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Northampton Volunteering Centre


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Annual Review

Northampton Volunteering Centre 15 St.Giles Street, Northampton NN1 1JA T: 01604 637 522 E: W: Follow us:

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Welcome to the annual report of Northampton Volunteering Centre.


Our year in numbers


Volunteer Car Scheme




Age Span




School of Life


Group Support


Northamptonshire LINk


Northampton VCS Forum


Annual Finance


NVC Northants


Future Plans


The Countywide Forum

Northampton Volunteering Centre (NVC) supports the development of the voluntary and community sector in Northamptonshire. This support is given through training sessions, conferences, opportunities for networking and much more as well as volunteering guidance. We support the community in many ways through individual projects such as our Volunteer Car Scheme

It is has now become routine to comment about the uncertainty faced by organisations in the voluntary sector, so let’s take it as read that from an external perspective, funding, partnerships, and the public sector’s wider approach to volunteering and the voluntary sector remain in a state of flux. On balance, for NVC, the opportunities outweigh the threats. Possibly the best example of the organisation’s ability to respond to the changing environment has been the decision to jointly form a Community Interest Company with The University of Northampton – as a vehicle for running services under the new “Healthwatch” banner. This initiative was brokered and agreed towards the end of 2012 and offers a new model of governance as well as a mechanism by which income generating activities can be more satisfactorily channelled. Towards the end of the year, we received news of a change which often creates considerable unease within an organisation; Dominic McClean our Chief Executive for the previous 5 years was moving on. Dominic accepted the position of Team Rector of Market Bosworth – a position which he took up in April. The Reverend Dominic McClean (as he is now known), continues to

receive the good wishes of his former colleagues and the board owe him a significant debt of gratitude for developing the organisation to a position where it finds itself in a strong position to influence emerging agendas. Jane Carr, Dominic’s deputy, took over in the interim following his departure, and the board was happily able to confirm her permanent appointment following an open and rigorous recruitment process. I would like to thank her for her stewardship of the organisation. Elsewhere within the organisation, a range of fruitful projects continued to be developed and new relationships began to emerge. The staff and volunteers are to be thanked for adapting and responding to these opportunities. Finally, I would like to thank my colleague trustees. It’s been quite a testing period for all of us and we’re fully cognisant of our responsibilities. Our hope, like everyone who contributes to the work of this fantastic organisation, is that it continues to thrive in order to enrich and improve the lives of people in Northamptonshire.

Martin Lord - Chair of Trustees

and Age Span.



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Message from the

Chief Executive


The continued pressure of the current economic climate has been evident for

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many of the voluntary and community sector organisations in Northamptonshire. With an ever reducing source of income through grants and the changing landscape of


commissioning, the voluntary and community sector (VCS) is facing some of its biggest ever challenges. However, wherever there are challenges, there

suitable partners and building robust collaborations

are also opportunities for the sector. The VCS

possible for the majority of organisations,

has for many years been delivering professional

regardless of size.

services to those most in need in our county, and the value and quality of those services now

We are working hard to build on our strategic

more than ever is being recognised as an

relationships that enable us to bring to the table

essential part of supporting communities

the issues and ideas from the VCS and the

and the county’s most vulnerable people.

communities they support. Through the forums, meetings and other events we want to hear

In order for the VCS to access the opportunities

from the sector and their users so we can

it is clear that there will be a need to work

support a solution focussed approach to the

in new and innovative ways. Collaboration

needs of communities.

is going to be a key part of any new commissioning by statutory bodies with

Central to all of this is our work around the

an emphasis on using existing community

promotion of volunteering and the benefits that

links to ensure robust delivery of any contract.

it holds for both communities and the volunteers

In addition the need for the VCS to charge for


previously “free to access� services to ensure

become an integral part of communities whilst

continued delivery is a new and somewhat

promoting best practice in the recruitment and

uncomfortable change that is inevitable.

treatment of volunteers throughout their

We want to help volunteering

volunteering journey. Going




Centre (NVC) aims to play a central part in

We look forward to working with you all over the

enabling organisations to fully understand their

next year to continue building a thriving

social and economic impact whilst being able

community in Northamptonshire.


191 34

18,125 55

68 1,295 2428

Our Year In Numbers 3460 enquiries were received from

people wanting to get involved with volunteering, a 38% increase on the previous year.

13,900 trips were completed by our Volunteer Car Scheme drivers.

In October 2012 alone, drivers completed 1350 appointments, an average of 44 per day.


frontline VCS organisations in Northampton received face to face support from NVC.

34 teams from various businesses were assisted by NVC around employer supported volunteering.

18,125 unique users visited our website

55 gardens were completed by Age Span staff and volunteers, 68 volunteers gave 1295 hours of their time. 2428 followers received advice,

tips and news about the VCS from our Twitter feeds.


to articulate fully their services as a professional delivery offer. We are looking to provide a wide range of support services that will make finding


Jane Carr - Chief Executive



We assist individuals with extra support needs to find a

We passionately believe that volunteering

volunteering role appropriate for them . We believ e that

benefits both the volunteer and the

everyone should have the chance to volunteer so we provide our

organisation that the volunteer is working

Springboard project to support people with a range of needs into

for. People choose to volunteer for a variety


of reasons whether it is giving something It targets people who would not otherwise be able to access

back to the community, to make a

volunteering opportunities and offers an individual package

difference or simply to develop new skills

of support to help get them started. People involved in the

and meet new people.

project can range from people with physical disabilities, mental health issues, or learning difficulties to people rehabilitating from drug or alcohol abuse and much more.

At Northampton Volunteering Centre we help




volunteering In addition to supporting people into volunteering, we often visit

opportunities as well as supporting local organisations to recruit new volunteers.

We match volunteers with organisations

Many of the organisations that we work

who are looking for help. We post local

them. The project is funded by Lloyds TSB and had a very

with could not function without their

opportunities for volunteering onto the

successful year, working with 160 people to give them the

in horticulture as he had studied

volunteers, NVC being one of them,

national website for

opportunity to volunteer and make a difference.

the subject at college.

as without our dedicated volunteers who

people to search online at their leisure

interview people interested in volunteering,

and find groups that need their help.

Quotes from Springboard clients:



Last year we received 2064 applications

“I cannot thank you enough. Volunteering has made

for finding a suitable role.

provide their time for Age Span and the

for volunteer opportunities through do-it.

such a difference to my life”.

He said his client has found





Volunteer Car Scheme we would not be

into volunteering and the various options that are available to

A client recently called in with his support worker interested in working

The client’s support worker since expressed his thanks and gratitude

volunteering to be an amazing

able to deliver the support that we do.

We also help individuals face

to face by discussing what they are looking for and recommending specific roles that may fit their requirements. Last year we assisted 697 people face to face to find what they were looking for.


specialist organisations to talk to individuals about how to get

Case study from Springboard:

“My confidence has grown and I am meeting new people. My friends and doctor have remarked on the difference in me since I started volunteering”. “It was a huge step for me to start volunteering but you made me overcome my fears and gave me the 'push' I needed”.

experience and it has given him a real sense of satisfaction and has developed his interpersonal skills






acumen. He has become more patient and knowledgeable and his confidence has soared. Volunteering has transformed his client into a happier adult.


Group Support We believe that voluntary and community sector groups and organisations in Northampton should have access to information and support in order to


VCS Forum

grow and help the causes that they were set up to benefit. We provide a variety of support to these grassroots organisations to help them with governance, business planning and achieving future sustainability.

We understand that communicating with our peers is We provided training courses for organisations in Northampton on bid writing,

an important tool for development of organisations.

volunteer management, customer care, business planning, equality and

As Northampton Volunteering Centre we host the

diversity as well as much more.

Northampton Voluntary and Community Sector Forum. Attendees of the forum are given the opportunity to

We supported 191 voluntary and community sector organisations, 30 of which

share information and hear from speakers on a wide

were new groups just starting up, needing help to get their feet on the

range of topics.

ground and to understand how to set up a successful organisation.

We provided speakers to talk about topics relevant to the sector including Northampton Borough Council’s changes to rate relief and changes to the housing and benefits system, Nene Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Meetings also include members’ news and information exchange, the opportunity for groups

We helped support a new organisation, Pearls of Peace to set up.

to talk about their own organisations and networking.

In the last year ...

They wanted to help local Muslim women who are feeling isolated with

Northampton Volunteering Centre

nowhere to go to socialise, make friends and speak to others in similar

held five Forum meetings to give

circumstances and integrate with women of other cultures/religions.

local groups the chance to interact with each other and gain a greater

We supported this young group to create a business plan, constitution and put together essential policies required in order for the group to achieve its


understanding of the voluntary and community sector in Northampton.

aims. This help and training from NVC has enabled Pearls of Peace to obtain

On average representatives from

office space in a central location and become a sustainable organisation.

24 groups attend each meeting.


Countywide Forum We enable and provide the voluntary

We worked in partnership with Nene Clinical

We enable the voluntary and community

and community sector in Northampton-

Commissioning Group to promote the

sector to come together to build strong

shire with training, events, research and

services of the VCS in Northamptonshire to


sector specific assistance. By offering

Commissioners, GPs, Nurses and Practice


Managers. We also worked on a pilot in

Countywide Forum. The Countywide Forum

Northampton South and East to assist in

i s th e vo i c e f o r appro x i m ate l y 2000

setting up Patient Participation Groups and

voluntary groups from across

identifying gaps in service provision.

Northamptonshire. The Forum is made up of

Alongside this we created a video to

a steering group representing the seven

promote the great work that the county’s

districts within Northamptonshire. Members

voluntary and community sector offers to

of the steering group give up valuable time

the health sector.

and resources to lead the work of the

this, organisations in the county have a service that they can use to make sure they are up to date with matters that may affect their organisation and beneficiaries. We provided a number of conferences open to the sector on a variety of topics including welfare reform and social value.





County Council to offer briefings on the ‘Community Right to Challenge’ giving organisations a greater insight into opportunities they could make use of. We also held an event to introduce prospective candidates who were running for Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner to our voluntary sector partners.

We were appointed as the secretariat for the Big Lottery’s Talent Match Fund. The fund will aim to improve work readiness for 18-24 year olds who have been out of work for at least 12 months. As secretariat we have been part of attracting up to £1 million into the county over five years.










forum, and it is their passion, drive and

We improved our online directory of

determination which continued its rapid

Northamptonshire voluntary and community

development over the last 12 months.

sector organisations following feedback received. We updated this resource making it fully searchable and more user friendly. The directory contains over 1,400 charities and can be used to search for organisations by what they do and who they work with. The directory is one of the most popular webpages on and even before the revamp received over 2,600 views. It is used by the county and borough councils, healthcare professionals, funders, and other VCS organisations as well as individuals looking for charities and

The Countywide Forum responded to the Welfare Reform programme by highlighting the plight of those most in need, and demonstrating what VCS organisations are doing to help as well as working with stakeholders on the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment to ensure that the voice of the VCS is heard. Alongside this work the Countywide Forum produced a charter f or th e se c to r w h i c h wa s u s e d a s a communication tool for work with local elected members including councillors and MPs.



These journeys are sometimes the onlycontact that


vulnerable person will have with people.

Volunteer Car Scheme

Age Span We believe that vulnerable people who cannot manage their gardens due to age or disability should not have to struggle and live with the anxiety that an unmanageable garden can cause. We provide groups of volunteers to go out with a member of staff on a weekly basis to do the gardening work for them, creating a safer and more manageable garden for the people that own them.

