VCSA Newsletter Week of 14th February 2022

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Newsletter for the Week of 14th February 2022


New VCSA Website is Live!

The VCSA website has been refreshed, to include up-to-date news, information, resources and more!

The new site includes:

  • Information on our board, forums of interest and an overview of the VCSA (including a new organisation graphic that we hope you find helpful)
  • Copies of our newsletter, and a new regular funding update
  • Links to VCSA local research as well as national research and resources we think members will find useful
  • Regular feature stories about local Shropshire VCSA work. Our first feature is about the SIP Voluntary and Community Support Team, and we have more stories planned in the weeks ahead

Please take the time to check out our new site and let us know:

  • What is there that's really helpful
  • What you would like to see there that isn't there now
  • Any other feedback you'd like to give us

Please also help us spread the word about the VCSA by sharing the website link and encouraging others to sign up to our weekly newsletter.

All feedback and enquires should be sent to:


Future Oswestry Consultation Now Open

The consultation on the Future Oswestry Masterplan will run from Wednesday 9 February to Thursday 24 March 2022 to seek the views of residents, community groups, businesses and stakeholders on the Masterplan report. The aim of the masterplan is to support the long-term regeneration of the town centre and the wider town. 

The masterplan is an investable conceptual vision for Oswestry. This project is designed to drive aspirations and thinking about the future of the town.  

This is still in the very early stages. It will draw on comprehensive research, previous studies as well as discussions, engagement and consultations with key partners, stakeholder and the public. 

The masterplan will highlight areas of potential development, movement and access strategic thinking and public realm opportunities. Ongoing discussions will help further shape potential proposals and actions that could and should be worked up in the short, medium and long term. 

The masterplan will support the Future Oswestry Group with the evidence base to enable better informed investment decisions, prioritisation and targeting of resources.

For more information visit Shropshire Council's website.



Oswestry Masterplan Image
Armed Forces Outreach

Armed Forces Outreach resumes across local communities

Shropshire Council is taking its Armed Forces Outreach back into the community at venues around our area.

Working with the service charities and organisations, the Outreach exists to ensure that current and former military personnel and their families have access to the right support.

The service began in 2019 but was affected by the pandemic, and has been limited to virtual meetings. Now organisers are looking forward to restarting community meetings.

Sarah Kerr, Shropshire Council Armed Forces Outreach Support Co-ordinator, said:

“The sessions across the county offer a space for veterans to socialise with like-minded people, as well as offering the opportunity to access mental health and wellbeing support for those who may require it.

“The virtual meetings have been a great success, but I am sure everyone will be glad to meet up and see some old faces as well as welcoming some new ones.”

Richard, an Army veteran, explained how the Outreach service has helped him and how he is looking forward to meeting up with others.

He said:

“Last year I found myself in hospital, my marriage had ended and I was staying with a friend in Bridgnorth. I wasn’t in a good place. A porter at hospital mentioned Outreach to me and asked if he could pass on my details, and I am so pleased.

“I have PTSD and suffered injury when I was serving, but since I have been coming here I have been able to access so much information.

“I have discovered information about my service pension, the benefits I am eligible for and I have now moved to a flat in Shrewsbury. I am getting help and support for my health issues and the Outreach group has given me a safe space: I am with like-minded people who understand that I am getting better, but there are still areas I am working on.”

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

Councillor Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Armed Forces Covenant champion, added:

“The Armed Forces Covenant recognises the value that veterans contribute to our businesses and our country. Through initiatives such as Outreach, we will ensure our ex-service personnel can meet up in a safe and comfortable environment, and we can help them access all of the support they may need.”

Click here to download the full list of upcoming events, or visit the Shropshire Council website to find out more.


Help Us Help You – Cervical Screening Campaign to Launch in February

On 14th February 2022, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), with the support of NHS England and NHS Improvement, are launching a Help Us Help You – Cervical Screening Campaign, to highlight the benefits of cervical screening and remind people that that it can help stop cancer before it starts.

The campaign encourages those eligible for screening - women and people with a cervix aged 25-64 - to respond to their cervical screening invitation letters and to book an appointment at their GP practice if they missed their last one.  

The campaign takes a multi-channel approach, using TV, video on demand, social media and paid search, along with national and regional PR activity. There will also be activity targeted to ethnic minority (Black and South Asian) and LGBTQ+ people with a cervix, as these groups can experience specific barriers to taking up screening.  

The campaign’s call-to-action are to empower women and people with a cervix to attend their cervical screening by providing reassurance, addressing misconceptions and increasing motivation to book an appointment when invited.

