Organisation News

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Arthur Birkby Retires as Chairperson of VSNS

Voluntary Support North Surrey announces that Arthur Birkby MBE, Chair, has resigned from VSNS board of trustees as chairperson.
Since 1996, Arthur has led and provided valuable insight and assistance to the organisation. Arthur has served as Chair since the launch of Voluntary Support North Surrey (formerly RAVS). He was responsible for the inception of the organisation and after 15 years’ service he was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list for services to Runnymede.
His accomplishments included the successful merger of RAVS and Voluntary Services Surrey Heath and the establishment of Community funds for Runnymede and Surrey Heath. These community funds are a legacy and small grants for charities and voluntary groups will be available in perpetuity.
VSNS’s CEO, Solette Sheppardson, said, “We thank Arthur for his service to Voluntary Support North Surrey as chairperson and we are delighted that Arthur will remain on the board as a trustee. We have grown from a small charity to an established independent charity, improving the lives of many individuals locally. Serving the local community has been central to Arthur’s commitment and motivation throughout his leadership”
Arthur said ‘I have been the chair at VSNS for a long time and I have decided it is the right time to stand down as chairman but remain a trustee. It is healthy for the organisation going forward to elect a new chair to bring fresh energy and insight in delivering our mission together with all of our statutory partners’.
The mission of Voluntary Support North Surrey is to build the capacity of the local voluntary sector by supporting charities and voluntary groups with governance, fundraising, training, volunteering and much more.
We are delighted that Helen Frary has been elected as Chair and feel confident that her skills and experiences with the United Nations will further enrich and develop Voluntary Support North Surrey as she leads our competent and committed board of trustees.
Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month 2021

According to the Mental Health Foundation 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Everyone experiences stress differently. Sometimes it may feel obvious when you’re feeling stressed but at other times it may creep up on you. Mental health charity Mind have guidance on signs of stress and how it might make you feel.

If you feel overwhelmed and need help to get your wellbeing back, we’ve put together some local and national links with ideas for self care and agencies who can help you.

NHS recommended Apps https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/apps/

Stress Busters https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/tips-to-reduce-stress/

NHS Every Mind Matters https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/stress/ and https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/anxiety/

Healthy Surrey https://www.healthysurrey.org.uk/mental-wellbeing/adults/local-services

Mind Matters Talking Therapies SABP https://www.mindmattersnhs.co.uk/

Woking Mind https://wokingmind.org.uk/

Catalyst https://www.catalystsupport.org.uk/

Helplines and Crisis Contacts  https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/helplines-and-crisis-contacts

Finally, why not try the Stress Management Society ’30 Day Challenge’ which encourages you to pick one action each for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing to carry out every day. It takes 30 days to turn actions into habits which could enable you to turn useful knowledge and techniques into positive change https://www.stress.org.uk/stressawarenessmonth/ 

#DontSufferinSilence

Time to Talk 2021

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. Talking about your feelings is part of taking charge of your well being and doing what you can to stay healthy.

At the moment we are all worried. Don’t suffer in silence – talk to someone:

Carers Support

Befriending and Loneliness

Mental Health

Domestic Abuse

If you are in crisis please call the Crisis Mental Health Helpline 0800 915 4644 – open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for mental health advice and support

Making sure Christmas happened in Surrey Heath #goodnews

Making Christmas happen in Surrey Heath!

For many people this year, Christmas was a time of extreme loneliness, but Surrey Heath charities made a massive effort to tackle this.

The Rotary Club of Camberley staged a Virtual Christmas Day Drop-In for two hours for anyone by themselves fancying a chat on Christmas Day.

Camberley Besom and the Rotary Club of Camberley put together 180 and 80 Christmas hampers respectively, of which 18 were made up from donations by SHBC councillors and staff.  Normal food bank parcels were also available for the festive period. The Old Dean Community Group in partnership with St Martin’s Church supported local people in hardship with food parcels including vegetables donated by the local allotments, fresh pastries and a fresh chicken voucher.

Lightwater Connected, Windlesham Caring and Bagshot Care combined efforts to take part in the Windlesham Parish scheme to provide a Christmas meal for those living alone on Christmas Day. Through the support of local restaurants volunteers were able to deliver meals to nearby residents who were lonely or vulnerable.

Our two local befriending groups the Time-to-Talk Project from VSNS and Surrey Heath Age Concern supported their clients with a special gift in Christmas week delivered personally as well as a friendly call.

Camberley Alzheimer Café hosted a special Christmas Social on 21 Dec in addition to their monthly zoom meeting for anyone living with dementia and/or carers recognising the isolation that some people feel during the festive period.

Ingenuity, sharing resources and using connections to help their community is a good news story worth telling.

January 2021

January 2021 is Mentoring Month

Mentoring can have a significant impact on a young person’s life, prospects and outlook. In addition to better school attendance and a better chance of going on to higher education, mentored young people maintain better attitudes toward school – 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs – 27% less likely to start drinking – 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities than those who do not. Being a mentor gives a young person someone to rely on, provide emotional support, educational and career guidance and generally be a guide.

Interested? Here are a few local ideas:

Forward Trust – make a difference to the lives of ex offenders and people with drug and alcohol issues

Surrey Care Trust – work with vulnerable families who need help to cope with life’s challenges or support taking their next steps in life

PACT – Prison Advice and Care Trust volunteers support prisoners resettling back through practical and emotional support

or have a look at some of the many and varied mentor roles on our volunteer website

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Funders Read Your Charity Website

These days, funders look at your website when you make an application. This is your window to the outside world and it should be current, easy to find, and up to date.

Good website content can:

  • Demonstrate professionalism to funders
  • Show how wisely and economically you spend your budget
  • Demonstrate the impact of your projects and services
  • Showcase your volunteer and community involvement
  • Generate traffic from search engines when your site matches relevant queries
  • Measure what interests your site visitors by using website analytics to be more strategic

Make sure that who you are and what you do is up-to date. Be prepared for funders to check out your website for background information about your projects, beneficiaries and services.

Show the impact of your organisation’s work. Create a space on your website where you feature content that describes work you’re doing, whether in the form of statistics, video, photos, testimonials, stories, or a combination of them all.  A variety of content will create compelling impact pages.

Images get your audiences attention – studies show that people only remember 10% of what they hear once 72 hours have passed. However, if you pair a relevant image with your material, people can remember 65% of the information after three days. Humans process images at an incredible speed which makes them the perfect way to communicate in today’s short-attention world.

Read The Beginners Guide to Nonprofit Website Content for content inspiration

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Christmas Church Services in North Surrey

This year many of us have felt isolated and fearful – in response our local churches and faith groups have broadcast hundreds of online services and events, bringing comfort and hope to our community.

If you’d like to attend a virtual church service this Christmas, we’ve put together a list of some of the places of Christian worship in Runnymede, Surrey Heath and Spelthorne with links to either their website or Facebook pages so that you can find a service locally.

download the list here

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Runnymede Calendar for people with dementia and their families

Runnymede has a number of accessible gardens and walks suitable for people with dementia and their carers. All the information is in the 2021 Runnymede Dementia Calendar which you can download here

Runnymede Dementia Calendar 2021

March and April entries give contact information for The Orchard Dementia Centre, who provide a variety of activities and Runnymede Dementia Carers Support who support both carer and loved one to have a social life together. The calendar also includes information from Surrey libraries and Chertsey Museum, who both offer reminiscence services for older people.

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Local Business Generosity in North Surrey this Christmas

Confronted with a global pandemic many local corporates have been responsive, engaged and extremely generous looking into ways to keep their CSR going and making sure they are still engaged and helping the local community.

Local businesses including Enterprise Rent a Car in Egham, ADP Chertsey, Compass Chertsey. Alcon Camberley, Enterprise Aldershot, Spirit Energy, Visa and CHEP Addlestone have donated over 900 Christmas gifts to charities in Surrey Heath, Runnymede and Spelthorne.

Besides the gifts several local corporates have donated over £12,000 to local charities across the boroughs.  Recipients include the Runnymede Foodbank who received £2,500 for Tesco Vouchers and Just a Helping Hand who received £1,450 to help the homeless in Runnymede. Alcon Eye Care Specialists in Camberley bought and filled over 100 rucksacks for The Hope Hub and Spirit Energy in Spelthorne have bought and filled arts and craft bags for children in Foster Care in Surrey.

With many elderly and vulnerable residents being isolated and unable to leave their homes corporates have organised zoom events to write Christmas Cards which will be delivered through the Salvation Army, Age UK Surrey and Purple Angels to lonely individuals in our community.

We want to say a big thank you to all our local businesses who are working hard to ensure that their collective effort can support those most in need this Christmas.

 

 

 

Community Training

Voluntary Sector Training in Surrey

The Communities and Prevention Team at Surrey County Council are working to create an online training resource platform to support community volunteers. The platform will provide links to training covering a wide variety of subjects, share challenges and problems, and then provide a space for people to share practice.

In the meantime they have put together a list of training opportunities to investigate further:

Interim Community Training Bulletin

In addition you may be interested in:

NCVO online training courses 

Loneliness Digital Classroom with the British Red Cross, which aims to help people learn new skills to help them support people experiencing isolation/loneliness. There are 2 sessions are available. One for 10-19-year-olds and the other one for adults aged 19+. Email: RedCrossEducation@redcross.org.uk or call: 0344 412 2734 to book a place.

Financial Essentials for Charities – an online course to support finance professionals and charity leaders  and help drive sustainable finance strategies and decision-making (cost £155.99)

Selection of options for Digital Skills from Charity Digital

Please remember that we offer volunteer recruitment and management training and fundraising training throughout the year at no cost – for more information get in touch via info@voluntarysupport.org.uk

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