VCSA Newsletter Week of 9th October 2023

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Newsletter for the Week of 9th October 2023


Room full at Shrewsbury Town Football Club

Health and Wellbeing Organisations Join Forces to Strengthen Integrated Working with the VCSE

Over 100 attendees from nearly 50 organisations in the voluntary and community sector came together this week in a bid to further strengthen working relationships on health and wellbeing.

The Working with the VCSE Sector: The Key to Health and Care in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin conference was supported by funding from Shropshire Council and hosted by Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership in partnership with, Telford & Wrekin Chief Officers Group (COG) and the VCSA.

Voluntary and community sector organisations working on health and wellbeing were invited to the event and had the opportunity to showcase the important and positive impact they make across the health and care system and local communities.

The event also offered the opportunity for partners to network and forge new alliances and to gather learning to inform and influence future plans across the sector.

Throughout the day delegates engaged in a programme of inspiration and thought-provoking activities which included presentations from voluntary sector partners, NHS Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin (STW) leaders and guest speakers.

The keynote speaker was Mike Richardson from NDTi, who gave a presentation on 'The Value of Community.' He highlighted brand new research evidencing that when statutory organisations work with the voluntary sector to deliver services they save money, reduce waiting times, and deliver precisely what communities and individuals need.

Participates took part in a range of workshops focusing on social value and impact, measurement tools, the value of VCSE infrastructure and ways of collaborating for societal change.

Julie Mellor, Chief Executive of Taking Part and Co-Chair of the VCSA, said:-

“What an event – a day packed with information and a room full of delegates, energy and positive vibes.

“This event was a good opportunity to showcase the work of the VCSE STW and start our journey going forward in true partnership. It was my privilege to be part of such an amazing day.”

Sir Neil McKay, Chair of NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said:-

“The conference has brought meaningful understanding to the wide and deep contributions that the voluntary and community sector offers our county. It has also been an opportunity to discuss how we can work together better on our shared aims.

“Wednesday’s event showcased the drive and enthusiasm present within the sector, and I would like to thank everyone in attendance for their contributions. We know our resources are scarce, but we are committed to doing our work better for the benefit of our residents – reducing health inequalities and improving healthcare outcomes and experiences.

“What I have taken from the conference is that both sectors want to find new ways of working and learning from each other. We have an opportunity to do something special – to build a partnership with purpose and to bring about positive change. We have moved the conversation on in a positive and constructive way, and I look forward to the next steps.”

The Working with the VCSE Sector: The Key to Health and Care in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin conference was held on Wednesday 4 October 2023 at Shrewsbury Town FC’s stadium.

More information on the conference including presentation slides are available on the VCSA website.

Home start image of people playing with children

Home Start Aims to Give Children the Best Start in Life

One of the stallholders at last week's 'Working with the Sector' event was a Telford charity that offers families support in their time of need runs a range of groups to help combat the stresses and isolation faced by the parents of young children.

Home-Start Telford & Wrekin aims to give children under five the best possible start by helping parents manage daily life and widen links within their community. They want to get the word out to organisations and referrers working across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin about what they can offer.

Their work includes giving parents of under-fives a chance to meet up with those in the same situation in weekly support groups for both children and parents.

The charity has six free groups that run through term time and offer support, advice, and a chance to make new friends. They include sessions for parents of under-fives, new mums aged 19 or under, a dads’ group, and a group for expectant mums and parents with under-one-year-olds.

Caia Bryant-Griffiths, manager of the charity, said that the groups were part of the charity’s role in providing help, friendship, advice, and support for parents with children under 5.

“There is no rulebook for raising a family, and sometimes it can seem overwhelming, particularly if a family is going through difficult times. But if they can get the support they need, then day-to-day family life and their children’s future can be much brighter.

“These groups give parents of young children a chance to get out, make new friends, and find out what support is available,” she said.

The Home-Start Telford & Wrekin groups meet at various venues across the area during term time.

Further details of these groups are available by emailing or by calling 01952 872280 or by visiting the Home Start website.

levelling up logo

UK Shared Prosperity Fund First Round of People and Skills Projects Awarded

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is set to make a significant impact in Shropshire by providing crucial support for improving numeracy and digital skills, as well as supporting individuals back to employment or the start of their employment journey.

Earlier this year, Shropshire Council called for applications for the Government-allocated fund under three priorities: People and Skills, Communities and Place, and Supporting Local Business.

Under the banner of People and Skills, £1.6m was allocated. Organisations were encouraged to apply to fund projects that would support economically inactive individuals, and/or provide access to essential digital skills.

Additionally, the ‘Multiply’ initiative aimed to enhance numeracy skills in the workplace, in daily life, and at home.

Among the successful applicants was The School of Coding which will offer ‘Digital Shropshire’, a project that will deliver training in skill areas which there is currently a shortage in the county including skills for employability and digital marketing.

Manny Athwal, Project Leader, said:-

“We are planning delivery hubs and course centres in north, central and south Shropshire, where the learners will be able to attend classes. We plan to offer training in everything  from basic IT skills to web development, and then will help and support individuals to find jobs.”

Another noteworthy beneficiary is the Shropshire Sports Collective.

Calvin Lord-Latham, Education & Employability Manager, Shrewsbury Town FC Foundation, said:-

 “We recognise that sports and physical activity have the potential to inspire, motivate, and empower individuals. It can cultivate essential skills, help them to unlock their potential, and pursue meaningful employment opportunities.

“By utilizing sport and physical activity as a catalyst, we will create tailored programmes that address the specific needs of each community, fostering a supportive environment where individuals can improve their basic skills, enhance their employment prospects and achieve sustainable outcomes.”

There will be a further call for projects against People and Skills priority for delivery in 2024/25, but what these will be is still under development and will be announced later this year. You can learn more about the fund and find live calls on the Invest in Shropshire website.

SCCP logo

Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership Publishes Annual Report

The Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership (SSCP) is a wide range of partners who come together to prevent and tackle Child and Adult abuse and Community Safety. The Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership acts to seek assurance, scrutinise, challenge and ensure agencies are enabled to work together to achieve the aims of the Partnership.

The VCSA maintains a presence in the partnership through a representative, but other VCSE organisations also attend in their own capacity as organisations vital to safeguarding in Shropshire.

The group's achievements for 2021/22, as well as aims for the coming year are all highlighted in their Annual Report, which is available to download now. You can also learn more about the partnership by visiting the SSCP website.

Image of carers photo credit centre for aging better

Local Carers Encouraged to Participate in National Survey

People who are informal carers for adults are being encouraged to take part in the biannual Survey of Adult Carers in England.

The survey forms part of a national programme led by NHS England. Carers across England are asked about their views on the services they and the person they care for receive, and about their quality of life.

An informal carer could be someone who looks after a partner, family member or friend in need of support or services because of frailty, physical or learning disability, addiction, or illness, including mental illness.

Carers should start receiving the postal survey from this week.

All feedback from the survey will be used to help local authorities better understand the needs of local carers, and any ways in which local support may need to change to respond to the issues reported.

Those who may struggle to complete the survey, can contact the customer service team on 0348 678 9077 for advice. 

The survey is part of a national programme led by NHS England and more information on it can be found here.

Image from Centre for Aging Better

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Have Your Say: Current VCSE Engagement Opportunities

NCVO Survey of Charities about Winter Challenges: The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is conducting a survey to understand the challenges faced by charities this winter, and will use the responses to advocate for additional support. The survey should take three minutes to complete. Closing 11th October

Consultation on Community Wealth Fund in England: The Government has launched a technical consultation on a Community Wealth Fund in England. This technical consultation follows a commitment made by the government in its response to the consultation on the English portion of dormant assets funding. This stated that community wealth funds would be the fourth cause to receive dormant assets funding in England. Closing 19th October

Review of Polling District, Places and Stations: People can have their say about their polling districts and polling stations from today (2 October 2023) as part of a Shropshire Council review. The council is required to complete a full review of its polling districts, polling places and polling stations every five years, to ensure that electors have reasonable facilities for voting, and that polling places are accessible to all electors. Closing 30th October

DWP Changes to Work Capability Assessment Consultation: As part of Government’s mission to support more people into work, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a consultation on changes to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), following the landmark Health and Disability White Paper published earlier this year. The consultation seeks views from the public, charities, employers, and other interested parties on proposed changes to the WCA. Closing 30th October

