VCSA Newsletter Week of 28th November 2022

VCSA logo

Newsletter for the Week of 28th November 2022


OsNosh head gardener Lesley Wills (centre) receives the Oswestry In Bloom award

OsNosh head gardener Lesley Wills (centre) receives the Oswestry In Bloom award from judge Margaret Thrower and mayor of Oswestry Town Council Jay Moore.

Accolades for Oswestry Community Garden

A community garden set up by OsNosh has won two awards in its first year.

The community interest company, based at The Centre in Oak Street, Oswestry, is using land around The Centre and its roof terrace to grow fresh ingredients for its community kitchen, and to educate local people in sustainable gardening skills.

It is an integral part of the OsNosh campaign to get the local community involved in every aspect of the food cycle – from field to fork and round again.

The community garden has been rated as outstanding in the Royal Horticultural Society and Heart of England in Bloom It’s Your Neighbourhood national awards for 2022.

The garden also impressed locally, winning the Oswestry in Bloom 2022 category for the best community premises or project.

OsNosh director, Elliot Bastos, said that the two awards had been an amazing feat for the garden’s first year.

He explained that setting up the community garden alongside head gardener Lesley Wills has been a natural progression for OsNosh.

“The garden allows us to involve local people in reducing food waste through composting, whilst providing food and the knowledge of how to grow it to help fight food poverty and inequality.

 “We are so pleased that our work with the community garden has been recognised through these two awards. A massive thank you is needed to our community and the main funders of our community garden, the RHS, via their Connected Communities grant,” he said.

As well as running a community café, distributing over 1,000kgs of surplus food a month and providing cooking education for disengaged young people, OsNosh puts on a garden club every Thursday from 10am to 12pm.

The garden is open to everyone with lots to learn and get involved with including seed saving, building compost, sowing seasonal crops, no-dig growing methods and food forests.

Further information about OsNosh and how to get involved and donate can be found on their website or via their Facebook page.

expenses receipt

VCSA Cost of Living Impacts Survey:

Increased Energy Costs Hitting Hardest

Thanks very much to those organisations who have taken part in the first two waves of the VCSA Cost of Living Impacts Survey.

Highlights from Wave 1 about increased demands on volunteers and staff include:

  • 65% of survey respondents reported a decrease in the number of volunteers, volunteer hours or volunteer applications 
  • 95% of respondents reported feeling "somewhat" or "very" concerned about staff stress, burnout and wellbeing
  • 68% of respondents have concerns about staff leaving their organisations because of low pay
  • 80% of respondents have struggled to recruit in recent months

Wave 2 looked at the effects of increasing costs. Some important findings from this wave include:

  • 90% of organisations surveyed responded that they are experiencing increasing costs this year, with 38% of those saying that the increases were “significant”
  • A majority of organisations said that they are facing increased pressures around the cost of energy, transportation, and staff or volunteer shortages, while a minority of respondents also reported pressures around food costs and rent.
  • Energy bills rates as the number one pressure facing organisations as they deal with cost of living increases, followed by pressures around staff and volunteers.

Significantly, this last finding appears to align with national trends. This week the NCVO and others called for government to support charities with soaring energy bills, warning of a "cliff edge".

Wave 3 is open now! You can still take part, whether or not you participated in Waves 1 or 2. 

Wave 3 of the survey focuses on increases in service demands for VCS organisations. Each wave of this survey takes an average of just 3 minutes to complete, so please take a moment to do so, and then pass it on and get other organisations to take it as well!

Please take just a moment to respond to these few questions and help inform the sector decision-makers in the council and the sector about the impacts of the crisis on organisations like yours.

WAVE 3 NOW OPEN! (through 7th December)

shropshire warm welcome logo

Toolkits Now Available for Cost of Living Help and Warm Welcome in Shropshire

Shropshire Council and partners have been working hard to support those who have been affected by the cost of living crisis, through our Cost of Living Help and Warm Welcome campaigns.

To help raise awareness of these and signpost people to advice and support and the Warm Welcome locations, the council have developed two communication toolkits.

The toolkits offer advice and information on how to raise awareness and promote these campaigns to your local community and provides you with a range of communication materials including:

  • Key messages
  • Resources where you can find up to date information on the campaigns
  • Article for newsletters or webpages
  • Promotional material, for you to use and cascade to local residents and organisations.
  • Social media messages

In addition to the toolkits, other resources are available to help you promote the campaigns, including social media posts, images and flyers. Click on the links below to download the available resources:


Flyers and leaflets:

Logo and media posts:


Campaign Launched to Alert People to Dangers of Loan Sharks

Experts have warned that unscrupulous lenders could try to cash in on the festive period as households struggle to cope with rising food, fuel and energy bills.

Loan sharks are targeting vulnerable people seeking credit and trapping them into a cycle of debt with exorbitant interest rates and threats of violence.

A report published by the Centre for Social Justice estimated that 1.08 million people could already be in debt to an illegal money lender.

Figures released by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) show that nearly one in ten of those who borrowed money from loan sharks last year did so to cover the costs of Christmas. More than half of victims (52%) supported by the IMLT in the first half of 2022 had borrowed from a loan shark to pay for essentials such as food and fuel.

The IMLT is a specialist unit with a remit to investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders – also known as loan sharks. The team also provides specialist support to victims and communities affected by this crime.

A new social media campaign, #SleighNoToLoanSharks, is being launched to alert people about the dangers of using loan sharks and help prevent them from falling into their traps in the run up to Christmas. You can also visit the IMLT website for more information including helpful advice to give to clients.

HAF logo

Winter HAF Programme Now Open for Bookings

It's that time again! The HAF programme is now taking bookings for the Winter break from 19-23 December. 

Please help spread the word among your service users and partners!

Materials for distributing on your website, social media and newsletters:

Full information can be found on Shropshire Council's HAF website.

image of a person taking a survey

Current VCSE Engagement Opportunities


Pontesbury Draft Neighbourhood Plan: Shropshire Council has received a draft Neighbourhood Plan from Pontesbury Parish Council. Several supporting documents are available for the public to view to provide their feedback. Closing date 5pm 9th December

Youth Support Services Survey: The newly established Shropshire Council Youth Support team provide provide support through working on the streets, interacting with young people and running arranged sessions in schools. They want to hear from young people across the county about what they need from this new team. If you are an organisation working with young people, please share this widely. Closing 16th December

Shropshire Council Revised Tenancy Strategy and Policy: Shropshire Council is inviting feedback on its revised tenancy strategy and revised tenancy policy. Both can be found on the Council's consultations page. Closing date 6th Jan 2023

Shrewsbury Design Codes: Participate in a consultation about the design of Shrewsbury as part of the Big Town Plan. The organisers are particularly encouraging those from often underheard groups and communities such as those with disabilities, those from diverse ethnic and religious communities and mothers of young children, to take part. Closing 14th January

Shropshire Political Boundaries Review: The Local Government Boundary Commission wants to hear what residents and organisations think about their local area as part of its electoral divisions review. The Commission is reviewing Shropshire to make sure councillors represent about the same number of electors, and that division arrangements help the council work effectively. It wants to be sure that its proposals reflect community ties and identities. The Commission is interested in views on which communities should be part of the same division. What facilities do people share, such as parks, leisure centres or schools and shopping areas? What issues do neighbouring communities face that they have in common, such as high numbers of visitors or heavy traffic? Have there been new housing or commercial developments that have changed the focus of communities? And are there roads, rivers, railways or other features that people believe form strong boundaries between neighbourhoods? Closing 30th January

Veterans' Survey (Office for National Statistics)Over the next 12 weeks, veterans across the country are able to complete the survey to shape the future of veteran services. Funded and commissioned by the Office of Veterans’ Affairs, this is the first ever exercise to collect feedback from the entire veterans community across the UK. Please share the link with your service beneficiaries and encourage them to complete the survey. Closing date 2nd February

Outpatient Services Survey: As part of their Outpatient Transformation Programme, the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin NHS want to hear from people about their experiences with outpatient services. Closing date TBD

Shropshire Healthwatch - Getting a GP referral for tests or support: Healthwatch Shropshire wants to hear from people about their experiences with GP referrals. Please share the link below with your service beneficiaries who might be interested. Closing date TBD

Shropshire Council Warm Hubs Questionnaire: Is your organisation planning to run a "warm hub" this winter, or are you thinking about doing so? Shropshire Council would like to help you get the word out about your hub. Closing date TBD

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

armed forces covenant logo

New "Calm Cafe" in Telford & Wrekin among Several Offers for Veterans in the County

Telford & Wrekin Council have added a new Veterans’ Calm Café, in the evening, at Jubilee House, 74 High Street, Madeley, TF7 5AH.  The Café will take place at 5PM to 7PM on the third Thursday of each month.  The next one will be held on Thursday 15th December 2022

The existing Cafes will continue to run at Dawley house, 22 Burton Street, Dawley, TF4 2ES on the second and fourth Monday of each month from 2PM to 4PM

Led by Telford Mind, the sessions offer a space for veterans to socialise with like-minded people, as well as offering mental health and wellbeing support for those who may require it. The trained staff, at Telford Mind, where appropriate, signpost veterans to Service and non-Service charities who are able to offer additional advice and support to those who need them.  Telford Mind welcome guest speakers at some of the Cafes ant they would also welcome volunteers at future Cafes – full support and training will be given. For more information on these Telford offers, email Cindy Mason-Morris, Armed Forces Covenant Coordinator for Telford.

For continuing offers in Shropshire, click on the following links or email Sarah Kerr, Shropshire Armed Forces Outreach Support Coordinator.

Copyright Mat Fascione

Green Social Prescribing Workshops

Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Energize Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin would like support you to deliver low-level, accessible, and friendly activities in green spaces.

You are invited to a workshop all about Green Social Prescribing.

They will help all those attending to have a full understanding of what Green Social Prescribing is all about. But also, they hope to learn how they can support you in delivering activities in green spaces and ensure you able to benefit from gaining social prescribing referrals to your group.

With this in mind, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Energize are holding two events, so that you have a choice of dates to get involved:

Download the event flyer here!

Monday 28th November - Meeting Point House, Telford TF3 4HS or

Tuesday 29th November - The Cut, Shrewsbury SY2 6AH

Both events will be from 9:30am to 11:30am and will include a presentation followed by facilitated discussions (and tea and coffee, of course!)

To book a place, visit the Energize website.

shropshire charity network logo

Shropshire Charity Network Meeting

Shropshire Charity Network are pleased to announce their final event for 2022 will be an in-person networking event which will be held at the Peach Tree on Monday 28th November 2022.

Please join them between 5pm and 7pm for some informal networking, festive activities and a much welcomed chance to meet in person once again.

They will be using the upstairs meeting area, which unfortunately is not accessible for anyone not able to use stairs. They will endeavour to ensure all in-person meetings are fully accessible in future.

Numbers are limited so please do book your place using the Eventbrite link.

palliative and end of life care events flyer

welcome to telford sign

Unlocking Potential: How can local people become partners in this work?

Online Meeting, 7th December 1:00 - 2:30 pm

The Unlocking Potential Alliance at its last full meeting chose 'Involvement' as one of its two top priorities for the 2023 (the other being collaboration). 

Unlocking Potential Alliance need now to have a SMART plan established that could launch in the New Year. Getting involvement right would mean that when it comes to unlocking potential local people are partners in the Alliance shared vision, and are active in shaping, overseeing and delivering the work, perhaps even helping shape other services and work in the borough.

In the session there will be chance to pause and think differently about shared power across a community and what this might bring, the session will end on setting some clear next step actions

Register free on Eventbrite

opiod improvement workshop flyer

Tickets via Eventbrite (free)

Who should attend?

This workshop will be relevant to individuals from Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care system impacted by the opioid agenda and involved in decision making including Healthcare professionals - GPs, Consultants, Pharmacy teams, Physiotherapists, Social Prescribers, Nurse specialists, Pain Specialists from Primary and Secondary care, Community pharmacy, Local authorities and representatives from local authority, patient groups and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations.

Accessing these sessions:

You will be sent a MS Teams link in due course. If you haven't received this by the day before, please contact

Key contact about this event:

For any questions you may have about this series of events, please contact

Healthy weight strategy workshop flyer

WEA logo

WEA: Online Mental Health and Wellbeing Courses Offered

The Workers' Educational Association (WEA) is offering a number of upcoming mental health and wellbeing-related courses online. Click on the links below for more details.

Non-accredited courses:

Taster sessions:

These 90 minute taster sessions enable potential students to meet the tutor, introduction to the course and seek further information on the full course and how it can lead into NCFE accredited courses in Stress Awareness L1 and Counselling Skills L2.

Accredited courses:

WEA will be also delivering accredited online courses: To be able to enrol onto these courses students will need to undertake an Initial Assessment and if successful be transferred onto the course.

Students can enrol by using the online links provided above or contact student support services on 0300 303 3464 to enrol by phone.

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Job / Volunteer Opportunities

citizens advice logo

Advice Session Supervisor or a Trainee Advice Session Supervisor

Citizens Advice values diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination.  They encourage and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds.

Are you passionate about making a difference, making society fairer and working for an organisation that values diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination?  

Citizens Advice Shropshire is recruiting an experienced Advice Session Supervisor or a Trainee Advice Session Supervisor. They encourage and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and will consider trainee positions.

Salary: £24,188 to £28,340 depending on experience

Contract: Full time 37 hours per week, permanent.

Location: The successful applicant would be based in Shrewsbury office and must be able to work flexibly across the county when required.

Start: As soon as possible

Post may be subject to a DBS check.

Further details and application form (no CVs) can be found on the Citizens Advice Shropshire website.

ICS logo

ICS Voluntary Sector Engagement and Partnership Lead


As set out in a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in October 2021 by respective VCSE and Integrated Care System (ICS) leads, the following opportunity will help to embed the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector within the Integrated Care System for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

In brief, this new role has been created to help elevate the voice and influence of the VCSE within key strategic and decision-making forums within the ICS. The role is hosted within the VCSE but will be embedded in the ICS communications and engagement team, therefore benefiting from support within the ICS as well as key VCSE leads.

Scale and Scope of the VCSE

The VCSE sector for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin is large and diverse with excellent links to the people we serve. At a time when change is in motion for the Integrated Care System, the VCSE sector brings innovation, flexibility and reach that will help our system establish a ‘new normal’ and work to achieve shared ambitions to best meet the needs of our population. A new, equal partnership between the VCSE and the ICS has been widely welcomed by system leads and it is acknowledged that this new way of working could hold opportunities to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities for the people of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The Memorandum of Understanding was the beginning of this integration process. The next step will be to develop a VCSE Alliance which will provide strategic representation from the VCSE sector and will be embedded into the governance of the new Integrated Care Board (ICB). This will be one of the main objectives for the postholder – to facilitate this process and look to effectively co-ordinate the two sectors to widen representation of the VCSE, to what is currently seen within governance structures.

Current Landscape

In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, we are fortunate to have two well-established, active and diverse VCSE networks bringing considerable resource as well as influence. There are over 2,000 registered VCSE organisations in the county and over 1,800 small, unregistered community groups and organisations. The sector is a significant part of the local economy, employing approximately 3% of the workforce, with between 21% and 30% of the VCSE already providing health and wellbeing services.

In the development of this closer working relationship, facilitated by this dedicated role, our health and social care system has the potential through the VCSE to connect more closely with its populations, especially those facing inequalities and those which are harder to reach. An effective partnership will improve this crucial representation and provide us with a better breadth of view for the county in order to make a real difference to those most in need. 

To find out more about this exciting opportunity, please email Rachael Jones, Senior Communications and Engagement Manager at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Please also read the Job Description and Personal Specification for more details.  

The closing date for this position is 2nd December, and interviews will take place w/c 12th December 2022.


Employing Body

Meeting Point Trust Ltd.


NHS Band 6 (£33,706)


ICS Communications and Engagement Team

Reporting to

ICS Communications and Engagement Lead (Partnerships) and relevant Chief Officer for the voluntary sector in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin (STW)

Other relationships

VCSE Chief Executives, ICS partners, VCSE providers across STW


Home working/regular travel across STW


Fixed term 1 year with the possibility of extension, a secondment would be considered

Working hours

37 hours per week with occasional need to be flexible


Shropshire Community Foundation Logo

Part-Time Business Development Officer

Shropshire Community Foundation is looking for a part-time Business Development Officer to instigate, cultivate, and steward good relationships with high-net-worth individuals and businesses to generate financial support to enable grant-giving across Shropshire.

Download the full job description and person specification here.

Place of work: Primarily home-based, but travel across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin will be regularly required 

Compensation: £14K for 18 hours per week

Applications should be emailed to 

Evaluator for SAND advert

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

£10m Fund Launched to Support UK Foodbanks

Julia and Hans Rausing Trust has announced a new grants programme to further the efforts of foodbanks across the UK in tackling the growing food poverty crisis.

To be eligible to apply, organisations must:

  • Be not-for-profit.
  • Run a foodbank that has been running for six months or more which regularly gives out emergency food parcels at least once each week.
  • Have an annual income of between £25,000 and £1,000,000.
  • Not have reserves above one year's running costs.

The minimum amount which can be applied for is £500. The Trust does not give out grants that are greater than 20% of an organisation’s annual expenditure – though this should not be considered a target amount to request.

Grants can be used to cover costs associated with all aspects of foodbank service provision including rent, staffing and storage and distribution costs.

Applications must be submitted by 6 December 2022 (4pm). Visit the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust website for more information and to apply.

Future Communities Fund Now Accepting Applications

As part of its new strategy, 'Building Communities of the Future Together', Co-op Foundation has opened an unrestricted grants programme supporting youth engagement in the UK.

The Future Communities Fund offers grants of up to £30,000 per year for five years.

To be eligible to apply, charitable organisations must:

  • Have an annual income of less than £250,000.
  • Have young people’s voices from all backgrounds and abilities at the core of their delivery.
  • Advocate for diversity and inclusion in all areas of society.
  • Actively engage with young people from diverse communities in a meaningful and inclusive way.
  • Have experience of removing barriers and providing opportunities to young people.
  • Have experience of delivering meaningful youth social action that supports young people into leadership roles.
  • Be able to demonstrate they have experience of co-operation/collaboration.

There are no restrictions on the grants, providing the work being carried out by organisations aligns with the priorities of equity, diversity and inclusion and youth governance.

The fund is open until 12pm on 23 December 2022. For more information and to apply, visit the Future Communities Fund page on the Co-Op Foundation website.

Severn Trent logo

New: Severn Trent Community Fund Core Costs Funding 

Severn Trent have some exciting news to share with you - through a new separate funding stream, their Community Fund is now offering support with core costs.  

They have committed to allocating £150,000 from the Community Fund to cover core costs for groups finding it hard to maintain their activities, to help them to continue delivering their vital services to our communities. 

Charities and organisations can apply to be considered for a restricted grant of between £5,000 - £20,000 (depending on the size of the organisation) for 1 year to help them and our communities get through this very challenging time. 

This support will be available to not-for-profit organisations that: 

  • Support communities within the Severn Trent region; 
  • Have been operating since 2017 or before
  • Have an annual income of £250,000 or less (averaged over the past 5 years); 
  • Deliver a service that links to one of our three key elements of community wellbeing (people, place and environment)  

Severn Trent Community Fund: Core Funding will be open on a rolling basis until the budget has been awarded and they anticipate demand for our support to be high, so whilst they'd love to, unfortunately they won’t be able to fund every application received.   

Full eligibility criteria and details on how to apply can be found on their website.

This core funding stream will run alongside their main Community Fund, so they will still be accepting applications for new projects through that separate channel.  

shropshire good food partnership logo

New: Citizen's Good Food Challenge

Shropshire Good Food Partnership (SGFP) has secured funding from the Co-op Foundation Carbon Innovation Fund which includes a Citizen's Good Food Challenge. The overall objective is to support local-level innovation, empowering communities to take action toward a climate-friendly and more resilient local food system.

A fund of £5k total is available, and proposals can be up to £1k to work on a food issue in your town/parish. Awards can go to informal groups or individuals as well as organisations. This can cover a wide range of activities including environmental, social and economic aspects of local food and farming. Projects should offer the potential to serve as models to inspire other communities.

This is a seed fund to help you get ideas off the ground, to show proof of concept and demonstrate that you can deliver. The intention is to work with successful initiatives to find ways to scale up and access additional resources.

Proposals should be succinct and cover the following areas: Introduction (background info/current situation/your interest), Purpose (goal, objective), Activities (what you will do, activity plan, timeframe) Results (anticipated impact, outcomes and outputs), Budget (costing and justification of resources). Maximum 2 pages. 

Duration of the funding is up to 1 year, start before April 2023. Please submit applications to by November 30th.

New Philanthropy Capital logo

NPC Launches Funds for Charities Tackling Financial Hardship in the UK

New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) is providing two separate funds in the financial hardship sector, aiming to relieve and reduce financial hardship in the UK.

Organisations can apply to only one of the following funds:

  • Panel A’s Fund offers grants of up to £15,000 to charities and community groups with a turnover of less than £100,000. The funding has a specific focus on supporting:
    • Asylum seekers
    • Young people
    • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities
    • Those with experience of domestic violence
    • Single parent households
    • Women and girls
  • Panel B’s Fund offer grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 to charities and community groups with a turnover of less than £200,000. The funding has a specific focus on supporting:
    • Young people
    • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities
    • Single parent households
    • People with disabilities
    • Asylum seekers and those with NRPF

There are no restrictions on how the funding can be used as long as the grants focus on financial hardship and are in response to the current cost of living crisis. Organisations can propose what they would like to do with the funding.

Only Panel A funding can be used to make cash grant to individuals, provided there is a robust system in place.

The deadline for all applications is 16 December.  Visit the NPC website for more information and to apply.

Don't forget to check out the VCSA's latest funding roundup, which is now available to view on our website, or you can click here to download a copy now.

Don't forget to check out our list of grants with rolling deadlines as well!

Don't see something on this list that should be here? Please contact us and let us know.


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