Partners in the NHS and local government are welcome to support the campaign from February onwards, using a suite of custom assets available from the Campaign Resource Centre  to help us get these important messages to our target audiences with more resources coming soon. For more information, visit


Help us help you logo

Healthwatch wants to hear about NHS psychological services

Depression and anxiety levels in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin have increased since the start of the pandemic. The Shropshire Primary Care Psychological Therapies Service (also known as IAPT) and Telford IAPT are at the forefront of support and therapy to help people to deal with mild and moderate depression and anxiety. People who want help contact the service directly themselves. The NHS is looking at how these services are organised and are keen to understand people’s experiences. Healthwatch wants to hear from people who have used the service or are waiting for therapy, what went well, what didn’t go so well and any suggestions for improvements.

Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Shropshire, said, “We want to ensure that the patient voice is at the centre of any service development and would encourage anybody who has used the service to get in touch. All experiences will be shared anonymously.”

Frances Sutherland, Head of Transformation and Commissioning (Mental health, LD & A) Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said, “We want to ensure these services are easily accessible and support people in the right way which is why we want to understand more about how it feels to be treated by our local services. We are really pleased that Healthwatch have agreed to undertake this work. We want to hear the views of people who have used the services now or in the past so that we can design our service to best meet their needs.”

Barry Parnaby, Chair of Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin, said “Your local Healthwatch and NHS Trust are committed to ensuring the delivery of care is as good as it can be, but to do this, we need to hear from those who have experienced the service. Please get in touch and help to make a positive change.”

People can share their experiences with either Healthwatch Shropshire or Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin through a short online questionnaire or alternatively by ringing 01743 237884 / 01952 739540

Healthwatch  is the independent health and social care champion. It gathers the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians, residential care and children’s services.  It also has statutory powers that it can use to influence service provision by encouraging improvements.


Real people real stories campaign

Samaritans 'Real People, Real Stories' Campaign to Target Rural Men

Phase 3 of the Samaritans' award-winning Real People, Real Stories campaign launches March 1st and will focus on men ages 18-65 living in rural areas of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Why rural communities?

• Evidence suggests that suicide rates are higher in rural areas and higher than national average in England (Congdon, 2013; Middleton et al., 2003; Local Government Association, 2017)

• Certain occupations, including agricultural workers (and farmers), have an increased risk of suicide (Office for National Statistics, 2017)

How to get involved:

Toolkits will be available for organisations interested in getting involved in the campaign ​stating at the end of February. 

For more information, contact Jules Twells, Samaritans Regional Development Lead. 


Clinically at risk 5 to 11 years invited for COVID-19 vaccine

The NHS is now recommending that children aged 5 to 11 who are considered at higher risk of serious complications of COVID-19 – and those who are household contacts of an immunosuppressed person – can now receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, there are an estimated 3,000 eligible children in this group, which includes those with diabetes, immunosuppression, learning disabilities, and other conditions as outlined by the UK Health Security Agency in the Green Book.

Parents and guardians should wait for the NHS to contact them when it is their child’s turn to get the vaccine, with local NHS teams already contacting those who are eligible via letter and text. Vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds are being delivered initially by participating GP practices. Currently, this group will not be able to book through the national booking system or are unable to turn up at a walk-in vaccination centre.

Dr John Pepper, GP and Chair of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The Covid-19 vaccination programme has made a huge impact on the way we are able to live our lives compared to this time last year.

“This latest announcement will ensure that the most vulnerable 5- to 11-year-olds are able to get protected against the virus.

Thousands of young people are still getting protected every day, with millions vaccinated so far, and we are asking parents not to delay coming forward. I urge any parent or guardian of children in this eligible group to book an appointment as soon as they receive a letter or text so the NHS can protect young people against the virus.”

All eligible 5- to 11-year-olds will be offered two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least eight weeks apart – each vaccine is a third of the amount used for older children and adult vaccinations. However, a child cannot receive any vaccination (first or second dose) until twelve weeks after a positive test for coronavirus.

When invited, parents and guardians are asked to attend with their children and to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment. Please refer to the leaflets below.


MP Report Highlights Rural Health Inequalities

The three year investigation undertaken by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Rural Health and Care and the National Centre for Rural Health and Care is one of the most extensive of its kind.

Chaired by Anne Marie Morris, MP, the Inquiry was set up just prior to the COVID pandemic to identify and ultimately address inequalities in rural health and care. It also found that the pandemic had major negative effects, resulting in damage to the wellbeing of health and care workers, staff shortages and the financial viability of care homes. The pandemic saw an increase in the number of people migrating to rural areas and the Inquiry highlights the need for Government to take notice of the impact on health services of the growing rural population.

Rural residents are disproportionately older than average, often with complex co-morbidities. Evidence presented to the Inquiry was clear; many rural residents are comparatively disadvantaged throughout the life-course, despite the ‘social duty to promote equality’ embodied in the NHS Constitution.

Among the Inquiry’s headline conclusions was the need for better data as this influences funding for both the NHS and Social Care, and the ability to plan services effectively. Witnesses concluded that
the current system of identifying rural health inequalities is flawed because of inappropriate data collection methods. This also means that the extra costs of providing health and care in rural areas are not fully reflected in the current funding formula, resulting in rural residents receiving a lower level of care compared to their urban counterparts.

Download the full report here or you can find it later on the VCSA website under resources.


Rural pic for report
SSYN pic

South Shropshire Youth Network Offer Weekend for Young People in Campaigning and Influencing


South Shropshire Youth Network is a peer network for anyone working with young people. We work in subgroups on certain topics.

The subgroup tasked with organising a residential weekend upskilling young people in campaigning & influencing have worked with partners to create an AQA certified programme for young people at a cost of only £5 each.

If you know of any young people that would be interested in a weekend full of workshops on campaigning & influencing by Rural Media, Hereford Diocese, South Shropshire Youth Forum, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Shropshire Hills AoNB, please email SSYN Infrastructure Support Officer, Marinke Fontein for booking.

Click here to download a flyer for distribution.



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Events and Training Opportunities

Community matters funding fair

Community Matters is hosting a free online funding fair

This is a three-day event with the first day focused on Yorkshire-based funders. Days two and three are focused on national funding opportunities, and so might be of interest to Shropshire-based organisations.

Each funder has been allocated a 30 minute session using Zoom to explain what funding they have and also how the application process works. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions. You will need to book separately for each session you wish to attend.

Click on the links for each day for more information and to register:

 Tuesday 15th March is a day of national funders Funders include: Groundwork - Tesco Bags of Help & Comic Relief,  Bernard Sunley Foundation, The Henry Smith Charity, Heritage Lottery Fund,  Good Things Foundation, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Grantscape

Wednesday 16th March is another day of national funders Funders include: Key Fund, Easyfundraising, The Cloth Workers Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, People's Postcode Lottery, The Architectural Heritage Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund


Health Equity Assessment Tool (HEAT) Training Sessions

The Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) will offer some training sessions between March 2nd and 16th to raise awareness and use of the PHE HEAT tool for the Integrated Care Systems (ICS) across the Midlands.   

The sessions will be of interest to anyone within the Midlands Integrated Care Systems who would like to understand more about assessing health inequalities, for example (but not limited to): health inequality leads, commissioners, senior managers, service improvement teams, project management officers, project managers and quality teams across health, social care and the VSCE sector.

Training is free and will be delivered by webinar and places are unlimited.  

Two different training sessions are on offer: -

  1. Train the Mentor:  For those who you have identified as mentors who would support others to apply the HEAT tool. This session has more in-depth content and will last approx. 2.5 -3 hrs in duration
  2. HEAT training:  Aimed at those wishing to apply the tool themselves (approx. 1.45- 2hrs in duration).

More information about HEAT and the dates and times of the sessions are included in this  booking link.

If you have any queries email them to Sarah Broomhead, NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit. 



Film Screening and Discussion

Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope

Shropshire Council, NHS Midlands Partnership and Shropshire Together are bringing this film screening of Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope to public sector and VCS workers in Shropshire over the next six months.

RESILIENCE is a one-hour documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the birth of a new movement to treat and prevent Toxic Stress. Now understood to be one of the leading causes of everything from heart disease and cancer to substance mis-use and depression, trauma in childhood can alter brain development and have life-long effects on health and behaviour. However, as experts and practitioners are proving, what’s predictable is preventable.

For more information on dates and times, see their flyer, and check out the Event Brite page to sign up for tickets.


DSC Online Conference: Charity HR in 2022

Wednesday, 30th March 2022

This new online conference focusses on charity HR in 2022 and beyond, giving organisations practical advice on the best methods in recruiting and inducting, supporting wellbeing, changeable working styles, gender-neutral language, tailoring communications for an engaged and responsive workforce and the future of work.

Details of what you’ll cover:

  • Remote recruitment and inductions – an overview of the practicalities of how to do it well for all parties 

  • Gender-neutral language – avoiding bias towards a particular sex or social gender 

  • Running a (remote) organisation – how to organise from an HR perspective: learning and development, getting the right policies and procedures, legal implications etc. 

  • Wellbeing for performance – how to support wellbeing for individuals, teams and the whole organisation, how to support managers in managing performance, difficult conversations, monitoring performance 

  • Changeable working styles/practice – a look at changeable working styles, such as a 3-day weekend or managing staff engagement remotely – you’ll learn from professionals who have successfully changed to be more inclusive and empathetic

For more information and to book a place, visit the Directory of Social Change website.



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Job / Volunteer Opportunities

Employment Champion (People with Learning Disabilities) - Telford and Wrekin CVS

Salary: £13,354 per annum, 21 hours per week, fixed term for 12 months.

Please note the extended closing date of 5pm on Wednesday 16 February 2022.

For an informal discussion, please contact Debbie Gibbon, CEO, on (01952) 262066 or by emailing . Completed application forms should be emailed to Karen Morrow. CVs are not acceptable.


Community Resource - Head of Service (Wellbeing and Health)

Salary: £32,910 per annum Hours: Full time (37 hours), two-year initial contract

The current postholder is retiring after nearly 18 years and they are looking for an exceptional person to step into her shoes. Does the below sound like you? If so they would like to hear from you.

  • A good working knowledge of the Adult Social Care and/or health services
  • Management experience in the voluntary and community sector
  • Commitment to, and experience of, partnership working
  • Strategic thinking with operational experience
  • Creativity to develop projects, initiatives and new areas of work around health and well-being
  • Good Project management

Job description: Download hereApplication form is downloadable from their website.

Closing date for applications: Monday 21st February



Shrewsbury Ark - Volunteer Trustee/Honorary Treasurer

The Trustees of the Shrewsbury Ark are looking for a new volunteer Trustee to become Honorary Treasurer, superintending the finances of this active, forward-looking and highly successful charity.  Experience in managing charity finances and/or business experience at a senior level would be an advantage, but we are happy to consider applications from any individuals who have a comparable background and are ready to learn  -  and who can give their time (perhaps up to two days per week) to help guide the charity forward. 

Candidates must be in sympathy with the objectives of the charity, to help support homeless and vulnerable people.  Anyone who is interested should contact Ursula Howells, Clerk to the Trustees at


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Grant and Funding News

VCSA Website Features New Funding Roundup 

The VCSA website will now feature a regularly updated roundup of relevant funding opportunities. While our newsletter highlights some of top latest funding news and opportunities, this list is a collection of many more up-to-date grant opportunities in an easy to download document. Check it out!


Shropshire Telford and Wrekin CCG: 

Coproduction Strategy for Children and Young people (CYP) with Complex Needs

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG wish to develop a co-production strategy and implementation plan around engaging CYP with complex needs. They wish to incentivise ongoing commitment to make this CYP involvement and co-production sustainable across our CYP services.

*There is a cohort of vulnerable children and young people with complex needs, under 18, who experience some of the highest levels of health inequality. Their needs are defined as ‘complex’, as they often are:

  • Multiple (i.e. not in one domain, such as mental health and physical health);
  • Persistent (i.e. long term rather than transient);
  • Severe (i.e. not responding to standard interventions); and
  • Framed by family and social contexts (i.e. early family disruption, loss, inequality, prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences).

The CCG wishes to commission local providers to undertake this work over the next 12 months.  They have £25K per local authority area for providers to bid for, to undertake this work.  The bids can come from one organisation per authority or from a consortium of partners.

Bid scoring criteria and further information can be found here.

Bids should be sent via email to Frances Sutherland by  25th February 2022


New Grants for Under-Represented Groups within the LGBT+ Community

Funding to support the work of targeted, intersectional voluntary organisations in England.

With funds from the National Lottery Community Fund, the Consortium of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Voluntary and Community Organisations (Consortium) has launched a new programme which aims to build capacity and resilience in grassroots LGBT+ community groups across England.

There is a total funding pot of £465,000, from which grants of £100 to £25,000 are available.

The Consortium wishes to support organisations which are intersectional in scope, with focus on the following marginalised communities:

  • D/deaf and/or Disabled LGBT+ people.
  • LBT+ women.
  • LGBT+ people from Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnicities (BAME) and LGBT+ people of colour.
  • Older LGBT+ people.
  • Trans and Non-Binary people.

To be considered eligible, organisations must be non-profit and able to show they are led by and for the communities of focus. This means their primary objective must be to serve the communities of focus, and these communities must be majority-represented in leadership.

Applications are welcome from new organisations requiring support to grow.

The programme is intended to be as flexible as possible. As such, grants can cover project costs, core costs and development costs.

All grants must be fully spent by August 2023.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until 30 October 2022.

Check out the LGBT+ Futures Equity Fund website for more information and to apply.


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