VCSA Newsletter Week of 9th January 2023

VCSA logo

Newsletter for the Week of 9th January 2023


designs in mind new home

New Year, New Home:

Designs in Mind Opens New Doors in Oswestry

Designs in Mind, a social enterprise dedicated to supporting adults with mental health challenges, opened its new doors in Oswestry before the New Year, following the help of grant funding.

The social enterprise supports adults living with mental health challenges work together on ambitious, experimental art and design projects.

Located at 17 Cross Street, the organisation has been able to expand thanks to the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) scheme. The scheme, which has received funding from Historic England, Oswestry Town Council and Shropshire Council, is being delivered through the Future Oswestry Group, which is comprised of representatives from Shropshire Council, Oswestry Town Council and Oswestry BID (Business Improvement District).

The scheme was set up to transform rundown buildings and shopfronts and to rejuvenate the market town, its historic character and lively high street.

Prior to their expansion Designs in Mind operated from the upper two floors of 17 Cross Street for sixteen years. The grant funding has enabled the organisation to expand onto a third, ground floor level and fit a new workshop, quiet room, and shopfront. In addition, Designs in Mind have also opened an art shop, which will provide a welcomed revenue stream for the organisation.

Cai, one of two CEOs at Designs in Mind, said:

“The funding has been instrumental in allowing us to transform the area into a much-needed workspace. It means that we are now fully accessible to all our members but, more importantly, we have a presence on the high street, which means we can hopefully start breaking down the barriers about mental health”.

Read the full story in the Shropshire Council newsroom, as well as coverage in the Shropshire Star.

vcsa logo

VCSA 2023 Membership Refresh

This year, the VCSA is changing the way it handles membership.

  • Do you want to be contacted with opportunities and news that is specific to your organisation's area of work?
  • Do you want to easily find data on the sector in Shropshire that is up to date and helpful for funding or reporting?
  • Have you ever wondered who else is a VCSA member?
  • Do you wish that the annual State of the Sector survey took a little bit less time to complete?

Then these are all great reasons to renew your membership today! 

The new membership form is now available online, and can be completed by visiting the VCSA website. Each organisation only needs to fill out the form once, and additional contact names can be added whenever you want. Please note, that if you are currently a member and want to continue your VCSA membership, you will need to complete this new form.

Updating your information will also be easy. Each year, you will receive a reminder to check your membership information is up to date, and you will only need to correct any information that has changed. There will be an "update your membership" link on the website very soon, and you can do it at your leisure. It's that simple!

Not a member yet? Then join us! Any voluntary and community sector group or organisation working for the benefit of Shropshire can join free of charge. Your group or organisation can be as active as you choose.

The Assembly allows VCS groups and organisations to:

  • Meet and exchange information, ideas and good practice
  • Discuss common issues and support each other in delivering services
  • Develop shared plans
  • Work more closely with public sector bodies such as Shropshire Council and the Integrated Care System

VCSA members can benefit in many ways, at any level of involvement

  • Hear of networking and funding opportunities
  • Have the opportunity to have a say through local consultations
  • Voice issues and concerns
  • Access helpful reports, analysis and information on the sector
  • Network with other VCS groups and organisations
  • Express an interest in getting involved in local projects or bids
  • Join in at the annual event and attend other VCSA events and workshops

pro bono economics logo

Report: Cost of Living Impacts on the Sector

"Breaching the Dam: The State of the Charity Sector" analyses the results of a November, 2022 survey conducted with 783 social sector organisations. The report is the first in a quarterly series to be released by Pro Bono Economics in partnership with Nottingham Trent University.

The report authors focus on increased service demands and the impacts of this on the sector, including recruitment and service delivery capacity.

"Small charities and community groups are the most vulnerable to this impossible pressure cooker of rising demand and deteriorating finances. Indeed, many small organisations may already have breached their capacity to manage. Small charities and community groups are more likely than any other group to be experiencing financial difficulty, and a net balance of more than one in four (27%) have been forced to reduce the number of paid staff in their employ over the past three months – with further reductions anticipated over winter."

Read the full report here.


the charity commission logo

New Questions Added to Annual Return for Charities

The Charity Commission has announced that charities will have to answer a new set of questions in their 2023 annual return.

The updated questions, announced on Wednesday, are a result of a feedback form completed by charities following the consultation launched by the Charity Commission, which ran from 9 June to 1 September.

The changes to the 2023 annual return include:

  • A reduction to 49 in the maximum number of questions that can be asked.
  • The introduction of income thresholds for five of the new questions, to reduce the burden for smaller charities.
  • Reworking 19 questions to improve clarity and/or reduce resource.
  • Improvements in the glossary and guidance offered to charities.

