A word from Brian Horner
Voluntary Norfolk’s opens its new Headquarters
Welcome to issue number 133 of Voluntary Norfolk News.
Norfolk County Council budget consultation: the sector’s response
The first newsletter that this organisation produced, soon after its foundation 44 years ago as Norwich Organisation for Active Help, looked very different to that which you see in front of you today.
Norwich City Council budget consultation Voluntary Norfolk’s Annual Review is now available Coastshare: A new value-for-money service to help not-for-profit organisations Charity BackRoom: NAVCA Essentials Our new Meeting and Training Rooms Norfolk’s BAME Groups gain specialist support to be Fit for Funding A Day In The Life of a Development Worker Volunteers enrich the lives of care home residents
It was an A4, single columned sheet of typed paper that had been copied on a banding machine. It looked very simple, but it did the job. As this organisation and the wider sector beyond grew and changed, so the newsletter in turn grew and changed to keep pace. In time, the single sheet gave way to multiple pages; desktop publishing pushed out the Remington; photocopying was replaced by hot metal printing; single colour made way for duotone and was itself overtaken by full colour, as photographs were introduced and began to play a significant part in the design. Despite these changes, from 1969 to late 2013, one thing remained constant: whether photocopied or printed, in black or white or in colour, Voluntary Norfolk News was a physical, hard-copy, hold-in-yourhand publication. Until today.
The burgeoning of internet access and the growth of new media, together with the continuing popularity of our Members’ News Extra e-bulletin, means that a printed newsletter seems to have less of a role to play than it did when the organisation was first established. Many of our readers have told us that, these days, they prefer to read such pieces online/in electronic form and, for the moment at least, that is how Voluntary Norfolk News will be distributed. We will be monitoring responses to the new format during the trial period and may decide to revise this, depending on the feedback we receive, but we feel that these new arrangements will be more in keeping with what our readers want; importantly, they will also allow us to reassign funds that would otherwise be spent on external designers, printing and postage to support our frontline activities. I hope that you find this issue and all subsequent issues to be of interest. If you have any comments about what you read here or the work of Voluntary Norfolk, please do get in touch. Brian Horner CEO, Voluntary Norfolk
Voluntary Norfolk’s opens its new Headquarters On 29 November 2013, Voluntary Norfolk’s new Norwich offices were formally opened by Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb MP, assisted by the charity’s recently-appointed Chair, John Archibald, and outgoing Chair, Helen Johnson. The official opening, and the Open Day that followed, marked the culmination of a process that started many months before when, knowing that its existing headquarters in Pottergate needed extensive rebuilding, Voluntary Norfolk started looking for new premises. In March, it found a promising candidate – St Clements House, 2-16 Colegate, in the historic area of the city that is sometimes still known as Norwich Over the Water. The chance to relocate to a building that offered more flexible accommodation and that would facilitate the creation of a larger and more usable volunteer centre in a vibrant part of town (and one that enjoys considerable footfall) was too good to ignore. Voluntary Norfolk moved into St Clements House on 10 October 2013. After Voluntary Norfolk’s Chair, John Archibald, had welcomed guests to the opening ceremony and thanked the many people whose efforts had made the move to Colegate possible, Norman Lamb talked about the problem of loneliness and the efforts that Voluntary Norfolk and other organisations were making to tackle what he described as “a hidden epidemic.”
Mr Lamb said that community collaboration with organisations like Voluntary Norfolk ensured that the system was sustainable and gave people structure. “Statutory services on their own can’t give people a good life – it’s about the wider society,” said Mr Lamb, who noted that volunteers had an important part to play in ensuring that there were “no gaps for people to fall through.” He also stressed that councils should not think about ending funding for voluntary organisations: “that is 180-degree wrong – they should do more,” he said. A video clip of Norman Lamb’s full speech, talking about the efforts that Voluntary Norfolk and other groups make to tackle the problem of loneliness, is available online As well as the Norwich Volunteer Centre, the Colegate offices house a flexible suite of meeting and training rooms that can be hired by voluntary sector organisations and they are also the home of Charity BackRoom, Voluntary Norfolk’s social enterprise arm. The accommodation on offer has the potential to benefit some of the county’s other charities too, and several are thinking about joining Voluntary Norfolk at St Clements House to form what will effectively be a voluntary sector hub in that part of the city. Norfolk Community Law Service was the first charity to come on board and will move into St Clements House on 19 December 2013.
Norfolk County Council budget consultation: the sector’s response
Voluntary Norfolk’s Annual Review is now available
Norfolk County Council recently identified potential savings of £140 million and, via its Putting People First consultation, which closed on 12 December, asked the people of Norfolk (including representatives from voluntary organisations) what the impact of those cuts were likely to be should they be implemented.
Our Annual Review 2012-2013 provides details about the many services Voluntary Norfolk provides and the diverse projects it manages but, more than that, it shows how our commitment to supporting volunteers and voluntary organisations makes a real difference to people in Norfolk: a difference to the delegates who attend our training courses; to the voluntary groups we assist when they are making funding applications or looking for volunteers; to the volunteers themselves, who we recruit, train and deploy.
Voluntary Norfolk encouraged the county’s voluntary and community groups to respond in several ways: to send in individual responses to the Council; to write to Voluntary Norfolk to express their views or to attend one of the three consultation meetings that we held in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Dereham. Voluntary Norfolk also collected views as part of its day-to-day contact with groups on the front line. We promised to collate the key points that we heard in response to the consultation and to submit them to the Council. This has now been done and you can find our response to the Putting People First consultation on our website.
And, of course, our commitment makes a difference to the people our volunteers assist, whether in hospital wards or by visiting them in their homes, staving off falls, preventing loneliness and addressing the problems that arise from isolation. That is why people like Sheila, Edward and Maggie, whose stories are contained in the Annual Review, make the case for what we do far more eloquently than bare project summaries and cold statistics ever could. Voluntary Norfolk members should have received the Annual Review by post, but if you would like an additional copy, do contact us.
Norwich City Council budget consultation Norwich City Council is preparing its budget for 2014-15 and is facing a number of challenges and choices. This is your chance to tell the council what you think about these important issues. In order to make sure your responses are kept confidential and the reporting of results is fair, the council has asked BMG Research, an independent market research agency, to carry out the survey on its behalf. This public consultation started on 21 October 2013 and will end on 6 January 2014. Councillors will then use this information to help them make decisions about the budget and the council tax reduction scheme in the new year.
Coastshare: A new value-for-money service to help not-for-profit organisations Not-for-profit organisations will be able to provide services to each other at cost and free of VAT thanks to Coastshare, a not-for-profit company newly established by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) and Voluntary Norfolk in a pioneering new innovation, the first of its kind in Britain. Organisations that choose to become part of Coastshare will be able to access a ‘menu’ of services though a website. Available services will include HR and employment, legal, payroll, accountancy, project management, heritage conservation and design, insurance, jobs and recruitment, procurement and health and safety, with more services expected to join the list in the future. Any member will be able to provide a service to another member and be reimbursed at cost for the delivery of that service. And membership will carry no risks as the costs of the not-for-profit company will be absorbed by the organisations underwriting the venture (any member liability is limited to £1) and members only pay for what they use. Trevor Ivory, NNDC Cabinet Member for Legal Services, Localism and the Big Society, said, “Right now, in the current economic climate, the need for collaboration between local voluntary organisations has never been higher, with more than 25% of organisations saying that they are uncertain about their survival. “The ability for voluntary organisations to have access to a range of back office and administrative services through Coastshare will increase individual resilience and improve the capacity of the sector as a whole to deliver services that are more responsive to the needs of local communities.” This approach is possible because of new Government legislation, which only came into force in February 2013, making the supply of services between not-for-profit bodies exempt from VAT, where those services are supplied at cost through a cost-sharing group.
Cllr Trevor Wainwright, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “The councils in Great Yarmouth and North Norfolk are the very first local authorities to develop a cost-sharing group, so we are pioneering this innovative approach nationally. “Coastshare has the potential to deliver vital savings for both councils and not-for-profit organisations at a time when both sectors are under increasing financial pressure from the Government to do more with less money. “By giving not-for-profit organisations access to a raft of specialist advice and assistance at cost price, without VAT, this enables them to direct more money towards delivering frontline services where it is most needed, rather than having to pay for expensive back-office services, which could force smaller organisations to close. “This approach would deliver income back to the councils to help reduce the cost of back-office services to taxpayers and retain resilience and flexibility in the service, without reducing the level of services or making redundancies.” Brian Horner, Chief Executive of Voluntary Norfolk said, “The launch of Coastshare is an exciting example of the voluntary sector and the public sector working together for the benefit of local communities. Voluntary Norfolk is delighted to be part of this initiative. By enabling not-for-profit organisations in Norfolk to make cost savings we believe it will produce real benefits and enable them to spend more of their resources on frontline services.” Ultimately, if it is successful, Coastshare could provide a wider range of services to the not-forprofit sector and expand to create high quality jobs in both local authority areas.
Blame culture is rife in the modern world and, especially when dealing with matters of HR and Employment Law, employers often feel that they are walking a tightrope.
n a c e w w Ho u o y help It doesn’t help that you have a lot to do and little if any time to take note of new legislation and evolving case law - except when an employment tribunal hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Happily, we can monitor these changes for you, help you down from the high wire, and let you get on with the things that really matter to you. So don’t get bogged down searching the internet for the answer when our skilled and qualified HR and Employment Law team is just a phone call away. Unlike many of our competitors, we put our resources into service delivery, not sales. That means we always provide exactly what we promise and frequently much more. It also means that you will be given a primary contact who will take the time to understand your business and who will work with you whenever you need them. We don’t use call centre staff, so you needn’t worry that you will have to deal with poorly trained advisers reading from a script. When you call us, you will be put through to the same friendly and knowledgeable contact you always speak with.
What’s more, we back up any advice given over the telephone with a written version so you know exactly how to go about achieving your aims in an easy and straightforward manner. We’re positive that we represent the best option for organisations in the not-for-profit sector and others evidently feel the same about us. Perhaps that’s why Charity BackRoom has been the selected commercial HR partner for the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) Charity BackRoom can make a real difference to your organisation. To find out why we’re the talk of the sector contact us now for a free, no obligation conversation about what you would like to achieve. You’ll be pleased you did. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Norfolk’s BAME Groups gain specialist support to be Fit for Funding Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) groups are a vital component of Norfolk’s voluntary and community sector and play a substantial role in community cohesion in the county at large. Yet for a variety of reasons they have not always found it easy to access funding. In the present economic climate every group is struggling to secure adequate income but BAME groups often find that there are additional factors that put them at a disadvantage. There may be language or cultural difficulties; perhaps the lack of a track record of managing finances can be a factor; sometimes it is simply that they need help with navigating the system and going through the application process. Now, thanks to financial assistance from the Norfolk Community Foundation, Voluntary Norfolk has launched ‘Fit for Funding,’ a special service designed to help BAME groups to gain greater success with funding applications. Fit for Funding provides: -The services of an experienced development worker offering time and dedicated support -Four full day training events (tailored to BAME groups), handouts and materials -Regular advice surgeries throughout Norfolk -Internet research on behalf of organisations and the use of written and on-line resources -Assisted ‘Find a funder’ software searches
The BAME groups that Voluntary Norfolk works with tell us that they want our help and that: -Their top priority is securing funding -There are cultural differences between the sector here and elsewhere -English is not their first language so it can be difficult to explain their proposals -They feel funders are setting ‘lots of hoops to jump through’ -They can struggle with written applications -They feel funders are not particularly supportive -They have experienced ‘knock backs’ with previous applications to local funders For their part, local funders say applications do not meet the standard they require as: -There is often no demonstrable ‘track record’ of managing finances -Structures are sometimes inadequate -Projects often seem overly ambitious -Applications are rarely strong enough Fit for Funding has been created to bridge this gap and to help BAME groups to thrive and the first successful applications, made with the help of Fit for Funding’s expertise, are now coming through. In November and December, workshops were held at the Norwich Wellbeing Centre focussing on the basics of funding. This scheme is open to groups across all the areas of the county where Voluntary Norfolk works and runs until March 2014.
Norwich, uary 2014 in Diss, Fakenham, Thetford and Jan for ked boo n bee has s erie surg of es A seri ries. focussing on BAME groups with funding que at course aimed at BAME groups is being held Additionally, a special Introduction to Funding January 2014. Voluntary Norfolk’s Colegate offices on 28 tact Matthew Jones on 01603 883 For further details about Fit for Funding, con email@example.com
Volunteers enrich the lives of care home residents Staff in Norfolk’s private care homes have a great deal to do. While naturally concerned for the health and wellbeing of residents, their duties mean that they don’t always have the time to engage in social activities or to enrich the lives of the people they care for. They do what they can, but often that isn’t as much as they would like. A new scheme being piloted by Voluntary Norfolk and funded by Norfolk County Council could provide the answer. If successful, it will not only help care home residents to remain engaged and get more out of life, but it could assist the next generation of professional carers to come through, as well as inform a national research project. Since October, Voluntary Norfolk has been recruiting Volunteer Activity Coordinators who will be placed in some of North Norfolk’s private care homes, where they will visit residents and help them to get involved with enjoyable and social activities. These volunteers will be specifically recruited and trained for the role but they will not be there to replace paid staff or do any of the duties that paid staff undertake; they will be there purely to engage with residents and to help enrich their lives. Linda Rogers, Voluntary Norfolk’s Head of Operations said: “While placing volunteers in private care homes is something of a new step, many of Voluntary Norfolk’s existing volunteers already help older people in the community with social and leisure activities, so to some extent the new scheme is an extension of something that we know works well and is greatly appreciated. The new scheme will benefit the residents, the volunteers themselves and, we hope, the caring profession in years to come.”
Norfolk County Council has funded this project because it sees that volunteering, and the training and experience that come with it, could offer young people and those seeking to return to work or looking for a new direction the opportunity to see if care work is for them. They can use the experience they gain to go forward and secure employment. Meanwhile staff in care homes will be able to add to their own skills by undertaking Voluntary Norfolk training in Volunteer Management. The scheme began in October when Voluntary Norfolk recruited Project Leader Amelia Worley to oversee it and to recruit the volunteers who will make such a difference to the lives of care home residents For more information contact: Amelia Worley on 01263 519454.
