Category Archives

Volunteer Expenses Made ‘App-y’!

Digital start-up vHelp has launched a new app-based service that makes it quicker and cheaper to reimburse volunteers’ expenses.

vHelp Expenses allows volunteers to submit their expense claims through their mobile phones, and once approved by the charity, they receive payment directly to their bank accounts in around 24 hours.

As part of an introductory offer, vHelp is making the app available to charities for free for two months.

The app also allows volunteers to donate unwanted expenses payments back to the charity, allowing it to claim up to 25% extra in Gift Aid.

vHelp claims it costs charities as much as £18 in administration costs to process a single £6 expense claim. Using vHelp Expenses, the cost falls to less than £1.

Organisations sign up to the service and then invite their volunteers to download the vHelp app to their mobile phones.

The vHelp app can also be used to reimburse volunteers shopping on behalf of vulnerable residents during lockdown.

To find out more, please contact:
Patricia Salume on 07981141530 or patricia@veeloop.com
Randa Bennett on 07833 368369 or randa@veeloop.com

Is Your New Year’s Goal To Join The Volunteer Movement?

Are you planning on getting more involved with your community this year as a volunteer? Did you know according to a survey published today, by the National Lottery, that 1 in 10 people say that as a result of the pandemic they plan to be more involved in their local community this year.

The research goes on to explain that seven in ten people in the UK, 69%, feel like they are part of their local community, while over a third say that Covid-19 has made them feel even more so. To read the full article by Civil Society click here.

Do you want to join the emerging volunteer movement and help to make a difference?

Then why not get in touch with our Growing Participation and Volunteering Mentor, Kim Fuller either by giving her a call on her mobile: 07519 120711 or emailing: kim@scvo.info or getinvolved@scvo.info

Or why not get your volunteer opportunity up on our Let’s Go website – www.letsgosandwell.info and connect with potential new volunteers.

Source: Civil Society News

Dorothy Parkes Centre Secures £17,704 Funding from Postcode Local Trust for Community Allotment Plot

Families, community groups, and volunteers across Smethwick and neighbouring areas will benefit from a Community Allotment Plot project which is continuing thanks to funding from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving trust supported entirely by player of People’s Postcode Lottery. The project, which is led by the Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick, has been running for two years and this grant will see the project continue for a further 12 months.

The plot, which is based at Bearwood Road Allotment, has been transformed in the last two years, from an overgrown, underused, vacant plot, into an accessible and safe haven with a Community Classroom, Polytunnel, Greenhouse, Performance Area, and variety of growing beds. The funding will be used to maintain the plot and prepare two specialised areas within the plot for specific use – the creation of a sheltered seating area and a disabled access growing area with appropriate wheelchair ramp.

Karen Palmer, Community Allotment Plot Project Coordinator said:

“This funding will allow us to increase the potential of an already successful project. We will be able to extend the offer of use of our facilities to a wider and more diverse section of our local community. Less able people will be able to genuinely join in and feel a part of the project. Further, people who may just need to sit and enjoy a calm outdoor space, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will have the facilities necessary to socially interact in a gentle way.”

The Dorothy Parkes Centre, on Church Road in Smethwick, is a community centre which helps to address local challenges around health inequality, obesity, lack of empowerment of local people, elderly isolation, low educational attainment, and significant unemployment by providing, or hosting, a wide range of activities.

Robert Bruce, Chief Executive Officer at Dorothy Parkes Centre said:

“Our Community Allotment Plot project is a real jewel in our crown and provides us with an opportunity to support our local community with an outdoor space and the opportunity to either enjoy a calm and tranquil environment or help with some digging and planting which results in some lovely produce. It has also proven to be good for mental health during the lockdowns and restrictions and we would encourage anybody who is interested in learning more about allotments and gardening to get in touch with us.”

The project is supported by a small team of volunteers, but they are always on the lookout for more and they would welcome and encourage some community groups, particularly around art and culture to get in touch about using the space, which is on offer free of charge.

For further details, please contact the Centre on 0121 558 2998 or email allotment@dorothyparkes.org

If you’d like to be an SCVO good news story please contact Mazeline Hemmings via email at mazeline@scvo.info  or to find out how to book your FREE place on SCVO’s next Meet The Funder: People’s Postcode Lottery Fund click here.

A Charity Guide to Digital Activism

In Charity Digital news article they explore the dynamics of digital activism and offer some helpful tips on how to provide credible information, engage your audience, and tell your story. 

Digital activism is a powerful tool for spreading ideas and converting them into real world actions with social movements starting online and furthering their aims through digital technology.

Their article goes on to explore hashtags and movements related to your cause and how to identify and engage with influencers, giving a critical eye to information sources, focusing on small ways to involve people online and how to consistently and persistently tell your story – click here to read the full article.

Source: Charity Digital News

Finding Volunteers Using Social Media

The National Lottery in their article discuss the power of social media and harnessing this tool to reach out to people in the community, to be able to find that extra pair of helping hands. They explore the different ways and channels that can be used to scout out volunteers for your organisation or activity.

They following topics with additional reading are discussed:

  • Make a visual advert,
  • Come with a specific ask,
  • Provide a ‘call to action‘ in your social media posts,
  • Recognise current volunteers,
  • Use a hastag and tagging and
  • Ask local elected reps and people of interest in your community to share.

To read the full article click here.

If you have a volunteering opportunity or would like support with a volunteering concern then please do get in touch with Kim Fuller SCVO’s Growing Participation and Volunteering Mentor by email at kim@scvo.info. We’re here to help support your organisation develop and grow.

Source: The National Lottery

The Importance of Supporters Experience During the Pandemic

With supporters coming forward to lend a hand during the pandemic it’s important that an organisation puts the supporters experience at the forefront during these unprecedented times.

In Chartered Institute of Fundraisings article and the accompanying resource on fundraising in the time of COVID they explain how supporters are showing their generosity and innovative ways that they are encouraging giving. They continue by saying how important encouraging and promoting the supporters experience is if fundraising opportunities are going to be capitalised on for the benefit of the intended organisation and ultimately the community they serve.

To read the full article and download the free resource click here.

Source: Chartered Institute of Fundraising

It’ll be Lonely This Christmas…

Just a few minutes on the phone could make all the difference to someone feeling isolated and lonely at this uncertain time.

Sandwell Together would love to hear from anyone who has time to spare each week to make someone’s day with a friendly chat.

The service was developed during the first lockdown, but has now been funded through Sandwell Advocacy to continue supporting those who have no-one to turn to for a listening ear.

So far, Sandwell Together has reached out to befriend 200 local people in need.

Independent Advocate Juanita Williams, who is leading on Sandwell Together, said it’s a vital service and makes a huge difference to people, especially at the moment. “People are feeling more cut off and Christmas will be lonelier than ever for some,” she said. “We need volunteers who can spare just a short time every week to pick up the phone and have a chat. Some people really only want a quick catch-up, while others appreciate a listening ear for a bit longer. It all depends on the arrangement you make between you.”

Telephone befrienders need listening skills, and stand to gain through training an improved telephone manner; awareness of confidentiality; increased knowledge of safeguarding issues and better knowledge of local services available to Sandwell residents.

Sandwell Advocacy provides independent advocacy throughout Sandwell, promoting rights, voice and empowerment.

For more details contact Juanita on 0121 520 8070 or email juanita.williams@sandwelladvocacy.org

New Rules for Volunteering During Lockdown

According to the latest Government guidance volunteers are except from the mixing of households but are encouraged where possible to volunteer from home. In the latest Government guidance they set out the rules for safe and effective volunteering during the current lockdown. The guide aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic.

The document goes on to warn charities not to make volunteers compelled to volunteer as part of their continued response to the pandemic. They also point out that the person volunteering must not be put at risk by asking them to carry out their volunteering role.

To read the full Government guidance click here. Alternatively, to read the Civil Society News article click here.

If your organisation is looking for volunteers or support with developing your volunteer opportunities please contact SCVO’s Growing Participation and Volunteering Mentor, Kim Fuller on 07519120711 or email kim@scvo.info.

Source: Civil Society News

Passionate about Community Housing? wMUCH Would Like to Hear From You

West Midlands Urban Community Homes (wMUCH) is a new hub to provide knowledge and expertise to inspire and support a new wave of community led housing in the West Midlands. They do this by working with a wide range of stakeholders to help unlock the people, land, finance and development skills needed to enable community led housing.

West Midlands Urban Community Homes is a Community Benefit Society, set up by housing and community focused organisations. The organisation is funded by central government and Power to Change, as part of a national network of hubs, working across Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

At this exciting time in their development, wMUCH are looking for new non-executive Directors to join the Board.

They are particularly looking to complement existing skills and experience on the Board and would like to hear from a range of applicants.  If you don’t have the particular skills and experience listed below, please don’t let it deter you from applying! If you are passionate about the community led housing movement, wMUCH would like to hear from you and hear what you can bring.

Skills and experience:
• Communications and marketing
• Finance, particularly development finance
• Land and planning
• Experience of different housing markets, particularly private and commercial

Location and networks:
• wMUCH are particularly keen to recruit Directors who are based in Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall or Wolverhampton

Find out more and how to apply here

Please apply by the closing date on 30 November 2020.

Getting the Most from Digital Volunteers

In Charity Digital News how to get the most from your digital volunteers they review NCVO and the centre for Aging better’s findings, hints and tips. Together with the challenges of attracting and managing volunteers to harness their skills to best effect for the organisation. Suggesting the strongest motivator for volunteers was how they are treated within the organisation so they feel valued, supported and got the recognition for their hard work on behalf of the organisation.

Within the article they go on to suggest that creating a digital system can create a sense of community and transparency enabling the organisation to focus more on the cause or campaign being undertaken. Taking the reader through their tips on how to use digital skills to support, motivate and develop both staff and volunteers.

Find out more by reading their article here.

Source: Charity Digital News

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