VCSA Newsletter Week of 31st January 2022

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Newsletter for the Week of 31st January 2022


Need Infrastructure Support? Help Is Here!

Many of Shropshire’s voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations are feeling the effects of Covid-19 on their everyday operations. Thanks to funding from the Covid Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), VCS organisations in Shropshire are now benefitting from the help of a new team designed to help get them back on their feet called SIP Voluntary & Community Support Team.

The SIP Voluntary & Community Support Team offers free infrastructure support services to local charitable groups & organisations in Shropshire. Infrastructure support means help with everything from advice and guidance to groups and organisations (such as legal structures, committee advice, volunteer management etc), to grant and funding advice, offering a volunteer brokerage service, and a wide variety of heavily subsidised trainings. A full list of what the team can provide can be found here: Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership Team Introductions.docx

The team is made up of four highly experienced infrastructure support specialists who have been working in the voluntary and community sector for many years. The timing of this team’s work couldn’t be better. “We are finding that organisations that may not have needed support in the past are now also contacting us,” says Allison Richardson, Team Manager. “This is an important indication of how vital these services are for Shropshire right now. The team is working with a wide range of groups who are all experiencing similar issues due to the pandemic. The feedback from the support we are currently providing has been very positive. To be able to have a wide range of advice, guidance and support from one team has already enabled groups to become more sustainable and have the capacity for future growth “

Not only is this grant and the work of the SIP team great news for VCSA members, but the other thing for the VCSA to celebrate is the central role that of one of their own Forums of Interest played in securing the funding for this programme.

The Shropshire Strategic Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) is a long-running collaboration between Community Resource (formally Shropshire RCC), Qube, Energize, and Shropshire Youth Association. SIP is also a well-established VCSA Forum of Interest. It was their hard work & deep understanding of the VCS needs in Shropshire, alongside the Shropshire Council Social Impact Task Force that meant this proposal was submitted and, ultimately, received funding to move forward.


SIP Team
Basil Covid Vaccination Bus

A third Covid-19 vaccination bus is on the road in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin in a bid to ensure more remote areas of the county are visited.

Many local people will be familiar with Bob the Bus – the mobile vaccination service that has been parking up at a number of locations during the pandemic – as well as his sister, Betty the Bus who was introduced last month. Now, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System (ICS) are pleased to announce a third vaccination bus lovingly named Basil by the vaccination team.

Basil started visiting parts of the county last week – including Craven Arms Fire Station, Prees Fire Station and the Antenatal Clinic at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. This week, he is visiting Cleobury Mortimer Fire Station tomorrow and RAF Shawbury on Friday. A full list of clinics, including dates and opening times, can be found on the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICS’s website here.

The newest bus will be visiting the more rural parts of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin – with the aim of boosting vaccination rates in areas of lower uptake, as well as discussing and educating people on the benefits of the jab. Basil will provide easier access for people who may find it difficult to get to a designated vaccination centre.

Basil will also be visiting people experiencing homelessness, local care homes, housebound patients and antenatal clinics across the county.

Melanie France, Head of Vaccination Centres for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “We are beyond thrilled to have a third bus locally as it means that we can continue to get to those people, who might otherwise struggle to get to a vaccination clinic easily.

“Whether it’s a first, second, third or a booster dose that you need, Basil will have you covered and give you the vital protection that you need against Covid-19.”

Angie Wallace, Senior Responsible Officer for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, added: “Both Bob and Betty have proved to be a fantastic success for us locally, so we are confident that Basil will help us vaccinate even more local people.

“Getting the vaccine using our mobile service is easy and convenient. You don’t need to have an NHS number or be registered with a GP – you can just hop on board, without the need to book. It couldn’t be any easier.

“Vaccination provides powerful protection against severe illness with Covid-19, so getting the jab is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and the people around you. Boosters are also vital to maintain a high level of protection because the vaccine starts to deteriorate as time goes by.”

UK Health Security Agency data demonstrates the great protection two doses offer, whilst not enough to completely stop the surge of Omicron, adding an additional third dose prevents around 75% of people from getting any Covid symptoms.

The NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin has delivered more than 1.1 million doses since its inception.

