Newsletter and Update No. 20 – 22nd December 2020

Message from Cath Witherington – Chief Officer 

Season’s Greetings to everyone. This year is going to be very different to our usual festivities. I hope you all at least manage to take a break and be kind to yourself!  

Whilst 2020 has been so very difficult for so many, what I will remember most about 2020 is the marvelous community spirit.  People being kind to others. Coming together to support our local communities. People generously giving their time, company and support to those in need of a helping hand. Such a positive illustration of what can be achieved when we pool our strengths, talents and resources. Acting together we are much more powerful than when we act alone.  So it’s on this really positive note that I look forward to working with you all next year so that together we can continue to develop Voluntary Action Doncaster and continue to extend that support to even more people in the years ahead.  

In the meantime I wanted to announce an exciting opportunity of some financial support for the sector. Voluntary Action Doncaster is proud to be managing part of a new Doncaster VCFS Fund. Open now, with the first grants being awarded in the New Year. Voluntary Action Doncaster will be managing the micro grants (for awards up to a maximum value of £750). The full guidance can be found on our website

We have tried to keep the application form as simple as possible. However, if it’s still too difficult to complete a form – we will be allowing organisations to book an appointment with the panel. That way you can simply tell us about your plans. As long as we can get enough information to validate your proposal and make a decision, we don’t want bureaucracy to get in the way. We are still finalising the details of the panel arrangements and we will confirm those details as soon as we can. So please do take a look at the guidance and submit a bid. The Fund will be allocated on a first come first served basis and will close once it has been fully allocated.  

Voluntary Action Doncaster will be closing between Christmas and the New Year, and we will be open again from 4 January 2020. In the meantime, stay safe and well. 

Family Guide to Festivities – Meeting the Needs of Older People

A guide has been produced by the Older People’s Faculty of the British Psychological Society, and whilst it is written with a focus on Christmas, much of the advice is relevant year round. The guide particularly focuses on support for those difficult times both before and after the short time-window in which government rules are permitting greater social contact. The information provided is correct at the time of publication, but please check government guidelines prior to meeting with any other households.

Social Isolation Alliance Helpline Christmas Opening Times

Social Isolation Alliance Helpline: 01302 430322

Christmas Eve: 9.00am-4.00pm

Christmas Day: Closed

Boxing Day: Closed

Sunday 27th – Wednesday 30th December: 9.00am-5.00pm

New Year’s Eve: 9.00am-4.00pm

New Year’s Day: Closed

Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd January: 9.00am-5.00pm

Become a Vaccination Volunteer with St John’s Ambulance

St John volunteers will help people throughout the whole vaccination process, from arrival to discharge, providing support to vaccinators and caring for people before and after they have the injection, as well as administering the vital jabs themselves.  You can see the roles available on our website. You’ll receive full training from us and the NHS for each specific role.

We’re incredibly excited about creating a healthier, safer, more resilient future. If you want to be a part of this, we’d love to have you on board! Check out the volunteering roles and some FAQs below and visit our dedicated vaccination volunteer website for full information and to apply.” 

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

NHS Doncaster’s Clinical Commissioning Group has created a COVID vaccine FAQ page which contains information about the vaccine itself as well as the rollout process for administering it to the public. If you or someone you know has a query about the vaccine which isn’t answered here, you can contact NHS Doncaster’s CCG via their email address:

Community Wealth Builder

The Community Wealth Builder project is excited to announce the launch of their new website.

The site is a place for social enterprises to collaborate – acting as a platform for networking, commissioning and innovation. Buyers can link with local suppliers and advertise local contract opportunities, supporting social value outcomes. The Community Wealth Builder site aims to ensure that wealth is reinvested back into the Sheffield City Region by linking buyers looking to procure goods and services with our local social enterprise ‘suppliers’.

The site also has a ‘Help and Resources’ section – allowing users to access a range of free support including webinars, help guides, events, factsheets and funding opportunities.

Register today for access to the full range of support and services.

An Update From Thrive at Doncaster Mind

Referral Pathway

The Thrive@DM service can now accept referrals not only concerning ‘high intensity users’ of A&E but also for individuals who contact/attend services more frequently than typically expected. Examples could include; an individual who frequently calls the GP throughout the day or week because they are anxious about their health. Or perhaps, someone who depends on calling 111 for regular support in the evening.

