VCSA Newsletter Week of 4th April 2022

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Newsletter for the Week of 4th April 2022


mobilise logo

Cost of Living: New Benefits Guide for Carers

With the cost of living rising rapidly in the UK, and inflation expected to hit 8% where benefits will only rise 3%, every penny counts for those on fixed and low incomes.

In light of this looming crisis, Mobilise have created a comprehensive and easy-to-use benefits guide for carers.

The guide includes information on what financial benefits and discounts exist for carers, information for carers who work or those who care full-time, as well as advice on obtaining benefits for those carers are looking after.

Check out their website for more information, and to access the guide.


image of laptop with a video conference going on

Charity Commission's Covid-19 Allowance for Remote Meetings to End This Month

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Charity Commission has made it possible for charities to hold meetings online or over telephone, even where their governing documents do not allow for this.

On 21 April 2022 this more flexible approach to charities holding meetings outside of the terms of their governing documents is coming to an end. The Commission has urged all charities to check that their governing document allows them to hold meetings in the way they want to, whether that’s online, by telephone, remotely or in person.

The Commission's website advises: - 

"If your governing document does not allow online, telephone or hybrid meetings you should consider if you can use any power (usually in your governing document) to amend the rules to allow these types of meetings. You should update the governing document and approve any previous decisions as soon as possible."

For more information on this change in provisions, and for guidance on how charities can best prepare for this change, visit the Charity Commission website.

state of aging report cover image

Centre for Aging Better Issues 2022 State of Aging Report

The Centre for Ageing Better launched its annual State of Ageing Report, in March a comprehensive view on ageing in society. The report, which includes analysis of public and government data sets, shows that prospects as people in the UK age are getting much worse amidst a steep rise in pensioner poverty. The report shows that a further 200,000 people of pension age fell into poverty in the last year.

The charity's website says:

"Inequalities continue to deepen – net non-pension wealth of the richest 20% of people doubled between 2002 and 2018, while that of the poorest 20% fell by 30%, highlighting a growing divide between the richest and poorest in society."

The report, published in mid-March, is being launched with a webinar event on 5th April 9:30-10:30am, which will also be available to view afterward on YouTube. For more information, visit the following links:

Download: The summary report is available here.

cover of respond recover reset report featuring title and images of people

NCVO Publishes "Respond-Recover-Reset: Two Years On"

Throughout each month of the pandemic, the NCVO has been producing regular reports entitled "Respond. Recover. Reset." These reports have been based on 14 panel surveys and hundreds of interviews, providing an important picture of the VCSE sector in the UK during the pandemic.

In March, the organisation published its final edition of this series of reports, focusing on the big picture, and what the overall trends tell us about what the sector as a whole has been through during the pandemic, and where it is now.

While the pandemic has been undoubtedly extremely challenging for many organisations, overall, the report finds that the VCSE has demonstrated its incredible capacity to adapt and survive. There was some good news, too, in that most organisations surveyed in the final panel in December 2021 noted some important 

"Reflecting on the positive changes in their organisations, nearly half of respondents to the December 2021 barometer said that they had a greater sense of mission, stronger relationships with external organisations, and provide better services than prior to the pandemic. 54% of organisations also said that their digital capabilities had improved, 55% thought that their services now reached new or different people, 50% said their range of services had improved and 51% thought the profile of their organisation had improved" (p25).

Access the full report here.

Chris Winn and his son at Shropshire Goes Electric! in November 2021

Sign Up for New Sustainability Festival: Shropshire Goes Green

A new climate and sustainability festival, Shropshire Goes Green, is in the planning by Shropshire Council.

Building on the success of November 2021’s Shropshire Goes Electric event, which put the spotlight on sustainable transport and encouraged the use of electric vehicles, Shropshire Council is now opening the event up to cover all aspects of sustainability.

Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for climate change, natural assets and the green economy, is inviting companies and groups to become Shropshire Goes Green exhibitors at the event, to be held at Shrewsbury Town FC’s stadium on Sunday 25 September 2022.

Ian said:-

“Shropshire Goes Electric proved a great success, with more than 1,300 visitors finding out about the huge variety of new electric models available from the 17 car manufacturers represented, as well as the chance to experience ebikes and rickshaws.

“What we were delighted to learn from this is that there is a real hunger for people to understand more about sustainable living and how they can help reduce our carbon footprint.

“For this reason we have decided to expand our event to embrace not just electric vehicles but all kinds of technologies to help people enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle.

“We want to grow a ‘homes zone’ to attract companies which operate in the sustainable living sector. It is the perfect opportunity for suppliers and installers of solar panels, cavity wall insulation, heat pumps, LED lighting etc to showcase their products and reach an engaged audience.”

Anyone wanting to find out more about becoming an exhibitor at Shropshire Goes Green can email Darren Griffin, Shropshire Council’s Business Development Manager. 

Image: Chris Winn and his son at Shropshire Goes Electric! in November 2021

get vaccinated

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Covid-19 Testing Sites Closing

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Covid-19 test sites will be closing in line with the Government’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan from the start of April. 

This means that free testing at the walk-through PCR sites for people with Covid symptoms at all sites across the county (including Oswestry and Shrewsbury’s sites, mobile testing units in Ludlow and Market Drayton, as well as The Place Oakengates, Legges Way Madeley, Wrekin Car Park Wellington and the testing site at Ironbridge Park and Ride) will close from Friday 1 April. 

Free Covid tests will still be available for people at risk of serious illness from Covid-19 (the over-75s and over-12s with weakened immune systems), and those eligible for Covid-19 treatments, along with NHS staff and social care workers, it has been announced.

People not in these groups will have to buy a lateral flow test from pharmacies, supermarkets or online. 

The new rules say that from 1 April in England, free testing will be provided for:

  • Patients in hospital, where a PCR test is required for their care
  • People who are eligible for community Covid drug treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill if they become infected. People in this group will be contacted directly and sent lateral flow tests to keep at home for use if they have symptoms, as well as being told how to reorder tests
  • Care home residents
  • People working in some high-risk settings, including care homes and prisons. These staff will be able to test regularly, without symptoms

Asymptomatic lateral flow testing will continue from April in some high-risk settings where infection can spread rapidly while prevalence of Covid-19 is high. 

The Government has said it still has the ability to ramp up testing should it be needed, such as if a new variant of concern emerges.

From 1 April, updated guidance will advise people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including Covid-19, and a high temperature or who feel unwell, to try stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature. 

Anyone with a positive Covid-19 test result will be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they are most infectious.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “As we move through the changes set out within the Living with Covid-19 plan, it remains crucial that we do all we can to protect our communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

“Following safe behaviours has been one of the key tools we’ve had to help reduce the spread of the virus and keep everyone in our communities safe and will be a massive part in how we live with Covid-19 safely going forward.  

“I strongly urge everyone locally to continue getting vaccinated, wearing a face covering in areas that are busier and indoors, welcoming fresh air into their meet-ups and washing their hands regularly. By working together, we can manage these next steps safely.”

Liz Noakes, Telford and Wrekin's Director for Public Health, added: “It is important for people to remember that Covid-19 has not gone away even if the free testing comes to an end. Everything we do – all the small things we have learned to keep ourselves safe – become even more important now, especially self-isolating if you have symptoms or a positive test result, to avoid spreading the virus to someone more vulnerable to it. If we continue to work together, we can keep each other safe and well.”

Further information and updates on Covid testing, including how those at high risk from Covid will be able to get free NHS tests, can be found on the Government website.

Further information on booster vaccines can be found on the NHS website.

National Flood Forum's Recovery Trailer

Flood Recovery Trailer to deliver vital support to flood-hit communities across Shropshire

Flood-hit communities in Shropshire are set to receive vital advice and support from the National Flood Forum’s flood surgeries.

