VCSA Newsletter Week of 28th March 2022

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Newsletter for the Week of 28th March 2022


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:


Shrewsbury Abbey Station external photo with flowers

Shrewsbury's Abbey Station is among the beneficiaries of the pilot Community Asset Grant Scheme

Community Assets Benefit from £140,000 in Grants from Shropshire Council

Grants totalling more than £140,000 are being awarded to community groups across Shropshire to boost their recovery from the pandemic as part of the council’s government-funded ARG programme.

The design of the pilot grant scheme to benefit community assets is thanks in large part to a VCSA-led discussion with voluntary and community partners to make recommendations about the best ways to target the ARG funds. 

Shropshire Council has handed out funding of up to £15,000 to a total of 14 groups the length and breadth of the county to help secure community assets for the future.

The grants include £15,000 to Lower Bush Farm Community Interest Company near Ludlow to allow building improvements and improve the site for a range of visitors including adults with learning disabilities, children with special educational needs and disabilities and those benefiting from short breaks holiday clubs.

Farm service users will be involved as much as possible in the work, learning news DIY skills where possible.

Grants also include £15,000 to Clive Village Hall to allow it to complete a £100,000+ redevelopment project; £14,300 to Brownlow Community Centre, Whitchurch, to allow it to install automatic doors at both entrances to help improve accessibility; and £15,000 to The Church Barn in Bishop’s Castle to repair internal damage due to damp and to install an electric vehicle charge point in the car park.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism and transport, said:

"This is a huge boost for communities across the county as we emerge from the pandemic.

The pandemic has affected everyone in one way or another and among the impacts are the challenges for community-owned assets. Some had to stay closed for a time, some lost income due to reduced community activity or bookings, others may have faced challenges with changes in volunteer support and investment.

The impact of coronavirus has prompted concerns over the sustainability of some community assets. These community services and buildings are vitally important in achieving post-pandemic recovery, rebuilding local social networks, and maintaining strong rural communities.

I am delighted to be announcing such heartening news that will have a positive impact on so many communities across Shropshire."

Further successful projects include £11,000 for Great Hanwood Community Interest Company to renovate the current bar area to help it become a café; £11,000 for Shrewsbury Railway Heritage Trust to undertake works at the Abbey Station building; and nearly £3,000 for Loppington Village Hall and Recreation Ground.

All the projects will be featured in our newsletter and on Shropshire Council's website in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

Image of Earth from space

Charity Space Odyssey

Fancy having your charity travel into space?

INTune Radio is a new community interest company based in Shropshire, and is holding its official launch on 'Star Wars Day' (May the 4th - get it?) 

As part of its launch, the station is holding a 'Space Odyssey' which will feature a broadcast of Shropshire-based charities and their information from space! 

To take part, please complete the charity sign-up form by March 31st, and then check out the station. INTune Radio, CIC features music and local bands, along with local programming, aiming to serve local communities, businesses and charities. 

Picture of Mandy Thorn, MBE, Chair of Marches LEP

Recent Parliamentary Debate Highlights Benefits of LEPs


Leaders of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (including Chair Mandy Thorn, MBE, pictured) have welcomed new assurances from a Government minister over the long-term future of the organisations.

Neil O’Brien MP, the Minister for Levelling Up, told a parliamentary debate LEPs would continue to exist – particularly in areas where elected mayors and combined authorities were not likely to be introduced for some time – and that they had played ‘a very important role in unlocking local economic potential and growth’.

Mr O’Brien said that he was inspired by the work of LEPs and confirmed that the Government would ensure they had ‘funding certainty’ very shortly.

Read the full story on the Shropshire Council website.

COL help picture of house

Cost of Living Crisis: Shropshire Council Issues Help Page

"Increases in the cost of food, fuel and utilities is affecting many households in Shropshire and we know that it is a worrying time for everyone," Says Councillor Gwilym Butler, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources.

To help, the Council have brought together a number of useful links, tips and pointers on where and how people can find help across the county at:

This will help people see the range of services the Council and their partner organisations have on offer. This includes a benefits calculator so that people can check whether they’re getting the benefits they’re entitled to, advice about energy bills and reducing energy costs from the Marches Energy Agency, as well as information about how to manage debt from Citizens Advice.

The Council also recently announced that every household in council tax bands A to D will receive £150 rebate towards rising energy costs, to be paid from April 2022.

Please share this information as widely as possible within your networks.

Radiator controller

Cost of Living Crisis and Charity Response

One in three charities have faced a drop in income over the course of the pandemic, and three in four sector leaders are worried about burnout among their workforce, according to a new report published by Pro Bono Economics. 

Yet according to a Civil Society article, in response to the Spring Statement issued by the government last week, plans current plans do not go far enough in helping individuals or voluntary and community sector organisations to tackle the looming cost of living crisis.

The Civil Society article quotes Caron Bradshaw OBE, CEO of Charity Finance Group, a major charity infrastructure support organisation, as saying:

“At the very time the government is rightly working to level up, those on the lowest incomes face a significant cut to their living standards and the rise in inflation is set to outstrip increases in universal credit which was not raised. Many are likely be plunged into poverty in 2022.

As ever, charities and social change organisations will support their communities, but they too face the daunting prospect of another 12 months of juggling increasing demands on services with an increase in operating costs.”

The VCSA Board is next meeting on April 6th and will discuss the cost of living crisis at length. Regular meetings with public sector partners similar to those deployed to tackle the Covid crisis are also underway. 


Elevate class in progress

New Series of Strength and Balance Classes Launched Across Shropshire

A new series of strength and balance classes designed to help older adults gain confidence by boosting their mobility and helping to maintain independence, are being launched across Shropshire.

The Elevate classes, run by active partnership VCSA member Energize and funded by Shropshire Council, aim to help reduce the risk of falls, taking pressure off the NHS.

They are specifically for people aged 60 or over and have already helped more than 1,000 people since being launched in 2018.

The new season sees the programme expanding into even more Shropshire communities, with Much Wenlock, Broseley, St Martins and Ellesmere among the locations added to the list for the first time.

There are also classes planned at various locations around Shrewsbury, as well as Ludlow, Oswestry, Pontesbury, Bishop’s Castle, Prees, Bridgnorth, Church Stretton, St Martins and Ellesmere.

Christina Morgan, Energize’s ‘Elevate’ project manager, said: “We are so happy to be bringing these Elevate classes back after a challenging couple of years.

“Elevate is an evidence-based programme, proven to increase strength and improve balance, therefore, reducing the risk of falls. The classes will also address deconditioning post lockdown, helping to maintain independence and improve overall well-being.”

Latest figures show there were nearly 234,000 emergency hospital admissions across England during 2019/20 amongst people aged 65 and over, as a direct result of falls.

And research shows that, in the year to May 2021, older people experienced a considerable reduction in strength and balance activity as they spent more time at home during the pandemic.

Christina said: “These sessions help to build strength and balance and therefore improve confidence in undertaking daily tasks inside and outside the home. The classes are really helping people to be more confident getting out and about again.

“We are pleased to have new instructors joining us, along with our longstanding instructors who are eager to get started again, and we hope to further expand the number of Elevate classes in the coming months.”

The Elevate classes are available on referral from a GP, health professional or by self-referral. Anyone interested in the classes must complete a one-page referral form which can be found on the Energize website. Alternatively, call the team on 07852 871589 for a form to be posted out to you or email

Most classes are expected to start in April.

Annual report front cover

VCSA Publishes 2021 Annual Report

The VCSA Annual Report is now available on our website, or you can download it here.

Check out what our Board, Forums of Interest and partnerships have been up to, and what the plans are for the year ahead!

Interested in having your organisation's stories of success featured in our newsletter, website or social media? We want to hear from you! Contact:



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Events and Training Opportunities

MEAM National Conference:

The Changing Landscape for Multiple Disadvantage

Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) is a network of national charities across the UK that support services aimed at adults with multiple disadvantages. They are holding a national conference online March 30th from 10am - 4pm.

This conference brings together a wide range of people, places and organisations working to, or interested in, tackling multiple disadvantage. Through five conversations, MEAM will reflect on what the network has learnt together so far, celebrate success, take a constructively critical look at what has yet to be achieved, and together form a long-view on what needs to happen in the next five years.

The conversations are centred on the experience and expertise within the MEAM Approach network, including people with lived experience and those working to support them. They also include a range of other expert voices of people tackling multiple disadvantage.

To register to attend this free online event, visit the conference Eventbrite page.

VCSA Annual Assembly: Register Now!

Don't forget to book your place for the 2022 VCSA Annual Assembly Meeting. VCSA members and partners are all welcome to this free event. This is a great opportunity to learn about what's happening in the sector, to have your voice heard on important priorities, and to get in some much-missed networking time!

Full event details can be found on our website, or on the Eventbrite booking page.

Members can feel free to bring flyers/information to put out on tables.

Refreshments will be served.

If you need a lift from the Shrewsbury bus station or train station, email Sarah Hampson, as we will be arranging a shuttle to take people from public transport to the Football Club.

SIP logo

Upcoming Free and Subsidised Courses for Shropshire Community Groups

Community groups within Shropshire are being invited to take part in a wide range of training courses to help them ‘survive and thrive’.

The varied topics are open to local charitable groups and organisations and include spotting the risks in vulnerable people, governance and legal structures and mental health awareness. The courses are accredited and offered by sector experts. 

Upcoming sessions include Adult Safeguarding Awareness training on 31st March, and Governance and Legal Structures for Charities on 26th April. And many, many more!

As part of a launch offer two free places per organisation are available on the first programme of courses, held between March and May. From June onwards the same programme will run again and the cost of each session will be substantially subsided at £15.00 per delegate.  

The events are managed by the Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) Voluntary & Community Support Team and are supported by funding from Shropshire Council.

For more information and to book your place on one of the events, visit the Eventbrite pageAnd don't forget to check the site for updates - as more trainings will continue to be added!


Flyer for Healthwatch event

Healthwatch Shropshire Annual Event: 'One Chance' Conversations About Death and Dying 

Healthwatch Shropshire invites you to join them at their annual event. It is often said that as a person nears end of life, whether they are in hospital or being supported at home, there is only one chance to get it right.

This year Healthwatch Shropshire will be bringing together local experts in the field of end of life care to highlight some of the work being done in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin to support those dying and their families and to discuss the measures everyone can all take to make death and dying as good as it can be.

The afternoon session will include:

  • A market place highlighting the support available in Shropshire
  • A few short talks about things to consider when people are approaching death.
  • A chance to listen to and ask questions of a panel of professionals closely involved with supporting people at end of life and their families.

When: Tuesday, 10th May 1 - 4:30pm

Where: Shrewsbury Town Football Club

For more information and to book your place, please visit the Healthwatch Shropshire website.

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Dementia Action Alliance:

Dementia-Friendly Coffee Morning

When: Friday 1st April 2022 from 10am - 12pm 

Where: St Giles Fellowship Hall, St Giles Church, 29 Wenlock Road, Shrewsbury, SY2 6JP

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Dementia Action Alliance are organising a special Coffee Morning to celebrate being a Charity Partner of MidCounties Coop. Find out more about Dementia Friendly Communities and to enjoy tea and biscuits in good company! All are welcome.

Visit the STW Dementia Action Alliance website to find out more.

Ideas Box: Ways to Wellbeing

This free Ideas Box workshop will be fast-paced with ideas, signposting of quality resources, and quick wins along with an opportunity to share your favourite resources with others. 

The session will be delivered by the Campaign for Learning team

When: 28th April 2-3pm

The workshop provides attendees with:

  • an opportunity to explore new family and community learning resources
  • network with other family and community learning providers
  • ideas to implement activities on the theme of wellbeing

Who will benefit from attending?

