Surrey Heath

Snowman photo for Surrey Heath Awards

Surrey Heath Volunteer Awards 2019

It’s time to nominate one of your wonderful volunteers for a Surrey Heath Volunteer Award 2019.  Volunteers often don’t want to be in the limelight and this is a great way to help them realise how valued they are.

On Monday 2nd December 2019, from 2 pm, Voluntary Support North Surrey in partnership with Surrey Heath Borough Council will be hosting their annual awards ceremony at the Camberley Heath Golf Club, Golf Drive, Camberley GU15 1JG.

Please take the time to nominate one or more of your dedicated volunteers as well as your teams for these awards.

The award categories are:

  • Lifetime Achievement in Volunteering Award
  • Inspirational Volunteer Award
  • Individual Volunteer Achievement Award
  • Supporting Individuals in Need Award (older, young and vulnerable people)
  • Long Service Award
  • Young Volunteer Award (up to the age of 24)
  • Best Volunteer Team Award
  • Contribution to Sport
  • Digital Support Award
  • Engagement in the Community Award

The judging panel has been assembled with knowledgeable representatives from our local community and will include the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Councillor Robin Perry.

Please click here for the online form.  The closing date for nominations is Thursday 7th November 2019 at 5pm.

If you need help completing the form or would prefer it in word format please contact the Voluntary Support North Surrey office on 01932 571122.  Please do forward the details of the volunteer awards to anyone in the Borough that you feel may be interested in nominating a volunteer as we would like to make these Awards as inclusive as possible.


Befriending in North Surrey

Time to Talk is our befriending project in Surrey Heath. Over the last 6 months we’ve heard some lovely stories from our befrienders and the people they’ve spent time with:

Glen’s daughter became concerned about her mum who had always loved to chat was now struggling to socialise. Glen had suffered a loss, been unwell, moved house and was feeling lonely and isolated. ‘Time to Talk’ matched Glen with Yasmin, one of our volunteers, they hit it off immediately and Yasmin has visited Glen weekly ever since.

Glen’s daughter has noticed a big difference in her mum since the visits started. Glen very much enjoys Yasmin’s company, her visits are ‘the highlight of Mum’s week’. ‘Absolutely gorgeous’ is how Glen describes her time spent with Yasmin, ‘it gives me something to look forward to, we talk about all sorts of things, current affairs, dating and have a good laugh’.

Yasmin tells us that she wished she started volunteering years ago because the time she spends with Glen is lots of fun and flies by. They enjoy sharing stories and experiences, including the way dating has changed over the years, Yasmin had never heard of a dance hall!!

It’s a small thing to be a friend but it has such a huge impact. Why don’t you make a difference to someone’s life by being a Time to Talk volunteer


Local Authority Lotteries Generating Local Funding

Community lotteries are becoming increasingly popular. The idea is to make a positive difference to communities, passing as much money as possible on to good causes while allowing people to choose where their money goes. For local authorities a lottery can be used to raise funds to cover expenditure on local community projects, arts centres or parks and leisure facilities. 

Historically, local authorities have awarded grants to support voluntary organisations, but funding has been reduced following central government cuts and the lottery provides the means for community groups to help themselves fundraise using their page on the community lottery website.

Locally, there are currently 4 community lotteries in operation: Guildford, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor are run by the lottery operator Gatherwell, and an independently operated lottery in Tandridge. The success of others around the UK suggests that this is an idea that will be adopted by more local authorities trying to bridge the gap between services and funding.

How does it work?

For groups in Surrey Heath, once a voluntary organisation has met the criteria and been accepted for the lottery, they are given their own Surrey Heath Lottery page which can be shared with their supporters and used to generate ticket sales. Groups keep 50% of all ticket sales made on their page and the funds are paid to them directly each month.

The draw for the Surrey Heath Lottery takes place every Saturday night with results posted on the lottery website, Facebook and Twitter. 60% of ticket sales go to good causes – 50% to the voluntary group’s own cause and 10% to a fund supporting all good causes in Surrey Heath.

There is no fee but your organisation must provide services benefiting residents, have a constitution and bank account and have no restriction on membership. See the terms and conditions here.

Interesting to note that by comparison the National Lottery contributes 28% of ticket sales to good causes while the Health Lottery contributes just 20%



looking ahead1

Volunteer for Looking Ahead and help visually impaired residents learn new skills

Looking Ahead is a friendly and inclusive local charity supporting visually impaired adults of all ages to learn new skills such as touch typing and making the best use of tablets/laptops and smartphones.

They need volunteers to help people learn new skills, which can be a huge benefit to someone who has either lost their sight or has developed sight problems. Being partially sighted can lead to social isolation and loneliness and the class has helped some of it’s members to prepare for employment or take on voluntary roles in the wider community.

Looking Ahead volunteers are happy to learn new skills too – Heather has been a volunteer with the group for 9 years:

“It is such a friendly, relaxed group and both students and volunteers all enjoy having a chat at coffee time, as well as getting down to some work on our computers or Braille books. My role is to help students learn about the software available for visually impaired students so they can continue to make use of this technology. I can’t say I am particularly good on the computer, but amazingly I’ve found that I have been able to help students in this area and in the process I have learnt a lot myself!”

The group has both sighted and visually impaired volunteers supporting learners in developing new skills.  Everyone in the group is trained in working with the visually impaired.  

Have a look at the role description and get involved!

Trophies and certificates

Everyone is a Winner at the Surrey Heath Volunteer Awards

We had the most fabulous afternoon on Tuesday with the wonderful volunteers of Surrey Heath at our annual volunteer awards in Camberley Theatre. It was a little tight on space with over one hundred guests, but the atmosphere was festive and the combination of volunteers, tea, cake and conversation made it a really special event.

Thanks to Mayor Dan Adams for being part of the judging panel and presenting the awards and well done to all the nominees - we think you are all winners!

Amigo Logo

Amigo Success!

We are delighted with the success of our Amigo project and wanted to share with you the story of one client who has had a positive experience.

‘We received a referral for an individual who was suffering from anxiety and seeking support to go out and attend community activities. She felt isolated during the day as she does not work. Overall, this lady has a good support network but needed extra help to boost her confidence and increase her motivation to leave the house.  We matched this client with a volunteer who agreed to accompany her to attend a weekly support group.  As this individual was not comfortable travelling independently, the volunteer buddy arranged to meet her at the end of the road and accompany her to the group.  We matched the individual with a volunteer who had had a similar experience and had attended the same support group.  The client’s increased confidence encouraged her to try a different social group and enabled her to travel there by bus.  “The best thing about Amigo was being able to find a group where I felt I fitted in.  This has helped me to feel less isolated”.

It’s been really encouraging for our team and volunteers to have such positive outcomes and we really believe Amigo is making a difference to people’s lives in North Surrey so if you know of anyone who might benefit from an Amigo buddy or alternatively if you would like to volunteer to become a buddy, then please get in touch with Laura or Lynnette on 01276 707565 or email



Christmas Fundraising Campaigns

It’s official! People give more to charities at Christmas – CAF research suggests a total amount donated for 2017 of £10.3 billion with the highest month of giving in December.

The urgency of Christmas is an ideal way to connect with your supporters and encourage them to engage in as many ways as possible: volunteering, campaigning, fundraising and attending events, via email and phone. It’s also a great way to reach new supporters, so if you are planning a Christmas campaign, take a look at these practical tips from experienced fundraisers.

You need to be clear about what it is that you want to get from a Christmas campaign. Whether it’s fundraising or recruiting volunteers, getting your message right before you start with campaign mechanics is important. Show why you need support particularly at this time of year. Tell real stories (from last year) about the problems your organisation solved and what difference donations made to people’s lives. Making your Christmas story impactful is crucial – tell your audience what the problem is an how you are fixing it with their help – have a look at how to tell your fundraising story for practical tips and a template.

Now you must decide which channels to use. Websites should be the centre of any fundraising campaign, with the campaign stories (updated weekly) and clear instructions on how to donate and how a donor can make a difference. Post every day on Twitter and Facebook in December and make your tweets and posts count by using actual photos of your beneficiaries or better still – moving images – GIFs or video. Creating video using your phone has never been easier with lots of information on YouTube and the internet on how to do it. We’ve been using a tool called Lumen5 and also Facebook stories to create little videos – if we can do it you can too!

24 days of content for website and social media is daunting but if you write a content plan and use a scheduling tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck you’ll find sending multiple messages across different channels much easier. Be imaginative with snippets of information, personal stories, New Year plans and resolutions, reflections on the year past and a donation count of how much you have raised so far. Get inspiration from fundraising blogs

For email campaigns, keep the message succinct and poignant; try for 250 words or less. Weekly updates on a shorter message can keep the momentum more effectively than a single lengthy email. Try to personalise if you can to stand out from other Christmas appeals. Email subjects are just as important – avoid the spam filter by not using language like ‘free’, capitalised words or exclamation marks and remember only to send to those who have given permission.

And most importantly, make it easy to give. Bold and hyperlink key phrases and sentences to your website donation button. It’s crucial to have a seamless donation process in place —don’t make your willing donors work hard just to give you money. This process needs to be mobile friendly too, or you’re leaving money on the table.

Finally, keep one thing at the front of your mind: this time of year needs to be all about your donors so remember to tell them how the campaign went and to THANK them for their donations and support.

Mental health word cloud

Amigo Client Success Story

We are delighted to report that our Amigo project has another client who has completed the buddying process!

At the beginning of the project they felt extremely isolated and anxious but after nearly six months of buddying, now experience newfound confidence through attending Oakleaf with their buddy. Oakleaf offer a range of social inclusion activities that cater towards building confidence, physical health and wellbeing and our client and buddy enjoyed taking part in well-being walks and tai chi.

The positive impact of the project has resulted in such an improvement that our client now wants to volunteer with Amigo to help others in their journey of recovery and will start his training in September.  This is a marvelous outcome for Amigo and an extremely rewarding result for all those involved.

World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October raises awareness of this important and growing issue and you can help people recover and be part of their community again by becoming an Amigo buddy. Please spread the word and help us to promote this wonderful project. We accept self-referrals from clients and we are also delighted to recruit and train new volunteers.

If you have any queries or questions about Amigo, please contact either Lynnette or Laura on 01276 707565 or email us at


Amigo is a Year Old!

Our Amigo project celebrates it’s first birthday this week. The project has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months, supporting  individuals in their recovery from mental ill health and managed by Lynnette and Laura.  We match our trained volunteers with people who require support and encouragement to move forward on their recovery to help them become engaged in their community or less reliant on mental health services.  Volunteers help people to make connections with local community activities that will help boost confidence and increase motivation.

The service is funded by Catalyst’s Welcome Project and is available to support residents across five boroughs: Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, West Elmbridge and Woking.

In our busy first six months, we recruited, trained and supported a bank of volunteers and were able to start taking client referrals from December 2017.  We now have 36 either buddying or engaging.  Referrals to the project increased greatly after the project’s official launch in April.

A highlight of Amigo’s success so far is receiving an award for New Engagement in the Community at the Runnymede and Spelthorne Volunteer Awards in May 2018.  Three Amigo volunteers were thrilled to pick up the award from the Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr Dolsie Clarke and the Mayor of Spelthorne, Cllr Jean Pinkerton.  Our aim is to have 50 volunteers and 30 clients buddying at any one time by April 2019.

Please spread the word and help us to promote this wonderful project.We accept self-referrals from clients and we are also delighted to take on new volunteers.  If you have any queries or questions about Amigo, please contact either Lynnette or Laura on 01276 707565 or email us at

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