Call for Board Members: Making it Real

Making it Real Shropshire are looking for people to become part of their well-established Making it Real Board as Experts by Experience Board members.  

Making it Real is a framework and set of statements that describe what good, citizen focused, care and support looks like for each individual from the point of view of people themselves. It aims to step away from services that are created by professionals alone to a world in which people who access care and support have as much say about the way that things develop as the professionals.   

Developed by a national organisation called ‘Think Local Act Personal (TLAP), Shropshire Council has used the framework and statements as a prompt to inspire “good conversations” between local people, commissioners and service providers in order to make services better and ultimately improve people’s lives. It’s been an inspiration in the drive to make adult social care better in Shropshire.  

About six years ago Shropshire established a Making it Real Board which involved people with lived experience of adult social care in Shropshire (either directly or as an unpaid carer) sitting alongside practitioners such as social workers and representatives of voluntary organisations. The Board has been working to ensure that local people who draw upon social care support are at the center of the design and delivery of care and support. This can be at a personal and individual level, a service level or working together on developing policies and strategies.  

The Board is driven by the belief that, “We all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing the things that matter to us” #SocialCareFuture  

Members believe that ‘People want to have a life, not a service’, and that people’s care and support is designed and delivered best with them - enabling choice and control.  

If you know of anyone that would be interested in becoming an Expert by Experience with the Making it Real Board, please follow the link below for more information and to complete an Expression of Interest. 

“Working alongside a local authority who are so receptive to customer involvement is a new experience for me and one that has been wholly positive. When it is disabled people who use direct payments, it has been great to contribute to the shaping of the service, for myself but also on behalf of others”. Rich, Expert by Experience. 

MiR has given me a voice to influence change. My disability is left at the door (or behind the webcam) the board members see past my wheelchair, something that society struggles to do. My input as a service user is valued as much, if not more, then local authority employees including those within senior positions. This has changed the way I value myself and increased my self-esteem as well as confidence.”  Katie, Expert by Experience and MiR Board member 

That’s what Making it Real is all about.  

Please follow this link for more information and to complete an Expression of Interest 

MIR Shropshire Image

ICS Newsletter Looking to Feature VCS Organisations

Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System (ICS) publish a fortnightly e-newsletter, Collaborate, which features news and content from NHS, local councils and other health and social care organisations across the county. See the previous edition here. This year they are publishing two special editions around the contributions made by the voluntary sector organisations, who play a vital role in the ICS. See the attached document for more about our edition schedule.

  • February special – Love our ICS (a showcase of the voluntary sector organisations that make up the Integrated Care System and who work to improve the lives of people living in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin) – to be published 23 February.
    • The name of your organisation, what the organisation does, the main aims, how these help improve/support the health and care needs of customers/wider population.
    • Include a photo of your organisation – could be a photo of staff, volunteers, customers (with permission) and your logo
    • W selection will be featured in the newsletter
    • Please include a photo to go alongside this story
    • They are looking to spotlight some of the voluntary sector organisations to improve the health and care of residents.  
    • They are also looking for any of your good news stories to feature – it could be the setting up of a new support group, an organisation milestone or customer case study.

Deadline for content for this edition is Friday 4 February at 6pm.

  • June special – Volunteers Week (a celebration of all volunteers who work to improve the lives of people living in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin) – to be published 1 June.
    • Ideally they'd like to film a few of these. Please let them know if you wish to take part in a short video for the e-newsletter and social media by 28 Feb – filming to take place in March/April.
    • They would also like some written case studies, again with a focus on improving health and wellbeing of customers).
    • They are looking for some combined volunteer and customer case studies from specific organisations that provide health and wellbeing support to their customers.

Deadline for content for this edition is Friday 6 May at 6pm.

Women's Health Survey Launched in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin

A Women’s Health Project Group is asking: How can we make is easier for women in Shropshire and mid-Wales to get advice on their health?

Figures show that women are not coming forward for screening and asking for help with the menopause so the group, which is made up of local NHS providers and patient representatives across the county and mid-Wales, is trying to find out the reasons why.

The group is now running a survey, which opened Monday 17 January to find out the views of women and is encouraging all women to take part. The survey results will be used to shape future women’s services in the area.

The survey is the first of its kind to be run across the whole of the county and mid-Wales.

Part of the survey will look at Cancer Screening services for women, as locally the number of women coming forward for breast and cervical screening services has been falling. The aim of the survey is to find out what local women know about screening, what they feel about taking part and what barriers they may face when they are invited to a screening appointment.

The second section of this survey looks at menopause as on average half of women aged 45-65 who have experienced the menopause in the past 10 years, have not consulted a healthcare professional about their menopausal symptoms (The British Menopause Society, 2016) and they want to know more about how much women living locally know about menopause, how it affects them and their experience of healthcare and what can be done to improve this.

Dr Priya George, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group Clinical Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: “We are hoping to find out what women living locally already know about cancer screening and the menopause, and if there are anxieties or other barriers that prevent them from following up on screening invitations. This information will help us to make services more accessible for everyone.@

The link for the survey, which should take approximately 15 minutes to complete, is available here. All information provided for the survey will be anonymous and the closing date for the survey is Monday 28 February.

Once the survey results are collated they will be analysed and shared with NHS providers and patient representatives to see how improvements can be made to services and encourage more women to have screening and seek help with the menopause.

For any more information on the survey or paper copies of the survey email or ring 01743 261000 ext 2390.

Also, if you would like to be involved in any future workshops around Women’s Health, please email .

Organisations involved in the Women’s Health Project are:

  • Shrewsbury and Telford & Wrekin CCG
  • The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust
  • Shropshire Community Health
  • Healthwatch Shropshire
  • Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin
  • Powys Community Health Council
  • Shropshire Patient Group
  • Telford & Wrekin Patient’s First
  • Shropshire Eastern European Association


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Events and Training Opportunities

Help parents to get on better: attend the Reducing Parental Conflict Conference

Professionals working with families are invited to The Reducing Parental Conflict Conference.

This training event will help professionals support families experiencing parental conflict and will introduce a free bespoke toolkit practitioners can use.

This toolkit is an evidence-based resource to help parents strengthen their relationship, manage conflicts better, and understand how parental conflict can affect their children.

Having constructive, supportive relationships is essential for any family. When families get on better children can flourish.

The event takes place on 28 February, 9am-16.30pm, at The Place Theatre.

Find out more and book your place.

Click to edit this placeholder text.

WEA Offering Assessments for Mentoring and Volunteering Courses

The Award in Mentoring is part of a pathway towards gaining insight into the role and practice of mentoring; developing the knowledge, skills and understanding of the mentor /mentee relationships; be aware of the regulations that frame mentoring and good practice and be able to self-reflect and review one’s learning and work practices. Those that attend may be interested in mentoring or already have some experience. The course is planned over a 12 week period, to start from first week in March.

The Award Skills in Volunteering course is  part of a pathway towards strengthening competences of potential and existing volunteers in charities and voluntary and community organisations that use volunteers in a significant way to deliver their work. The course will be delivered online over a 6- period. Due to the success of the first course, they are running this second course.  

The outcomes for learners are to improve their skills and knowledge of their role either as a mentor and/or a volunteer in different sectors. For organisations, both qualifications can provide a quality assured pool of qualified volunteers and/or mentors; embed skills and knowledge of what organisations need and a pathway of progression that can lead to other learning opportunities e.g accredited employability skills.

Click below for the flyers with full information:

Mentoring Skills IA poster 17.1.22.pdf

Skills in Volunteering Initial Assessment Poster 17.1.22.pdf


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Job Opportunities

Qube - 2 positions

Qube is hiring an Operations Manager and an Arts Development Officer. See below more for information on each opportunity:

OM advert - v3.docx

Qube Arts - advert Jan final.doc


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Grant and Funding News

New Covid Business Grants Announced

On 21 December 2021, government announced the introduction of grant support for hospitality and leisure businesses in England.

The scheme provides support to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses, in recognition that the rise of the Omicron variant and the potential impact on businesses in this sector.

Note: Village halls will be eligible for these grants unless the rate liability falls to a Precepting Authority, e.g. a Parish Council.

The primary principle of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme is to support businesses that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors. The grant is payable to the business rate payer only and if multiple properties are in occupation for hospitality and leisure purposes by a single business entity each property requires an application.