This workshop is ideal if you engage with families or the community in:

  • schools
  • libraries
  • galleries
  • museums
  • colleges
  • adult and community settings
  • online centres
  • the wider community 

Ideas Box is a new series of free virtual workshops designed specifically to support family and community learning. In the Ideas Box series, the Campaign for Learning team will share the best resources around, with a new theme to explore in every event.

To register for the event, please visit the Campaign for Learning website.

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Job / Volunteer Opportunities

Shrewsbury Ark logo

Shrewsbury Ark Treasurer Needed

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 they 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. 

Needless to say, 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. 

Hope house image

Hope House Volunteer Needed: Shrewsbury Harlescott Shop


Do you have a passion for fashion, enjoy reading, love a wide range of music and films or have an eye for the collectable or unusual? Then Hope House could really use your help in their Harlescott shop.

There are lots of ways that you can help, to fit around your life and commitments, either on a regular basis or as and when you’re free. You don’t need any previous experience, just enthusiasm and a willingness to help.

In addition to raising vital funds to help local children and their families, their shops also demonstrate environment-friendly procedures with a commitment to recycling and re-using, helping to reduce the impact of consumerism and fast fashion. They sell ladies’, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories, books and toys, electricals, small items of furniture, jewellery and collectables.

If you have some time to spare and would like to join a friendly and supportive team doing something really worthwhile and fulfilling that makes you feel good (and gives you the opportunity to pick up some real bargains!), then please pop into the shop for a chat.

You can find them at Unit 3 Lancaster Retail Park, Brixton Way (next door to Iceland) or phone on 01743 463361.


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

New Social Action Fund to Promote Youth Empowerment in the UK

Non-profit groups can now apply for grants to help young people bring about social change and overcome disadvantage.

Working in partnership with the #iwill Fund and the Hunter Foundation, BBC Children in Need is delivering its new Social Action Fund to promote youth empowerment across the UK, as part of its wider Sharing Power programme.

Not-for-profit organisations which are registered with an appropriate governing body can apply for grants of up to £50,000 over 18 months; while unregistered organisations can apply for up to £15,000 over 18 months, or £10,000 over one year.

Applicants do not need to have experience in youth-led social action projects, but must be able to demonstrate:

  • Their well-established links with children and young people.
  • Experience in child participation/sharing power with children and young people.
  • How they work alongside other organisations in the local community.
  • How and why they want to deliver youth-led social action projects.

Funded work must be:

  • Led by children and young people.
  • Genuinely developmental and reciprocal, providing children and young people with life enhancing experience and new skills and confidence.
  • Prioritising the wellbeing of children and young people at all times.
  • Inclusive of all age ranges.
  • Harnessing the value of lived experience.
  • Allowing time and space for project ideas to grow through an initial development phase. This period of time at the start of each grant will build the capacity of the children and young people to take part in youth social action.

Applicants are required to sign up to a one-hour information session before they can apply, with several dates in April available. A recording will be available to any groups who are unable to attend any of the sessions.

The deadline to register for an information session is 8 April 2022. For more information and to register, visit the Youth Social Action Fund website.

Matrix Causes Fund Accepting Applications for Spring 2022 Round

The charitable arm of Matrix Law, Matrix Causes Fund is offering grants to registered charities in the UK for projects relating to equity and justice.

There are two levels of funding available:

One-off grants of up to £5,000.

Grants of up to £3,000 a year for three years.

The funders are particularly interested in hearing from applicants working with vulnerable groups, including prisoners, asylum seekers, people with disabilities and women in refuges.

Funding may only cover identifiable items or activities such as:

  • Publications
  • Staff/volunteer training
  • Publicity
  • Events and equipment which can benefit many people in the long-term.

The next deadline is 11 April 2022 (5pm). Apply on the Fund website.

Fourth Round of Youth Music Incubator Fund Opens for Applications

Funding is available to businesses, collectives and not-for-profits working in Great Britain's music industries to help create sustainable, meaningful career opportunities for young people aged 18-25, especially those who are currently underrepresented in the sector.