We believe that elderly and vulnerable

Often our volunteer drivers will sit with

residents of Northampton should be

the patient while they wait for their



appointment should they wish. These

appointments at a minimal cost. They

journeys are sometimes the only contact

should not be confined to their homes

that the vulnerable person will have

and made to use unsuitable services


such as buses and taxis to attend medical

provide not only helps the passengers

appointments. We provide our Volunteer

but their carers as well. It can provide

Car Scheme to reduce social isolation,

a break for the carer as well as minimising

improve people’s wellbeing and keep

stress caused by having to arrange



We enable volunteers from all walks of life to help make

We coordinated 13,900 appointments

a difference. Some of our younger volunteers come from

in the last year, including 4,300 hospital

St. Andrew’s Hospital and schools that cater for pupils with special










longer. Many of our passengers rely entirely on our volunteer drivers.

We provide a service whereby volunteers collect people from their home and






appointments and 3,300 appointments to doctors’ surgeries.

drive them to their medical appointment,

We have 35 volunteer drivers providing

returning them home afterwards.

an invaluable resource.

This can include clearing, digging, pruning and laying turf or gravel to give ownership back to the vulnerable person. We give vulnerable people the chance to enjoy their outside space again. We minimise the risk of them being a target to thieves as well as giving peace of mind and a sense of pride. In the last year we have completed 55 gardens and 68 volunteers have given 1295 hours of their time to help others less fortunate than themselves.

educational needs. Some of our volunteers have come from working with our Springboard project which supports adults with extra support needs. We give all our volunteers an opportunity to

Our young volunteer Harry is

meet and interact with the people they are helping.

profoundly deaf, he has learning

Many of our volunteers have serious problems with a lack of self-esteem. Volunteering with Age Span helps to boost their confidence and gain new skills. Come rain or shine our volunteers

We take a passenger and his wife on a weekly basis to a wellbeing

are extremely dedicated.

session – Singing for the Brain. While at a session they met a couple in a similar situation and as a result the wives now meet while their husbands attend the day centre and spend time together. “I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to the drivers who have

True Story... difficulties and communicates via sign language with his support worker. Harry enjoys volunteering with Age Span so much that according to his support worker it is all he talks about all week.

We provide opportunities for businesses to get involved with employer supported volunteering. This year teams from Nationwide helped Age Span tackle some of our bigger gardens more quickly. By local businesses getting involved we are able to help

taken my mother to various places. Without this scheme many

more people in need and provide employees with a sense of

people like her would not be able to get about with the ease,

satisfaction outside of the office as well as a good team building

convenience and peace of mind that they have.”


“Age Span is marvellous, I’m so grateful that someone is coming to do something about the garden” Mrs Smith

aged 84

Family member of a Volunteer Car Scheme passenger .



Northamptonshire LINk

We enable the public and patients to have their say in health and social care services. NVC held the contract to host Northamptonshire LINk which promoted the involvement of local communities in health and social care. In the last two years of this contract the LINk team were closely involved at a national level with developing and shaping its successor, Healthwatch and building on learning through the delivery of LINk. NVC developed a partnership with the University of Northampton to develop a successful bid and win the contract to deliver our local Healthwatch. We were also successful in becoming a pathfinder

School Of Life

Healthwatch to trial some of the possible ways of working which local Healthwatch organisations could use when they started in April 2013.

We believe that older and younger people benefit from sharing their skills with each other; in turn this promotes a better understanding of the two generations and breaks down barriers. We believe that both the younger and older generation have a great deal of skills and knowledge that they can share with each other,

We promoted engagement with communi ti es l es s often represented to facilitate them

for example cookery skills and technology skills.

having a say in services as part of the Healthwatch pathfinder work. As a result of this and our organised events there has been significant success in making communities aware of services and

We give people under the age of 25 and people over the age of 50 opportunities to attend workshops and courses to mix with others from a different generation. As a result of our School of Life project attendees have increased in confidence and

choices available to them. We promoted healthcare consultations amongst the public and helped achieve excellent results in numbers and speed of response to consultations. This area of work was presented at the national INVOLVE conference held at Nottingham University.

acquired new skills that they wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to. They have increased the amount of time they put back into the community and it

We visited 31 care homes as part of the work undertaken by our Social Care Work group.

has helped to reduce social isolation.

Our volunteers and team built relationships which resulted in an invitation from the Northamptonshire Care Homes group ‘Norarch’ to visit any care home and undertake their ‘Quality of Life’ review.


We provide IT and mobile phone work-

lived on ‘ready meals’, they had not been

shops where the younger generation

in a kitchen environment and some had

We partnered with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and locality and surgery

helps the older with new technologies

not even chopped an onion.

Patient Participation Groups to help support their development of Patient Participation Groups at

which means that the older people are

surgeries and at a locality level. We helped get them started and engaged with their local communities.

able to keep in contact with other

We understand that if people are taught

people that they would not otherwise be

basic skills to cook tasty meals from fresh

able to.

ingredients in conjunction with healthy

We provide opportunities for schools

eating knowledge then they tend to have

Moving forward we worked closely with the University of Northampton to

a healthier balanced diet.

develop an academic accreditation in engagement and involvement training. We are continuing to build our relationship with the university

and volunteers to get together and run


knitting groups. These groups are now

The younger people involved in the

and 2013 marks the beginning of Healthwatch Northamptonshire.

self-sustaining with the commitment of

project all commented that they had tried

The social enterprise will be the consumer champion of health and

the fantastic volunteers. The knitting

the recipes at home and impressed their

group gives the generations a common

parents. Alongside the health benefits our

bond that they would not usually share.

School of Life workshops are ensuring that

As a result of our cookery workshops we

traditional cooking skills are not lost and

established that most of the students

can be carried on by the next generation.

social care in our county delivered in partnership by the University of Northampton and Northampton Volunteering Centre.


Annual Finance

Grants & Contracts by Funder

Income Area LINk - 22%

Constance Travis-1%

Public and patient involvement & Research - 3%

Other - 3%

Lloyds TSB - 2%

Big Lottery - Countywide Forum- 3%

Projects - 18%

Big Lottery- Talent Match - 1% Contracts NCC - 45%

Local Infrastructure Organisation/Countywide Infrastructure Organisation - 5%

Big Lottery - School Of Life - 16%

Income Generation - 5% Contracts- 42%

NBC-Agespan - 1% NCC -Car Scheme- 1% Contract Leicester University- 5%

Direct Services - 5%

Contract Nene Commissioning - 5%

Contracts NHS - 2%

Contrats NBC- 15%

Donations - 5%

Income Type

Expenditure LINk - 24%

Contracts - 34%

Grants - 27%

Direct Services- 7%

Contracts - 68%

Governance- 1%

Projects - 14%


CIO/LIO Delivery- 20%


Future plans

We have four key areas for development in the next year:


Develop a greater business approach - Seek ways to maximise the use of resources - Seek opportunities to create new services - Develop a social enterprise structure - Review how services can be delivered more efficiently and effectively


Improve the profile & reputation of NVC and the VCS - Measure the impact NVC and others have on the communities of Northamptonshire - Promote the work of the VCS in Northamptonshire both locally and regionally


Support the VCS in Northamptonshire to be engaged with the future of the county - Support the VCS to develop its capacity to engage in commissioning with the Councils, Health, the Police and other public sector providers - Support locally delivered services that support the VCS to become more self-sustaining - Support the VCS to build collaborations that will enable access to

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larger tenders Assess collaborations, partnerships and mergers that can enhance the ability of NVC to achieve its mission

support the community in many ways... We


Northampton Volunteering Centre Annual Review 12-13