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Book now for Voluntary Action’s 2018 conference on Tuesday, April 10

Charity: the new welfare state? is the theme of this year’s annual conference hosted by Voluntary Action South West Surrey, in conjunction with the University of Surrey’s Students’ Union. It takes place at the university’s Stag Hill campus on Tuesday, April 10, from 9.15am to 4.30pm.

Book now for Voluntary Action South West Surrey's 2018 conference taking place at the University of Surrey on Tuesday, April 10.

Book now for Voluntary Action South West Surrey’s 2018 conference taking place at the University of Surrey on Tuesday, April 10.

Voluntary Action’s chief officer, Carol Dunnett, said: “As austerity continues and public spending tightens both the statutory and the voluntary sector face tough challenges in delivering services.

Carol Dunnett, chief officer at Voluntary Action South West Surrey.

Carol Dunnett, chief officer at Voluntary Action South West Surrey.

“We also have major changes to the welfare benefits system being introduced this autumn, nationally homelessness and child poverty is increasing and of course we have Brexit looming on the horizon.

“Against this back drop voluntary sector organisations are increasingly being asked to fill the gaps left by contracting public services, charities report that the demand for services is rising, and people’s problems are becoming more complex and harder to solve.

“What are the implications of this for the sector when we are also facing reductions in funding, and fundraising is becoming ever more difficult? Can and should charities be replacing vital public services and what are the consequences for vulnerable people living in Surrey?”

“Join us for our 2018 conference where we will be discussing these issues, looking at the problems, discussing ways forward, new ways of working and how the sector should be responding.”

Debra Allcock Tyler, the chief executive of the Directory of Social Change.

Debra Allcock Tyler, the chief executive of the Directory of Social Change.

A variety of speakers have already been confirmed, and include Debra Allcock Tyler, the chief executive of the Directory of Social Change; Joanna Killian, the chief executive of Surrey County Council; Jo Cookes, the director of communities engagement at the Diocese of Guildford; and Joanne Tester, the chief executive of Guildford Action.

There will also be a number of workshops all designed to follow through on the conference theme, as Carol Dunnett describes:

“If you are looking to try and influence policy and improve things for your beneficiaries choose Building a Better Society; which is all about campaigning and lobbying.

“Or sign up for A Happier Healthier Guildford – Have your Say, with Guildford Borough Council.

“If you want to get attention for your cause go to local journalist David Rose’s workshop on Engaging with the Media.

“If you need more money for your group then  Helen Linnell’s workshop Perfect Pitch on writing better funding proposals should help.

“Involving volunteers is vital to running most voluntary sector services so we have two workshops on different aspects of volunteering plus one titled Measuring the Impact, to see how you are making through your volunteering programme.

“Maria Zealey from the Surrey Welfare Rights Unit will be outlining the changes to the Welfare Benefits System, a vital workshop if you want to understand the challenges faced by anyone on a low income.

Everyone is talking about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) at the moment – are you ready, should you be worrying? Alex Tolley from the University of Surrey will give you the lowdown and hopefully put your mind at rest.

“Strong and successful organisations need good governance and so we have a workshop specifically for trustees run by Helen Harvie, an expert in charity law.”

Places must be booked in advance (see link below) and cost £20 full price, £15 for volunteers, free for small groups with annual incomes under £5,000. Email to book a free place.

A light lunch and refreshments will be included.

Click here to book on line via Eventbrite

For more details call Voluntary Action South West Surrey on 01483 504626.

Voluntarey Action hands

St Mary’s Church and The Chapel

St Mary’s congregation is a wide range of backgrounds, styles and tastes who worship together, typically, twice in the morning on Sundays and meet together in home groups throughout the week.

We enjoy an active Sunday school and youth work, benefiting from good links with the local community, particularly schools.

Various courses run during the year such as the Discovery Group, which runs once a year for those wanting to learn more about the Christian faith.

Various groups meet during the week for Bible study, prayer, discussion and fellowship.

Woman’s Fellowship meets on the second Tuesday of the month.

Men’s Breakfast meets in the small hall of the church on the fourth Saturday of the month.

Regular Events:


Step & Tone – fitness class for all abilities. 7.30pm at The Chapel. Contact Janet Thomas on 07887 530569.


Foodbank – collection of emergency food boxes for holders of valid Foodbank vouchers. 11am to 1pm at The Chapel. Contact Rose Williamson on 07901 581539.

Bokwa Fitness – class for all abilities, 7.15pm at The Chapel. Contact Janet Thomas on 07887 530569


Mums & Tots – art singing and play for pre-schoolers, 9.30am to noon at The Chapel.

Silver Circle – Talks, entertainment, activities and good company, 2pm to 4pm at St Mary’s Community Centre. Contact Alan Roots on 01252 312899.

Craft evenings – bring along whatever craft work you are currently doing,8pm to 10pm at The Chapel. Contact Jo Weeks on 01252 544652.


Little Explorers – from September 2014. Contact Rae 07956 305889.

Thursday Café – Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cakes, biscuits, greetings cards and books are on sale, and the friendly regulars will give you a warm welcome, 10.30am to 12.30pm at St Mary’s (term time only).

Filmshare – From September 2014. Email


Friday Café – homemade cakes, tea / coffee / chocolate, live music, Wi-Fi access, wheelchair access, mums and tots welcome. Everything is free! 9.30am to 12.30pm at The Chapel.

Hall bookings – Audrey Lefevre. Tel: 01252 325248. Email:

St Mary’s Church, 203 Vale Road, Ash Vale GU12 5JE

Parish Office:

Rev’d Neil Lambert:

The Chapel, Wharf Road, Ash Vale GU12 5AY

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