Organisation News


COVID 19 Messages from VSNS

Volunteer Locally

• We want to help your organisation. How are you helping your community? What area are you in? How many volunteers do you have? Can we help you find more? email or call 01932 571122

Register with us if you want to volunteer

• Get in touch if you need help or call 01932 571122

Your NHS needs volunteers

If you’re fit and healthy, the Government are looking for NHS Volunteer Responders which means you can now help the most vulnerable people in your community who will need to stay home because of coronavirus. For more information and to volunteer visit:

Key points of state of national emergency

• Stay at home – no unnecessary journeys or social contact
• Only leave home for essential shopping or medical needs
• Or for exercise away from home once per day
• Or travelling to and from work but if it’s absolutely necessary
• Only leave your home for medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
• Public gatherings of more than two people are banned excluding those that live with you
• Do not visit other people’s houses or socialise outside your home
• Police can fine you if you do not follow the rules
Other measures
• All shops selling non-essential goods, and other premises – libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship to close
• All social events to stop, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals
• British travellers urged to return to the UK as soon as possible
• All but essential travel outside the UK to stop for an initial 30 days.

Please follow the advice given by the UK Government on keeping your loved ones safe.
COVID-19 Easy Read Guide

Watch out for scammers

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has warned that criminals have ramped up bogus email campaigns that aim to trick users into clicking links that can lead to their computers being infected or seek to fool the recipients into divulging sensitive information.
It has cautioned that people should also be wary of opening attachments unless they know the sender.
Security firms have also warned that some scammers have sent out bogus SMS messages. “These SMS spam attacks attempt to use the fear around the coronavirus worldwide emergency to try to push their targets to respond to the SMS spam.”

Working from home

Useful advice from the Health & safety Executive (HSE) about working without supervision, working with display screen equipment, stress & mental health and keeping in touch
Working from home

Looking after your wellbeing

A short, simple guide on Coronavirus the symptoms, how its spread, when to call 111 etc is found via this link to Boots the pharmacist:

You might be worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people. This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. Useful advice can be found here via this link:

Your mental wellbeing

They are offering free, two-week trial of their mindfulness audio sessions during the current crisis, covering topics such as “Navigating Change”, “Panicking” and “Feeling Overwhelmed”. After the trial, the cost is £49.99 per annum.


Your physical Wellbeing

Encourage everyone you know to take their authorised daily walk, run or cycle every day. Alternatively, why not “PE with Joe Wicks” – free, simple, equipment-free workouts from The Body Coach for everyone – 9.00 am every day and online ay anytime.

PE with Joe Wicks


Donate to foodbanks in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath

Local foodbanks need your support with donation of non-perishable food or a financial donation.


Runnymede Foodbank

Food donations to any of the food bank centres or at 95, Guildford Street, Chertsey. Current food shortages are :

Tinned ham, Tinned meatballs, Pasta sauce, sponge puddings, Powdered milk, Coffee, Squash, Washing powder, Washing up liquid, Antibacterial spray, Kitchen roll, Carrier bags

Make a financial donation via their Virgin Money page link on the Runnymede Foodbank website.

World Cargo Logistics Chertsey

Donations of food, toiletries and cleaning products to World Cargo Logistics Ltd, The Old Barn, 1a Colonels Lane, Chertsey, KT16 8RH.

Contact Kim Darbin on 07746381434 or at email


The local foodbanks in Spelthorne are working together and are sharing donations of food

Community Foodbank – Sunbury and Shepperton:

Food donations to Saviours Church, 205 Vicarage Rd, Sunbury-on-Thames TW16 7TP.

Current food shortages are :
Jars of sauce, tinned veg/potatoes/tomatoes/fruit, long-life milk, sugar, tea/coffee, tinned meals of curry, chilli etc., rice, jams, sandwich spread, ALL household cleaning, personal hygiene products, soap, shampoo and conditioner.

Contact: Claire Hopkins on 07549 953161 or at

Make a financial donation to the Community Foodbank on the St Saviour’s Sunbury Community Foodbank website

Manna Foodbank – Staines and Laleham

Food donation points at Sainsbury’s in Shepperton and on The Causeway in Staines.
Current food shortages are:
Small jars of coffee, tinned potatoes, crackers, tins of cold meat – ham, spam, luncheon meat etc, sachets of custard powder, dried spaghetti, porridge, instant mashed potato – Smash type, small bags of rice, mug shots or similar sachets, long-life milk – green semi skimmed and blue full fat, jars of pasta bake sauce, toilet  & kitchen rolls, soap, liquid handwash and washing up liquid.

Contact: Jean Pinkerton on 07770 478778 or

Make a financial donation to (please ensure your donation is referenced ‘Foodbank’ or ‘Manna Foodbank’):

HSBC Walton on Thames,
PCC of St Mary & St Peter
sort code 40-45-22
acc number 71797743

Stanwell Foodbank 

Donations of staple foods to the The Pavilion, Cambria Gardens, Stanwell, TW19 7ER

Contact Anna-Marie Goodacre on 07429 584286 or

The Salvation Army – Ashford

Donations to be placed by the main door at the Community Centre, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, TW15 3HY.  Food bank opening hours 9am – 12 midday from Monday to Friday.

Current food shortages are:
Dried pasta, rice, tinned meat balls, sausages, tuna, pasta sauces, baked beans, tinned pulses, soup, tomatoes, green vegetables, sweet corn, porridge oats/cereal.

Contact : Cath Maughan on 01784 423424 or

Financial donations by cash and cheque should be sealed in an envelope and posted through the letterbox. Anyone requiring a receipt should include their name and address in the envelope.

Surrey Heath:

Besom Food Bank

Non perishable food donations to High Cross Church, Knoll Rd, Camberley GU15 3SY

Financial donations via the Surrey Heath COVID-19 Hub – details for this are on the High Cross Church Camberley website.


Coronavirus Volunteer Groups

Areas to consider:

What are you asking your volunteers to do? 

It is imperative volunteers are told what they are expected to do. If possible, a volunteer role description/agreement should be created and given to each volunteer. A sample volunteer agreement is available to download here 

What support are you giving to your volunteers?  

  • Volunteers should have a named person as their main point of contact.   
  • Consider giving the volunteers guidance on what to do if they find a problem i.e. how to report a safeguarding concern or what to do if they have concerns about a person’s health. 

How are you protecting you volunteers? 

How are you protecting the people you want to help? 

  • The people you are helping may be vulnerable, you may want to consider completing a risk assessment particularly consideration to reducing risk of cross contamination and when the exchange of money is involved. 

Are you looking after people’s information correctly? 

  • Confidentiality of people’s information is a legal requirement under GDPR legislation – a sample confidentiality document is available to download here
  • Due consideration must be given to the way that volunteer and client details are stored. A sample GDPR policy is available to download here 

For further support and advice please contact VSNS at 


COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Information for voluntary sector groups

The spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a concern for all of us and VSNS takes this situation seriously. We can all do things to help reduce the risk of catching and spreading this virus.

Keep up to date with advice from:

NHS England
Department of Health and Social Care

The government site gives clear guidance on what to do (e.g. self-isolate) if you have returned from visiting any of the affected areas, whether you are experiencing symptoms or not.

What you can do:

  • Regular and thorough hand washing with hot soapy water (not touching mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands)
  • The agreement not to take offence when someone politely reminds us about washing our hands (it is easy to forget when we are always in a rush and our minds are elsewhere)
  • Using tissues or your elbow when sneezing or coughing – NOT coughing or sneezing into someone’s face – guidance here
  • Using antibacterial wipes on phones and keyboards – especially if you hot desk
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Ensure people you support understand the situation – particularly if they are unable to speak/read English
  • If you think you might be infected with the Coronavirus, do not risk spreading it by coming into work or by going to the GP or hospital. Ring 111 for advice

If you are providing services in the social, community care or residential care setting there is specific advice for providers of these services on the government website here.

What VSNS has done:

  • We’ve put practical measures in place to help reduce the risk of spread of the virus across our 3 offices such as, improved signage in toilets about hand-washing; paper hand towels; antibacterial hand-wash in kitchens and regular disinfecting of taps and public door handles. These practical measures will be reviewed regularly, in accordance with changes to public health guidance.
  • We have made contingency plans in case the services VSNS provide can no longer be delivered from our offices – if you haven’t already done this, it may be timely to revisit your own contingency planning for the services you provide.
  • We have put in place WhatsApp groups, video conferencing and team chat facilities so that we can stay in contact with each other. If your organisation needs help with any of these technologies we will support you wherever possible.
  • Office phones will be redirected to enable us to be contactable even if the offices are unmanned for a short time.
  • Contacting our volunteers individually and collectively to ensure that they are supported. Befrienders and buddies should be led by their clients wishes and they should not visit anyone if they are feeling unwell or have had known contact with anyone with a virus.

For more information watch the The iHASCO ‘Coronavirus Awareness’ video

Read specific online advice for COVID-19 

Sign Language information from SignHealth on COVID-19


SEO to increase website visitors and donors

Search Engine Optimisation helps your website perform better in search engines like Google.

SEO is important because good SEO practices improve the usability of your web site and your visitor’s user experience. You’ll get discovered by the right people more often, allowing you to grow your base of supporters and donors.

Users trust search engines – if your site is in at the top of a search for the keywords used by your visitors, they will have more trust in your site.

Many small charities face 2 problems – not enough website visitors and the ones who find you are not engaged enough to stay.

So how can you improve your SEO?

  • Regularly updated, quality, relevant content
  • Identify and use your target keywords
  • Use Google Search Console
  • Use Google Analytics
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Use a plugin like Yoast
  • Fix 404s

The higher your google ranking, the easier your website will be to find. You’ll attract more visitors and persuade them to donate and support you with an interesting and attractive, navigable site – easy!

social proof fb

Use Social Proof

The Rule of Social Proof: ‘If others are doing it, it must be the right thing to do.’

92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing. People care about what others think and you can use that to attract new donors and supporters.

Tell the stories of your beneficiaries and supporters in text and pictures. A good story will spark emotion and empathy in your reader and persuade them to answer the call to action on your donate page. Images in the online world increase engagement by 313%. Not everything can be expressed with words, but nearly everything can be explained with visuals. Pictures help us relate to content, which will increase credibility and trust in your cause.

Use numbers on your website donation page. Show the number of people who have already given or who have fundraised for you to motivate visitors to donate. Tell your readers your total so far if you have a target amount to raise, this inspires them to help you reach your goal.

If you’ve received positive mentions from credible media sources, influencers or publications, put them on your website as well as key quotes from experts. Don’t forget to include social media buttons on your website pages to demonstrate broad support for your organisation and so people can easily share your content.

The internet has made social proof a powerful way to influence social behaviours.  By building and increasing the visibility of social proof for your cause, you more clearly demonstrate the value of your organisation to prospective donors and fundraisers.



secure your website with an SSL

Would you enter your contact data on a website that was unsecured? We wouldn’t.

https is a secure way of transmitting the data associated with your website. On most browsers (even those on phones), you’ll see a lock icon in the address bar. The https lock icon appears when your site has an SSL (secure socket layer) certificate.

If your site collects personal information you should be protecting the data of your donors and supporters with an SSL certificate.

Usually costing approximately £50 per year and a couple of days to implement, your website hosting company will almost certainly offer an SSL certificate and set your site up with it.

windows 10

Long Live Windows 10

Support for Windows 7 ended on 14th January 2020 and we’ve been asked repeatedly about what that means.

Many of you are still using it – at the end of 2019 about a third of desktop operating systems were reportedly Windows 7, including a large part of the NHS.

Your PC with Windows 7 will continue to work, withdrawal of support by Microsoft means that there will be no software updates (including security updates) so your PC is more vulnerable to cyber-attack. Microsoft will also cease to provide technical support when things go wrong.

Continuing with Windows 7 also affects your organisation’s legal compliance. You cannot meet the security requirements of data protection legislation when you are using an operating system with potential security flaws which are not going to be fixed.

In practical terms – it may cost you more in time wasted recovering data from a system crash or a virus than installing Windows 10.

Unless your PC is very old, Windows 10 will run on the machine you have been using with Windows 7 it’s just a matter of upgrading. If you do decide to upgrade your PC, remember that UK charities can benefit from discounted software donated through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) have an excellent, more detailed blog post for more information

For those of you that hate change – once you’ve made the move you can customise Windows 10 to look like 7!

tell us what you think2

Tell Us What You Think

Organisations succeed when they talk to their customers and ask them what they think.

Every 2 years on behalf of Surrey County Council, we send out ‘A State of the Voluntary Sector Survey’ asking you about the quality of our services.

This survey provides hard numbers and facts on your opinions and we can use them make important decisions about how we help you.

Please complete the survey to voice your opinion and help us to improve services to you and other voluntary organisations in our community.

Surrey County Council Survey

You’re not just helping us – you’re helping yourselves and other local charities by improving what we do for you.

training (1)

Spring Training from Voluntary Support North Surrey

Why is it important for charity sector organisations to have a learning culture?

When resources and volunteer numbers are tight we must find ways to be more efficient and effective with what we have. By continuously learning we can find out what we should be doing, what others are doing, how we can do things better, and learn how to measure your impact to show you’re making a difference. VSNS Spring training kicks off in March:

First Steps to Successful Volunteer Management on 17th March, 9.30am to 3pm

Digital Fundraising Workshop on 26th March, 10am to 3pm

Grant and Trust Application Workshop on 30th March, 10am to 3pm 

Volunteering and the Law Workshop on 17th April, 10am to 1.30pm

ThursdayThoughts Networking Event, 23rd April, 10am to 12pm

There are lots of other ways to learn new skills through webinars, podcasts and blog posts from a wide variety of organisations – here are resources I use on a regular basis:  


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