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Newsletter And Update 87 – 29 September 2023

Sep 29, 2023

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Newsletter and Update No. 87 – 29 September 2023



Cath Witherington

Cath Witherington, CEO Introduction

In preparing this newsletter I always try to reflect on some of the important things we are doing at Voluntary Action Doncaster.  

I’ve previously mentioned that we have commissioned researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, to work with us to conduct a survey to explore the value and impact of the voluntary sector.  We really want to get an up-to-date picture of groups and organisations in Doncaster and across South Yorkshire.  This is vital in helping us to identify the current makeup of the sector, the challenges we all face, areas for development and will help us focus the work we do to support you.  Those groups and organisations that complete the survey, will be able to enter a prize draw for a chance to win £200 for their organisation.  Please take part – it’s your opportunity to ensure the important work that you do in Doncaster is included, as well as highlighting the opportunities and challenges you face.  You can click this link to the survey which will close on 20th October 2023.  Don’t leave it too late to have your say! 

On a more personal note I would like to share this article which I came across this week.  It takes a look at the most important things in life and why they are essential to achieve happiness and fulfilment.  During October I am looking forward to enjoying all those important things in life as I take a few weeks leave with family and friends.  I hope you can also focus on the things that are important to you too.  



Reports and Information


Charities providing public services ‘face £1bn funding cut’

New research warns that almost one-third of charities are facing ‘significant financial challenges’ and another third say they might have to consider reducing or closing services

Charities which provided frontline public services have suffered from an estimated £1bn-a-year funding loss since the last Spring Budget, according to a new report.

Departmental increases included in the 2023 Spring Budget have “not flowed down to charity frontline services”, according to the report published today by the Charity Excellence Framework (CEF), which offers management and funding services to charities. 

CEF arrived at the figure by analysing the government’s yearly investment in the sector in light of the UK’s rate of inflation as of June this year.

In the Spring Budget in March, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt pledged £101.5m for English charities and community groups over a two-year period and £18.5m for charities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Although the budget included a pledge for departmental spending to grow at a rate of 4 per cent, only 6 per cent of respondents to CEF’s public funding survey – which consulted 266 charities in receipt of public funding – said they had seen an increase in line with or above inflation. 

Some 94 per cent of grants were cut, the report notes, with 39 per cent of those being either significantly reduced or not renewed. 

A further 20 per cent of charities’ public sector contracts were cut, and half of the contracts were either below inflation or saw no increase, researchers found. 

The majority of survey respondents expected the funding situation to worsen, with 78 per cent saying they believe things will become worse or deteriorate. 

Just 6 per cent said they were confident that the situation would improve.

Almost one-third of respondents reported facing “significant financial challenges”, and another third said they might have to consider reducing or closing their services. 

CEF recommends that additional funding should be made available in next year’s Budget to support frontline delivery of services, and urges grant-makers to work collectively to ensure their funding is co-ordinated and focused on areas of greatest need.



Kooth is a digital mental wellbeing platform for children and young people of Doncaster between the ages of 11 – 25. 

Kooth is a free, BACP accredited, digital mental wellbeing platform for children and young people of Doncaster between the ages of 11-25, which is accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop. 

Access to Kooth’s services could be on an ad-hoc basis, as an additional means alongside whatever other support someone might be receiving, or as structured support if no other services are being accessed. 

Users sign themselves up anonymously on and can access same-day support without having to meet thresholds. 

Please find attached further information about the services available through Kooth.

If your organisation, or anyone you know, would benefit from learning more about the services, Jo is available to meet to answer any questions. In addition, Jo can deliver free information sessions for children and young people, staff and parent or carer sessions – Jo’s email address is 


uCheck Free Risk Assessment Template

You probably already know that completed, detailed risk assessments are a legal requirement. And, if you employ five or more people, they have to be documented – and it’s a good idea even if you don’t!

And, most importantly, when the Health and Safety Executive come knocking, they’ll want to see your risk assessments. So how can you make sure you’re inspection-ready at all times?

Easy – just download UCheck free risk assessment template and follow our five simple steps: identify hazards, assess who’s at risk, evaluate the risk, record your findings and review, review, review.


New Dance On Toolkit 

A brand new Toolkit is being launched aimed at dancers, care home staff, public health professionals, health and social care practitioners, and anyone who has an interest in the power of movement to give our ageing population more years better lived.

Over the past seven years, a group of collaborating organisations in Yorkshire have developed a pioneering approach to keeping older people active that is proven to improve mobility, social connection, balance and mood, and reduces fear of falling. Led by darts, One Dance UK, the University of Leeds and Yorkshire Dance, Dance On has proved to be a highly successful model, enhancing the lives of hundreds of older adults – many of whom were previously deemed ‘inactive’.

Funded predominantly by Sport England’s national Active Ageing and Local Delivery Pilot Programmes, with partnership funding from a range of partners including City of Doncaster Council, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Leeds City Council and Arts Council England, the programme has enabled people who might not ordinarily access sports or fitness activities to become more physically active through regular fun, social, dance activity.

The new Dance On Toolkit is based on over 7 years of academic research, sessions to develop the approach, conversations with participants, and experiences of working with older adults. The free, downloadable resource condenses the key essential ingredients into an easy to read and accessible document.  From sourcing the right venue to choosing motivating music, from developing community ambassadors to writing risk assessments, this Toolkit provides bite sized ideas, case studies and templates for anyone looking to develop their own dance programme for older people, or for dancers or care staff to improve their practice.

The Toolkit will be launched at a special event on Friday 6th October 10.00am – 3.00pm at Yorkshire Dance in Leeds. Speakers include: Jodie Bridger – City of Doncaster Council, Russ Turner – Sport England, Dr Sarah Astill – the University of Leeds, and Charlotte Armitage and Lucy Robertshaw from darts. The afternoon will feature an opportunity to engage in a collaborative discussion and debate about the benefits and barriers to implementing dance activity, how we can enable communities to engage in dance practice to enhance their wellbeing, physical activity, and social connection.

To book a place click here. 

For more information, please contact Lucy Robertshaw – Director (Arts & Health) at darts on  or 01302493993, or Hannah Robertshaw at Yorkshire Dance 


Check The Health Of Your Home 

As it is already getting colder, our homes may be in need of a little more TLC than usual.

The Healthy Homes checklist has been made to support you to make sure homes you are looking to buy, rent or already live in are safe and healthy- which can be especially important over winter!

There is lots of information on:

Energy efficiency

Potential hazards


…and much more.

Find the full checklist as well as support and guidance on keeping your home healthy here. 


Charity Commission – Knowledge Test Quiz For Trustees

The Charity Commission has begun the next phase of its campaign that aims to increase charity trustees’ knowledge. 

As part of this, the regulator has introduced a quiz which aims to increase trustees’ awareness of the Commission’s five minute guides and enables trustees to test their knowledge of their duties and responsibilities. 

The quiz takes around three minutes and prompts participants to test their knowledge on a range of topics, such as conflicts of interest and safeguarding.  Feedback is provided for each question, and users are pointed to further guidance from the regulator.   Each participant also receives a score out of 10, allowing them to benchmark their knowledge.   The quiz is designed to engage trustees with a variety of questions based on everyday scenarios that they may encounter at their charity. It has been designed to help identify knowledge gaps and is an ideal refresher for trustees at all levels of experience, according to the regulator.  The Commission states that the majority of trustees feel confident in their ability to manage their charities, however there may be areas of knowledge they can improve on, so the quiz is intended to encourage trustees to inspire upskilling. 

To find out more click here.





Art Club – darts

Art Club is a programme of creative activity for children and their families in Doncaster, run by darts, with weekly sessions taking place at The Point and delivered by talented and experienced professional artists. 

darts is Doncaster’s award-winning participatory arts charity, working with people across Doncaster to improve life, learning and health. The Art Club sessions are free and open to all children, young people and their families, with the aim to open up access for those who face barriers to the arts, including low-income families, families with English as an Additional Language and Disabled children and young people. The programme focuses on everything from collage to cyanotype, and printmaking to photography, and enables children to make new friends, build new skills and grow their confidence through creativity. 

Postcode Neighbourhood Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and their grant towards Art Club means that darts can continue running the programme, keeping it free and open to all, for a further seven months. As a charity, darts relies solely on the generous support of trusts, foundations, local businesses and individual donors to be able to continue its work providing inspiring, exciting and accessible creative opportunities for people across the borough of Doncaster.  

Art Club takes place at The Point every Thursday from 4.30pm-6pm during term-time. To find out more about the programme and booking a free space, email

To support darts’ work, or make a donation, head to their website. More information about Postcode Neighbourhood Trust can be found here.


VCSE and ICS Working Together Event: Strengthening VCSE Participation in the Integrated Care System

Please join us for our next South Yorkshire VCSE Alliance event.

Date: Monday 16th October

Time: 3-5pm

This is an online event, please book your place here.

Our event theme is participation and will offer an opportunity to:

  • Find out more about our progress on VCSE participation within the Integrated Care System
  • Hear from VCSE colleagues who are participating in system work
  • Take part in discussion to build on our learning and strengthen participation
  • Hear about forthcoming events and activities that you can participate in.
  • We look forward to seeing you there.

Further information about the South Yorkshire VCSE Alliance can be found here including a recap on our journey so far and our Memorandum of Understanding.


Lapsed customers focus group – Lakeside Village

SIdekick Public Relations Limited are holding a focus group for lapsed customers – people who’ve not visited Lakeside Village in the past 12 months, or have never visited.

This will take place at Etto Café at 2pm on October 5th.

For more information please contact Charlotte Dimond Tel: 07891135582 / 0114 227 0006



Training Opportunities


Free Webinar: Grants from the South Yorkshire Community Foundation

Start Date Wednesday 1 Nov 2023 10:30 AM End Date Wednesday 1 Nov 2023 01:00 PM

Location Virtual Classroom -Zoom

Want to apply for funding of up to £5,000 for your project, group, event or activity in South Yorkshire?

This free webinar and new video will explain how to apply for these grants from one of our largest grant-giving charities.

How does it work?

  • This free webinar will explain how to apply for these grants from one of our largest grant-giving charities.
  • The session will use an informal  classroom, with a new video presentation with time for shared experiences
  • Scheduled for breaks and shared discussions
  • You will gain experience of what potential donors need to know about your project in a written format
  • Learn how to present your project to the funder.

We’ll explain rules of eligibility, which groups can apply, what you can spend the grant on and give you plenty of tips on how to make your application stand out along with further sources of advice and help.

Date: Wednesday 1st November 2023

Time: 10.30am-1.00pm

Level: Beginner

Cost: FREE (Booking Essential) Statutory Body/Individual Consultants: £40.00 per person 

Location: Virtual Classroom (Zoom)

Booking form


I.T. Support In The Comfort of Your Own Home

Adults in South Yorkshire can access free I.T. help and advice from local not-for-profit initiative the FreeTech Project, thanks to support from the Freshgate Trust Foundation.

Starting on the 9th of October, 2023, the Monday evening Zoom video meetups called “Tea & Tech” enable those with a device connected to WiFi to join from the comfort of their own home – with a cuppa to hand – and learn more about technology in a fun, friendly, and relaxed environment.

There will be topics from laptop and desktop computers to tablets and smartphones, web browsers and search engines, social media, security, and privacy, in addition to “action learning” to help solve any tech-related challenges any attendees may be facing that week.

There is a sneak preview video (with captions available) for those who would like to get an idea of what to expect)

The 8 workshops run Mondays 6:30pm-8:30pm from 9th of October to 27th of November, 2023.

Adults in South Yorkshire interested in joining can register for free here.


Free Disability Confidence Training

Live Inclusive are delivering another free Disability Confidence Training session on 5 October at 2pm in the FLying Scotsman Room at Doncaster Museum and Library.

The session will cover:

  • What is disability
  • Types of disability
  • Models of disability
  • Basic needs of disability
  • Disability etiquette 

To express an interest and find out more please contact Jane Kidd 


Free Digital Fundraising Summit

Charity Digital’s annual Digital Fundraising Summit is back!  

Join them on 1st and 2nd November for a jam-packed event of informative sessions, interactive workshops, and networking with charity professionals, tech sector experts, and the speakers, and sponsors of the event…

This year’s theme is ‘The future of fundraising’ and will inform you of emerging digital fundraising ideas and empower you to try new things.

The event is free and online, Grab your ticket here.


Christmas Wreath Making Workshop – Doncaster Chamber

Now that summer has officially come to an end, it’s time to turn our thoughts towards the upcoming holiday season, specifically Christmas. One of the exciting events we have planned for the festivities is the Christmas Wreath Making Workshop. 

A quintessential decoration for this time of year is the wreath or swag, which brings a traditional festive atmosphere to any space. If you’ve ever wanted to create one of these beautiful pieces, we invite you to join us at our networking event.

During this event, you’ll receive a crash course on crafting your very own festive door swag or wreath. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to build valuable connections with other businesses in the community, all while enjoying some mulled wine and the essential holiday treat, mince pies.

To register for the workshop click here. 


How To Talk About Impact To Funders: A Case Study In Using Impact Data

A FREE interactive online workshop showing organisations delivering programmes in the voluntary sector how to collect and use impact data to support fundraising bids, service commissioning, and business development. Topics covered include:

  • What funders ask about your impact, and how to measure it
  • Understanding different terms used in evaluation
  • Understanding different types of evaluation data and what they do
  •  The different types of evaluation
  • How to collect and report impact data

Wednesday 5th October: 11:00-14:00

Friday 6th October: 11:00-14:00

Monday 9th October 11:00-14:00

PLUS… the 10th and 12th!

To find out more and sign up click here.



Funding Opportunities


The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability & Autism Tender

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability & Autism tender has just been published.

 NHS South Yorkshire ICB requires a supplier to deliver the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism across South Yorkshire health and social care organisations.  

This is now available on the Atamis e-procurement portal  The project reference is C211952.

Please note an NHS provision services contract will be used for this tender rather than an NHS standard contract. 

PLEASE NOTE: This is for organisations who want to deliver the training and not those who want to be individual trainers or apply to have their own workforce trained. But if you are interested in this and have not already registered as a stakeholder, please complete the form via the link below highlighted.

Recruitment for individual trainers will commence once this contract is awarded, we expect this to be approximately from December 2023.


Children and Young People’s Microgrant

The Community Wealth Builder team are excited to announce the launch of the Children and Young People microgrant.  We have 10 microgrants of up to £300 available to deliver arts, cultural, heritage or environmental activities and/or projects to children and young people during the period 23rd October to 6th November 2023.

If you have previously been awarded a microgrant during this financial year you are still eligible to apply.  All applicants need to be registered with Community Wealth Builder, if you are not already registered it is a simple process and we will be happy to chat through the benefits of registering and the support you can receive as a member of Community Wealth Builder.  Full details are included in the guidance pack and completed application forms should be returned no later than 11.59pm on Sunday 8th October 2023 to 

 If you need any advice or support please get in touch via email  or by calling 01302 737375. 


South Yorkshire Community Foundation – funds re-opening

The Foundation is reopening its Small Grants and Community Grants scheme as follows:

Small Grants – opens 2nd October 2023. Grants up to £1,000 for groups with an income below £10,000

Community Grants – opens November 13th, and closes for this round on 8th January 2024. Grants up to £5,000 for groups with an income below £200,000

Both schemes fund a range of community activities, which must benefit South Yorkshire People.


Ocado Foundation for Good

The Ocado Foundation, the charitable arm of Ocado Group, is working with BizGive, to support community projects across the UK.

The Foundation will provide grants of up to £1,000 to charities, community organisations, community interest companies, academic institutions, and local authorities for community projects which focus their efforts on the following core areas:

Skills for the Future: Improve Basic Life Skills

Skills for the Future: Improve Skills for Future Learning

Natural Resources: Reduce our Impact on the Planet

Responsible Sourcing: Support Ethical Products & Supply Chains.

Click here to find out more.


Help with the cost of living

Apply for the Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund

Small community organisations running critical services can apply for the government’s new Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund.

Organisations can apply for funding between £10,000 and £75,000. The deadline for applications is midday on 16 October 2023.

Watch the NCVO webinar to get an overview of the fund, and learn more about who can apply and what the funding can cover.


Volunteering Opportunities

Please see what current volunteering opportunities are available on our website.


Schools Climate Education South Yorkshire 

Schools’ Climate Education South Yorkshire (SCESY) is a voluntary group, set up in the summer of 2019 to organise schools’ conferences in the South Yorkshire region around the central theme of the climate emergency. 

One of the concerns highlighted by studies and surveys was that the curriculum, particularly in the secondary school sector, needed reforming to properly reflect the climate emergency. As the mission statement below explains, the purpose of these conferences is to raise the profile and celebrate the work of schools in addressing the climate emergency. 

The aims of Schools’ Climate Education South Yorkshire (SCESY) are to:

  • promote the education of school students about the climate emergency
  • encourage schools to educate young people to question evidence, engage in dialogue and become active citizens
  • encourage schools to include climate education in all areas of the curriculum
  • promote CPD for teachers and school leaders about the climate emergency
  • encourage and enable young people’s discussion and participation around the central theme of the climate emergency
  • empower young people to join or form eco groups in schools and become local climate champions
  • encourage and support schools to develop a pathway to zero carbon emissions
  • We want to support students, teachers and schools on their climate education journey, reducing carbon emissions in their school communities and improving their local environment. We want students to move on in society as active citizens supporting respect for the world environment throughout their lives.

If you want to volunteer for us or want to know more about our award-winning work please contact: 


NHS Care Volunteer Responders

You may have seen in the news that the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 COVID-19 vaccination programme has just started. We urgently need more volunteers to support us as Stewards this winter.

This is a popular and sociable volunteering role. In this activity, you would be helping your community and meeting new people at vaccination sites. Responsibilities include managing queues, greeting and directing people, and monitoring numbers. The maximum individual shift length is four hours.

To sign up to be a Volunteer Responder click here.


Join The Citizens Advice Doncaster Borough Team as Volunteer Treasurer

Are you a financial professional or someone with financial expertise looking for an opportunity to make a real impact in your local community? Look no further! We are seeking a dedicated individual to serve as our Trustee Treasurer.

As the Trustee Treasurer at Citizens Advice Doncaster Borough, you will play a vital role in our mission to promote social justice and make a difference in the lives of those in need in Doncaster. Your financial acumen and commitment will help us ensure that we have the necessary resources to carry out our essential work.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the financial management of our charity.
  • Ensure responsible and transparent financial practices.
  • Collaborate with our passionate team to advance our mission.
  • Make a tangible difference in the community.

Why Join Us?

  • Work with a dedicated team of professionals.
  • Contribute to a noble cause that impacts local lives.
  • Develop your leadership and financial management skills.
  • Be part of a dynamic charity making positive change.

If you’re passionate about social justice and ready to use your financial expertise for a meaningful cause, we invite you to be a part of our team. Together, we can create a better Doncaster for all.


  • Financial background or relevant qualifications.
  • A commitment to our mission and values.
  • Strong communication and teamwork skills.

Ready to make a difference? Send your CV and a brief cover letter expressing your interest to 

Join us in our mission to create a more just and compassionate Doncaster! Together, we can achieve greatness.


Job Opportunities

Please see this week’s Advance Vacancy Bulletin  with a range of roles based within Doncaster.


Mental Health Support Practitioner – Doncaster Mind

35 hours per week

25,475.00 per annum

Closing date: 13th October 2023

Interview date:

(If you cannot make this date and are interested in applying please contact us)

Do a job you love… 

Here’s an opportunity to change lives in Doncaster. We are looking for an individual to join our team to make a real difference as a Mental Health Support Practitioner. This individual will work to support people to practice strategies that lead to improved mental health and quality of life. So, if you are self-motivating, caring and passionate about helping others in Doncaster, we’d love to hear from you.  

Please visit our website to apply. For a chat to discuss the role and the work please email today.


General Manager – South Yorkshire Climate Alliance

Home based, with occasional in-person staff meetings at a central location.

£28,000 – 30,000 a year pro rata

Fixed term – 6 months

Part-time – 14 hours per week. Some flexibility on days worked, but overlapping

times required with existing staff along with occasional evening work.

Holidays – pro rata 21 days, plus bank holidays

SYCA is a voluntary organisation, and a company limited by guarantee. Our allies comprise about 60 organisations and groups from across South Yorkshire. They are independent groups and organisations which share a common purpose in our vision and mission.

Our central organisation comprises a governing Board of Directors and a small staff team currently covering communication and administrative roles.

Job Description

We wish to appoint a part time General Manager on a 6-month fixed term basis. The main duties are:

  • To line manage members of staff and supervise freelancers.
  • Work with the Board to manage the Organisation
  • Keeps the books and financial records up to date
  • Work with Treasurer and bank signatories to issue invoices and pay bills
  • Write, or assist with preparing funding bids
  • Maintain oversight of the newsletter, website and social media
  • Work with the Communications Officer to manage SYCA’s email accounts

Person Specification

  • We are looking for someone who has:
  • Good organisational skills, and an ability to assimilate new working arrangements quickly (essential)
  • Line management experience (essential)
  • Experience of working in a very small staff team, and with a willingness to cover for colleagues where necessary (essential)
  • Some awareness of, and concern for, the climate and biodiversity crises we face (essential)
  • Experience of working in a predominantly voluntary organisation, and who is
  • familiar with managing relationships with volunteers (desirable)
  • Experience of preparing funding bids (desirable)

Please click here for the full job description and details of how to apply.


Contribute to our Next Newsletter!

If you have an article, job opportunity or funding opportunity you would like to see included in the next edition of this newsletter, please send it to us at by 1pm on Wednesday 13 October 2023.

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