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.
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.
“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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free place.
A light lunch and refreshments will be included.
For more details call Voluntary Action South West Surrey on 01483 504626.
Help clear some overgrown parts of Chitty’s Common at Rydes Hill, Guildford.
The common is a small wet woodland on the fringe of Stoughton and Worplesdon and is a haven for wildlife.
Wear suitable clothing and stout footwear.
There will be lots of free activities at the Beech Grove Playground in Pirbright on Saturday, March 10, from 1pm to 4pm.
See poster below for more details. Click to enlarge in a new window.
Join the Playeranger team for free fun and games for eight- to 12-year-olds as part of Love Outdoor Play Week, March 12 to 16, at a number of venues across Guildford.
See poster below for details. Click on image to enlarge.
A hard-working volunteer has been rewarded for his dedication with a two-night stay by Room to Reward, a hospitality charity created to give something back to those who do so much, for so many, and ask for nothing in return.
Volunteer Jason Wiggins was initially referred to the Welcome to Volunteering project, co-ordinated by Voluntary Action South West Surrey.
The project gives invaluable one-to-one support to people across the boroughs of Guildford and Waverley to access volunteering opportunities.
It helps people who wish to volunteer their time, skills and services, but who often need additional support to make that happen.
Lorraine Yates from Welcome to Volunteering has supported Jason, finding him additional volunteering roles to those he has already been involved in.
Lorraine said: “Jason spoke at Voluntary Action’s 2017 conference and at our annual meeting advocating the mental and physical benefits of volunteering.
“He is a well-respected, reliable and committed volunteer. He supports other vulnerable volunteers with care and compassion. He truly deserves this award, for the selfless way in which he supports local organisations and his community.”
In fact, Jason has volunteered in numerous roles over many years. He is currently volunteering in a charity shop in Godalming where he was a founder member of the team.
He also runs a user-led mental health support group. Jason set up this group when the funding and resources were withdrawn because he recognised the need and wanted it to continue.
Jason also supports the running of a weekly drop-in for people experiencing mental ill health issues.
Lorraine said: “He always arrives on time, is happy and cheerful and always on-hand to support members of the group in their hour of need. He shows genuine compassion and empathy towards everyone he meets.”
Voluntary Action South West Surrey’s recent Big Lottery funding success will allow it to continue its Welcome to Volunteering project for another five years.
For more details of the Welcome to Volunteering project and how it may help you or someone you know, contact co-coordinator Lorraine Yates on 07775 556772.
A free course for people who have no, or very basic, computer skills and who want to become more confident for work or volunteering is taking place from January 29.
It runs every Monday from 10am to 3pm from January 29 for four weeks.
Those who complete the course will receive a City & Guilds qualification.
To book a place call Linda or Dave on 01483 481789.
See below for full details.
The debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is opening a new job club in Guildford.
It will also help people who are considering their current employment alternatives.
The club is free and open to anyone.
It is offering a tailor-made course of eight sessions designed to equip people with practical tools to successfully find a job and increase their confidence.
There will also be one-to-one coaching with an experienced person who will encourage those members of the club to review and achieve their goals.
Time will be made available for members to build relationships and boost their confidence among others seeking employment.
The first eight-week course begins on Monday, February 27, from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
There will be tea and coffee on arrival followed by a light lunch.
For more information contact Clement De Souza on 07432 515410. She will be pleased to discuss how the course can benefit job seekers.
or send her an email at: email@example.com
Guildford Carers Choir is open to anyone in the borough of Guildford who is a carer.
It is free of charge and you do not need to have any singing experience in order to take part.
If you care for an elderly person and / or a person with dementia then they are welcome to come along and take part in an activity, run by the Park Barn Centre staff, while you sing with the choir.
Mondays, 1pm to 2pm
Park Barn Centre, Park Barn Drive, GU2 8EN
Park Barn Centre on 01483 458055