Engage Newsletter Spring 2010

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Engage Newsletter Spring 2010

Text of Engage Newsletter Spring 2010

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    ENGAGING West Somerset The Newsletter of the West Somerset Voluntary

    Sector Development Agency

    ISSUE 9 SPRING 2010

    There are several new faces at Engage, since our move.

    One is Gyp, the Irish Red and White setter, who spends his days keeping guard over the office, while his master, Glenn, manages the furniture re-use project. Do pop in and meet everyone, if you are passing.

    Welcome to ENGAGING West Somerset the newsletter from Engage The West Somerset Voluntary Sector Development Agency. This publication is designed to keep you informed about what we are all up to, as well as developments in the wider Voluntary Sector, which can impact on how we work and how we are funded. Please let us know what you think about the layout and content, so we can develop a really great newsletter. Dont forget to let us have any pictures of your groups activities for the front page.

    Our core work is supported by:

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    Contents: Page Engage CVS News 3 Volunteer Centre News

    Furniture Re-use project 4 Social Car Scheme Recycle news 5 New Development worker 6 News and Updates 7

    Inserts: 1 Funding News 2 Sector Updates

    If any pages are missing, please contact us and we will forward them with our apologies

    Please circulate this newsletter. The newsletter is written for everyone concerned with voluntary organisationsvolunteers, committee members, trustees and paid staff. Please copy and pass around to your organisations. There is something for everyone, so dont keep it to yourself!

    This newsletter is free of charge to West Somerset's voluntary and community sector for information purposes. Articles and information should not be

    considered full or definitive. The information contained is not a substitute for professional advice. Whilst every care has been taken in producing this publication, Engage accepts no responsibility for any errors that may have occurred. Mention of goods and services does not imply endorsement. If further information or clarification is required, please call us.

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    Engage News

    We made it to Alcombe!!!

    On 21 September, Engage opened its doors on the Ground Floor of Alcombe Village Hall. Since then weve hardly had time to draw breath.

    For many years, the ground floor space was a social club, so the Village Hall trustees removed the bar counter and put up a stud wall to create an office.

    The new site means that many more people can find us, so our new home has a vibrancy that Quirke Street did not.

    There have been lots of other changes since our move: In September, we said good bye to Tom Winsborough, who has taken up a new post as Volunteer Manager for Somerset Sight. Jan Ross has joined the team as a Development Worker. Jan is available to work with groups to help and advise them. Glenn Powell is our new Furniture Project Manager. Paulina Kaliska is our new Of-fice and Finance Administrator. We are currently recruiting a Projects Assistant.

    Marie Thaw, Sue Ashcroft, Louise Greenhaugh, Wayne German, Stan Taylor, Nick Holt, Neville Savage, Patricia Pridmore and Peter Braund have joined us as volunteers, working in the office and Furniture Project.

    We all love to see visitors, so do pop in and have a look at our new surroundings when you are passing.

    Is the Credit Crunch Affecting Your Group? We are collecting information about the knock-on effect of the credit crunch on Voluntary Groups. It could be that your major funding has been hit, or that small donations have dried up, or maybe your services are in greater demand. We want to know, so we can feed back to funders and statutory colleagues. Please let Katrina know about your experience of the current economic conditions.

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    Engage Volunteer Centre News

    The Big Lottery grant for our Volunteer Centre ended in August and, sadly, we had to say good bye to Tom Winsborough. Tom is now Volunteer Manager for Somerset Sight and we wish him well for the future.

    We are determined to keep the Centre in Friday Street, Minehead open if at all possible, so are looking for continuation funding.

    On a brighter note, the Volunteer of the Year competition, piloted in West Somerset in 2008, was taken up by all the other Somerset Volunteer Centres in 2009.

    All the district winners were then put forward for the Somerset Volunteer of the Year Award and, on March 3rd this year, Bob Betts was named as Somersets first ever Volunteer of the Year at a presentation at the Somerset County Cricket Ground in Taunton.

    The event celebrated the dedication of volunteers across the county.

    Bob was nominated twice in the South Somerset district event, once for his work with the night shelter over the last 11 years, and for being the founder of TRASHBASH, and he was also nominated for his work with the migrant community.

    The other district winners were Liz Shepherd, from Mendip, who volunteers as a secretary for Frome Youth Council; Paul Holtam, from Sedgemoor, who volunteers with Sedgemoor District Council and other organisations, such as Citizens Advice and Credit Union; Mrs Shirley Gibbs, from Taunton, who volunteers for Taunton Deane Audio news -Shirley has been performing these duties week after week for over twenty years.

    Here in West Somerset, our Volunteer of the Year was Shirley Dee who volunteers for Age Concern doing Flexcercise classes (Fit as a Fiddle) and has also been the volunteer co-ordinator for Williton Hospital for many years.

    The judges for this county-wide event were Mike DRozario, Co-ordinator for the Volunteers in Policing programme with Avon and Somerset Constabulary; Cllr Christine Lawrence, Somerset County Council cabinet member for Community and Justin Sargent, Director of Somerset Community Foundation. The awards were presented by Dave Cudlipp, Chair of Age Concern (Somerset) Trading Ltd.

    Cllr Lawrence said:I am delighted to have been involved in this initiative: it is a way to celebrate the selfless dedication of all volunteers. The nominations were for people who all give their time to help others. It was extremely difficult to choose an overall winner.

    The event was funded through the Capacity Builders, Improving Reach programme.

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    Furniture Re-use Project The Furniture Store has particularly benefited from the move from Quirke Street to Alcombe Village Hall.

    Some-one recently came in and said that it looked like a real furniture shop! There is so much more space to exhibit the furniture with an area for all the sofas and armchairs, another area for the dining room and bedroom furniture, and further areas for the beds and white goods. There has been a great turn-over of furniture and people should try to come in regularly to see what is on offer.

    It is great to see this opportunity for decent second-hand or nearly new furniture being re-used and not having to go to land-fill sites, said Jan Ross, Engages new Development Worker.

    I am amazed by the quality and quantity of goods each time I come into the office, furniture has been moved out to new homes, to be replaced by more from the offers from across the District.

    Glen and his team of volunteers are doing great work fetching and carrying and making visitors to the showroom feel welcome, and pointing out all the bargains.

    People with evidence of receipt of benefits, such as Income Support, Housing / Council Tax Benefit, Jobseekers Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Working Families Tax Credit, and Pension Credit are able to enjoy payments at lower rates.

    The store is currently open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm, and on Wednesdays from 11am to 2pm. Glenn hopes to be able to extend the hours soon so that more people can view the furniture

    Social Car Scheme Social Car Schemes were originally designed to help people living in outlying villages, without access to their own vehicles, to visit friends or relatives and go shopping.

    Occasionally people used it to get to medical appointments. Now, as people find it harder to access traditional hospital transport, we are increasingly asked to help people get to hospitals, especially to Musgrove.

    We are now looking for volunteer co-ordinators as well as more drivers to help us maintain and improve this much-needed service.

    So if you know anyone who might be interested in helping people who cannot access conventional transport, please put them in touch with us. We currently pay 40p per mile and cover other out of pocket expenses.

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    Engage West Somerset has been awarded Big Lottery Funding, via Somerset Voluntary Sector Network, for a new Development Worker who will help local voluntary groups, organisations or charities for a period of two years.

    Jan Ross, who lives in Dulverton, has been appointed and started work at the beginning of October. Jan has worked for many years with voluntary groups across West Somerset. She will assist people wanting to set up a new group as well as existing organisations that want to sort out their constitution, obtain charitable status, need help with their future plans or support with their funding bids.

    Development Workers have also been appointed in each of the four other districts in Somerset, thanks to the Big Lottery Fund. Jan will be working in partnership with them to increase the expertise available across the county.

    Katrina Midgley said, We are delighted that this joint funding has come to West Somerset. Jan has an excellent track record of supporting voluntary a