New training courses from the CVS

Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde CVS is running free training courses for charities and third sector organisations:

Bid-Writing Workshop

Wednesday 27th September 5.30pm at Kirkham Community Centre

Topics covered will include:
• General guidance on eligibility and criteria
• Overview of application processes for a range of funders
• Common mistakes reported by funders
• Example forms and case studies
• Question-and-answer session

Places are still available on:

Governance Workshop

Wednesday 23rd August 5.30pm at Kirkham Community Centre

Topics covered will include:
• An overview of organisational structures for non-profit organisations
• Charity Commission requirements
• Trustee roles and responsibilities
• Examples and question-and-answer session

To book a place on either workshop, or for more information, contact:

Simon Lawton email: simon.lawton@cvsbwf.org.uk tel: 0752 872 6554

CVS – An exciting new phase

Many of you may have been wondering what is occurring at CVS over the last few months. As I have mentioned before funding is very tight and we are having to examine whole new ways of working to achieve our objectives. It is crucial at this time that the sector holds together and works with one unified and loud voice.

Last year we had to part company with the staff who had served us so well over the years. As you are reading this newsletter you will know that Angela Glass has been continuing with this work. I am now pleased to announce that we have now been able to welcome back Simon Lawton and Wendy Jackson. Simon is undertaking work in Fylde and Wyre for 3 days a week on the Countywide Infrastructure Support Programme (CISP) and Wendy is undertaking administrative tasks particularly on the Big Local Revoelution project. We no longer have a dedicated office as the costs were too great. Simon will be working form Wyre and Fylde Council Offices and Wendy is currently hot desking with me at Bay Housing Association.

The model we are going to have to examine closely is how we achieve our core objectives of Representation, Liaison, Development and Support without a great deal of cash. The answer is developing as we speak. Already in Blackpool the Leaders Group (a grouping of contract delivery organisations) is being enthusiastically led by a member. I am sure that this model is going to be the way forward for the sector. There are some snags to iron out but the prospects for the future look good.

Spreading the load is going to be key. In the near future CVS is not likely to have a Chief Officer who previously undertook a considerable amount of work on behalf of us all. We have a structure in CVS which we can build on and use to our advantage.
It is a structure that through Lancashire Association of CVS has a footprint which covers the entire County.

I would like as the next phase of activity to set up a group to match the Leaders Group but which will have as members those organisations which are small and have completely different challenges and support needs. This part of the sector is vital to many in our communities who need their support in lots of different ways.

The biggest challenge to the fulfilment of the four core objectives are the tasks contained under development and support. These are particularly labour intensive and require particular skills. The recent Lottery funded programme Communities Can revealed what a great deal of demand there is for this activity with smaller and under the radar groups. We are looking for funding opportunities to continue with this vital work.

If you are going on a summer break I hope you have an enjoyable and restful time and come back refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead.

CVS can now be contacted by phone on 01253 403044. I shall change the answerphone message so you do not think you have the wrong number.

Best wishes to you all
Paul Greenwood – Chairman

Free advice and support for voluntary groups in Wyre and Fylde

Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde CVS have been funded through Lancashire County Council’s Central Gateway Fund to provide advice, support and training to voluntary sector organisations in Wyre and Fylde. This is part of the Countywide Infrastructure Support Programme which aims to enable the Third Sector in Lancashire to be as effective, sustainable and well-connected as possible, and able to play an important role in the Council’s strategic outcomes.

Advice is available, free of charge, to any non-profit organisation based in Wyre and Fylde. Topics covered will include governance, fundraising and bid-writing, planning, marketing and monitoring. Anyone interested in this support should contact Simon Lawton: simon.lawton@cvsbwf.org.uk or mobile: 0752 872 6554.

Further elements of the Programme will include training courses, Voluntary Sector networking, asset mapping and Community Development workshops. Watch this space for more information!

Blackpool 3rd Sector Leaders Group

In February 2017  3rd Sector organisations came together to review the representation and support in the Sector.  At the meeting it was agreed to form a new 3rd Sector Leaders Group to ensure the 3rd Sector continues to work in partnership for the benefit of the communities within which we serve.

The purpose and objectives of the Group are:

  • To provide a mechanism for a Third Sector collective to collaborate and work more effectively together.
  • To raise awareness of the value of the offer the Third Sector has.
  • To be organic and flexible with little bureaucracy, providing peer support and the sharing of resources and intelligence.