Severn Valley Country Park: Shropshire Council and partners would like to hear what you think about how they manage Severn Valley Country Park for both visitors and wildlife.The results of the survey will help them understand how satisfied visitors are with Severn Valley Country Park and will help them see what future actions should be prioritised. They would also like to hear from you if you do not use Severn Valley Country Park so they can understand what the barriers to visiting are. Closing 5th November

DWP Pre-Employment Checks for Health and Care Volunteers Consultation: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) seeks views on the proposal to remove the statutory requirement for a full employment history when appointing volunteers in health and care settings. The consultation asks whether the full employment history requirement poses challenges to the appointment process and whether it is necessary to inform appointment decisions. We’re also seeking to understand whether the remaining required pre-employment checks would be enough to ensure the suitability of volunteer applicants. They especially seek views from the VCSE sector. Closing 18th November

One Shropshire Directory Survey: Shropshire Council currently operates the Shropshire Community Directory, Family Information Directory and SEND Local Offer Directory. They also assist with funding other directories such as the Social Prescribing Directory led by Qube. Shropshire Council is exploring ways they can improve the service they offer by combining these directories to create a single directory which is more effective and user friendly, offering better value to our customers. Feedback from some external and internal stakeholders suggests some people would like to see a single directory for Shropshire. They are now seeking views from a wide range of people interested in the provision of community information. Closing 26th November

Healthwatch Shropshire Domiciliary Care: Healthwatch Shropshire would like to hear people’s experiences of accessing and receiving domiciliary care or care at home in Shropshire in the last two years. Closing date TBD

Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin Health and Care Experiences: Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin are seeking local views on health and care (including experiences with GPs). Closing date TBD

Health Needs Survey for Ludlow (JSNA): Are you an organisation working in the Ludlow area? Please help get the word out about the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) happening now for Ludlow residents. This survey happens every few years and helps determine how health resources are allocated. Closing date TBD

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Events and Training Opportunities

Crowdfund Shropshire logo

Crowdfund Shropshire Launch

Wem Town Hall, High Street, Wem, SY4 5DG

1:30pm arrival for a 2.00pm start, then networking until 4pm

The VCSA is excited to support the introduction of Crowdfund Shropshire - an exciting new community fundraising programme to bring the people of Shropshire together and create more opportunities for people in the local area to get involved in their communities.

Shropshire Council, through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, has £150,000 available to pledge to local crowdfunding projects which help create healthy people, a healthy economy, a healthy environment and a healthy organisation. These projects will be crowdfunded via Spacehive, their digital funding platform partner.

The event will be led by Nicola Daniels, Joint Chair of Shropshire VCS Assembly with Julie Mellor. Nicola will be joined by others, including the Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership Community Development Team, the Leader of the Council, Lezley Picton, and the Spacehive team.

Voluntary and community sector groups and organisations, town and parish councils, local businesses, and public sector contacts among other stakeholders will be welcomed at this launch event.

Please promote this crowdfunding opportunity to your networks and support locally-led projects that matter to communities.

This briefing session will cover:

  • How crowdfunding works for communities
  • How you can access funds provided through Crowdfund Shropshire
  • How to share the opportunity with your networks
  • How to get involved and the key dates to be aware of

There will also be interactive breakout rooms to access specialised support for your project.

Light refreshments will be served.

Register to attend the launch in person or virtually here.

If you have any questions about the event or accessibility requirements, please email or

logos for Shropshire Council, Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership and Spacehive

crowsmill craft centre celebration flyer

Please RSVP if possible: or 01746 781942.

community connectors meeting graphic

Upcoming Community Connectors Meetings

Are you a local group or individual delivering activities that benefit and support the communities of Shropshire? Then come along to one of these community connector network meetings throughout the county to connect with other local community services, groups and support organisations.


9th October 10am - Noon Market Drayton Community Amateur Sports Club

Places are limited, please contact Lou Woolcock to book


2nd November 10am - Noon Online via Teams

Please contact Natalie Jackson to book your place


11th October 9:30-11:30am Online

Please contact Lesley Jewell to book your place


Ludlow & Church Stretton - 21st November 1pm - 3pm Online

Bishops Castle - 22nd November 1pm - 3pm Online

Please contact Clare Kennefick to book your place

NCVO logo

Launch of UK Civil Society Almanac 2023

12th October 11:30-12:30 online

The UK Civil Society Almanac, published annually by NCVO, provides all you need to know about the voluntary sector’s finances, workforce, volunteering and impact.

This year, NCVO partnered with CharityJob to provide insights on sector salaries. They are also excited to launch a new interactive dashboard to help you make the most of the data.

In this webinar, they will share how the Almanac can be used to:

  • inform your financial strategies
  • support your thinking about the external environment for voluntary organisations
  • better understand opportunities and challenges facing your organisation.

Book your free place here.

Cost of Living Event at Shrewsbury Job Centre

18th October 10am-11:30am

Shrewsbury Job Centre is holding a Cost of Living Event for local residents.

Several VCS advice and service organisations will be there, plus the DWP will be supporting attendees with better off calculations and conversations around PIP.

Please download the flyer and share with your service users to help spread the word.

event flyer image

Severn trent logo

Meet the Funder: Severn Trent Community Fund

Thursday, 9th November 12-1pm Online

This Meet the Funder event is with Natalie Cunningham, Community Fund Officer at Severn Trent Community Fund.

Through attending you will have the opportunity to take part in a session discussing the Severn Trent Community Fund, a programme that aims to support community wellbeing and protect and sustain water and natural resources focussing in three different areas: People, Places, and Environment.

Attending this event you will have the opportutnity to:

  • Hear about the current funding opportunities through Severn Trent Community Foundation
  • Identify the current priorities for the Foundation.
  • Gain an insight into the decision making processes led by the funder.
  • Receive advice direct from Severn Trent Community Foundation.

Book your free place via Eventbrite

NPC logo

How Can Charities Centre Lived Experience?

Free Hybrid event Tues, 5th December 9am - 10:45am

Join NPC and its research partners as they launch a new guide for charities looking to centre lived experience within their organisations.

In this live event, hear the headlines of the guidance, alongside a panel discussion around the importance of centring lived experience and the realities of making it work.

Book your free ticket via the Eventbrite site.

Looking for Local Health-Related Events and Information?

Looking for health-related events and meetings local to your area? The VCSA recommends subscribing to the Community Connectors newsletter for all of the latest local event information, including classes, clubs and social groups that are related to health and wellbeing. You can subscribe by emailing

Download the Community Connectors Leaflet for more information on what they are and how you can get involved in social prescribing in Shropshire.

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Job / Volunteer Opportunities

PA job announcement

Volunteer Opportunities

Shropshire MHS has exciting volunteer opportunities across multiple projects, including their calmer cafe, crafting group, women's group and allotment group.

Download the flyers below to learn more about these opportunities and get in touch!

Shropshire MHS logo

Little Stars Baby Bank logo

Volunteer Opportunities

Little Stars is excited to announce they are expanding their team and are recruiting volunteers. They have various roles available if you would love to make a difference to the families we support across Shropshire.

Do you like sorting and getting hands on?

Become one of their stockroom sorters and help sort through donations and pre-pack items ready to go out to families who need them.

Prefer being on the road?

How about helping them with collections and deliveries so they can keep their stocks of nappies and other toiletries essentials looking healthy?

Like meeting people?

Volunteer at their monthly pop-up events where families are able to drop-in and top up on some of the essentials they need.

Want to be a part of our exciting new venture? 

Why not help out in their new Little Stars charity shop? You'll be dealing with customers, replenishing stock and ensuring the shop floor remains welcoming and tidy.

If you want to know more and to apply please visit their website Little Stars or get in touch

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

Cash4Clubs to Open for Applications on 18 October

Cash4Clubs is a corporate-initiated sports club scheme, funded by Flutter Entertainment (formerly Paddy Power Betfair), a bookmaking holding company.

For the last 25 years, it has been offering funding to support the sustainability of local sports clubs across the UK and Ireland, thereby ensuring more people have access to local sports.

This year, community sports clubs and organisations who are in need due to the impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis can apply for unrestricted grants of £2,000 from a funding pot of £200,000.

The funding can be used for anything that will add to the sustainability and effectiveness of the sports club, including buying new equipment, improving facilities or helping members to gain coaching qualifications.

While the funding is unrestricted there is particular interest in hearing from clubs that are using sport for other social purposes such as developing skills, reducing crime or addressing anti-social behaviour.