A Day In The Life of a Development Worker Groups may not be aware of each other’s existence or activities. Where appropriate, I share details of events and activities amongst my contacts and these can often lead to fruitful collaborations. Many of the enquiries I receive concern funding. Money is always a huge issue for charities and voluntary sector organisations. My background is in external funding (domestic and European) and I have spent a lot of time helping groups with grant applications.
Matthew Jones is the Development and Engagement Worker for Norwich. Basically I am here to help voluntary and community groups with any issues they may have. These can be new/emerging groups or charities, or existing groups. I’m here to try and make their lives easier. I work alongside other statutory and voluntary agencies to ensure that third sector groups not only have a range of support and information available to them, but, even more crucially, know how to access it. I am based in our office in Colegate and my day will generally start by checking e-mails and voice-mail and responding to queries. Twice a week, the Voluntary Norfolk Development Team operates a “Helpdesk”, whereby people who require help or advice can contact a specific phone number or e-mail address. We take turns to staff this, so my day may involve regularly checking the helpdesk e-mail account (in addition to my own) or dealing with calls or messages. A large part of my role involves circulating information. Voluntary Norfolk, as the name suggests, covers most of the county.
External funding represents a real opportunity for groups to expand and enhance their activities but the process can seem daunting for first–time applicants. It is a learning process, so I am happy to act as a sounding board or to cast an eye over applications, not only to help a funding bid succeed, but also to help groups develop their skills to submit future applications successfully.
Surgeries My role is a part-time one. Ideally I would love to be able to have one-to one visits with anyone who wishes to see me, but this is not always practical. The Development workers hold regular surgeries where people can book slots of about 40 minutes to discuss any issues they may have.
Introduction to Funding/EU Funding Training courses are an important part of the services offered by Voluntary Norfolk. I run regular courses on applying for funding. These half-day sessions give tips and advice on what funders will look for in an application, common issues that arise and things to consider when putting an application together. I have also, in conjunction with Norwich City Council and Bridge Plus, run tailored courses for BAME groups in Norwich. The courses are a useful method for dispensing information, but are equally crucial in allowing groups to meet and share experiences (good and bad) of funding applications. Continued on back page
Write it Right Voluntary Norfolk also runs full-day practical workshops that focus on bid writing and grant applications. These events allow attendees to work through practical examples and share thoughts and experiences of applying for funding.
Come and Meet Us The Voluntary Sector in Norfolk is a constantly changing environment. Groups emerge and evolve. Personnel changes, amendments to legislation, new funding sources etc can all be disorientating both to newcomers and longstanding members of the sector. Our Come and Meet Us events are designed to bring people together, to learn about our services and also for us to gain as deep an insight as possible into what is happening (and needed) across Norfolk. We invite guest speakers from funding bodies etc to meet groups and share advice and information.
Stands at Events A day can involve helping out at events and activities. Voluntary Norfolk is often invited to attend or exhibit at events organised by other voluntary sector organisations. These are a very useful method of meeting sector organisations, both to see how we can help, but also to show the services that we can offer.
Inter-departmental work Voluntary Norfolk is a small but effective organisation. Different departments work very effectively together. My work can involve liaising with the communications department, to ensure that my information on our website is accurate and up to date, and the volunteer centre, as many of my queries concern recruitment and retention of volunteers. A lot of enquiries concern matters such as insurance and DBS checks, so it is useful to have Charity BackRoom just down the corridor too!
Contact Matthew Jones on 01603 883832
Become a Voluntary Norfolk member and get the latest news, funding and event information Go online to join Voluntary Norfolk and get your e-bulletin delivered straight to your inbox.
Voluntary Norfolk on Twitter Our work is diverse and because it encompasses volunteering, help for voluntary organisations, Voice, training (both in-house and under the Inspire to Change banner) and back office services under the Charity BackRoom brand, we have four distinct Twitter accounts. Voluntary Norfolk - @VoluntaryNfk Volunteering - @vol_Norfolk Inspire to Change - @inspirenorfolk Charity BackRoom - @CharityBackRoom Voluntary Norfolk offers grateful thanks to its funders and supporters: Big Lottery Fund, Breckland Council, Broadland District Council, Department of Health/Ecorys, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Fire Service, North Norfolk District Council, Norwich City Council, Primary Care Trusts/NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk, and South Norfolk District Council Voluntary Norfolk St Clements House, 2 - 16 Colegate, Norwich NR3 1BQ 01603 614474 firstname.lastname@example.org www.voluntarynorfolk.org.uk Voluntary Norfolk News was compiled by Voluntary Norfolk Staff and edited and designed by David Cook and Laura Wycherley