VCSA Newsletter Week of 23rd May 2022

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Newsletter for the Week of 23rd May 2022


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Sector Leaders Warn that Rising Inflation Could Hit Charities Worse than the Pandemic

Charities are likely to face both new financial challenges and increased demands to support people as inflation in the UK has jumped to its highest level in 40 years.

Official figures released Friday showed that consumer price index (CPI) inflation soared to 9% in the year to April, a level last seen in 1982. The poorest households, who spend more of their total budget on gas and electricity, faced inflation rates of 10.9% which is three percentage points higher than inflation rates for the richest.  Inflation was mostly driven by recent spikes in energy and gas costs. Other factors, including the ongoing war in Ukraine, further increased prices.   

Alison Taylor, CEO of CAF bank and charity services, said: “Charities are impacted by rapidly rising inflation on many fronts. Many more people in their communities are likely to rely on their support with 71% of charity leaders worried about managing an increase in demand on their services."

Dan Corry, chief executive of NPC, said: “The people charities work with are going to be feeling much poorer and very anxious as a result of this steep rise in the cost of living. Many will indeed be much poorer, as they spend more of their income on food and energy where prices are rising fastest."

Richard Sagar, head of policy at CFG, said: “This is an extremely worrying time for the charity sector and the millions of people it exists to serve. After pulling on every possible financial lever to weather the Covid-19 storm and its aftershocks, we are once again facing another prolonged period of extreme challenge and uncertainty.”

He continued: “For the sector, soaring inflation and the cost-of-living crisis has the dual effect of driving up demand on services while, at the same time, reducing the value of every pound donated to charities and all grant income."

Read the full story, including what charities can do on the Civil Society website

SSYN youth conference

SSYN Seeks Organisations and Local Leaders to Attend Youth Conference

Adults up for change discover lightbulb moments

South Shropshire Youth Network is a peer network for anyone working with young people aged 8-25 years old – or wanting to work with young people. Each year they organise a youth conference to amplify the local youth voice.

This year the conference is face to face and the organising team includes young people. The aim is for young participants to meet local decision makers, councillors and campaigners in a relaxed atmosphere and talk about what young people need, want or like in their locality.

Are you interested in hearing from young people and willing to take some action, however big or small? Then you’re invited!

Organisations can book a stall space & are expected to join in the activities & conversations.

For more information and to book your free ticket including lunch visit their Eventbrite page.

You can also download flyers for the event to help publicise it:

Flyer for councillors, organisations, activists and leaders.

Flyer for young people.

Any questions or if you know of any young people you’d like to bring? Contact Infrastructure Support Officer Marinke Fontein.

celebrate the relay logo

Community Groups Wanted for Queen's Baton Relay Visits to Bridgenorth and Shrewsbury

Promote your group with hands on activities, showcase your group and reach out to new members at the celebration event on the 18th July in Shrewsbury's Quarry Park and 23rd July in Bridgenorth at Severn Park and across the summer.

If you are interested in getting involved, email Bridgenorth  and/or Shrewsbury  event planners.

You can also download flyers with more information for organisations for Bridgenorth here and for Shrewsbury here.

office equipment in a box

Need Office Supplies or Equipment?

After 20+ years at Mardol Gardens Age UK STW is moving in July to new, but smaller, offices. As a result they have surplus quantities of:

  • Stationary (used) such as ring binders, folders, box files, plastic wallets, file slings etc.
  • Filing cabinets
  • Desks
  • Office equipment

If you know anyone who could use some of this please contact them to come and collect. They want to try and minimise what goes into landfill and see it put to good use. Ring Gina Spencer on 01743 233123 to arrange collection. 

image of a person taking a survey

Current VCSE Engagement Opportunities

The VCSA newsletter will now contain a regular feature highlighting current open surveys and engagement opportunities that are relevant for VCSE organisations and their beneficiaries.

Flyers/materials for distribution will be made available for download as well as any relevant links. If you have engagement opportunities to share/list here please email Sarah Hampson, VCS Insight and Engagement Officer at Shropshire Council to have it included in an upcoming newsletter.

Shrewsbury Castle and Grounds survey: to gain understanding of the use of the castle and grounds by the community and its future needs. Part of the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan. Closes 27th May

SaTH Audiology Survey: help shape the future of hearing care services in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Closes 29th May

SMI and Complex Needs Survey: seeking to improve care for severe mental illness and complex needs in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin. Closes 31st May

Shrewsbury Health and Wellbeing Hub: Organisers of the new hub seeking focus group and reference group participants to help shape and improve plans for the hub. Closes 31st May

Coton Hill House service reconfiguration: consultation is designed to obtain the views of local residents and all stakeholders prior to making the planning application in summer 2022 for change of use of Coton Hill House, from a residential home to a supported housing scheme. Closes 30th June

  • 'Drop-in week' in-person consultation at Coton Hill House from Monday 6th June through Friday 10th June between 10:30am and 6:30pm.
  • Survey link
  • Send feedback via email
  • Post feedback to: Feedback and Insight team, Shropshire Council, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shropshire. SY2 6ND

Housing allocations policy revisions: Have your say on draft revisions to Shropshire Council's Housing Allocations policy. Closes 3rd July

Libraries strategy 2022-2027: Provide your feedback on the draft strategy, which describes the changes the Library Service will make to be at the forefront of the council’s future relationship with its residents, and how the service will work in partnership with others to deliver the county’s priorities. Closes 3rd August

Healthwatch: 999 and ambulance services feedback. Healthwatch want to understand how the current strains on the ambulance service are impacting people’s health and lives. No closing date

Healthwatch: Accessible Information Standard survey as part of the 'Your Care, Your Way' campaign. Closing date TBD

Pilot Mental Health Project Launched in Oswestry

A pilot project has been launched to support people in Oswestry who are experiencing poor mental health and/or substance misuse.

The Health Equalities Partnership (HEP) Programme, funded by NHSE/I, is a collaboration between , Shrosphire Telford and Wrekin CCG, Shropshire Mental Health Support (MHS), Designs in Mind, Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust and We are With You, and is designed to improve the wellbeing and mental health of Oswestry residents.

Oswestry has the second largest population in Shropshire and is a vibrant market town, with plenty of community spirit and support. However, outside of Shrewsbury, it has the highest number of mental health interventions and levels of drug and alcohol misuse within the area are also high.

Using creative resources in the community, MHS and Designs in Mind will introduce people to new tools to use as coping mechanisms, increase self-confidence, and teach people to manage their conditions using non-clinical interventions.

The project complements existing support by extending the mental health offer in the town and utilising the creative resources in the community to offer a programme that explores mental health and wellbeing through a blended programme of one-to-one support, group work and arts based activity.

Shropshire Council Public Health has spearheaded the project and we are very happy that it has galvanised community and public services to support people in the Oswestry. The project demonstrates that the community and voluntary sector offer supports real improvement in the health of local people.

Read a longer version of this story in the Shropshire Council Newsroom.

2 Paul Newman (left) of Be A Better Fish with Yas and Joel of the Good Pickings market garden in Babbinswood.

Oswestry 5 Mile Food Collective Highlights Benefits of Locally Produced Food

An Oswestry based group of growers, farmers and food providers is forming an innovative collective to encourage people to buy food produced within five miles of the town.

Early contributors to the new Oswestry 5 Mile Food collective include the town’s community kitchen OsNosh, Bronygarth Orchard Garden, Treflach Farm, Honeysuckle wholesale co-operative and Good Pickings market garden. The collective aims to make local food more accessible and affordable for all.

Paul Newman from Be a Better Fish is bringing together the group and hopes that many more growers and food providers in the area will join the initiative.

Paul, who is also a director of the Shropshire Good Food Partnership, explained that within a five mile radius of Oswestry were almost 80 square miles of fields, farms, small holdings, allotments and gardens providing high quality home-grown ingredients for local homes, restaurants, cafes and retailers.

“It’s a celebration of local food and its many benefits. By forming a collective of local growers, farmers, food producers and providers, we want to engage the local community in supporting and taking pride in our local food,” he said.

One of the aims of the collective is to better connect local food producers with food retailers and restaurants, helping to improve regular and reliable supplies of seasonal crops. The collective includes OsNosh, which is leading efforts to make sure surplus produce ends up on local plates and not in landfill sites.

Paul said that using locally grown food had many benefits.

“It is likely to have been harvested within 24 hours of being sent to food providers, to have more nutritional value and doesn’t need the addition of preservatives and chemicals to prolong its shelf life.

“By shopping locally you keep money in your area, which helps to sustain local producers and create local jobs as well as protecting our long-term food security and reducing food miles and packaging.

“Local producers are also often keen to share their skills and green spaces with local residents, through community gardens, growing or cooking courses, healthy eating advice, and general wellbeing and connecting with nature activities.

“We would be delighted to hear from any other food producers or providers who would like to join this initiative,” said Paul.

The Oswestry 5 Mile Food collective will be showcasing its ideas with stalls and food tasting at several events in the area over the next few weeks.  It will have a stall at Bronygarth Orchard Garden Makers Market in Weston Rhyn on Saturday May 21, Oswestry Town Centre Artisan and Garden Market on Friday 27 May and at the Treflach Buds of May Farmers Market on Sunday 29 May.

Further information is available by emailing Paul. 

Photo: Paul Newman (left) of Be A Better Fish with Yas and Joel of the Good Pickings market garden in Babbinswood.

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

SIP logo

SIP Team Adds Several New Training Courses

The Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership Voluntary and Community Development Team have now added over 20 new accredited courses into their training programme .

These new courses now also include face to face training opportunities across the County from a variety of different trainers.

From the 1st June all courses are being offered at a hugely subsidised rate of £15.00 per attendee for all courses. Demand for the training opportunities continues to be very high and places are already booking up quickly. So, they are urging you to sign up to your chosen courses as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Types of courses which have been added are 1 Day Emergency First Aid at Work accredited courses, Volunteer Management and Support, Writing Successful Funding Bids, Health and safety Premises Management, Equality and Diversity, Cyber Essentials plus many more.

Courses are limited to 2 spaces per organization and they continue to operate a waiting list. These courses are suitable for all volunteers and staff working in the Voluntary Sector in Shropshire.

For more information on courses, dates and times, and to book a space, visit the Eventbrite page.

Bite-size Training for Organisations in Telford

Lloyds Banking Group are working in partnership to offer a series of hour-long training sessions addressing key challenges facing small organisations.

Do you want to join or do you know a local Telford organisation that would benefit from this?

Sometimes, simple concepts and tools can make a big difference in addressing challenges within a small organisation. But how do you figure out which ones might work? And how can you access support as you try them out?

By joining a small cohort of similar organisations for these four training sessions you’ll learn about the best simple approaches to addressing common issues. Each session will be highly focused, aiming to equip you with a small number of tactics and techniques that you can start putting into practice immediately. A few weeks after each session you can drop into a check-in session to share your experience of using what you’ve learned, hear about how others have applied their learning, and trouble shoot any issues you’ve encountered.

The sessions will focus on these questions:

  • How do I get better at problem solving? (1:45-3pm, 8 June)
  • How do I strengthen project planning? (11am-12pm, 7 July)
  • How do I instigate and support change in my organisation? (10-11am, 8 September)
  • What are the building blocks of strong strategy development? (9:30-10:45am, 13 October)

There is one spot available for each participating organisation. It’s up to you whether the same person attends each session, or whether different people join according to their closeness to the topic

It’s easy to register your interest. Complete this short survey by Wednesday 25 May and someone will be back in touch. Any questions? Email Clarissa at Lloyds Bank Foundation.

Carers week logo

Carers Week 6-13 June 2022

Carers Week is an annual event to raise awareness of caring. The theme of the week this year is ‘Make caring visible, valued and supported.’

Carers week is an opportunity to say thank you to all unpaid and family carers in Shropshire, to say that we recognise and appreciate the valuable support you provide to others.

Shropshire Carers Support team are excited to share this year’s Carers Week Events Programme with you.  This year they have extended the activities over a 2-week period (6 – 19 June 2022) to try and reach as many carers as possible, activities are a blended mix of outdoor and virtual options – whether you want to come along to the activities or join them from home there is something there for everyone.

To book a place on any of the activities, please email the Shropshire Carers Team or telephone 01743 341995.  If you have transport difficulties to any of the activities, please advise when booking. 

Competition Time! Shropshire Carers Team are also running a competition – deadline for entries is Monday 13th June 2022check the programme for details!


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'Telford & Wrekin at its Best' 

July 6th, Meeting Point House, Telford

Come join the Unlocking Potential Alliance of Telford for an event that they hope will inspire you, encourage you and help build on the strength of your knowledge and work within the borough.  

This is planned to be a full-day event to talk and share progress from the work of the ‘Unlocking Potential Alliance’ and Lloyds Bank Foundation People and Communities; the opportunity to help shape and influence the next steps of the work; and to ascertain the role everyone will play in enabling the unlocking of potential for those living and working in the borough by sharing successes, work being undertaken and further opportunities.   

The event will include a light network breakfast and lunch followed by opportunities to understand other ways to engage, benefit and be involved in areas of Lloyds Bank Foundation work within the borough.   

This event is open to all: those familiar to the work of the alliance; those new to the work and want to learn more or those who want to be engaged in its development. More detail and a link to register for this exciting event can be found on their Eventbrite page

SSYN network meeting May 26

Email if you are interested in attending and she will send you a zoom link for the meeting


In The Café with SAND (Safe Ageing No Discrimination)

This is a regular monthly get-together with a theme for the over-50s who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bi or Trans. It’s a chance to chat, share information and talk about things that affect LGBT people as we age. Come along for a warm welcome and interesting conversations. Joining them In The Café is one of the many ways that SAND would welcome your involvement. Be part of creating a better experience for LGBT+ people as we age. 

The next session is 25th May 2 – 4pm at Palmers Café in Shrewsbury SY1 1QG

As you arrive, come through to the room that’s behind the main coffee bar. Look out for the SAND signs on the doors. Your first drink’s on them, so pick a table and settle in. 

The next session will be: ‘Give Us a Clue – Make a Plan’. 

Ever thought of writing down what’s important to you – otherwise how would anybody know what you’d want?  What if you were involved in an accident or got dementia? What if the worst happened?

Come and meet with others who are exploring how to make a start.

The specialist this time is Helen, an End of Life Doula, whose job is to help people think about this, talk about it and when they’re ready, make a start putting plans in place.  Visit SAND's website for more details and a map.

SAND LGBT+ Awareness Training

28th June 10am - 1pm, The Roy Fletcher Centre, Shrewsbury

The next SAND training session is aimed at staff working or volunteering in Health & Social Care, voluntary sectors and related services in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, Herefordshire.

This LGBT+ awareness raising course has a specific focus on issues impacting on LGBT+ people as we age. It provides a safe space for people to explore and discuss issues relating to creating safe, inclusive and welcoming environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people, in particular focusing on older and old LGBT people.

For more information on the event and to book your place, please visit their Eventbrite page.

person with arthritis pain

Free Arthritis Awareness Event

Community Resource are holding an Arthritis Awareness event on Wednesday 25th May.

This free event takes place from 10am to 12.30pm at the St Martins Centre. 

It features a talk from Michael Delahay, Clinical Physiotherapist specialising in Rheumatology at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH), a gentle exercise taster session led by Lisa Perry, Rheumatology Therapy Support Worker at RJAH along with the opportunity for questions and answers and a discussion on healthy eating to help the condition.

Download the distributable leaflet for full information.

To book a place, or to ask questions, email Lindsey or phone on (01743) 360641.

NHS big tea flyer

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Job / Volunteer Opportunities

age uk stw logo

Urgent: Volunteers Needed for Wellington Donated Furniture Shop

Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin is urgently seeking more volunteer customer service and van assistants to ensure the continued success of its donated furniture shop in Walker Street, Wellington.

The charity is looking for people who enjoy meeting the public and who would be able to provide excellent customer service in the shop both on the telephone and in person. Full and half day shifts are available. The shop is open Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 4.30pm. Minimum half-day commitment required. Retail experience is desirable but not essential as full training will be provided.

More volunteers van assistants are also needed to go out with the driver to deliver purchased items and collect donations bringing them back to the shop. Shifts are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Volunteers must be able to lift and move heavy items of furniture safely and manual handling training is provided.

Please call into the shop or contact Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin’s volunteer recruitment team on 01743 233 123 ext 283 for further information and an application pack. Alternatively, visit the STW Age UK website or email the team.

celebrate the relay logo

Volunteer Opportunity: Queen's Baton Relay

The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay is coming to Shrewsbury on the afternoon of 18 July and will be passing through the streets on its way to the River Severn and into the Quarry where Shropshire Council and and partners are staging a huge celebration.

This takes a considerable amount of organisation and the Council are on the lookout for volunteers to help on the day.

If you think you may be able to help and want to be part of this great occasion please register your interest

invite to volunteer with SaTH

Volunteer Opportunity:

Ward Volunteers at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH)

As a ward volunteer, you will meet lots of new people and become part of the ward team to support our patients. The aim of your role as a ward-based volunteer is to make a patient's stay in hospital as comfortable as possible by offering them your friendliness, energy and resourcefulness throughout your time there. You may also help encourage patients to eat and drink to help their recovery. There are many aspects to ward-based roles and for some elements (mealtime buddies volunteers) you will need to complete additional training provided by the Volunteer Team.

A ward is a busy environment and it is essential that volunteers are able to take a proactive approach to the role, whilst always being guided by the Nurse in Charge, your role description and importantly, the wishes of the individual patient.

To be considered for this role you must have an empathetic and caring nature and be available for at least 4 hours every week.

If you would like to join their volunteer community, SaTH would love to hear from you. To find out more or apply today, please visit their website or call 01743 492256.

image of shrewsbury golf club

Volunteer Opportunity: England and Wales Blind Golf

Timebanking UK are working with England and Wales Blind Golf to support their players at tournaments.  They need people to be ball spotters to locate the players' golf balls during their round of golf.

The next event is the Strokeplay Championship - MacDonald Hill Valley, Whitchurch (Shropshire) – Monday 30th May & Tuesday 31st May 2022

If you can help, please email John at Timebanking UK.

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

Urgent Consultation Requested:

Funding Plan for Adult Numeracy Skills

The Shropshire local authority area has been awarded £1.4 million through the Department for Education’s Multiply initiative, to improve basic numeracy skills, which forms part of wider UK Shared Prosperity Funding (UKSPF) programme.

This funding is to be administered by Shropshire Council from September 2022 to March 2025. An Investment Plan that sets out how this funding will be used musts be submitted to Government by 30 June 2022.

The funding can support the provision of:

  • Courses designed to increase confidence with numbers- those needing first steps to formal numeracy qualifications
  • Courses designed to help people manage money
  • Courses delivered together with employers, including courses specific to the workplace
  • Courses aimed at people applying for jobs where they need a numeracy qualification
  • New, intensive and flexible numeracy courses targeted at people without a qualification
  • Courses for parents wanting to improve numeracy skills in order to help their children
  • Numeracy courses aimed at prisoners/recently released from prison
  • Numeracy courses for 19+ care leavers
  • Numeracy courses in conjunction with community organisations aimed at engaging the hardest to reach
  • Additional relevant maths modules embedded into other vocational courses

The Fund can be used flexibly to support interventions including via grant to public or private organisations and commissioning.

The mechanism on how the funding will be awarded to the projects will need to be set out in the Investment Plan.

Please be aware that Shropshire Council will need to apply the usual scrutiny and safeguards to the awarding and use of this public funding. All activities will need to be assessed and approved through standard appraisal and contracting procedures, which provide fair access to the funds for all appropriate delivery bodies.

As a first step towards identifying existing provision and developing priorities for funding through the Investment Plan, Shropshire Council would like to consult with VCS partners involved in this area of work.

Therefore, if you are an organisation delivering work in one or more of the above and might be interested in learning more about UKSPF / Multiply, please email Sarah Hampson, VCS Insight and Engagement Officer, Shropshire Council, as soon as possible, ideally by no later than Wednesday, 25th May.

For further information, see: Multiply: funding available to improve adult numeracy skills - GOV.UK (


Don't forget to check out our website for the latest VCSA funding roundup as well as grants with rolling deadlines. 

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