Membership of the group will include Blackpool based Third Sector ( Charities, Community Interest Company’s, Social Enterprise, Voluntary) organisations and organisations who are not necessarily based locally but are delivering contracts locally. Attendance is for Officers/Directors/Chief Exec Officer or Deputies who are responsible for reporting to their Board/Steering Group.

Deborah Terras has agreed to Chair the group.

If you are interested in joining the group please email the Chair Deborah.terras@urpotential.co.uk for more details.

The next meeting of the group will take place on Thursday 11th May 2pm – 4pm at the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club Mereside.

AGM 2016 and Beyond

The Annual General Meeting 2016 was held on Wednesday 28th September in the very pleasant surroundings of The Palace St Annes. This was a new venue to many of the attendees, many of us having a vague idea of where it was, but still having to ask where exactly where you got into it.

The formal part of the meeting reviewed the activity and financial reports up to 31st March 2016. Following this I gave a review of what has happened up to the present and what the plans are for the future against a background of financial uncertainty and where nationally the picture is of some 80 CVSs having closed or merged during the last couple of years.

In many ways the situation is not a good one. It is with great regret that the Board had to take the decision to make all the staff redundant. This is never an easy decision to have to make particularly with a group of long serving and loyal people. I would like to pay tribute to the work that they have done over many years and wish them well for the future. I am happy to be able to say that many of them will still be working in the sector and in many cases undertaking work for CVS from time to time.

During the last twelve months the Board has reviewed our objectives and we are quite clear that they are representation, liaison, support and development. We are quite clear that this is the core work of the CVS and that we do not wish to run schemes or projects which are best done by our members. All too often in the past we have been involved with a wide range of activities which has often led to the core objectives being left to one side.

 

The Board has also reviewed the cost base of the organisation. We have sought to reduce our costs as far as possible. The move of offices has reduced many of the overheads by almost two thirds. We are quite clear that we have to refocus CVS to work on a much reduced cost basis. We have a few irons in the fire some of which will hopefully result in income streams enabling specific pieces of work to be done.

We are now looking to build the reputation of CVS as the local third sector infrastructure and hopefully with the help of members this can be achieved. It is after all about members needs and requirements that we exist. In the current financial climate it is more important than ever that the sector as a whole can come together and speak with a unified voice.

 

Representation

  • To enable the diverse views of the local voluntary sector to be represented to local statutory bodies and others and, where appropriate, to be a conduit for this representation.
  • Tasks.
  1. Have effective mechanisms for encouraging consultation with local groups.
  2. Have opportunities for groups to respond to consultations
  3. Feedback to groups the outcomes of consultations.
  4. Arrange occasional meetings for the sector with local authority and other relevant statutory bodies.
  5. Inform the third sector of partnership developments and opportunities.
  6. Establish accountability for third sector representatives and establish clear two way feedback mechanisms.

Liaison

  • To develop and maintain links across the voluntary, community, statutory and private sectors and promote the ability for all sectors to engage in networking with each other.
  • Tasks
  1. Establish and maintain a range of communication channels within and between the third sector statutory and private agencies. Use these channels to promote the importance of the Third Sector in delivering public service priorities.
  2. Provide and support opportunities for networking for the Third Sector, including the Blackpool Third Sector Forum.
  3. Provide space in the newsletter and on the website for information from local agencies and relevant policy items.
  4. Have regular contact with other local development agencies, especially around common areas of work.
  5. Encourage and enable effective involvement of the local third sector in strategic partnerships.

Support

  • To provide the support which will underpin the functioning and develop the capacity of local voluntary groups.
  • Tasks.
  1. Provide accessible, accurate, relevant information in various formats
  2. Provide or signpost advice on a range of relevant topics, including fundraising.
  3. Provide or signpost a range of practical resources for local groups.
  4. Provide appropriate, accessible training and/or information on local training providers.
  5. Designate a training officer to organise capacity building courses.
  6. Have a directory of local and relevant sub-regional, regional and national third sector organisations and ensure it is complete and current.
  7. Promote local third sector activity.
  8. Monitor and evaluate information, advice and training services regularly.
  9. i. Market the services and purpose of CVS to the sector, with particular reference to smaller groups who have had no previous contact.