The commission also said it would release a guide to assist those looking to submit their returns in January, followed by opening enrolment onto the My Charity Commission Account platform in spring 2023.

The annual return filing portal will open in summer 2023 via My Charity Commission Account and trustees will be expected to submit their accounts through the platform in the future. 

Read the full story on

hand holding globe

Save Our Shropshire Receives £10,000 from New Telford & Wrekin Climate Change Fund

Local climate action organisation Save Our Shropshire is going to share ideas with consumers about how “saving the planet” can also save money in these fantastically difficult times, thanks to a grant from the new Telford & Wrekin Climate Action Fund.

With the funding, Save Our Shropshire will be running workshops in community centres across Telford and Wrekin borough over 2023 to explain simply why we must prevent the planet from overheating, and how we can make practical changes to save money.

Many people are aware of the dangers of overheating our planet by emitting harmful gases into the atmosphere. But many find it difficult to make the needed lifestyle changes. Saving money could help us change.

Save Our Shropshire delivers practical advice for local residents on how to take action on climate change:

"Take a simple thing like our diet. Eating beef and lamb farmed overseas is bad for the planet. But if we all changed our diets to become more plant-based, then we could save up to £ 1,000 per household each year. We could also help local farmers by eating locally sourced food."

Read coverage of the story in the Shropshire Star, and visit the Save Our Shropshire website for more information.

image of a person taking a survey

Current VCSE Engagement Opportunities


ICS Review Call for Evidence: Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has appointed the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt to consider how the oversight and governance of ICSs can best enable them to succeed. Closing 9th January

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

Making Every Contact Count: Proof of Concept: MECC are currently undertaking a short proof-of-concept project, to see how integrated communities can be better supported to achieve improved public health outcomes. Specifically, they are interested in exploring whether the use of Health Literacy principles and techniques as part of a MECC approach would support increased health engagement within communities. They are also keen to know whether this approach would help non-public health staff working and volunteering within their communities. Closing 20th January

Shropshire Council Budget Consultation 2023/24: Have your say on the Shropshire Council proposed budget for next year. The responses received will be summarised and reported back to our councillors, alongside the budget proposals. Closing 30th 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

Telford and Wrekin Budget Consultation: Every year, Telford & Wrekin Council formally reviews and sets budget plans. This most recent budget proposal covers the period 2023 - 2024 to 2026 - 2027. Closing 5th February

New Home-to-School Transport Policy: Shropshire Council is proposing a revision to its Extremely Hazardous Routes Policy which is how unsafe walking routes are assessed in relation to home-to-school transport. This revision won't affect the number of pupils entitled to free home-to-school transport under this policy, nor does it have any financial impact for the council. Closing 10th February

West Mercia PCC Digital Safety Conference Survey: West Mercia Police are planning on holding a Digital Safety Conference for front line professionals and local businesses and VCSE organisations. They would like to invite you and your teams to help shape this by completing a 5 minute survey. The Digital Safety Conference is likely to be held every six months and will aim to raise awareness of the latest digital and cyber threats to our community such as online child sexual exploitation, "sextortion", cyber crime and online fraud. There will be an opportunity to attend in person or online and it will be aimed at helping "non technical" members of staff to build their knowledge. Closing date TBD

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

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

cup of coffee

Mental Health Networking Event

20th January 10am - Noon

Shirehall, Shrewsbury

This is a chance for voluntary and community sector organisations supporting mental health and wellbeing in Shropshire to meet in person for the first time in years. Come and meet other like-minded organisations, and take part in some important discussions about the future of mental health work in Shropshire.

  • 9:30-10am Meet and Greet, tea/coffee
  • 10am - 11am MPFT Mental Health Transformation presentation and Q&A
  • 11am - 11:30am Discussion/workshop
  • 11:30am Meet Colin Foot, Shropshire VCS Mental Health Support Officer
  • 11:45am - Noon Discussion/networking


Click here to register via Eventbrite

Questions? Feel free to email us

welcome to telford sign

Telford Unlocking Potential Alliance

Upcoming Events

Collaboration: Young People   

Young people are the future but they are also the present 

Join them on the 10th January 1.30-3pm online to discuss the next steps to undertaking research in understanding how they can work together with young people to do more to improve and raise aspiration in the borough.    

The research is planned to take a collaborative approach across interested Alliance members and for the research not simply to be one of consultation with young people but to have young people joining, being centre to designing the approach, the delivery and analysis.  