Please note that based on government guidance, a new application is required from all businesses to access this grant scheme. Any new businesses trading before 30 December 2021 and businesses who have received grants in the past MUST now all apply to this scheme and provide a pdf copy of a recent bank statement. Grants will not be automatically paid to businesses that have applied to previous COVID-19 grant funding rounds.

Further to updated government guidance, the application closure date for this scheme has been extended from 28 February 2022 to 18 March 2022

Full information and how to apply can be found on the Shropshire Council website.

Children in Need DCMS Youth Investment Fund Capital Grants

The first round of the DCMS Youth Investment Fund (£10m on capital to be spent by March 2022) is being delivered by Children in Need. Phase 1 comprises £10 million for youth provision in left-behind areas of England, and is funding for small-scale capital projects. Capital is defined in this instance as the costs of building improvements, buying equipment (including IT and vehicles) and furnishings. Because this funding needs to be spent by 31 March 2022, applications are expected to mainly involve purchasing equipment rather than undertaking major building work.

Click here for information and guidance

Click here for the ‘left behind areas’ 


Lingen Davies Cancer Fund is inviting tenders to undertake a LiveLife consultation.

The purpose of the consultation is to inform the development of Lingen Davies Cancer Fund’s support for people whose lives are affected by cancer, through expanding their LiveLife service. LiveLife, launched in 2021 currently focuses on community cancer awareness raising for early diagnosis and risk reduction, with plans to provide a wider range of non-clinical community-based support.

Please find attached a LiveLife invitation to tender and tender application form. The deadline for applications is February 25th 2022.

LiveLife Consultation Invitation to tender.pdf

LiveLife ConsultationTender Application Form V2.docx

Funding to Support Tech Lending Hubs in Temporary Accommodation Services Across UK

Grants of between £50,000 and £120,000 are available for not-for-profit, constituted organisations that work closely with temporary accommodation services to establish or further develop Tech Lending Hubs across the United Kingdom.

Through the Tech Lending Community Fund, a total of £400,000 has been made available to tackle digital exclusion among people in temporary accommodation services, such as centres for refugees, housing for those at risk of homelessness, or women’s refuges, and to help reduce e-waste by repurposing refurbished tablets.

Funding can be used to:

  • Oversee and manage a lending scheme that is integrated into existing support activities and that ensures data and devices reach people in temporary accommodation.
  • Create a network of local organisations providing temporary accommodation that can integrate lending schemes into existing support activities.
  • Distribute refurbished devices that will be supplied by Hubbub through Reconome and funded through the grant.
  • Establish a monitoring and evaluation process allowing Hubs and community groups to measure impact against agreed outcomes.
  • Be an active participant in the Tech Lending Community by sharing information, supporting other groups, and providing evidence/stories to support press-related and social media activities.
  • Develop a long-term plan that builds a legacy, impact, and financial resilience.

Applicants have flexibility on what costs can be covered within the grant, including administrative and staff costs if required.

Not-for-profit, constituted organisations that are registered in the UK can apply. This includes, but is not limited to, local authorities, charities, community interest companies, and social enterprises.

The deadline for applications is 1 March 2022. 


Development Funding for UK Food and Farming Social Enterprises

A blend of loan finance and grant funding is available to cooperatives, social enterprises and community businesses working in the UK's agriculture and food production sector to support and develop their work, helping to increase their social impact.

The Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme (LEAP) forms part of the Funding Enlightened Agriculture (FEA) initiative provided by the Real Farming Trust. The programme is accepting applications from community-based food and farming enterprises in the United Kingdom.

Priority will be given to organisations with the following ownership/governance structures:

  • Community Interest Companies.
  • Community Benefit Societies.
  • Cooperative Societies.
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations.

The programme offers a blend of affordable loans and grants, together with business advice and support.

Loan features:

  • Unsecured loans for a 5-year term.
  • For amounts of between £20,000 and £100,000.
  • Can be used for capital or revenue costs.
  • Interest rate of 5%, calculated on a declining balance, equal instalments basis.
  • One-off administration fee, charged at 2% of the loan amount.

Together with a loan, applicants will be offered a grant at 18% of the loan amount. By providing a grant with the loan the programme seeks to alleviate the administrative burden and free up the organisation to concentrate on impact delivery and long-term sustainability.

Applications may be made at any time.


Get Fishing Fund Reopens for 2022

The Get Fishing Fund has been established to support organisations delivering a programme of angling activities throughout 2022.

As a means of encouraging the wellbeing benefits the sport can offer, supported activities should aim to help get more people into fishing and retain them within the sport.

Building on the success of the original launch of the fund in December 2020, the Environment Agency and Angling Trust have announced an additional £100,000 of investment to encourage more people to give fishing a go for the first time in 2022.

Funded from fishing licence sales, grants of up to £2,500 are available to benefit angling-based projects. The funding can be used to help purchase equipment, fishing tackle and resources to run fishing events and activities to give people the opportunity to try fishing.

Applications are accepted from angling clubs, fisheries, charities, schools and local authorities in England that want to increase the number of people being introduced to angling. Activities undertaken as a result of receiving funding must be delivered on freshwater fisheries where angling requires a fishing licence.

The deadline for applications is Friday 18 March 2022.

Funding For Conservation and Digitisation of Jewish Archive and Library Collections

The Rothschild Foundation is offering several grants to charitable organisations to undertake conservation, preservation, and digitisation projects relating to Jewish archival and library collections across Europe. The Archives and Libraries programme consists of several grants that will enable organisations to protect and preserve Jewish archival and library material, increase access to documents that will enhance future academic research in European Jewish history and culture, and encourage people to engage with communal documentary heritage.

The following grants are available:

  • Conservation and Preservation – Projects that focus on the long-term protection and preservation of specific collections and the treatment and repair of specific items.
  • Inventories and Cataloguing – Support for the creation of an accurate inventory or catalogue for a collection.
  • Digital Resource Creation and Digital Humanities:
    • Digital Resource Creation - Support for the digitisation, transcription, and accessibility of Jewish archival or library material and the creation of accompanying metadata.
    • Digital Humanities – Projects that employ digital humanities tools and methods to conduct original research with Jewish archival and library collections.
  • Professional Training – Support for all levels of staff, including archivists, librarians, conservators and photographers.
  • Professional Development Language – Support for professionals for online courses in a Jewish language, such as Yiddish or Judeo-Spanish.

Most grants in this programme range between £15,000 and £40,000 per year for a maximum of three years.

Language grants are for up to £2,000 and applications should be submitted by the end of February, April, or June 2022.

The application deadline for archives and libraries grants is 25 April 2022. 

Arts Council England Publishes Guidelines to its New 2023-26 Investment Programme

The 2023-26 Investment Programme consists of two separate funding programmes, both intended to support Arts Council England's ten-year strategy (2020-2030), Let’s Create:

  • National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) 2023-26 Programme.
  • Investment Principles Support Organisations (IPSO) 2023-26 Programme.

Each programme will open to arts organisations, museums, local authorities and libraries, with successful applicants receiving a minimum of £50,000 a year for three years.

Applications are welcome from partnerships and consortiums.

NPO Activities must align with at least one of the outcomes associated with Let’s Create:

  • Creative People – encouraging widespread participation in creative activities.
  • Cultural Communities – promoting social cohesion and improved physical and mental wellbeing across local communities.
  • A Creative and Cultural Country – embracing innovation, collaboration and diversity to build a robust and resilient cultural sector.

IPSO Activities must embed at least one of the four Investment Principles and support other organisations to do the same:

  • Ambition and quality – linking creative work to wider aims and ambitions and working with creative partners to refine output.
  • Dynamism – developing a business model that is flexible and able to adapt to changing environments.
  • Environmental Responsibility – embedding environmental thinking into every aspect of work, from operations to creation and programming.
  • Inclusivity and Relevance – identifying who is under-represented and which communities are under-served and taking action to address this.

The programme of work supported by the investment must primarily benefit artists, creative practitioners, participants or audiences across England.

Funded activities should run from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2026.

Both programmes will open at 12 noon on 14 February 2022 and close at 12 noon on 26 April 2022.


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To share your news with Shropshire Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly members and our partners email: