Newsletter and update No 13  – 18 September 2020

Message from Cath Witherington – Chief Officer

It’s been another busy week! We have welcomed some new members. We have also received more expressions of interest for our Board Member Vacancies. The deadline for nominations is now only one week away.  Please do consider the roles and make sure you get nominations submitted. The deadline is 5pm Friday 25th September 2020.  To request an application pack – email us at

Our Open Talk discussions have continued to be insightful.  Thank you to everyone who has taken part.  Last week we talked about the Fairshares model and how it will shape the way we work together.  We recorded a discussion which you watch and which brings the concept to life.

Our topic this week – vision, values and principles explored what we want our Trustees to bring to their role.  The top headlines from a wide ranging discussion are:

Vision – the Board must reflect the diversity of the sector.  Representatives of the communities we serve.  We need to be one Doncaster – better connected.  With some appetite for taking risks and trying different and innovative approaches.

Values – a passion to make a difference was a very strong message. The desire to improve things for individuals and our community as a whole.  There was a sense that the Board needed to be there for the right reasons.  Leaving a positive legacy from their tenure – upon which any successor can build. There was also a call for the Board to be open minded and listen/learn from lived experience.  

Principles – the Board needs to have time to commit to their role without being spread too thinly. The Board needs to promote the sector not their personal or host organisation agenda.  The Board must play an ambassadorial role.  Local community groups are a preventative tool not a only a solution to social issues.

The final session in this series of Open Talk meetings will be at 2pm on Wednesday 23 September.   We will be talking about the nomination process and what people want from Voluntary Action Doncaster.  Please join us on Zoom:

Meeting ID: 455 647 6397


We would like to help you access the Government’s new Kickstart Scheme.  Full details about the scheme are on the Government’s website. If you can create a new 6-month job placement – let us know.  If you can’t create a placement, but can you help to provide the support a young person needs to to get into work – let us know.  We’d also like you to tell us what role you think Voluntary Action Doncaster should play? 

What you need to know

This scheme is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs. The £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will provide hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people . The 6 month placements are for young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. The first placements are likely to be available from November.

If you can create a placement, funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs and must be:

  • a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
  • paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group

They must not:

  • require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement
  • replace existing or planned vacancies
  • cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment

Each role must support a young person to build their skills and experience and help them move into sustained employment. Each application must explain should include how you will help the participants to develop their skills and experience, including:

  • support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals
  • support with CV and interview preparations
  • supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork

Once a job placement is created, it can be taken up by a second person once the first successful applicant has completed their 6-month term.

Once you have considered this information,  please do let us know your plans by filing in this short Google Form.  If you cannot complete the form online, give us a call on 01302 965459 to have a chat with us about your plans.  It would be really helpful to have your initial feedback by 30 September 2020. 

Disabled People’s Organisations Covid Emergency Fund – new UK funding programme – Now Open until 5th October 2020.

Details for this project are set out in an information sheet there is an online application form.  If you have any questions please contact Kathryn Littlewood on 0114 2536750/2536705

Other Funding Opportunities

This week’s Funding Newsflash has couple of opportunities with pretty tight deadlines:

  • ScottishPower Foundation are accepting applications until 1pm on 24th September, 2020.
  • Green Recovery Challenge Fund is open for applications. The deadline for expressions of interest for grants of between £250,000 and £5 million is noon on 24th September, 2020. The deadline for applications for grants of up to £250,000 is 2nd October, 2020 (noon).
  • ESF Lump Sum Digital Interventions Call Open – applications must be submitted by 30th September, 2020.

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

The ONS has been looking at the impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on people’s personal and economic well-being.

Despite lockdown restrictions easing, the proportion of people who thought it would take more than a year for life to return to normal, if at all.

Financial resilience worsened.  By the end of July, around one in three people reported that they were unable to save for the year ahead.  Parents were particularly affected. 

If you want to find out more you can by looking at the full reports available on the ONS website.

Free Training opportunities

Another local training provider is offering a wide range of fully funded Level 2 qualifications. These are available to anyone who is looking to upskill in their current profession or to support individuals to gain new skills to enhance their career development.  Courses are available to anyone to access irrespective of their employment status or current job role. Full information about the courses are on the Total Training Provision website along with the online application form.