Voluntary Action Camden (VAC) is Camden’s Council for Voluntary Service. We are an independent charitable organisation and our mission is to work with the people of Camden to support, develop and promote voluntary and community activity. More than 1,400 voluntary and community groups provide vital activities and services, create local job opportunities and enrich lives in Camden. At VAC we support these organisations so that local people and communities can continue to benefit from a thriving voluntary and community sector.
- We offer practical support services and training to local groups.
- We help organisations work together through networks and projects.
- We keep groups up-to-date with the news that affects them.
- We offer our expertise to others via our consultancy services.
You can find out more about what we do and how we can help in the different sections of our website, or click here for more information about who we are, how we work, and our history.
What’s new on our website this month
Summary Report of the Voluntary and Community Sector Summit 25th September 2012.
A summary report of this important conference is now available here.
Governance in the Voluntary & Community Sector – A course for Trustees, Management Committee Members and Aspiring Trustees
8 Friday evenings- 26th April – 14 June 2013 at the Mary Ward Centre
The course is an opportunity to look at what governance means for trustees and is based on the National Occupational Standards for Trustees. We will look at leadership, the role of the constitution, working collectively, developing your skills as a trustee, using governance codes and standards, policies and procedures, meetings and the information you need to make decisions, assessing risk, conflict of interest, meeting your legal responsibilities, stakeholders, strategic plans and commonly used organisational structures.
Contact Kevin Nunan, tel; 020 7284 6557, Email: Knunan@vac.org.uk
Cost: £100, concessions available.
To book directly and for more information contact Michael Turkheim, tel 020 7260 6052
Email: Michael.Turkheim@marywardcentre.ac.uk or book at Mary Ward website.
Camden Community Festivals Fund
A new fund from Camden Council was launched on 28th February to support community festivals. The fund is to sustain and develop Camden’s rich culture, its strong communities and dynamic partnerships by supporting quality, community run festivals. This year the fund is managed by Voluntary Action Camden (VAC). For full details go to the Community Festivals fund pages.
Forming Great Relationships with Businesses – extra date added
Is your charity, social enterprise, school or non-profit organisation interested in forming great relationships with businesses but unsure where to start?
Camden Council and Voluntary Action Camden are pleased to announce two workshops delivered by community engagement experts, Business Unusual, for Camden voluntary and community organisations and schools which aim to help address this common issue.
The training will enable your organisation to:
o Understand the current landscape of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and
how it affects business-community engagement
o Understand what your organisation has to offer and gain from partnerships with businesses
o Learn a range of methods and approaches for building partnerships and links
o Hear from several businesses regarding their current partnerships with the voluntary and community sector and schools
For paid staff, trustees or volunteers that are involved in, or plan to be involved in, developing working relationships with businesses. You should ideally send an individual who will actively apply and take forward any new learning and action points and is involved in steering the strategic direction of the organisation.
Wednesday 20th March 2013 9.30am – 4.30pm
Arlington Conference Centre, 220 Arlington Road, London NW1 7HE
To register please email email@example.com or call 020 7284 6553. Type Talk: 18001 020 7284 6550
VAC Annual General Meeting – Monday 25th February
A big ‘thank you’ to all those who braved the low temperatures to attend on Monday evening. There were excellent talks from Sarah Elie, Somers Town Community Association, about the exciting initiatives taking place there. Tommy Cloherty gave an ‘insider’s’ view on how useful management training is in practice and Dorcas Wanzola talked about the work of the Community Partnership Adviser Service. Followed by excellent food and networking.
Launch of new ‘Give Camden’ website by London Community Foundation
The London Community Foundation has launched Give Camden, a convenient way for businesses and individuals to provide immediate funding for local Camden charities AND help build up an endowment to provide support for the local voluntary sector in the future.
Find out more at onecamden.org.uk.
For more information and to make a donation, visit www.givecamden.org.uk or contact Gabrielle Sturrock on 0207 582 5117.
Camden Council is producing a Local List to identify the buildings and features that you value and so contribute to the character of your local area. Being on Camden’s Local List will not mean that these buildings and features are ‘listed’ in the statutory sense but by being locally listed it will help ensure that the significance of each feature is taken into account as part of the planning application process. As of 22 November you can nominate the local features which carry history, traditions, stories and memories into the present day and so make your local area special. This consultation will run until 21 January so start nominating!
New Lease for VCS Organisations in Camden Council Buildings
An email was sent from Camden Council to all VCS organisations in Camden Council buildings giving an update on the lease negotiations with news on agreement around the principle heads of terms. Follow these links to read the letter giving some background to the negotiations, the principle Heads of Terms document and a side letter which pledges the council’s support where the lease may be an issue in capital funding bids.
VAC Needs You
Please spare 10 minutes of your precious time to complete our online survey and tell us what you think about VAC communications, such as this e-bulletin and the website. We really need to know if our communications are making a difference. It’s also a chance to find out what you would like added or improved.
Do You Need HR Support?
Target HR aims to provide support to a limited number of organisations each year to improve their human resource policies, procedures, skills and knowledge. The programme is open to voluntary and community organisations in central London boroughs including Camden.
Over the course of a year, participating organisations will receive one-to-one support for between six to 12 months from a HR Advisor, who understands the issues within voluntary sector organisations; improve their organisation’s policies and procedures and develop knowledge of employment law and management.
Target HR will
audit your HR practices. Develop an Action Plan and leave you with a Sustainability Plan
Bulk Buy Scheme
Do you want to save money on goods and services?
VAC with partners are developing a service for voluntary & community groups in Camden to access deals on goods and services. Organisations will:
• Save money on goods and services by accessing negotiated deals
• Save time shopping around as we will identify preferred suppliers
• Make more ethical and environmentally friendly purchasing choices
• Access tailor made services for the community and voluntary sector
To begin with the project will begin by focussing on;
Gas and Electricity
If successful other services will follow such as Insurance, stationary, and recycling.
If you would like to take part, please download the form, print on headed paper and return to firstname.lastname@example.org together with 2 recent electricity and gas bills.
The Community Right to Challenge – “What is it all about?”
With the Community Right to Challenge (CRtC) coming into force 27th June 2012, Camden Council and Voluntary Action Camden convened the (first!) Voluntary and Community Sector Strategic Forum on 21st June 2012. This brought together representatives from across both sectors to discuss what impact CRtC will have on Camden and more fundamentally what it’s all about! The CRtC requires the council to consider all ‘expressions of interest’ to provide or assist in delivering council services. Expressions of Interest can be submitted by certain types of community groups and organisations. The expression of interest must be accepted or rejected (or accepted with modifications) on grounds specified in the legislation such as the suitability of the organisation to provide the service and the social value created above and beyond the benefit of the service itself. You can read the full report of the meeting here – or here for the pdf version.
VAC is recruiting Trustees.
You should have relevant experience a connection to Camden and a strong commitment to the voluntary and community sector. Skills and relevant knowledge in the following areas are also desirable: legal, HR and finance. Contact Simone Hensby; email@example.com.
‘Protecting Children in the community’: Round 5 training sessions
The work of the Community Partnership Advisor Project as a ‘conduit’ in channeling the information from the statutory service providers to BME communities and faith organisations has been successful.
Involving parents and carers from the targeted communities in the child safeguarding training planning and delivery has clearly helped the understanding of challenging cultural harmful traditions but also instilled faith about the roles and responsibilities of children’s social care, health service providers, education and Met Police when it comes to issues of child protection.
‘Protecting children in the community’ project aims to set up true partnerships with BME community, faith groups and supplementary schools and the child safeguarding service providers. Participating organisations will jointly plan and implement a whole training session on child safeguarding and on harmful traditional practices including Female Genital Mutilation and abuses linked to beliefs.
In Round 5, fourteen organisations are sought to receive a training session. 7 sessions are already being allocated to BME community and faith groups and supplementary schools in Camden.
There are 7 more sessions to be filled until Feb 2013. If your organisation is interested please contact: Asha-Kin Duale (Community Partnership Advisor), Tel: 020 7284 6575
Neighbourhood Planning Report Published
We have produced a new report on Neighbourhood Planning that contains some key ingredients, observations and lessons from the Somers Town and Bloomsbury Village neighbourhood planning projects. You can view the full report here or contact Donna Turnbull for further information.
Parenting Support Trial In Camden
VAC is one of the partners working on the Parenting Support Trial in Camden. Any voluntary and community sector groups/organisations working with children, young people, families, parents and other carers of children aged five and under can be a distribution centre for the Parenting Vouchers.
Mums, dads and other important carers of children aged five and under, living in Camden, will be offered a voucher worth £100 to pay for support. The vouchers will be available from staff and volunteers working in local children’s centres, community groups, community centres, GP surgeries, libraries, play providers, after school clubs, youth clubs, schools and others.
Parents can redeem their vouchers from an assured list of local providers. To find out more about the providers and the range of advice, support and parenting classes that are available to them locally, parents can visit www.canparent.org.uk or telephone 0845 601 5833 or read more on our Parenting Support Trial page.
To become one of the distribution centres for the vouchers, please contact Mandira Manandhar, Project Support Worker at VAC, on telephone number 020 7284 6573 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The report of the second year of the Target HR project is now available. Working across seven central London boroughs, giving up to a year’s support on HR issues, the second year report shows high levels of satisfaction among users.
- The Camden Education Commission has produced their final report. You can download it from the Camden website education page.
- The minutes of the last Strategic Liaison Group meeting are available.
- Camden’s Culture and Environment Department funding programme for the Voluntary and Community Sector. Further information can be found on our news page, or by visiting the Council’s website at www.camden.gov.uk/vcs2012
- VAC has developed a template collaborative working agreement. You can download it from our ‘resources’ page on the VAC website (scroll to the bottom of the page).
- VAC is developing a new web page containing sample policies and procedures that groups might find useful when creating or updating their own policies and procedures. Click here to visit this page.
- Hot desk space is available free to VAC members.
- New pages contain VAC good practice briefings on topics of interest to voluntary and community groups.