The National Flood Forum charity’s Recovery Trailer will tour impacted communities along the River Severn in Shropshire in April. The trailer is a one-stop-shop for practical and emotional support.

Recovery experts will be on hand to give advice to residents, VCS organisations and business owners on issues related to flooding, including insurance, property resilience reinstatement, and the Flood Action Groups. Residents and business owners will have the chance to inform the National Flood Forum and local flood risk managers about what has happened to them.

  • Tuesday 5 April 2022 – Bridgnorth – 12pm-7pm – Trailer on Riverside Car Park, Bridgnorth, WV165 4BG
  • Wednesday 6 April 2022 – Shrewsbury – 10am-1pm – Trailer on footpath outside Castle Pointe, opposite Shrewsbury railway station car park, SY1 2DJ
  • Wednesday 6 April 2022 – Shrewsbury – 3pm-7pm – Trailer at the main entrance to The Quarry park, SY1 1XL
  • Thursday 7 April 2022 – Melverley – 10am-1pm – Trailer at Melverley Village Hall, SY10 8PH
  • Thursday 7 April 2022 – Pentre – 3pm-5pm – Trailer at Gorve Farm, Pentre, SY4 1BT

Heather Shepherd, Flood Recovery Specialist for the National Flood Forum, said:-

“Having been flooded myself, I understand how just how traumatic it is. The process of recovery is fraught with stress and pressures. That’s why I urge anyone impacted by flooding to come along to the recovery trailer.

“Our experts understand the practical and emotional challenges of flooding, and will be on hand offer help and advice and guide flood-victims to the best sources of professional support.”

This important advice and support is available to flooded residents and business owners from communities all along the River Severn. The National Flood Forum works closely with partner organisations to ensure those affected by flooding get the very best support available, and representatives from Shropshire Council, Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water will also be on board the trailer to answer questions at a local level.

Advice for anyone affected by flooding is available through the National Flood Forum on 01299 403055 or by visiting


What's your story informational flyer available for download

‘What’s Your Story?’

Shropshire young people's writing and art competition launches in World Autism Acceptance Week

“What’s Your Story?” is a creative writing and art competition for young people aged 7 – 16 years old, who are either diagnosed or awaiting assessment as autistic, in Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin.

They are looking for stories, poems or pictures from autistic young peoples haring their experience of school life. Successful stories will be part of a booklet created for schools to support staff and students to understand more about the experiences of autistic young people in school.

This competition is part of the North Midlands Autism in Schools pilot, and is being supported by Ignition CIC. All entries should be emailed to Hannah Prior, Co-Founder and Creative Producer of Ignition CIC by Sunday 1 May 2022. The winning entry will receive a £50 book token.'

An informational flyer for the competition that can distributed can be downloaded here.

The ‘Autism in Schools’ project is a cross system project funded by NHS England, to improve outcomes for autistic pupils in mainstream schools. Shropshire Parent & Carer Council, Shropshire Council and Shropshire Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group are working together as part of the North Midlands Autism in Schools pilot.

Four Shropshire schools, all of which are part of The Marches Multi-Academy Trust, are participating in the pilot: these are Shrewsbury Academy, The Grange Primary School in Shrewsbury, Oakmeadow Primary School in Bayston Hill, and The Marches School in Oswestry.

The pilot offers support for development of the school workforce and leadership to ensure that mainstream schools offer environments in which autistic students can thrive, supporting good mental health and promoting inclusion for this group of young people.

There are four key elements to the pilot:-

  • A Learning and Development Programme which seeks to develop a positive school environment for autistic pupils through reasonable adjustments and understanding.
  • Developing school-based parent carer participation building on and supported by the Parent Carer Forums in each council area.
  • Building a new relationship between Child Adolescent Mental Health Service and
    schools which is focused on developing autism-friendly environments and practice.
  • Hearing from children and young people with Autism and developing self-awareness and resilience.

The pilot will run in the Shropshire schools until the end of this school year.

Copies of the pilot newsletters can be found on the Shropshire PACC website


Meres and Mosses art exhibition

New programme of virtual events for Arts Network

A new programme of virtual events organised by the Arts Network and hosted by Shropshire Council for artists, their organisations or anyone interested in the arts has been announced.

The new series of events launches on Wednesday 6 April 2022 when the focus falls on the Meres and Mosses Exhibition, led by artists Andrew Howe and Sue Challis with members of Wem Youth Club.

The finished piece recognises the environmental value of the peatbog at Whixhall Moss, near Wem, and stems from a long-term collaboration between artists, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England, funded as part of an Arts Council England project the Mosses and Marshes, with support from the Marches Mosses Bog-LIFE project.

The young people were also supported by local artist Kate Johnston, Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Anna Martin and Phil Playford.

The exhibition includes three seven-metre banners, photographs of the young people at work, artwork they created as part of the process and work from the collaborators, as well as paintings, collage and videos by Andrew Howe and Kim V Goldsmith (AUS).

The Mosses and Marshes project has brought together the local community, artists, land managers and environmental specialists in the UK and Australia using art to transform how we think about a place and its changing environment.

The Bog-LIFE project aims to restore the Mosses, and to support people to understand their importance. Peatlands are one of the rarest and most precious habitats on earth. 80% of peatbogs in the UK have been damaged, including the local Mosses. The work is funded by an EU LIFE grant, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Shropshire Council Arts Network virtual events are free and hosted on Zoom. To book onto the Arts Network events, please email Barry Tench, Arts Development Officer at Shropshire Council.

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

Logo Share 22 in word bubbles

Alcohol: Sharing the Truth

Virtual Conference May 19-20

Organised by VCSA member ‘Share Shrewsbury’ in partnership with Shropshire Council, this online virtual event is for anyone who wants to understand more about alcohol and the impact it has on the individual, the family and society.

This two day conference has a full and varied programme of content which includes:  

  • Latest breakthroughs in research and treatment of alcohol dependence.
  • Exploring the ways in which stigma negatively affects recovery, and highlighting why we need to change the way we think about addictive behaviour.
  • Hearing first-hand accounts about how alcohol addiction affects individuals and families, told by those with lived experience.
  • Celebrity speakers will share their own experiences of alcohol dependence and answer questions - including popular TV host Adrian Chiles.
  • Learning what happens during withdrawal, and the best ways to support someone through this process.
  • Hearing about family centred recovery and why alcohol addiction is called a family disease.

Click here for more information and to book your attendance

flyer for keep on moving festival requesting groups to register

Diabetes Awareness Events

Community Resource, in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund, Three Parishes Big Local and Shropshire Council, are hosting two upcoming Diabetes Awareness events in the Three Parishes area over the next two weeks.

The first event is being held Tuesday, 5th April 2022 from 12pm – 2.30pm at Weston Rhyn Village Institute. Entry is £2 and includes a light lunch.

Download the informational flyer here for distribution.

The second is Tuesday, 12th April 2022 from 7pm – 9pm at All Saints Church Hall in Gobowen. Entry is free. Download the informational flyer here for distribution.

Email Susie Hancock at Community Resource for more information and to book places.

Annual Assembly invitation

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.

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.

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Job / Volunteer Opportunities

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

2nd Round of Community Matters Fund Addresses Social Isolation

The Community Matters Fund is looking to support projects in the Midlands, South Wales and South West which are addressing loneliness and social isolation that fit within the following themes:

  • Delivering services to reduce loneliness and/or social isolation
  • Delivering services to improve mental health caused by loneliness and/or social isolation
  • Delivering educational activities focused on skills development and ongoing support to reduce loneliness and/or social isolation (e.g. digital skills, employability skills, life skills)
  • Innovative approaches to combat loneliness and/or social isolation and its associated impact on mental health.