To read more or to register onto this online event click here.


Involvement: How can local people shape the Alliance work?  

Thank you to those that attended the first meet up focused on How can local people shape the Alliance work?  It provided a good opportunity to remind people of the context of the work and to give space to stop and think about what could be achieved by asking the community to have a conversation about what unlocking potential might look like in the borough.  

It provided space for a valued conversation about how this integrates with other strategic objectives and findings; the value of plans being set that were shaped by the needs of the community and acknowledging that it's not going to be an easy process - an example given of how hard it can be to imagine when faced with a blank sheet of paper.   

You are invited to join the next meeting on the 16th January 1-2.30pm to register click here; note you do not have to attended the first session to be part of this valued work.  

CAP money course

woman undergoing functional fitness mot

Community Resource Functional Fitness MOTs


Upcoming dates & locations:

  • 20th January, Shrewsbury, University Centre       
  • 27th January, Bridgnorth, Castle Hall
  • 18th February, Newport, Cosy Hall         
  • 21st February, Church Stretton, Leisure Centre

Download printable flyer here

To book a FREE 2.5-hour appointment call 01743 360641 or email

Debra Allcock Tyler, DSC CEO

Directory for Social Change:

Free CEO Talk Session

Online, January 19th 5-6pm

Put the kettle on and join fellow voluntary and community sector CEOs for a cathartic session on how to get through tough times. Come out at the end of the session feeling less alone, and hopefully with some shared ideas on how we can survive, not just as charities but as human beings. Hosted by DSC CEO Debra Allock Tyler.

Book your place now.

SIP logo


Meet the SIP Voluntary and Community Support Team


Bishops Castle Library, Enterprise House

25th January 10am - 2pm

The SIP Voluntary & Community Support Team offers free advice, guidance and support to local charitable groups and organisations.

Whether you are thinking of setting up a community group, a fairly new group or organisation, or have been established for many years, they can support you with advice and guidance, training, volunteer brokerage, and grant and funding support.

Come and meet the team and learn more about what they can offer your organisation! 

Download the SIP Team informational flyer.


young people having fun

Youth Provision Across South Shropshire

Are you looking for youth activities or opportunities in South Shropshire? Do you want to connect with youth organisations in the area and find out more about what's going on? Then get plugged into the news and networking offered by the South Shropshire Youth Forum (SSYF).

For more information and to get connected, contact Marinke Fontein, SSYF Infrastructure Support Officer. 

Here are some current youth activities available in South Shropshire:

Upcoming Online "Meet the Funder" Events


Severn Trent Community Fund

25th January 10-11am 

Book here via Eventbrite


Tesco Community Grants

1st February 10-11am

Book here via Eventbrite

get grants logo

SAND logo

LGBT+ Awareness Course

SAND's public training

Tuesday 7th February 2023 - Face-to-Face, Central Shrewsbury

£40 per person

Get tickets here via Eventbrite

Targeting staff and volunteers:

  • working in health and social care, voluntary sector, housing and other associated services.
  • working in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin

This half-day LGBT+ awareness raising course has a specific focus on issues impacting on LGBT+ people accessing services 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. 

Harmless conference save the date

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Job / Volunteer Opportunities

Energize logo

Energize: Project Administrator

Energize are currently looking for a Project Administrator.

This will be a key role in their team aimed at supporting the Schools and Empowering Communities teams and their Elevate programme. This role will be involved in the administration concerning these areas and provide vital support to enable the efficient and effective management of these projects and programmes.

Salary: Up to £19,664 per annum depending on experience. The post will also be eligible for winter cost of living payments of £175 (gross) per month to end of March 2023.    

Hours: Full time (37 hours per week). The post has flexible working, with very occasional evening and weekend work, but it is intended for the role to be mainly delivered during weekdays, office hours. 

Location: They currently work a hybrid system working from home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with Tuesdays and Thursdays allocated as office days. Their office is in University Centre Shrewsbury in Shrewsbury Town Centre

Contract: This is a fixed term contract until 31 March 2025.

Please read the job description and if you are interested in applying please send you CV and a covering letter explaining why you believe you have the right qualities for this role to:

Link to the full job description 

Closing date: 11.00am Monday 9th January 2023

Interview date: In person interviews will be held on 17th January 2023, at our offices in Shrewsbury

cancer champions

Volunteer Opportunity: Cancer Champions

Holly Corrigan from Qube would like to talk to you about becoming a Cancer Champion,  Can you help to:

  • Happily chat to your family and friends and share relevant information.
  • Raise awareness of cancer signs and symptoms.
  • Encourage others to attend breast, bowel and cervical screening.
  • Share the challenges and concerns of your community

CANCER CONVERSATIONS SAVE LIVES – please contact Holly for more information or visit the Qube website.

shropshire council logo

Volunteer Opportunity: Shropshire Council Audit Committee

Do you live in Shropshire and have practical experience in financial management or accountancy?

Shropshire Council is looking for just such a person to join its Audit Committee as co-opted independent member.

This rewarding voluntary role plays a significant part in the council’s governance and through the committee’s work, you’ll provide independent and high-level focus on the council’s audit, assurance and reporting arrangements as well as independently reviewing our governance, risk management and control frameworks, and overseeing the financial reporting and annual governance processes. 

While the successful person won’t be an employee nor member of the council, they will receive specific training to support them in their new role.  The role does not receive any allowance, but you will be reimbursed for expenses.

Apply now here

Closing date for applications is 20 January 2023.

Find out more about the work of the Audit Committee and its membership.  

Any questions, please email

SYA logo

SYA Recruiting for Multiple Positions

SYA are looking for Enthusiastic, skilled and motivated staff to fill several vacancies, could you join their team and help make a difference to the lives of Young People in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin?

Community Fundraising and Engagement Officer- Full Time (They would be happy to explore 4 days a week for the right candidate)

  • Annualised hours contract to accommodate evening and weekend working
  • £24 to £28K PA depending on experience
  • Based at The New Lodge, Upton Lane, Shrewsbury SY2 5RR
  • Mentoring and support will be given by internal and external experts to ensure the success
  • Reporting into the Senior Team

Office Manager – 20 to 25hrs PW

  • Based at The New Lodge, Upton Lane, Shrewsbury SY2 5RR
  • Managing an enthusiastic and capable team of 7 part-time staff (Admin and building staff)
  • Reporting into the Senior Team
  • Some home working is possible, indeed encouraged!
  • £13.65 per hour

Part-Time Youth Workers (Particularly for Telford)

  • Evenings (term time only)
  • Leader in Charge (JNC Qualified Level 3 Youth Worker) - £15.29 Per hour
  • Youth support worker (JNC Qualified Level 3 Youth Worker) – £13.65 per hour
  • Youth support worker In Training (NO Qualification required) – £10.37 per hour

o             JNC Level 2 & 3 training offered

  • Contracts vary between 2 and 3.5 Hours per night
  • A package of ongoing relevant training is offered


To apply for any of these positions please click here. Or email Richard Parkes for more details and a job description.

Job vacancies notice for Shropshire mental health support

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

Mpox and Sexual Health Outreach and Engagement Fund

Inequalities in sexual health remain a major public health issue in England. This year has been particularly challenging with the outbreak of mpox (monkeypox), with transmission seen predominantly in sexual networks of gay and bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM).

The mpox outbreak has highlighted the challenges of effectively reaching and engaging with those at greatest at risk, including encouraging those eligible to come forward for vaccination. Community based, voluntary sector organisations are best placed to engage with underserved populations.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) mpox and sexual health outreach and engagement fund is to support voluntary sector organisations to develop and deliver work to address these inequalities in underserved LGBT+ populations – including to maximise uptake of the mpox vaccine and understanding and access to STI and HIV testing.

The types of projects they are interested in funding, and supporting applicants in, are:

  • to ensure underserved eligible populations can access vaccinations for mpox and for sexually transmissible infections
  • to increase knowledge, awareness, understanding in underserved LGBT+ communities of STI and HIV prevention strategies
  • to increase the integration of HIV and STI prevention into other areas of health promotion and service delivery within LGBT+ populations
  • to address stigma associated with mpox, STIs and HIV and offer culturally competent ways of addressing sexual health

They are interested in projects that not only have the knowledge of working with underserved communities but are able to establish and deliver mpox and sexual health outreach and engagement programmes expeditiously.

There is a total of £200,000 available through the fund, proposals will be accepted from voluntary sector organisations to deliver projects between £5,000 and £30,000.

Proposals in excess of £30,000, up to £50,000 will be considered. For larger bids it will be particularly important to demonstrate how funds can be spent by end March 2023 and that the bid represents value for money. Deadline for proposal submission 19th January 2023.

For more information and to apply, visit the fund page on the UKHSA website.

Sport England Reopens Small Grants Programme

The Sport England Small Grants Programme aims to support local community sport projects that encourage people in England, regardless of age, background or level of ability, to feel able to get involved in sport and physical activity.

Grants of £300 to £15,000 are on offer for a twelve-month period to the following types of organisations:

  • Community amateur sports clubs (as registered with HMRC).
  • Unregistered voluntary and community organisations with a not-for-profit constitution.
  • Registered charities.
  • Not-for-profit companies (limited by guarantee without share capital or charitable incorporated organisation).
  • Community interest companies (CICs) or other social enterprises.
  • Community benefit societies.
  • Schools using their facilities for wider community benefit.
  • Local authority bodies (including town, parish and community councils).

Applicants do not have to be a sports organisation to apply as Sport England is more interested in the applicants' knowledge of and track record in the community that will benefit from the project.

The fund will support projects delivering recognised sports and physical activity and can cover costs such as:

  • Coaching.
  • Volunteer training.
  • Service alterations.
  • Additional equipment.

The funders are also looking to support activities which focus on environmental sustainability.

The deadline to apply is 30 June 2023. Visit the Sport England website for more information and to apply.

New £3m Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund Accepting Applications With First Deadline of 20 January

Launched just before Christmas, the new £3 million Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund is provided by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and administered by the charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

Announced by Defra to mark the occasion of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in May 2022, the fund recognises the important role that village halls play in supporting rural communities.

The funding aims to support the modernisation and improvement of village halls, so that they are fit for purpose and can provide activities which seek to achieve one or more of the following outcomes for their communities:

  • Improved health and/or wellbeing and/or reduction in rural loneliness.
  • Positive impact on the local environment, contributes towards net zero.
  • Support for the local rural economy.
  • Promotion of community cohesion.

The £3 million funding pot offers grants of between £7,500 and £75,000 which will be 20% of eligible project costs. The total project cost can be more than £375,000 but the maximum grant available is £75,000. All project work must be completed by 31 March 2025.

The grants are for capital improvements only, where projects aim to either upgrade, extend or improve facilities or where capital items need to be purchased. This could include, for example, extensions, internal reconfigurations, new roof and roof refurbishment, refurbishment of toilets and kitchens, damp proofing, or new installation of communication systems. The grants cannot be used for maintenance, repair or renewal work.

To be eligible, the village hall must:

  • Be charity owned and managed by the community.
  • Be located in a local rural area with a population of less than 10,000 people.
  • Have a freehold or leasehold in place. If a leasehold interest, there must be at least 21 years left to run on the lease.

There is a two-stage application process.

The deadline for the first round of Stage 1 applications is midnight 20 January 2023. The fund will then close and reopen to new applicants on 20 February 2023. The duration of this will depend, however, on the value of unallocated funds remaining.

For more information and to apply, visit the fund page on the ACRE website.

Wenlock Forester Trust: Individual and Project Grants Available

The Trust considers applications for grants in accordance with its Objectives, as set out in the Trust's Deed, for both individuals and groups/projects.

The Objectives are to relieve financial hardship, sickness and poor health amongst elderly people resident in the area of benefit, including the funding and/or provision of specially designed or adapted housing and items, services or facilities calculated to relieve the needs of such persons.

NB: the “area of benefit” is: Much Wenlock and surrounding areas and the County of Shropshire.

For more information and application forms, visit the Much Wenlock Forester Trust website.

New Grants from Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

The Grassroots Movement Fund is a pilot programme which will see £1 million awarded to small third sector organisations throughout 2023 to support the sustainability of grassroots social justice work.

To be eligible to apply, groups must:

  • Be based in the UK with work primarily focused on the UK.
  • Be not-for-profit (this can include informal groups and collectives).
  • Have systems for making decisions and managing money.
  • Be able to demonstrate they are part of a grassroots movement.
  • Be able to demonstrate they are working towards transformative change.

Grants of £10,000 to £70,000 are available for up to two years.

There is also a Care and Accessibility Pot, which offers an additional sum of up to £400 per applicant in order to remove some of the barriers that may hinder groups from applying such as translation costs, childcare and the labour of writing an application for those on a low-income.

The type of work that can be funded includes (but is not limited to):

  • Providing resources that help grassroots groups to run smoothly and support members to keep involved (eg equipment, access to places to meet).
  • Increasing awareness and understanding of injustice through events that recognise that everyone has something to share and that gives people the chance to tell their stories.
  • Radically reimagining and developing new systems and solutions that address injustice and inequality.

Although the funders are unable to fund core costs (eg salaries, office rent) for most organisations which are not registered charities, they will include an appropriate amount to cover day-to-day running costs.

The deadline to apply is 19 February 2023. Information and application pack are available at the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust website.

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: