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Combat Food Poverty with the Foodbanks of North Surrey

In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children.

An estimated 8.4 million people struggle to get enough to eat. This includes many households with people in work, families with children, as well as older and disabled people.

There are dedicated community groups in North Surrey taking action to ensure people are able to eat and to address the root causes of people’s difficulties and they need your support. All this week we’ll be highlighting how you can help these organisations and tackle food poverty in our local community.

Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, the Trussell Trust’s food bank network distributed 148,640 three-day emergency food supplies to people in the South East of England. More than half of these went to childrenFood poverty affects children who lack free school meals during the holidays; parents on low incomes going without food so that their children can eat; working people whose low wages leave them struggling to buy healthy food; or older people unable to prepare meals without support.

An estimated 4.7m people in the UK reported they went a full day without anything to eat at all due to lack of money. Based on these estimates, the UK – the 6th largest economy in the world – ranks in the bottom half of European countries, on par with Hungary and Latvia.

Summer holidays are a misery for parents struggling to feed their children and you can do something about it. No matter where you live in North Surrey you can make a donation to your local foodbank (see details below) or become one of their dedicated volunteers.

Contact alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk for more information about volunteering for a foodbank in your area

Runnymede Foodbank, Runnymede

Manna Foodbank, Spelthorne  Sunbury Foodbank, Spelthorne  Stanwell Foodbank, Spelthorne

Besom, Surrey Heath

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Trustees – Volunteers Week 2019

Trustees are literally the foundation of all nonprofit organisations. They are the volunteers who help control how the charity is run and responsible for making sure it is doing what it set out to do and that it has the funds to achieve its aims.

Trustees use their skills and professional experience to support the charity’s cause or causes, working together with the other trustees as a team.

One of the most important things charities need from their Trustees is someone who is committed to the organisation and enthusiastic about what they stand for. It is important that they recruit people from a wide range of backgrounds who offer a variety of different skills and experience.

Richard is a trustee for Egham Education Trust:

“I’m 23 years into a great career with Microsoft and I consider myself the luckiest person alive. I have a decent income, a loving family and a roof over my head. I don’t think I would have ended up in this position if it wasn’t for the Egham Education Trust, which stepped in when I needed it most to help me with financial support, so I was able to afford my education after I left school. The Trust set me on the road for a career in technology and I’ve always been grateful. Now it’s time for me to give back, to help others get the opportunities which I was given to live their lives to the fullest. I’m back at the Egham Education Trust, but this time I’m helping them find people who are in need like I was. It’s a chance for me to give back to the charity that did so much when I needed it the most, and it’s a simple thing to offer my time and skills to volunteer with them.”

Recruiting new trustees is an ongoing issue for most non-profits. Finding someone who has the right skills and experience, a connection with your cause and enough free time to make a genuine contribution can be time consuming.

For the sake of diversity don’t limit your recruitment process to personal connections. Use your social media channels, create a dedicated page on your website and use our Surrey-wide volunteer recruitment database Volunteer Plus (contact alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk for more information)

You can also go national using resources listed by the Small Charities Coalition

As you can see from Richard’s experiences, being a trustee is enormously rewarding. If you’re interested, have a look at our trustee volunteer roles – we have opportunities from a diverse range of local charities.

As we’re so fond of saying … we really do have a volunteering role for everyone!

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Volunteers Week 2019

Volunteers Week is celebrated between 1st and 7th June every year. It is a week in which the UK celebrates volunteers and says thank you to them for the contribution that they make. There’s lots of information about events and how to get involved on the NCVO website and still time to organise a thank you for your volunteers.

For us Volunteers Week 2019 is a busy time of year, we have information events to celebrate, inform and thank volunteers in our community and also our annual Runnymede and Spelthorne Volunteer Awards 2019 ceremony at Royal Holloway University. There are 15 million people in the UK who regularly give their time to local communities and our awards recognise some of those amazing volunteers in our own community. It’s an inspiring, fun evening where we get to meet lots of old friends and make some new ones!

‘Wanting to do good’ remains the most important reason to volunteer. 46% of people say improving things and helping others remains the most common reason why they volunteer. 31% of people said they gave time because the cause was important to them.

Being a volunteer means having time to give, which can make work and family commitments a barrier to volunteering. However, locally we have found increasing numbers of local businesses are interested in help with employee supported volunteering (ESV), where the employees of a business take paid time off to volunteer during work hours. Approximately 11 million employees in the UK are taking part in ESV schemes, estimated at two billion pounds worth of support to deserving charities. By helping tackle local issues, employers can benefit both themselves and the communities in which they operate. Contact us to find out how you can get your business involved. We’d also love to hear from you if you’re a charity with a project that you think a team of volunteers can help with.

There are also ways to volunteer that only take a little time but mean a great deal to the charities and their beneficiaries. If you’d like to volunteer and need help finding the right role please get in touch with alison – there really is something to suit everyone!

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Help the Homeless with Spelthorne Rentstart

Sometimes things just happen and you can’t control them. Personal tragedy or sudden change in circumstances can strike any of us at any time and if you fall outside the welfare safety net there is often nowhere else to turn. 

Spelthorne Rentstart help their clients to get a roof over their heads and ensure they have the best chance of maintaining a trouble free tenancy by offering ongoing support for the duration of the lease. Last year they helped 61 new clients into housing and followed up with 1200 existing clients to give further advice and assistance.

Richard says that being a volunteer for Rentstart is “Awesome!! It’s a very rewarding role, you interview people who in many cases are in a difficult, if not desperate situation, sleeping in parks, vans and sofas if they are lucky. Most times it is not their fault nor can they do much about their situation, it is circumstances beyond their control which dictate their position. You can give them hope, direction and support in moving on to find somewhere live. That’s a big thing”.

You could give someone hope.

Rentstart need volunteer interviewers to give advice and assistance to the homeless (or at risk of being homeless) in Spelthorne. They’ll train and support you in all the skills you’ll need to make a real difference at a crisis point in someones life.

Interested? Learn more about the role here.

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!

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Brush up your skills for Autumn with VSNS training

Available time and access to affordable training has always been a problem for the voluntary sector. According to a survey by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI), lack of skills in small charities cause an increased workload and poor productivity.

More than half of small charities said they had a noticeable skills gaps within their organisation and the areas identified as having the poorest performance ratings include: fundraising, engaging and working with businesses, use of IT and social media.

The impact of the skills gaps is an increased workload for colleagues, increased time to deliver work and decreased the ability to take on new work.

We are committed to improving the skills of voluntary organisations in North Surrey, to give groups the tools to carry out their work and help our community. Please take advantage of our autumn training courses on offer:

Surrey Community Foundation Fundraising Workshop, Wed 5th September – 10 am until 12 noon, VSNS Chertsey office, 6 The Sainsbury Centre, Chertsey KT16 9AG

Employment Law and HR Top Tips – Trustee Network Event, Mon 17th September – 10.30am to 12.30pm, Enterprise Rent a Car in Egham.

Recruitment of Volunteers, Tues 18th September – 10 am to 1.30 pm, VSNS Spelthorne office, First Floor, Staines Library, Friends Walk Staines TW18 4PG

Grant Application Writing Training, Wednesday 26th September – 10 am to 3 pm, VSNS Chertsey office, 6 The Sainsbury Centre, Chertsey KT16 9AG

Digital Fundraising Training, Wed 17th October – 10 am until 3 pm, VSNS Spelthorne office, First Floor, Staines Library, Friends Walk Staines TW18 4PG

Retaining and Motivating Volunteers, Thurs 25th October  – 9.30 am to 1 pm, VSNS Runnymede office, 6, The Sainsbury Centre, Chertsey KT16 9AG

Emergency First Aid at Work, Tues 30th October – from 9.30 am to 4 pm, VSNS Chertsey office, 6 The Sainsbury Centre, Chertsey KT19 6AG).  The course will lead to an ‘Emergency in First Aid at Work’ certificate.

Volunteering and the Law, Thurs 15th November  – 10 am to 1 pm, Camberley Library,  Knoll Road, Camberley GU15 3SY

Introduction to Legacy Fundraising, Tues 20th November – 9:30 am to 1 pm, VSNS Chertsey office, 6 The Sainsbury Centre, Chertsey KT16 9AG

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