Applications will be accepted from clubs and organisations that are either registered charities or clubs with a structured governance and constitution.

Clubs that are targeting communities from deprived areas are encouraged to apply.

Full details will be provided when the scheme opens.

Applications open on 18 October 2023. For more information, check out the Cash4Clubs website.

Tesco and The Sun Offer 150 One-off Grants Through Footie for All Fund

Tesco and the newspaper, The Sun, have joined together to provide a total of £150,000 to encourage more children and young people to take up football or improve access to the game.

The grants are part of The Sun’s Footie for All campaign to highlight how financial struggles are forcing young people to give up football.

The funding is designed to provide support to grassroots football organisations working with children under the age of 18 to enable them to continue to deliver activities that allow local young people to take part.

Constituted grassroots football clubs across the UK can apply for grants of up to £1,000 which will support 100% of project costs.

The funding can be used to assist clubs in improving facilities, purchasing equipment and new kits, and meeting any other needs that can enhance the experience of children and young people, enabling them to access and participate in football within the local community.

Groups must be constituted and have a governing document and safeguarding policy in place.

Only one application per organisation will be accepted.

Applications will not be accepted from schools, projects that work with people over 18 years of age, school breakfast clubs.

The Footie for All Fund is being managed by Groundwork UK which manages Tesco’s grant-giving programme. Visit the Footie for All website for more information and to apply.

Applications are being considered on a rolling basis. The deadline for applications is 29 October 2023 (23:59).

Supporting Rural Communities Programme - Upcoming Deadline

Funding for not-for-profit community-led projects that improve the lives of those living in rural communities in the UK.

Previously known as the Prince's Countryside Fund, the Royal Countryside Fund's Supporting Rural Communities programme is supported by the People's Postcode Lottery and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. The Royal Countryside Fund is a registered charity founded by HM King Charles III in 2010 while he was The Prince of Wales.

The Royal Countryside Fund is currently accepting applications from constituted, not-for-profit organisations with an income of less than £500,000 for projects that will create a long-term difference in rural communities across the UK.

Grants of up to £25,000 over two years are available for projects that can be completed by January 2026.

The funding is designed to support community-led projects that are pursuing innovative and strategic solutions to the challenges facing their rural area and which will improve the viability and resilience of their community.

Successful projects will achieve one or more of the following:

  • Support people to resolve existing and emerging community issues, circumstances, and priorities in their locality.
  • Build rural community resilience.
  • Develop innovative and replicable projects.
  • Enable leadership and community planning.
  • Improve the economic or social resilience of a rural community.
  • Reduce isolation for people living in rural areas through improving service provision.
  • Create a self-sufficient rural community fit for the future.

There is particular interest in 'fledgeling' ideas and projects.

There are a number of funding restrictions, including purchase of food, working capital, youth clubs or projects where there may be other more appropriate funders, such as those dealing with domestic violence, dementia or elderly care, and migration.

Groups are encouraged to submit their application before the deadline as the link to the application form will be taken down at midday on the closing date.

The deadline for applications is midday on 20 October 2023. For more information and to apply, visit the Royal Countryside Fund website.

UKSPF logo


Shropshire Council has been allocated £1,600,000 from the Rural England Prosperity Fund as part of the UKSPF Investment Fund for Rural Communities projects to be delivered by March 2025.

Shropshire Council are seeking applications for CAPITAL only projects that can deliver up until 31st March 2025 under the Rural England Prosperity Fund – Rural Communities priority. Projects applying under this call must start by January 2024 and all outputs and outcomes must be delivered by 31st March 2025.

Projects must be in rural areas of Shropshire with populations below 10,000 and the wider countryside and market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing services.

On this basis projects within the Shrewsbury Town Council area are not eligible to apply under this call.

How to apply:

Refer to the links below for the application form, full details, including information on the types of projects required and eligibility.

The call application window closes at 5pm on Friday 13th October 2023. Visit the Invest in Shropshire website for more information.

Supporting Documentation:

Applications are invited for activity that will deliver the objectives, outputs and outcomes of Shropshire’s UKSPF Investment Plan and meet the aims of the Shropshire UKSPF Investment Plan, the Shropshire Plan and Economic Growth Strategy.

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: