VCSA Newsletter Week of 14th March 2022

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Newsletter for the Week of 14th March 2022


Women's history month image

Women's History Month: Items of Interest


March is Women's History Month. Here are a few items related to amplifying the voices and promoting the wellbeing of women and girls that you may find of interest:

Improving Fitness Services for Women and Girls

This Girl Can and UK Active have just produced some timely research-based guidance for organisations offering leisure and fitness-based services on how to improve their services to make them more effective for women and girls.

You can visit their website to learn more about the report and to download the guide, or you can download it here.

Domestic Abuse Myths and Stereotypes

Age UK's Safeguarding Team recently held a workshop entitled "Domestic Abuse Myths and Stereotypes" as part of their Knowledge Share series. To watch the recording, please click here. The team spoke about the Supporting Older Survivors toolkit produced by Solace Women’s Aid which you can find here and also the Age UK report: No Age Limit: The Hidden Face of Domestic Abuse

Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival: Screening of 'Rebel Dykes'

There is still time to catch the second featured documentary of the 2022 Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival.

'Rebel Dykes' will be screening at The Hive in Shrewsbury at 3pm, Sunday, March 20th.

The event features a Q&A with the Directors: Harri Shanahan and Sian Williams and hosted by local author: Lucy Aphramor

Further information and tickets for the event can be found at the Film Festival's website.

Women's Health Survey

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust's 2022 Women's Health Survey is still open. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Check out the survey link.

'Enough' Campaign

West Mercia Police would like to highlight the new 'Enough' website, launched as part of a larger government campaign to tackle abuse against women and girls. To find out more, visit the Enough campaign website. 

Grants to Improve Maternity Outcomes and Postpartum Safety

Full details of this item can be found in our funding section below.

Non-profit groups can apply for funding for the provision of specialist resources and services to women and girls who are at risk of, or living in, circumstances of violence.

With funding from the Tampon Tax Fund, Safer Beginnings is a collaborative programme which brings together the work Best Beginnings, White Ribbon Alliance and 18 delivery partners from across the UK maternity and early years sectors.

The programme aims to improve maternal safety and outcomes of women and girls by supporting the development of services which address issues such as:

  • Obstetric violence.
  • Female genital mutilation/cutting.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Coercion.
  • Financial abuse
  • Pregnancy informed by previous sexual or physical trauma.


SPFA logo

Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance:

Food Insecurity at Highest Level Since Start of Pandemic

In its latest newsletter, the Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance reported on the latest data from the Food Foundation, which shows that food insecurity levels have risen to the highest since the outbreak of the pandemic, affecting 5.7 million adults in the past six months. 1 million households (3.6%) reported not eating for at least one day in the past month.

When the energy price cap increases in April single adult households on low incomes will have to spend 54% of their income after housing costs to pay their energy bills. We are seeing food prices that are rising by 5%, energy costs increasing by as much as 50% and benefits subject to only a 3.1% rise as inflation heads to 7%. Partnership working will be more important than ever as VCS organisations look to help low-income households in Shropshire navigate these most challenging of times. 

Sophie Padgett, co-ordinator of the Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance, was quoted in the Shropshire Star last month saying that she has seen "unprecedented levels of demand for food" since the start of the pandemic.

If you are interested in working with or learning more about Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance, a VCSA Forum of Interest, visit their website or email Sophie Padgett.


Liz Holdsworth, PALZ UK Founder

VCSA Member Feature: PALZ UK

When people discover that they or their partner has Alzheimer’s they are often lost as to what to do next. How to cope. Many people have discovered that the support of others in a similar situation, and the opportunity to socialise at the PALZ UK bi-monthly meetings to have been most beneficial. Liz Holdsworth, Chair of PALZ UK is keen to ‘spread the word’ about the Shropshire-based charity which aims to help people who have held challenging and demanding jobs, and are now living with Alzheimer’s (or dementia from other causes).

Liz Holdsworth said: “PALZ UK meetings take place every two months, at the Conference Centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. During the pandemic we had monthly Zooms meetings. People can enjoy a range of interesting Guest Speakers providing intellectual stimulation to those who just happen to have Alzheimer’s or any other cause of dementia.  Supportive friends and family very welcome and attendees tell me that they find the meetings a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It is free to attend, and there is free parking with coffee & light refreshments.  We have had a variety of interesting speakers and the meetings increase self-respect, confidence and mental stimulation in a friendly atmosphere."

Liz encourages individuals and potential partners to visit the PALZ UK website where the charity's Shropshire origins as well as its ambitions to be a UK-wide charity are detailed. The charity hopes that interested people will establish additional groups in different towns and cities. 

Liz continued: “After establishing a successful local Shropshire Group the next step is to create other groups across the UK.  To enable that ambition we have created a Starter Pack which is available online on the website. The PALZ UK Starter Pack contains for example, an illustration of typical potential contacts; the PALZ UK Model, an Action List and an indication of the support that will be provided to set up a group.  So please tell others of our plans. Thank you”.

To find out more email or please visit the PALZ UK website.


Have Your Voice Heard:

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Public Participation Plan Survey

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust's Public Participation 5 year plan was agreed by the Trust Board in October 2021 after many months of community engagement, with thousands of different inputs.

Each objective in Public Participation Action Plan has several actions against it, and the Trust would like you to tell them which you think is the most important for them to focus on so they can draw up a prioritised plan that reflects the issues that are important to communities.

Please could you take a couple of minutes to complete the survey.



VCSA Member Feature: Feed the Birds


Feed the Birds is a befriending scheme for bird lovers first piloted by Shropshire Wildlife Trust in 2016, it has since expanded into a fully funded project. The idea arose out of the recognition that loneliness and social isolation are two of the major factors affecting health and wellbeing today.

Watch their new short informational video now!

If you are interested in learning more about this project, contact Project Officer Diane Monether


Feed the Birds image of birds on a feeder

Interesting Podcasts

Looking for a podcast that discusses important issues related to the VCS? Look no further than these recent offerings from some well established organisations:

New Economics Podcast: Tackling the energy crisis

In this episode, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Dr Joseph Baines from King’s College London and Abby Jitendra of Citizens Advice to look at the causes of and responses to soaring energy bills.

The King's Fund Podcast: What Women Want - Addressing Women's Health Inequalities

To mark International Women’s Day, host Helen McKenna speaks with Professor Dame Lesley Regan and Dr Janine Austin Clayton about women’s health journeys from start to finish. They explore why women can struggle to get medical professionals to listen to them and the impact this has on diagnosis and treatment, as well as the mental and physical effects on women themselves.


VCSA State of the Sector Survey call for responses

Your Voice Matters!


The VCSA is running its first State of the Sector Survey since 2017. Just think about how much has happened in these past five years! It is so important that we hear from you.

Hearing from lots of different organisations from across the county will give us good data. Getting good data means that we can reliably communicate the value of the sector to our partners and funders and we can give you trustworthy facts that you can use in grant applications and in promoting your work. With funding opportunities becoming narrower and so many organisations struggling, it is more important than ever that we communicate the important economic and social value that the VCS sector provides to Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin.

We know that your time is precious, and that it takes time to complete this survey (approximately 30min), but we hope you will find that there is a huge value to your individual organisation and to the sector as a whole in having this kind of data available.

You do not have to disclose anything you don’t want to. All data will be anonymised, and you can choose what data to report (or not), including the name and contact details of your organisation, if you wish. However, if you do wish to provide your contact information, we are offering to make any organisation that wants one a free infographic using their data that they can use for funding or promotional purposes should they wish.

The survey closes March 31st, so please don't delay. We want to hear from voluntary organisations, non-profits, charities and community interest companies all across the county, so once you take it - share it!

Here's the link in full:



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Events and Training Opportunities

Community Resolve Logo


Community Resolve Training Course: Exploring Whiteness

These discussions take place in a small, closed group with a maximum of 10 participants. This course is only open to individuals who tick the ‘white’ box on ethnicity surveys.

Many white people are aware of the problem of racism and want to do something about it – but where to start?

This 6-week online course is an opportunity to start at the only logical beginning point – with ourselves. Community Resolve provide a safe and brave space in which to engage, connect and reflect with some challenging and complicated ideas, getting ready to engage in anti-racism work in whatever way that emerges in individuals' lives.

“It was challenging to explore what White Privilege actually means, generally and personally. The course has really helped me understand this better and make a conscious decision stay alert, to acknowledge and question it in everyday situations.”  Participant, May 2021


  • Week 1 White privilege – introducing white privilege; personal engagement with the idea
  • Week 2 – I can’t be racist, I’m a good person!  – unpacking white privilege; microaggressions
  • Week 3- A question of perspective – anti-racism terminology; checking our defences
  • Week 4 – Whiteness – what is whiteness?; The river of life
  • Week 5 – Letting it land – exploring our relationship to racism
  • Week 6 – What can I do? – reflections; looking back, looking forward

To register please visit the Eventbrite page. The course begins March 28th.


Keep on Moving Shropshire Banner

Keep on Moving Shropshire

Age UK, Energize and Taking Part, along with other voluntary and community sector partners, are working with Shropshire Council and Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG to put on a three-week festival for Shropshire from 8 May 2022. The purpose is to help people in Shropshire, of all abilities, to connect to fun and healthy activities near them.

The festival will begin on 8 May with a launch event at Shrewsbury Sports Village, and through the month community partners will be offering free or discounted taster sessions right across Shropshire.

Interested in being an exhibitor at the launch event or finding out more? Check out the Keep on Moving Shropshire website!


Save the Date for VCSA Annual Assembly 27th April 1-5pm Shrewsbury FC


ICS Men's Health Forum Launches This Week

The Shropshire Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care System's Men’s Health Forum launches on Thursday 17 March 2022, 12.30pm – 2pm. Special guest interview with interim chief executive for the Integrated Care Board - Simon Whitehouse.

People are encouraged to attend to share experiences and obtain information surrounding important issues like mental health and physical health and fitness. People are free to contribute to the conversation or simply listen to others talk about their experiences. Also joining will be local GPs Dr Tim Lyttle and Dr Ross Wilkinson, who will be sharing their hints and tips on looking after your physical and mental wellbeing, and will answer any questions you may have in relation to men's health.

This Men's Forum is the first in this series, and will be held on a bi-monthly basis across the ICS to help both men and women to obtain more information around men's health and have a safe place to ask any questions and share experiences. The ICS will be be choosing topics selected by you at each forum to discuss, and they want to encourage open conversations with specialist experts in attendance to answer any questions. The aim of this forum is to help banish any unhelpful myths around men's health, raise awareness of men's mental health and offer support on this important topic, and offer support and guidance, hints, and tips around men's physical health.

The session will be held virtually and is free to attend. Please register ahead on their event website.


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Job / Volunteer Opportunities

Cavalier Centre: Volunteer and Participant Coordinator

The Cavalier Centre are looking for someone who is passionate about the potential of horses and horse related activity to promote improved mental, physical and emotional health; who is enthusiastic about the work, mission and vision of the Cavalier Centre. You will be a volunteer champion and maintain an inclusive and welcoming environment for participants. You’ll be a people person, work well in a busy environment and have excellent communication and organisation skills.

Applications must be received by 9am 24th March 2022

You can download the full job description and the application form here, or visit their website.


Full Job Description – Volunteer and Participant Coordinator

Application Form – VP C application-form


Teldoc: Social Prescribing Link Worker

The social prescriber link worker (SPLW) works alongside a team within general practice and within the Primary Care Network (PCN) and empowers people to take control of their health and well-being.

The service will support patients to access all available opportunities by linking individuals with community and volunteering support so they can take charge of their own health and well-being. You would address the wider determinants of health, such as debt, poor housing and physical inactivity.

Closing date: 21st March

Applications can be made on the NHS jobs website.

For questions about the job, contact Elaine Edwards.



Do you have a job or volunteer opportunity you would like us to promote? Please send your information to and we will include it in our next newsletter!

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Grant and Funding News

Grants to Improve Maternity Outcomes and Postpartum Safety 

Non-profit groups can apply for funding for the provision of specialist resources and services to women and girls who are at risk of, or living in, circumstances of violence.

With funding from the Tampon Tax Fund, Safer Beginnings is a collaborative programme which brings together the work Best Beginnings, White Ribbon Alliance and 18 delivery partners from across the UK maternity and early years sectors.

The programme aims to improve maternal safety and outcomes of women and girls by supporting the development of services which address issues such as:

  • Obstetric violence.
  • Female genital mutilation/cutting.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Coercion.
  • Financial abuse
  • Pregnancy informed by previous sexual or physical trauma.

Charities, Community Interest Companies, not-for-profit groups and grassroots movements across Scotland, England and Wales may apply, providing they can demonstrate appropriate governance and safeguarding procedures.

There is a total funding pot of £150,000, split as follows:

  • England - £100,000: three grants of £15,000 to £40,000.
  • Wales - £25,000: one or two grants of £10,000 to £25,000.
  • Scotland - £25,000: one or two grants of £10,000 to £25,000.

All proposed programmes must include the use of Baby Buddy 2.0, an app launched in November 2021 to enable more women and girls to access personalised information and resources and promote self-agency in their maternity and early years journeys.

Groups supporting nonbinary people are also able to apply, whilst programmes which include or focus on men, fathers and boys as their primary audience must specify the onward benefit of their outcomes to women and girls.

Grants can cover programme costs and organisational core costs as long as they are necessary to the delivery of the proposed activities.

The deadline to apply is 24 March 2022 (10am). More information and how to apply can be found on the Safer Beginnings website.


Funding for the development of strategic partnerships and innovative projects addressing homelessness and rough sleeping.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced an £8 million fund over the next three years to support the work of the voluntary and community sector in tackling homelessness and rough sleeping.

The Programme is divided into four individually biddable lots, each with a different objective and its own individual budget per annum:

  • Lot 1 - Increase the capacity and capability of the sector to prevent and relieve rough sleeping and homelessness (£850,000 to £1.2 million).
  • Lot 2 – Deliver a specific, specialist advice service to help frontline workers resolve individual cases (£750,000 to £950,000).
  • Lot 3 - Enable stronger local strategic partnerships (£450,000 to £600,000).
  • Lot 4 - Developing the faith and community sector (£175,000 to £225,000).

Applications are accepted from voluntary and community sector organisations in England with a proven track record of providing specialist delivery in the field of homelessness and working collaboratively across sectors. Consortium bids are also encouraged.

Bids will be considered for single or multiple lots.

The deadline to apply is 1 April 2022. For more information visit the grant's GOV.UK site.


Funding to Improve Mental Health Support for Young People 

In partnership with Julia and Hans Rausing, the UK Youth Fund has launched the new £8.4 million Thriving Minds programme. Established as a direct response to the growing youth mental health crisis in the UK, funding will support UK-based charities and not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of less than £500,000 to improve mental health support for young people aged 8 to 25 in their communities, whilst ensuring organisations have the resources needed to properly engage with the Thriving Minds programme and implement and instigate learnings to improve their mental health provision.

Unrestricted grants of between £15,000 and £50,000 per year for up to three years are available for projects that demonstrate commitment to the following key outcomes: 

  • Improved community support for young people experiencing mental health problems and improved preventative provision to support young people before they reach crisis point.
  • Improved best practices on ways to improve youth workers’ mental health literacy.
  • Embedding sustainable youth work practises in the youth sector and mental health sector.

Proposed projects and activities must directly engage with at least one of the following focus groups: 

  • Young people from racialised communities.
  • Young people living in poverty.
  • Young people dealing with trauma.
  • Young people suffering adversity due to their gender or sexuality.
  • Young people living in rural communities.

Funding is unrestricted and can be spent on any aspect of an organisation’s operation. However, applicants must demonstrate how any monies awarded will help their organisation improve mental health support and provision for young people. Applicants must be willing to commit to engaging and attending core activities of the Thriving Minds programme and complete all online reporting requirements.

There is a two-stage application process.  

The deadline for applications is 20 March 2022 (midnight). For more information or to apply visit the UK Youth Fund: Thriving Minds website.



VCSA Website Features 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!


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