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Newsletter No. 8 – 10 July 2020

You can download a copy of this newsletter by clicking this link

Message from Cath Witherington – Chief Officer

I am immensely proud, honoured and excited to be the first Chief Officer of Voluntary Action Doncaster. I am passionate about helping people survive and thrive.  So coming into this post, I am keen to hear about all the tremendous work that is being done in our local communities.  I want to be able to support you in sustaining and building on that foundation.

At the start of this week, I joined our FairShares webinar (see below). It was encouraging to hear such enthusiasm and support for Voluntary Action Doncaster.  By adopting the FairShares model we are taking an innovative and inclusive approach. I find that inspiring.  Working with you to shape what we do and how we work.  I want Voluntary Action Doncaster to become your trusted critical friend and enabler. So please do share your ideas about what our priorities should be and how you want us to work with us.

My personal focus over the coming months will be on building relationships.  I am starting to introduce myself to colleagues (albeit virtually).  Developing a clear plan of action for the future is another priority.  Recognising every organisation has a distinct and important role. Working together we will have a stronger voice and have a greater impact in our community.

We are facing the most challenging times of a generation.  So it matters that we use our resources wisely.  The talent, commitment, energy and expertise within the sector is our strongest asset.  I hope Voluntary Action Doncaster will prove to be the oil in the cogs helping things to run smoothly.  Forging strong, lasting and effective partnerships.  Looking ahead it will be important for us to capture the evidence of our impact.  Being able to show how we add value and how we change lives is key to ensuring our sustainability.

I have already heard the call for a united voice. To represent the many voices of the people who turn to our sector for support.  Often vulnerable and in crisis – people who feel the system has let them down. To make change and influence at a strategic level, we need to show that we understand the often stark reality of life and how we make a difference.  To be that voice for Doncaster, I will need your help.  So let me close by inviting you to do 3 things:

1. Become a member of  Voluntary Action Doncaster


2. Ask your volunteers to register with our Volunteer Hub.  http://www.voluntaryactiondoncaster.org.uk/sign-up-to-be-a-volunteer/

3. Tell me about your latest project or any insights you think would be helpful to share with others.  We may be able to include this in a future edition of this newsletter.  Drop me a line: voluntaryactiondoncaster@gmail.com

You can give me a call on 01302 965459.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


FairShares – developing the values and principles of Voluntary Action

We hosted the first in a series of engagement and conversation sessions on Monday 6 July.  For those who were not able to attend you can download the slides here and view the video here.

We will be holding the next session at 1pm on 22 July 2020.  Please join us on Zoom if you can.

Topic: Voluntary Action Doncaster – FairShares

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 833 016 6218

For more information contact voluntaryactiondoncaster@gmail.com


COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

The Government has issued new guidance. Everyone with buildings open to members of the public must read:


This does look quite daunting.  You may also find risk assessments developed by Community Action Suffolk helpful.


Funds are available to help local community organisations adapt. An Elected Members Ward Budget is making grants of up to £3k until the end of July.  You need to contact your Elected Member to see if this financial support is available in your area.  If it is, you will need to complete a short application complete via email. The Council website has more detail:


Voluntary Action Doncaster also has a fund available to pay for PPE for volunteers. You can put a request in by contacting us at voluntaryactiondoncaster@gmail.com


Further Funding Opportunities

The South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (ICS) has received a small amount (£90,722) of non-recurrent transformational funding. Intended for Children and young people (CYP), it will support developments in community and crisis services (excluding Eating Disorders).  Funding bids are invited in the following areas:

  • Acceleration of Long Term Plan ambitions
  • Digital Innovations i.e. Kooth, Brain in Hand
  • Emotional wellbeing support i.e. enhanced training and support, support to schools
  • Known gaps in current service provision i.e. transition, provision for 16/17 year olds

Bids will be considered by a small panel using the following criteria:

  • Evidence of need / link to Long Term Plan ambitions / previous CYP engagement
  • Anticipated impact/outcomes
  • Impact upon health inequalities / vulnerable groups
  • Scalability and/or transferability across the ICS
  • Jointly owned priority/partnership working
  • Sustainability

Multiple bids can be submitted, but, please note the small amount of funding available. Bids will be viewed more favourably if they are jointly owned and have the ability to be scaled up/learning transferred across the ICS. Partnership working with the VCS is very much welcomed.  A short Expression of Interest template is available here for return by COP 24 July.  Successful bids confirmed during w/c 3 August 2020.

If you have any questions contact Rachel Gillott rachel.gillott@nhs.net  or Jenna Wallhead jenna.wallhead@nhs.net


Community Wealth Builder Project

Well Doncaster are delivering the exciting new Community Wealth Builder Project. The project supports new and existing social enterprises across the Sheffield City Region through a tailored business development service. The project aims to generate investment into communities across our region by breaking down some of the most common barriers to procuring contracts. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund until June 2022. If you are, or know someone either considering starting a social enterprise, or running an existing one then get in touch.

You can download the poster and leaflet about the Community Wealth Builder project from the Voluntary Action Doncaster website:

Community Wealth Builder poster

Community Wealth Builder info leaflet

As part of this project, Doncaster Chamber will be running a workshop is for people who are looking to start up or run a Social Enterprise or Charity in the Sheffield City Region You can register and access the webinar by clicking this link.