The programme is now live and accepting applications until 24th April 2022. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by 4th May 2022. Projects must be delivered and funding spent by 31st December 2022.

Grants are awarded for up to £10,000. A guidance document, including FAQs is available to download here. For further information and to apply visit the Community Matters Fund website.

Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust Announces Three New Funding Programmes

Shaped by the results of a funding survey with over 450 respondents from across the community sector, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has confirmed that three funds will open in the coming months:

Force for Change

Reopening in April 2022, this programme will focus on local projects tackling hidden and known needs in Armed Forces communities. Grants of up to £10,000 will be available for standalone projects enabling new approaches to be piloted.

Reaching and Supporting Armed Forces Communities

This is a new funding programme offering medium grants of £100,000 over three years, with up to £150,000 available in exceptional circumstances. Projects should address complex needs, particularly where there are identified gaps in service provision. It is also expected to open in April 2022.

Transformational Grants

Later in the year, a small number of large grants of up to £300,000 will be made to projects which have the potential to deliver significant and sustainable changes, focusing on innovative approaches to unmet needs.

Discussing the announcement, Anna Wright, Chief Executive of the Trust said:

“We’ll be looking for projects that can be really specific about who they will help, why they need this support and what the longer-term, sustainable impacts of the work will be.”

All three funds will be open by summer 2022, with full guidelines published in due course. The VCSA will include these new funds in our roundup once more information is available. If you are interested in receiving up-to-date news from the Trust, you can sign up for their newsletter here.

Triangle Trust 1949 Fund to Open for First 2022 Round

The Triangle Trust 1949 Fund offers grants to charities and non-profit social enterprises who are supporting those in need within the UK. There is a current focus on young people with caring responsibilities and young people caught up in the criminal justice system.

Grants of up to £60,000 over two years are available to groups with an income of less than £1 million over the past three years. A maximum of £30,000 per year can be requested.

The first funding round of 2022 is intended for young carers, and particularly:

  • Projects providing support to young carers who have fallen behind with their learning as a result of the impacts COVID-19 on their caring responsibilities.
  • Projects working in/with local schools to raise awareness of young carers and helping schools develop their approaches to supporting young carers.
  • Projects supporting young adult carers to continue in higher and further education and training.

The funding is not for standalone new projects, rather it is to support work that ‘amplifies the impact’ of existing work with young carers (up to the age of 25) and develops existing support around learning and access to education and training.

Applications will be accepted from 30 March 2022 until 6 May 2022. For more information and to apply, visit the Trust's website.

image of two young women making birdhouses

£5 Million in Funding for Nature Projects to Mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

A new initiative to empower people in economically deprived areas to undertake projects tackling climate change.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is partnering with The Wildlife Trusts to deliver a Platinum Jubilee legacy investment, which will support around 200 new groups across the UK to identify and implement local action in their communities.

The joint initiative, Next Door Nature, aims to give access to the natural environment to thousands of people who may not have fully appreciated it before, while raising awareness of climate change and restoring natural heritage.

Projects supported by the initiative could include:

  • Establishing wild habitats and green corridors.
  • Rewilding school grounds.
  • Transforming urbanised and unused areas into green spaces.

This £5 million sits alongside a £2 million Jubilee investment to support paid placements for young people from under-served communities in the nature workforce.

Further details on the Jubilee investments will be published in due course. The VCSA will include these new funds in our roundup once more information is available. If you are interested in receiving up-to-date news on this fund, you can sign up for their newsletter here.


VCSA Website Features New Rolling Funds List

along with Monthly Funding Roundup 

The VCSA website now hosts a list of relevant local and national funding opportunities with rolling deadlines (this just means that you can apply anytime during the year).

In addition, we continue to feature a regular roundup of relevant funding opportunities with deadlines that is updated on a monthly basis. 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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