


Community buildings are the vibrant and adaptable hearts of many communities. In March 2010 VAK and staff from Kirklees Council ran the ‘I love my community centre’ campaign to give local centres a chance to tell their community how brilliant they are and what they have to offer. On one day seven centres from across Kirklees linked up in a Eurovision style telecast, to create a virtual community, share ideas and celebrate. Funding from our Community Media Matters grant from the Lottery enabled VAK staff to devise the campaign identity and publish the campaign pack, banners and promotional items. After the event we produced a film as a record of the day and a further DVD ‘A Space to Make Things Happen’ promoting the uses of our community buildings. “I was extemely impressed with the whole community media matters project, in particular the ‘I love my community centre’ campaign.” BIG Lottery grant officer

Community café training Over 20 people attended “Running and Marketing A Successful Community Café” featuring excellent presentations from Jacqui Goff - The Mission Café, and David Fisher from Whitstable Community Café. Both provided advice on the do’s and don’ts of running a community café from their valuable experience. Kirklees Environmental Health Unit stressed the importance of maintaining good health and hygiene standards and Kirklees Fine Food presented information about healthy eating. Rupert Shires from Business Link talked about the importance of knowing your bottom line and had advice about trading as a café. Following the presentations everyone was able to share lunch and discuss their options and share information at the networking tables.

“I feel motivated to move forward in expanding our venture and have more knowledge about where to start, thank you”


Delivering Future Jobs The Future Jobs Fund offers support to employers to create real jobs for people unemployed for at least six months. VAK secured a contract with Kirklees Council to create 116 jobs with small and medium charities across Kirklees.

An ear to the ground recession action planning Summer 2009 – VAK held two workshops to gather details of how the recession was affecting voluntary and community organisations. Groups’ services were often in greater demand whilst they contemplated new levels of uncertainty about future funds.

Chances for People Adam Fielding took up an opportunity with Cultures United, a multi-cultural community centre. At first Adam wasn’t sure that the job was for him but after talking it through with the centre staff he agreed to try out a job in the office and went on to discover a real talent for finance. With training as part of the scheme Adam was able to develop his skills and when the job ended he was offered on-going work with the centre.

“Future Jobs has turned out really well for me - I only hope other people can have the same chance” Chances for Organisations Over 40 organisations across Kirklees signed up to the VAK scheme offering opportunities to work in community centres (Crosland Moor, Fieldhead Community Centre, Denby Dale, IMWS); work with young people ( Pakistani Youth Forum, National Children’s Centre,); work with older people (Friend to Friend, Kirklees Older People’s Network); work with arts groups (WY Print Workshop, Open Art); in credit unions; in care organisations; in organisations working with homelessness and many more . . . . .

“It’s meant more hands on deck in the shops and in the fundraising team,” explains Sarah Herrett, the Forget Me Not Trust’s Head of Fundraising, enthusing about the Trust’s experience of the Future Jobs Fund.

After hearing about the scheme from VAK, the Trust used the scheme to offer roles to seven people. Andy, one of the seven, has proved to be so good at selling items from the Trust’s charity shops on Ebay that a new post has been created for him.


Philip Wooton from Poperetta ponders the future, at a recession workshop in 2009

The events in north and south Kirklees revealed concerns about how organisations could communicate about the levels of demand and then collaborate and coordinate their responses. There was a clear need for voluntary and community services to have the flexibility to react and deliver what people need quickly. This information was fed into Kirklees Council’s recession action plan and also passed on to NAVCA, the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action, who lobbied government for more resources. Recession board The Kirklees Council recession board approved a package of consultancy support for organisations squeezed by the lack of funding options and struggling to access contracts. Independent consultants offered groups the chance to consider their future and the work has prompted merger; restructuring; partnership work; new sources of income generation and managing the closure of services.

Losing infrastructure – what’s at risk? Promoting and developing volunteering:

Information and practical help:

• Kirklees’s only official (accredited) Volunteering England Volunteer Centre.

• Low-cost payroll services.

• Established partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions to provide jobseekers with volunteer placements. • Annual support for 2,500 local people seeking to volunteer. • Targeted support for organisations using volunteers. • Innovative responses to promote and celebrate volunteering in Kirklees.

Expert support for the sector: • Helping groups access funding. • Vital help with legal structures and policies (the Big Society needs us!). • Low-cost, high quality training programme. • Specialist advice and training on working with and protecting children (safeguarding).

• Targeted information bulletins. • Dedicated training room. • Directory of black and minority ethnic organisations (Improving Reach).

Brokering strategic resources for the sector: • The Future Jobs Fund – skills for organisations and opportunities for individuals. • Lottery-funded programme of support for rural groups. • Lottery-funded programme of support for community buildings. • Working with colleagues in the sector to develop the Third Sector Leaders’ Group.

An independent voice: • We exist to help voluntary and community organisations to achieve their aims. • We know about the issues that affect them. • We know who they are and how to reach them. • We are an independent voice for the sector.

VAK’s future is uncertain. We want to develop strong, positive and creative ways to support voluntary and community organisations through the next few difficult years and beyond. We aim to forge a resilient partnership with Kirklees Council, the local NHS and other organisations to ensure that our unique knowledge and expertise can be put to good use. 7

Who’s who

at Voluntary Action Kirklees Administration and Finance Manager: •

Susan Thompson: payroll and accounts services; contracts and governance

Community Media Matters Journalist: • Caroline Bradley: advice and support for publicising activities and organisations Development Workers: •

Elaine Peaker: strategic support for organisations (eg funding information, strategic planning, financial management, governance and legal structures) Sharron Wilkinson: Volunteering Kirklees: promoting volunteering to the public; advice and support on managing volunteers

Pete Hulse: Volunteer Centre, VAK Bulletin, website and database

Lyz McKenna: networks (eg VAN) also health and social care partnerships; best practice information; policy development

Director: •

Val Johnson: voluntary and community sector strategic issues

Learning Coordinator: •

Helen Crabtree: design and content of training courses; accreditation

Reception staff and administrative support: •

Angela Chard

Janice Myzak

Michelle Richardson (training course bookings)

Emails are firstname.lastname@voluntaryactionkirklees. General enquiries to: Call us on 01484 518457 Our website is Our offices are at 15 Lord Street, Huddersfield, HD1 1QB


A special

thank you

to our Trustees who have steered the organisation through a very difficult year. Councillor Roger Battye Alasdair Brown Simon Cale Marlene Chambers Brian Cross Geoffrey Durrans Bruce Hanson Dr Nasilmulhaq Hasnie OBE Jill Long Mike McCusker Natalie Pinnock-Hamilton MBE Christine Stephen Lynn Thompson Voluntary Action Kirklees, 15 Lord Street, Huddersfield, HD1 1QB Charity Registration No. 1086930 Company Registration No. 4115459

VAK Annual Review  

A review of Voluntary Action Kirklees work last year