Applications will be accepted from organisations that:

  • Are based in the UK and operate in Scotland, England or Wales.
  • Have a business bank account.
  • Can provide a recent set of financial accounts.
  • Have a legal status (ie registered with Companies House, Charity Commission, FCA or HMRC or have a constitution) - the following are all eligible:
    • Sole traders.
    • Unincorporated associations (voluntary group with a constitution).
    • Registered charities.
    • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
    • Company limited by guarantee.
    • Company limited by share capital.
    • Community Benefit Society.
    • Collectives - if applying as a collective with no formal legal status, then another organisation can apply on its behalf as a 'sponsor organisation'. This can be a member of the collective who is a registered sole trader, or another partner organisation.

Funding is to be used for projects that offer paid opportunities for 18-25s, and provide young people with the opportunity to develop their own projects. All participants should receive support from the organisation through incubation, training, mentoring, and networking.

Grants of between £5,000 and £30,000 are available for organisations.

Deadline to apply 5pm 22nd April. For more information and to apply visit the Fund website.

Veterans’ Foundation Accepting Applications for Spring 2022 Round

With funding from the Veterans’ Lottery, the Veterans’ Foundation aims to help charities and other not-for-profit organisations in Great Britain to support serving and former members of the British Armed Forces who may be facing challenging circumstances.

The funding can be used for projects covering a range of aspects of social care for the Armed Forces community, including:

  • Reducing homelessness.
  • Increasing employment.
  • Providing welfare and medical support.
  • Increasing confidence and social interaction.
  • Reducing dependence on alcohol and drugs.
  • Reducing poverty.
  • Disability.
  • Mental health.
  • Marriage guidance.
  • Care during old age.

The maximum grant available is £30,000, which can be spread over a number of years. However, the Foundation tends to award more small grants than large grants.

Priority is given to charities and organisations who can demonstrate that they are directly involved in the provision of support to those in need, as well as well-run organisations of low to medium wealth.

The deadline to apply is 20 May 2022. Apply on their website.

Funding for Projects in Communities with Card Factory Stores 

The Card Factory Foundation is offering grants of up to £2,500 to not-for-profit organisations and community groups to deliver projects that support Card Factory colleagues and communities where Card Factory stores operate.

Through Community Grants Fund, support is available for groups to make a positive difference for past and present colleagues of Card Factory, their Connected Person(s) and the communities in which they live.

Proposed projects and activities must meet one or more of the following priorities:

  • Provide support, financial or otherwise, towards hardship caused by life-changing events.
  • Provide support, financial or otherwise, to projects that improve lives.
  • Community projects that take place for Card Factory colleagues and/or communities where Card Factory stores operate.

Funding is for costs that are directly related to and essential for carrying out project activities.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.  Apply on the Foundation website.

Recover and Grow Grant Scheme

The aim of the Recover and Grow Grant Scheme is to give continued support to smaller, local not-for-profit and community organisations to:

  • help them recover from the negative impact of Covid-19, and
  • encourage new ways of working which will help them to be more resilient and effective going forward, stimulating the local economy, boosting public involvement in community activities and expanding the opportunities to volunteer.

Amount: up to £5,000

Application Deadline: Rolling basis until fund is depleted

Apply online on the Community Resource website.

Small Grants for Community Buildings in Shropshire

Community Resource  has been asked by the Millichope Foundation to administer a fund for the benefit of community buildings in Shropshire. The fund provides small grants of up to £500 to enable village halls and community centres to purchase items of equipment to help meet the needs of their local community.

Examples of things that have been funded previously include:

  • Hearing loops or equipment to assist disabled users
  • Tables, chairs and other furniture
  • Kitchen equipment (eg white goods or crockery)
  • Replacement water heaters or radiators
  • Curtains, draught excluders and other insulation
  • Audio and visual equipment (eg a PA system) and portable staging

The fund cannot contribute to general running costs, staff salaries, volunteers expenses, large capital projects or resurfacing of car parks.

Next deadline: You can submit your application to us at any time.

Application form and guidance notes can be found on the Community Resource 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: