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3 September 2010

VCS Assembly News Update 3 September (Issue 50)

In this issue:
1. News
2. Dates for Your Diary
3. Funding News
4. Consultations
5. Compact
6. Career Opportunities
7. Important Reminders

1. News

VCS Assembly Chair sets off for the Himalayas!
Julia Baron, Chair of the Shropshire Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly is due to complete an 85 km trek in the Himalayas to raise money for Grassroots Grants. All the money Julia raises will go directly to community groups in Shropshire and will be matched by an equal contribution from the Government. Please sponsor Julia. To find out more email her at: julia.baron@shropshire-rcc.org.uk.

Partnership News Bulletin
The latest news bulletin from the Shropshire Partnership is attached. It includes a wealth of information and covers:

?         Changes to the Shropshire Partnership
?         Pride of Shropshire Awards
?         Shropshire Partnership External Funding Strategy approved
?         Leadership Board
?         Health and Wellbeing Board
?         Sustainable Communities Steering Group
?         Safer, Stronger Communities Board
?         Children's Trust
?         MAT Development Days
?         VCS Assembly Board and Annual Assembly
?         Business Board
?         Spotlight on Shropshire Consultation underway
?         Marches Local Enterprise Partnership
?         Discontinuation of the Area Partnerships

pdfVCS Assembly News Update 3 September (100.41KB)

Council will try to help with translation
Shropshire Council has offered to work where it can, to provide translation support to local voluntary and community groups. The Council faces difficult times with significant reductions in its budget but wishes to consider the needs of local VCS groups and organisations and offer support where it is able. If you need help with the translation of documents and interpretation of telephone calls Shropshire Council will consider your needs and try and offer support through its use of the Big Word Translation Services. You will need to contact Lorna Hullah, Senior Customer Service Coordinator at Shropshire Council. Tel: 01743 210401 or Email: lorna.hullah@shropshire.gov.uk. Although support can not be guaranteed in all cases, if you clearly explain the support you need and the work you are doing, Lorna will consider your enquiry and do her best to help.

VCS Assembly Review Survey
A review of the VCS Assembly is currently underway. This is particularly essential given the current threats and opportunities affecting the VCS. Your views and ideas are vitally important please could you complete an on-line survey by following the link below. The survey will close on the 10 September so please do your best to respond.

Do you work with
Shropshire's most vulnerable communities? REMINDER
If you are working to support vulnerable communities in the following areas of Shropshire please let me know using the contact details at the end of this bulletin:
-          Oswestry
-          Market Drayton
-          North East Shrewsbury
-          Ludlow (East including Sandpitts)
Your group or organisation could benefit from being involved in a partnership project. It could raise your profile, open up potential commissioning opportunities and allow you to make new contacts. Don't miss out! Please contact me as soon as possible with details of where you are working and the type of service, project you are delivering.

Working with Children - can you be a VCS representative? REMINDER
Members of the VCS Assembly are invited to come forward to sit as representatives on Shropshire's five Children's Centre Advisory Boards (AB's) that are developing across Shropshire. If you work to deliver services for children or have links to extended schools services and children's centres please consider getting more involved. Public services face a considerable time of change and VCS input and leadership will be vital in working in partnership to ensure we have the best quality services for local people. Please contact me (Sarah Dodds) using the details at the end of this bulletin.

Big Society evidence and research (from VolResource)
NCVO has created a web area 'The Big Society - the evidence base' to bring together key sources and materials, to inform the debate and thinking. It focuses on the five themes in the document Building the Big Society, which include "Encourage people to take an active role in their communities" and "Support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises". Contributions, via comments, are encouraged, so that the pages can be improved, http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/big-society-evidence

Call for information - Commission for Rural Communities
At a time when organisations and individuals are encouraged to have greater involvement in the running of public services as part of the Government's 'Big Society' initiative, there are concerns that many organisations are experiencing or facing funding cuts including in rural England. To help advise Government on ways of fully embracing the contribution and needs of rural communities in the Big Society, The Commission for Rural Communities would like to hear your views and experiences. Visit: http://ruralcommunities.gov.uk/2010/08/06/big-society/

Public liability insurance for smaller organisations (from VolResource)
Public liability insurance for small voluntary organisations and community groups which costs less than £10 a month or £75 a year has been developed by Zurich Insurance in collaboration with sector support umbrella NAVCA and charity specialists Tennyson Insurance. Third Sector news item http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/news/1019278/

Taskforce to tackle voluntary sector "red tape" (from VolResource)
A "red-tape taskforce to flush out burdens on the voluntary sector" has been announced by the government. NCVO's president Lord Hodgson will chair the taskforce, and other members are Andrew Hind, retiring Chief Executive of the Charity Commission; Lynne Berry, chief executive WRVS, David Tyler, chief executive Community Matters, Sir Graham Melmoth, retiring chair NCVO and past chief executive Co-operative Group and David Thompson, chair of Marstons PLC. The Big Society De-regulation Taskforce will connect with other government initiatives such as the review of the vetting and barring scheme, but will decide for itself which areas to focus on. A suggested list includes responsibilities of trustees and directors, employment law and contractual arrangements in providing public services. The taskforce is due to report to ministers in early 2011.

Practical thoughts from research on mergers (from VolResource)
The Institute for Voluntary Action Research has published the first of a new "Thinking about" series, which draws on previous research (their own and that of others) to provide practical, useful information for staff and trustees of small to medium-sized voluntary organisations. This title is 'Thinking about merger', in pdf, (5.65MB) from

2. Dates for Your Diary

Leader of
Shropshire Council  - Invitation to VCS Assembly Members
Three major public events are taking place next month, giving local people a unique opportunity to help shape the changing face of public services in Shropshire. For the first time, all local public services, including Shropshire Council, the police, the fire and rescue service, the health service's primary care trust and Job Centre Plus, are coming together for the meetings on September 14, 16 and 17. The events - part of a campaign called "Join the Conversation" - are for people to put their opinions directly to those who are responsible for delivering public services in the county.  It is a chance to influence how services will change in the face of unprecedented funding cuts and a drive to become more efficient and effective. It is incredibly important that everyone takes the opportunity to get involved. The meetings will take place at the following venues, starting at 7pm:

?          The Marches School, Oswestry - Tuesday 14 September
?          The Community Centre, Craven Arms - Thursday 16 September
?          Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury - Friday 17 September

There is no need to book tickets, but people can email: tellus@shropshire.gov.uk to reserve a seat, or just turn up on the night when seats will be given on a first-come-first-served basis.  Each event will be chaired by Eric Smith, BBC Radio Shropshire's breakfast presenter. If people are unable to attend they can still get involved and let us know their thoughts, by emailing: tellus@shropshire.gov.uk or calling 0345 678 9000.

We will be sending out posters to help publicise these events and the campaign as a whole.  I have attached a PDF of one of these which people are more than welcome to print off and display to help spread the word.  Also, please feel free to forward this information on to any Shropshire contacts you may have that may like to get involved.

Yours sincerely

Keith Barrow
Leader, Shropshire Council

pdfJoin the conversation email poster (281.95KB)

Hear by Right - Half Day Training
Hear by Right 'Bite Sized and Badgeable' will show you how to build participation throughout your organisation using the sector standard Hear by Right framework. The half day training events will introduce participants to:
1) The Hear by Right Framework, used widely across the young people's sector to map current work and plan for improvement with young people themselves;
2) The new Hear by Right Award Scheme, which provides an opportunity for an organisation to achieve the national recognition for its work.
Developed by the National Youth Agency and Local Government Association with local authorities and partner organisations, it is widely used by councils and other public bodies, such as Primary Care Trusts, schools, the Police, and housing authorities and the voluntary and community sector. Training dates are:

?         7 September 2010 Leicester
?         28 September 2010 Bristol
?         14 October 2010 York
?         4 November 2010 Birmingham

This event is most suitable for participants who have responsibility for the strategic development of the participation of young people within the organisation and are new to both the Hear By Right Framework and Award Scheme. Places cost £95 per person. For further information or to book your place visit www.nya.org.uk/events

Employment Support for people with a disability
Wednesday 15th September 9.30 to 12.00 at the Mereside Community Centre

Shropshire Disability Network is hosting a Focus Group looking at making employment work for people with disabilities in Shropshire, and is looking for people who feel passionate about that to get involved. Ann Johnson is an expert in this field, and is leading this group on behalf of the Network. The first meeting will be held on the 15th September at the Mereside Community Centre 9.30am-12.00. The focus of the group will be:
-          to look at barriers to employment (to include self employment)
-          to look at gaps in support to people with disabilities seeking varies forms of employment
-          to look at gaps in support to employers in assisting employees with a disability
-          to look at gaps and barriers to support for those in employment (to include self employment and
           voluntary work)
-          to look at gaps in information for people seeking work in Shropshire
The meeting is designed for organisations providing employment support, those currently in education services - providing the skills for employment, those with an interest in improving service or filling a gap in support and those providing support to the self employed. So if you feel passionate about making employment work for people with disabilities in Shropshire then this will be the group for you.  To attend contact Ann Johnson (who will be leading the group on behalf of Shropshire Disability Network) on husk@uwclub.net

Helping offenders to develop their capacity for independence
Innovation and good practice in approaches to rehabilitation for prisons, probation services and support providers
Date: 21 October 2010             
Venue: Inmarsat Conference Centre, 99 City Road, London EC1
This action-orientated conference examines the role of work to develop offenders' capacity for independence within the context of the 'rehabilitation revolution' called for by Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke and the new payment by results agenda. Essential for practitioners working with offenders both in prisons and in the community, the conference will provide ideas, insight and inspiration on:
- Motivating offenders to identify goals and develop aspirations
- Transforming prisons into learning environments
- Creating opportunities for enterprise and meaningful work experience
- Maximising the impact of working and employment initiatives
- Delivering materials and approaches to develop literacy skills
- Encouraging money management and financial capability
- Providing bail accommodation and support
- Offering housing options and resettlement packages.Visit: http://www.lemosandcrane.co.uk/home/index.php?id=207423&emailid=67602

Social Reform in the
UK: Building the Big Society
Wednesday 1st December 2010, Central London, 09:00 - 16:15

With the 'big society' upon us, stakeholders attending this knowledge-based, one-off forum will learn more about how the 'Big Society' will be implemented and what it will mean for them. It will provide key stakeholders with a chance to learn more about the design of the 'big society,' as well as hearing about the latest plans for decentralisation and democratic engagement, and what new powers will be given to charities, councils, communities, neighbourhoods and individuals. View the full agenda at: http://insidegovernment.msgfocus.com/c/1GiEphvZozJ73ZBzF

Book by telephone on 0845 666 0664 or by clicking the following link:


Join in the EVC discussions - Support for communities in a constrained world
Mon, 20/09/2010 - 10:00 - Tue, 16/11/2010 - 14:00
The Targeted Support for Empowerment and Participation Improvement (TSEPI) programme, supported by the Every Voice Counts (EVC) programme within RAWM is holding a series of discussion events that will share resources, tools and learning and explore how communities might access them in a Big Society?  This is your opportunity to have a better understanding of, and to share, what support (electronic, case studies and peer-to-peer) is available. The events will be held at venues across the West Midlands and are aimed at the Voluntary Sector, local Authorities, and Community groups.

Event schedule
All events will run from 10am -2pm.
-      20 September 2010 (Solihull & Birmingham) - Ramada Hotel, Solihull

?         28 September 2010 (Black Country) - The Crossing, Walsall

?         12 October 2010 (Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent) - venue tbc

?         22 October 2010 (Coventry & Warwickshire) - venue tbc

?         4 November 2010 (Herefordshire) - The Kindle Centre, Hereford

?         9 November 2010 (Worcestershire) - Worcester Warriors Rugby Club, Worcester

?         16 November 2010 (Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin) - Meeting Point House, Telford

Vist the website to book your place:


For further enquiries about this event please contact Helen Phillips by telephone: 0121 359 9100 or email: helenp@rawm.co.uk.

3. Funding News

September External Funding Update
Please find attached September's external funding update, featuring information on the following:
- Shropshire Business Enterprise Fund - details of the remaining rounds
- Shropshire Partnership External Funding Strategy - action planning
- Shropshire Council Community Fund - 2010 awards
- The Prince's Countryside Fund - a new fund aiming to address rural issues, available to community and voluntary organisations
- Grassroots Shropshire - details of the final 2010/11 funding round
- Children's Pallative Care - DoH revenue funding for projects across the public and third sector which deal with supporting terminally-ill children
-  Grant awards - including a recent award to Pathways Shropshire.

pdfEFU64 Sep 10 (56.33KB

Nominate for the Energize Awards 2010 in association with Shropshire Star
Don't forget to nominate your local heroes who are currently playing, working or volunteering in sport or physical activity in Shropshire and/or Telford & Wrekin. Energize STW has launched the nominations process for the fourth annual Energize Awards which are to be held in October. This year there are even more opportunities to recognise local achievements in the sport and physical activity sectors as four new categories have been added. Now, adult and junior sports teams, young sports people and local employers will also have the opportunity to gain recognition for their achievements. These awards are a fantastic opportunity for local people and organisations to be recognised and celebrated for their passion, dedication and commitment to sport and physical activity and an Energize Award really can lead to greater things. The deadline for nominations is Friday 10th September. Visit www.energizestw.org.uk

Alternatively you can telephone 01743 255079 or email paula.pugh@shropshire.gov.uk

Final round of Grassroots Grants for 2010/11

Shropshire Grassroots Grants provides grants of between £250 and £5000 to voluntary and community groups with an average income of less than £30,000 per annum. The Programme focuses its attention on supporting projects that build the capacity of local communities and encourage volunteer endeavour. Since September 2008, over 150 awards have been made to groups across a wide range of geographical and thematic areas. The deadline for applications is 4pm on Friday 24th September. It is important to note that the Grant Panel will be prioritizing applications for the purchase of equipment and other small capital purchases. This is because all funding must be spent and evidenced before the end of March 2011, therefore giving groups a very short space of time to complete their project. As always, it is worth noting that the average grant size is approximately £1800 and that the Panel makes very few larger awards. For further information on Grassroots Grants including the current application form and guidance notes, please visit www.grassrootsshropshire.org.uk or call Jan Dodd on 01743 342171.
With thanks to Gary Spence, External Funding Officer and Joe Bubb, Team Leader Funding & Programmes

4. Consultations

Responding to the 'big society': preparing for the comprehensive spending review
A consultation document has been published by the executive group of the West Midlands Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Housing Network to its members and the wider VCS with an interest in housing. Views are sought on some key issues posed by the coalition government's 'big society' policy, the 22 June 2010 emergency cuts and associated policy statements.  Please see attached documents.

pdfBRI(AUG2010) 04 - consultation questions (64.1KB)pdfRI(AUG2010) 04_housing network consultation (345.2KB)

Local Transport Plan
Shropshire Council is currently developing a new Local Transport Plan. The document will outline the 15 year transport strategy for Shropshire. All VCS Assembly members are invited to attend an all day consultation event on the new Local Transport Plan on Thursday 9 September 2010 from 10am-4pm at the Greenhous Meadow Football Stadium, Oteley Road, Shrewsbury. The event is your opportunity to let the Council know your ideas and priorities for transport in Shropshire and to help develop the strategy. To book a place contact Anna Morris, Assistant Transport Planner. Tel: 01743 253017. More information is available on: http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/traveltransport.nsf/open/2A79133CD32676E98025709E002EEF2B

The importance of consultation
Why voluntary organisations should be finding the time over the holiday period to respond to the plethora of consultations from the new government (see last week's newsletter for just a couple) is the subject of a Guardian article from David Robinson:

5. Compact

Shropshire short-listed for Compact Partnership Award
Shropshire is through to the next round of judging as part of the 2010 national Compact Awards. Shropshire Compact was entered for the Local Partnership Award category due to the range of partnership work taking place in the county. The finalists will be announced on the 2 November as part of Compact Week.

Shropshire Compact Champions Event - NEW DATE
A Compact Champions session will be held on the afternoon of the 28 September. The event will take place in Shrewsbury and will allow Compact Champions to get the latest information, raise any issues they may have and discuss common issues and concerns. If you would like to become a Compact Champion or book a place at the event please email me, Sarah Dodds, sarah.dodds@shropshire.gov.uk or telephone 01743 252740. A draft agenda is attached.

pdfAgenda Compact Champions Network 28 September (29.98KB)
Have you got a Compact story?
Email sarah.dodds@shropshire.gov.uk and share it with others.

6. Career Opportunities

Census Co-ordinator posts
The 2011 Census will take place on Sunday 27th March 2011. As part of the process, the Office for National Statistics will be recruiting a range of full and part-time staff in Shropshire. Jobs might involve helping with the organisation of the census, delivering or collecting census questionnaires or carrying out follow up visits. The next round of the recruitment process will begin on 20th September with the recruitment of Census Co-ordinators. There will be 11 posts in Shropshire and successful applicants will be responsible for organising the Census in a local area. The posts are working up to full-time and will be from early February 2011 until late in May.

The application process is based on the Internet and more information can be found on http://www.censusjobs.co.uk/

More career opportunities are advertised on the Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership website. Visit: www.ShropshireVCS.org.uk

7. Important Reminders

News Items

Million Makers competition
The Million Makers competition is a photo competition established to raise money for the Prince's Trust and as a result help young people in the West Midlands. There are some great prizes. The closing date is 1st October 2010. Please refer to the August edition of the newsletter on the VCS Assembly website for details.

CRB checks - do you need support?
Shropshire Housing Alliance is looking to expand its group of organisations currently within its CRB Umbrella. If you know of any groups or organisations who might be looking for a CRB processing service please contact Linda Boulton, CRB Processing/Admin/Finance, Shropshire Housing Alliance. Direct Line: 01691 672689 Fax: 01691659656 Email: l.boulton@shalliance.org.uk

VCS Assembly New Member Packs - Now Available!
Membership of the Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly is free of charge to all local voluntary and community groups. Do you know of other groups and organisations that would benefit from becoming a member? Please contact the VCS Assembly Coordinator (either me, Sarah, or Elaine Griffiths) using the contact details at the bottom of the page.


My Life My Choice - Stronger Communities Funding
Shropshire is part of the Department of Health (DoH) Building Community Capacity project. The DoH and Shropshire Council have made funding available (£20,000) to the Stronger Communities Project Group to support activity that demonstrates how we can strengthen communities and enhance current service users' capacity to take part in the things going on around them that they are interested in. Please see the attached document for details. Contact Jenny Pitts, the Transformation Lead for My Life My Choice on  01743 254631 or 07545 413417 or jenny.pitts@shropshire.gov.uk.

Growing Business Awards
Follow the link for more information: http://gba.realbusiness.co.uk/how_to_enter/

Philpotts Fund: Working with older people
The Philpotts Fund is still available for groups working to improve the lives of older people (with particular emphasis on the Monkmoor area). Contact Age Concern Shropshire Telford & Wrekin on (01743) 233123 and ask for an application pack.

Shropshire Museums Development Project, Small Grants Scheme
To find out more email the Museums Development Officer at Shropshire Council. Email:judith.karena@shropshire.gov.uk

Grants available through Shropshire Community Recycling Network 2010-2011
Please contact Rosemary Collie, SCRL Co-ordinator. Telephone. 07792 687903. Email:  rosemary@furniturescheme.co.uk.



Courses at the Gateway
Three courses are being held at the Gateway that offer to provide some valuable skills. Information on each of the following courses is attached:
Working from home - 1/2 day, 9.30am-12.30pm 29 September
Introduction to Project Management - 1 day 20 October
Introduction to Public Speaking and Presentations - 2 days 24 Nov & 1 Dec

Equality Workshop -
28 September 2010
An Equalities workshop is being organised to facilitate the consultation element of Community Services Equality Impact Assessments. VCS Assembly members are invited.  Please contact Gillian Herdman, Performance Unit, Shropshire Council Community Services Directorate by Thursday 12 August.  Telephone 01743 255 831 or email gillian.herdman@shropshire.gov.uk

2010 MAT Development Days - Book now
Multi-Agency Team (MAT) Development Days are local events bringing together a wide variety of agencies and schools within a MAT area.  Each MAT Development Day is different; they are developed locally to explore and provide information about local, county-wide and national topics. 

The event includes presentations, interactive activities, updates on local and national developments and opportunities to network with local practitioners.     

MAT Area: Shrewsbury
Thursday 30 September 2010, Guildhall, Shrewsbury

MAT Area: Market Drayton 
Friday 8 October 2010, Bradbury Hall, Tilstock

MAT Area: Bridgnorth and Craven Arms     
Wednesday 13 October 2010, Westgate, Bridgnorth

MAT Area: Oswestry           
Monday 18 October 2010, West Felton Village Hall, Oswestry
To book a place call 01743 254419 or email mapadmin@shropshire.gov.uk

The Third Sector In 2010: Current Challenges, Future Opportunities
- London
Title:  The Third Sector In 2010: Current Challenges, Future Opportunities   
Date: Tuesday, 30th November 2010
Time: 10.00am-4.30pm (including networking lunch)
Venue: TBC, Westminster, London
Cost: £225-£395 for one place, dependent on sector (discounts for more than one place)
To find out more and book a place visit: http://www.westminster-briefing.com/?p=13783

Free Funding Workshop - BOOK NOW!
To assist the capacity of the third sector to take-up ESF funding opportunities, a series of free workshops will be held across the sub-region. Workshops will be held in Shropshire on, 23rd September and 5th October. Email: joe.bubb@shropshire.gov.uk.

ESF training workshops
All VCS Assembly Members are invited to the planned ESF training workshops this autumn. The content of these workshops result from a workshop held by the Shropshire Voluntary Sector Training Providers Consortium in February and an earlier ESF event in Ludlow in November 2009. Although funded through ESF Technical Assistance the workshops will cover much broader issues. The workshops are being run by two very experienced trainers and I am sure you will find them very productive and practical. Please contact Rachel Lacey at Shropshire Council at your earliest convenience to secure/ confirm your place! Email rachel.lacey@shropshire.gov.uk


Homelessness Strategy Consultation
Consultation will close at 5pm on Friday 15 October 2010.

Department of Health Consultation
This is the first of 5 consultation documents expected from the Department of Health. The closing date for is 11 October.  Visit:

Back issues of newsletters can be accessed from: www.2shrop.net/shropvcsassembly

Got a good news story, job advert or idea you want to share with others? Let me know!

With best wishes

Sarah Dodds
VCS Assembly Coordinator and Compact Officer
Telephone 01743 252740