Voluntary, Community & Faith Sector Newsletter

Newsletter and Update No. 32 – 18th June 2021

Message from Cath Witherington – CEO

This edition of the newsletter is going out at the end of yet another busy week when we have been highlighting several important issues as well as celebrating small charities.  

This week has seen Refugee Week! It is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20th June, 

It is Loneliness Awareness Week – the campaign raises awareness of loneliness and gets people talking about it. This is an issue which we are actively trying to address across Doncaster through the Social Isolation Alliance. 

It has also been Learning Disability Week. The theme this year is art and creativity. For many people with a learning disability and their families, getting creative has been a way to stay connected and positive through the challenges of last year.  

And finally, we have been celebrating Small Charity Week.  The campaign was first established in 2010 to celebrate and raise the profile of the small charity sector.  The objectives of Small Charity Week are to:

  • Celebrate the contribution that small charities make to communities throughout the UK and across the world
  • Improve the knowledge, representation and sustainability of small charities
  • Highlight the work of the small charity sector to the broadest possible audience
  • Encourage public giving
  • Work with the small charity sector to develop political engagement at a national and local level

Many of those themes really resonate with me.  Whilst Voluntary Action Doncaster has no global ambitions, I do believe that we work hard to deliver on each of the 5 objectives not just during Small Charity Week – but all year round!  

Summer Holiday Volunteering Programme 2021

Over the summer 2021, Voluntary Action Doncaster is contributing to a wider programme of activities for young people in Doncaster. We will be launching a programme to encourage young people to volunteer in their local communities, specifically targeting school leavers, or pupils in year 10 and 11 (young people aged 14 and over) during the 2021 summer holiday break).  We want to harness the energy and enthusiasm of young people and match them with a range of opportunities with local community groups and charities near to where they live. 

We are looking for you to help us identify opportunities that will allow young people to make a positive impact in their local community.  If your organisation has a role that a young volunteer can help with over the summer (between 19th July and 31 Augustst) please let us know by completing this short form ASAP.

If you would like any more information or would like to discuss this with us please email cath@voluntaryactiondoncaster.org.uk

Volunteering Opportunities

The following roles are available via our Doncaster Volunteering Hub – you can find out more about these roles and apply by registering as a volunteer through the Hub.

British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation has some brilliant volunteering opportunities available to help out in their charity shops! These roles are open to anyone aged 16+ (volunteers aged under 18 will need a parent/guardian’s signature). 

They are happy to take on both long-term and short-term volunteers, such as university students who are home for the summer – students can then transfer to a shop local to their university if they wish to continue volunteering.

As a thank you for the hard work that volunteers do, they are also entitled to a 25% discount in the BHF charity shops!

Electrical Item Tester

Are you good with electricals? A bit of a sparky in your spare time? If you like figuring out how electrical items work and want to do your bit to help the environment, this could be the role for you.

You’ll be plugging in and testing the electrical items generously donated to us, making sure they are fully functional and ready for sale – everything from record players to washing machines, TVs to toasters – they all need a quick test!

Typical tasks include:

  • Plugging items in, turning them on and making sure all the functions work correctly
  • Giving items a quick clean so they’re ready for sale
  • Some light lifting of electrical items and help is on hand for the heavier items
  • Identifying poor quality donations for recycling
  • Identifying unusual or interesting items for online selling or auction
  • Acting as an ambassador for British Heart Foundation always

Online Shop Listings Volunteer

Do you know your way around EBay & Gumtree? Could you develop an interest in unusual or sought-after collectables? Then join our volunteering team. Come and be amazed at some of the items that are donated to our local store and strike gold with those rare finds.

We’ve got dedicated eBay resources to help and assist you with this unique volunteering role. Research the interesting items; package them in our eBay boxes and send them off to be sold at our eBay HQ. Every week we’ll send updates about the most unusual and exciting finds we’ve managed to sell through our stores. Will your find be the next eBay headliner?

Typical tasks include:

  • Photographing items for listing on online selling sites
  • Researching donated items, to gather as much information on unusual items before listing them online.
  • Getting involved in uploading information about goods for sale
  • Packing and posting items to be sent to our Ebay HQ
  • Handling online queries from customers

Shop Floor Sales Assistant

Our sales assistant volunteers are the first point of contact for customers when they enter our shops. As a sales assistant volunteer you will greet customers, help them find the items they’re looking for and answer their questions where you can. With support from the shop team, your invaluable efforts at keeping the sales floor well stocked and organised will help us beat heartbreak forever by raising as much as we can to fund lifesaving research.

Typical tasks include:

  • Helping customers on the shop floor & providing good all-round customer service
  • Promoting our campaigns and any instore sales to customers
  • Working on window and shop displays to make them look their best
  • Keeping the shop tidy, clean and well organised – some light housekeeping
  • Helping your fellow volunteers and staff with customer queries

Warehouse Operative

Are you someone who would like to stay in shape, help save the planet and raise funds to save lives? Volunteering in one of our local furniture store warehouses could be the answer.

We need warehouse operative volunteers to keep our stock moving by hand from the van to the warehouse and shop floor, and back to the van for delivery as items sell on the shop floor.

This role is physically active as it involves carrying furniture by hand but it’s not just moving furniture around. There are other opportunities to help in our warehouse, such as warehouse logistics, booking stock in and pricing, building flat-packed furniture, and testing electrical items – you can try different roles.

Typical tasks include:

  • Ensuring the warehouse is always kept in a clean, safe and organised state
  • Safely lifting and carrying (by hand) a range of furniture items, big or small – it all helps!
  • Dealing with van deliveries to the shop and preparing deliveries for customers
  • Building flat-pack furniture for display purposes, carrying out light furniture repairs if confident alongside the Warehouse Supervisor
  • Restocking furniture on the shop floor as items are sold
  • Acting as an ambassador for the British Heart Foundation

You can find out more about other volunteering and fundraising opportunities (fundraisers can be aged 13+) via the British Heart Foundation website.


We recently received another two fully refurbished laptops from Computers4Charity to be used by local volunteers, or to help address digital isolation and exclusion. If you feel that you could make good use of one of these laptops let us know! It would be helpful if you could tell us how the laptop would be used and what difference it would make to your organisation or clients.  

Please complete the form by 30th June 2021 to be in with a chance of grabbing one of these laptops. We will announce the winners in a future newsletter.

Summer Staycation! Opportunity for Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector Groups

Are you a Voluntary, Community or Faith Sector group that provides activities for children and young people and would like to get involved in the Summer Staycation programme? Two events have been organised for you to meet with programme organisers to find out more information on how you can get involved and apply for funding. The events will be held at a Doncaster MyPlace building. To book a place at one of the events below please phone the number of the event of your choice. Places will be limited on a first come first served basis.

Event dates are

  • Tuesday 22nd June @ Tom Hill Young People’s Centre, Denaby (01302 735704)
  • Thursday 24th June @ Bentley MyPlace (01302 737993)

Please book your place if you haven’t already done so for the events.

New Money Advice Campaign

Team Doncaster has launched a new campaign to support people to get on top of their finances, which for many of us have been affected by the pandemic. This includes information on how to get help with budgeting or debts, as well as advice on money management.

A series of social media messages will encourage people to get the help they need, as soon as possible. Please see @MyDoncaster for messages including:

  • If you’re losing sleep over your finances, or if bills are starting to pile up, head here and get help. There’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • If you have been affected by money worries recently, PLEASE don’t feel any embarrassment or shame. There is help available.
  • Due to the pandemic, many more of us are experiencing money problems for the first time. Remember money worries are nothing to be ashamed of and are always solvable. Your Life Doncaster has a range of support and services to help get you on top of your finances.

A video has been produced which signposts people to Your Life Doncaster Money Management web pages.

Mindful Activities Yorkshire CIC New Projects

“Mindful Activities Yorkshire CIC is based inside the Helping Hands Community Centre at Edlington and has recently received funding to deliver a variety of projects. Here is a quick rundown of what we have available for our community. 

Walking in Circles is a project that encourages and supports local people to re-engage with their community by joining a small walking group. Our volunteer Walking Leaders offer support within their local community to assist those who may not be able to walk very far or unassisted to now start to think about becoming a little more mobile. They will even arrange to knock on your door and call for you and once walked a small circular route drop you safely back home. We currently have funding to train 9 more Walking Leaders, the training also includes 1st Aid Training and a 1st Aid Kit as well as all the relevant paperwork to remain safe. If anyone is interested throughout Doncaster and would like to become a leader or join a walking group, please do not hesitate to contact us. Funded by Active Dearne and TNLcommunityfund.

Gripping Yarns funded by VCSF, this is an alternative to the usual Knit & Knatter groups available. It includes all things wool and yarn related and as long as you can also tell a good story we will welcome you with open arms. Every Thursday 9.15am

Craft Fusion is another project funded by the Big Lottery. Our members receive a free craft box per month and engage with us via zoom and soon to be face to face sessions. This is a research project of how crafts can support mental health, suppress isolation and anxiety. We have a small number of spaces still available.

Art Classes with the amazing Kim Munro start in July, again spaces are becoming limited but it’s never too late to contact us. These sessions are part of our Chatty Café Project funded by Doncaster Movement, Spacehive platform private donations plus Liz & Terry Bramall Foundation. 

If you are interested in any of the above opportunities to join our sessions, please contact us via email hello@mindfulactivites.co.uk or follow us on facebook @MindfulActivities.”

Doncaster Charity Wins Social Enterprise Of The Year

National, award-winning voluntary organisation, The Sleep Charity, has been awarded a top accolade at the Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humber Awards.

It was crowned the winner in the Social Enterprise of the Year category. The award recognised organisations who demonstrated an outstanding track record of delivery, growth and innovation.

Said Lisa Artis, Deputy CEO of The Sleep Charity, who accepted the award at the virtual ceremony on 27th May: “We are delighted to have been awarded Social Enterprise of the Year and it is great recognition of the hard work of the team over the past 12 months during a difficult period. Well done to everyone who was shortlisted and it’s great to see so many people out there doing incredible work.”

The charity, set up in 2012, is based in Doncaster and provides evidence-based sleep information and support addressing an unmet need. A team of 20 world leading experts were recently recruited to a new advisory board to assure the quality of the information provided.  Direct support is provided to families of youngsters with sleep issues through funded sleep services. The organisation was one of just two in South Yorkshire who were awarded the Queen’s Award for Volunteering last year. In March 2020 the charity launched their ‘Wake Up To Sleep’ manifesto in the House of Commons, campaigning for support for those with sleep issues.

Judges’ comments: “There is clear evidence of strategic management and clear social value. I felt excited about this social enterprise.”

Congratulations to The Sleep Charity!

NE&Y&H Partnership Free Webinars/Workshops Offer for VCS Partners: Responding to Vaccine Hesitancy/Building Vaccine Confidence

Concept and Objectives

The rollout of the Covid19 vaccination programme has been rightly lauded a huge success, however vaccine hesitancy amongst some eligible populations can present a risk to population health and more often negatively impact some of our poorest communities and/or risk groups. Our conversations are powerful, therefore the provision of skills training using the principles of Making Every Contact Count (MECC) and Motivation Interviewing (MI) is an important skill that can be utilised to combat disinformation and myths and whilst providing the necessary reassurance and confidence in what is a safe and effective vaccine.

The skills training covers:

  • How we can work together to build vaccine confidence, what we know and how this links to health inequality
  • Core skills and processes (OARS, Evoke-Provide-Evoke, Decisional Balance, and the 3As)
  • Skills practice – Building confidence in the vaccine
  • Resources that staff can use to respond to questions and concerns

The session will be interactive and include modelled conversations that showcase the core skills and processes being used. The application of this work can be far-reaching. Although this is focused on the Covid vaccination programme, these skills can be utilised for childhood immunisations, flu vaccine, cancer screening and other health-promoting activities

This provision has been funded by NHSEI as part of the North East and Yorkshire Region Covid-19 support programme and will be delivered in partnership with PHE Y&H & NE and Regional MECC Networks for Y&H & NE. 

Each workshop can cater for 30 people and lasts for 2 hours, dates available from 15th June to 8th July. Click here for further information and booking links.

New Activities For People Living With Dementia And Their Carers 

People living with dementia, along with their family carers, can now enjoy a range of creative activities in Doncaster. 

darts is offering a choice of creative activities designed and delivered by professional musicians. Participants can enjoy singing songs, making music and creating connections with others in a number of ways: 

Small Singing for Memory sessions at The Point on South Parade 

While The Point is closed to the public, participants are invited to join small, socially distanced sessions in the beautiful Gallery space. These friendly sessions are led by singer Janet Wood and are Covid-safe and welcoming.  

Singing for Memory at Home 

For those who are not yet ready to attend face to face sessions, darts is offering a series of newsletters delivered to people’s homes. The newsletters include a CD or DVD with original and familiar songs and music created by darts’ musicians. There are also a limited number of CD and DVD players available for those who need them in order to access this newsletter option. 

Doorstep Gigs 

darts musicians are also offering lively music sessions on people’s doorsteps or in their gardens. Following on from the Garden Gigs delivered last summer, the mini-sessions will be interactive and joyful – bringing the best of the Singing for Memory sessions to people’s homes. 

Musician Janet Wood said, “Singing and music can make a huge difference to people’s health and wellbeing. We are offering a range of opportunities so people feel safe, connected and creative as we slowly emerge from lockdown.” 

If you would like more information about any of the opportunities or want to get involved, please contact sophie@wearedarts.org.uk  

darts continues to provide dementia-friendly activities on their website. Visit www.wearedarts.org.uk/singingformemory  to download videos, songs and activities. 

This activity is funded by The Masonic Charitable Foundation and The Paul and Nick Harvey Fund (Music for Dementia).

Charity Forum – 1st July 2021

The next Charity Forum, co-hosted by us at Voluntary Action Doncaster and Doncaster Chamber, is taking place on 1st July 2021.

These forums will facilitate collaborative thinking among the industry leaders and are designed to generate discussion and insights on the challenges and opportunities in this sector. Each session will have a theme and a panel of guest speakers that will approach the subject from different vantage points. The forums will be a platform to stimulate, educate and drive collaboration, partnerships and foster business opportunities and growth.

Our guest speaker, Wendy Ward, from Let’s Save Consultancy, is a specialised consultant who continuously works to support the third sector. More details on her presentation to follow shortly.

We will then move onto our Charity Spotlight. This time we are delighted to welcome Weston Park Cancer Charity who will give their advice on what it takes to run a successful marketing campaign.

The networking session (which is a highlight) will be extended to 45 minutes to ensure you all get a chance to build on those connections and of course make new ones. 

This event is free to attend, book your place now via the Doncaster Chamber website!

Vaccination Pop-Up in Balby

There will be a Covid-19 Vaccination pop-up taking place at St. John The Evangelist Church in Balby on 24th June 2021 from 12pm – 4pm. This is only available to Doncaster residents.

If parking a car, please use Greenfield Lane’s on road parking or Rowlands Pharmacy on Greenfield Lane, DN4 0PT.

AstraZENECA and Pfizer first and second doses available, supplies allowing.

No appointment needed. Wear a face covering and socially distance.

This information is available in various languages via our website. Please share with your networks.

Free Funding Database & Toolkit

The Charity Excellence Framework is a completely free online toolkit and Funding Finder database, with a funding search category specifically for small charities.  It also connects you to hundreds of other free funding databases and online funder lists, and its 50+ downloadable funders lists make searching easier, because the hard work has been done for you.

You can also assess any area of activity in under 30 minutes and access its huge resource base, including hundreds of organisations that provide free goods and support; here are 50+ of them, and it has its own Quality Mark.

Join by Registering Now. 

Funding Opportunities

DMBC’s latest funding newsletter is now available.

Doncaster VCFS Fund

You may recall that we launched this fund towards the end of 2020 and have been pleased to see many organisations and groups submit applications. The large grant is now closed. We are no longer able to consider applications for grants above £5000. The General and Micro grants remain open and we continue to welcome applications. 

Guidance on the fund and how to apply is available on our website

Doncaster Barrier Buster Fund

The Doncaster Barrier Buster Fund has been extended and more grants are available to distribute to Social Enterprises.

The Barrier Buster fund is available to the following groups in Doncaster who are supporting people or communities during Coronavirus pandemic: 

  • Not-for profit voluntary or community organisations 
  • Registered charities 
  • Faith-based organisations 
  • Not-for profit companies, community interest companies or social enterprises 

Please make sure you read the information and criteria in full. Applications should be clearly marked ‘Barrier Buster Fund’ and emailed to welldoncaster@doncaster.gov.uk or posted to Public Health, Well Doncaster, Floor 4, Civic Office, Waterdale, Doncaster, DN1 3BU. There is no deadline for this fund.

Note that organisations who have already received funding from this grant are eligible to apply again, as long as the project/idea is different.

South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Fund

Funding is available to community groups, social enterprises and non-profit organisations working in South Yorkshire who provide support to young people to stop them engaging in violent crime. The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit are asking for applications into their Violence Reduction Fund 2021 from organisations who are working with young people on a range of issues.

Funding of up to £20,000 is available and applications are sought from those who are working with young people supporting the Violence Reduction Unit’s sixteen priorities.

The activity or projects can be existing or new projects. Core costs, staff costs and activity costs can be funded. This round of funding closes on 28 June 2021 at 12 noon. No late admissions will be accepted.

A panel will score applications and successful recipients will be notified week commencing 12 July 2021. The funding must be spent before 31 March 2022, to adhere to the terms and conditions of the grant.

Find out more and apply via their website.

Job Opportunities

The latest Vacancy Bulletin from DMBC is now available.

Digital Marketing Trainee – Voluntary Action Doncaster

This Traineeship work experience is part of an education and training programme that is focused on giving young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for. At its core is the Work Preparation training, English, and maths for those who need it, and a high-quality work experience placement.

Traineeships help unlock your great potential and give you the work preparation training, maths, English, Digital Skills, and work experience needed to get an Apprenticeship or other job.

Are you currently not in a job? Do you have little or no work experience?

Are you aged 16 to 24 and qualified below a Level 4?

The role is exciting and multifaceted with duties including but not limited to:

  • Learn and understand the principles behind effective social media content
  • Create and manage content using analytics to gauge performance
  • Learn about and optimise search engines
  • Update and manage social media platforms
  • Create targeted campaigns
  • Website updates
  • Design marketing material
  • Communicate effectively with customers

Working closely with the employer you will gain sector specific knowledge, skills, and behaviours. Furthermore, the real work experience will help to develop a digital portfolio that will be used to showcase yourself to prospective employers. In addition, you will also gain core skills such as maths, English, and Digital Skills.

Find out more and apply via the gov.uk website. The closing date for applications is 30th June 2021.

Business Administration Apprentice – Voluntary Action Doncaster

We are looking for an enthusiastic and confident person to join our small team. This is a unique opportunity.  You will be a pivotal member of the team, gaining skills and qualifications to develop key administration skills.  As the organisation grows there may be opportunities to take on additional responsibilities.  This will be a home based role.  It is important that applicants have good internet connections at home.  Equipment (laptop and phone) will be provided. 

The successful candidate will be highly adaptable to new working environments.  Working remotely will mean that you will be confident enough to ask questions and seek guidance as and when you need to.  You must have good attention to detail. This would be perfect for someone who is comfortable using IT and who is familiar with email, word processing, spreadsheets, databases and social media tools.

The role is exciting and multifaceted with duties including but not limited to:

  • Office/admin support
  • Dealing with enquiries
  • Database upkeep and management . maintaining our Volunteer Hub – checking and approving registrations, Monitor and report on activity and respond to enquiries, Manage information and data, compiling information, running reports
  • Appointment management and diary control.
  • Creating and updating records.
  • Handling enquiries by email, and telephone, assisting members and partners when required.
  • Ensuring a high level of customer service by ensuring effective relationships with volunteers, partners and colleagues.
  • Supporting the Board by arranging meetings, circulating the agenda and any relevant papers, attending meetings and taking minutes.
  • Project support – Maintain and update project plans
  • Maintaining a professional image at all times.

You can find out more about the role and apply via the gov.uk website. The closing date for applications is 30th June 2021.

Counsellor – Caritas Counselling Service

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join Caritas Counselling Services’ team of dedicated counsellors working across South Yorkshire. They have recently received a UK Enterprise award for the Most Dedicated Family Mental Health Service – South Yorkshire.

They are currently working in 17 schools as well as supporting young people and adults across the wider community, in a variety of settings.

They are seeking to develop their services in Doncaster and are looking for qualified counsellors who are registered with a national body and have experience in working with children and/or adults .

For more information contact Bernie Ware via telephone: 07980 406198.

Contribute to our Next Newsletter!

If you have an article, job opportunity or funding opportunity you would like to see featured in the next edition of this newsletter, please send it to us at info@voluntaryactiondoncaster.org.uk by 1pm on Wednesday 30th June.