Referrals from self or professionals are accepted via our website or you can call: 01302 812198 or email:

Winter Well-Being Sessions

We are now offering Winter Well-Being Sessions. The sessions will be delivered once a week (Tuesdays 11:30-12:30) online via Zoom. The session considers how to set ‘intentions’, plan for change, focus on needs and recognise strengths together with supporting emotional wellbeing.

Please contact us via the details provided above if you identify an individual who may benefit from attending one of our sessions.

The Winter Wellness booklet was designed collaboratively with IMP;ACT and Safe Space to help support people during the winter months.

Virtual Funding Fayre

Here at Voluntary Action Doncaster we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a virtual funding fayre event on 12th February 2021 in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund. It will be a zoom event – 11am to 1pm. To book a place, please email us at We will be focusing on funding throughout February and will be posting updates on our social media as well as future editions of this newsletter so please make sure you follow us to find out more!

Fully Funded Fuel Debt Advice in the Community Webinars

There are two free courses available online from National Energy Action. These courses will be suitable for any staff and volunteers who come into contact with community members.

Changing Energy-Related Behaviour (Short Course)

This course aims to make delegates aware of some of the theories and findings in the field of decision making, focusing specifically on simple practical things they can do to encourage people to act on the energy-related advice they receive.

You can find more information, apply for a space on one of the sessions via their website.

City and Guilds Level 2 accredited Fuel Debt Advice in the Community 

Delivered across three webinars this course aims to provide an understanding of the causes of fuel debt, issues householders may face with meters, fuel statements, payment and tariff options. It also considers consumers, private landlords and fuel suppliers obligations, as well as complaints procedures and support available for low-income and vulnerable households.

You can find out more about the course and how it is run via this link. If you’re interested, find a session and apply as soon as you can because places are limited and being filled quickly!

Census 2021 – Purple Plaque

To mark Census 2021 in England and Wales, a competition has launched to find the nation’s unsung community heroes. 22 people, one for each census that has taken place to date, will have their community spirit and efforts commemorated with a unique purple plaque. The iconic plaques, in the brand colour of Census 2021, can be placed in or on the winner’s home, place of work or a community building depending on their preference and permissions.

From a schoolteacher who has transformed lives, to a doctor who has saved them; communities up and down the country are bursting with ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. People are being asked to nominate their community’s heroes by visiting

The window for nominations will close on 31st December and nominees will be judged by a panel of community champions, led by actress and TV presenter Joanna Page. The plaques will be installed ahead of census day, 21 March 2021.

Funding Opportunities

Funding for community groups to tackle loneliness

The Government announced on 9th December that book clubs, walking groups and other community projects will be able to apply for a £4 million fund designed to help reduce loneliness in the coming months. The Local Connections Fund is designed to help local organisations bring people and communities together as the country recovers from the coronavirus outbreak. For more information read the full announcement.

SYFAB Training Sessions

Preparing Awards for All Applications

Awards for All is a National Lottery Community Fund scheme giving grants of £300 – £10,000. Would you like to know more about the process? This interactive webinar on Zoom will help you understand the programme and prepare your funding application. The session includes a group exercise. 10.00 – 11.30 Wednesday 13th January. £10 for voluntary groups, £40 consultants or public sector employees

Reaching Communities Masterclass (virtual classroom)

Reaching Communities is a National Lottery Community Fund scheme giving grants above £10,000. If you’re planning to apply this session will help you understand the programme and prepare your application. A National Lottery Community Fund Funding Officer for South Yorkshire will be attending part of the session. 9.30 – 2.30 Wednesday 20th January. £50 for voluntary groups, £100 for consultants or public sector employees

Making the Ask: Making the Move (virtual classroom)

Join us in a virtual classroom (Zoom) to explore the considerations and steps required to plan your approach to ask for support from a business (also known as corporate fundraising). 10.00 – 3.30 Wednesday 27th January £80 for voluntary groups, £160 consultants or public sector employees

Job Opportunities

Communications & Marketing Co-ordinator – SYCF

South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation are looking for a passionate, positive, and experienced individual with communications and/or marketing experience to join their Team. Reporting to the Head of Philanthropy, the job holder will be responsible for developing, and then executing actions to enhance philanthropic giving across South Yorkshire through key messaging, in line with the needs of our valued donors and the communities that SYCF supports.

If you have experience of working in a people related environment or similar, want to work in a community foundation, have gained experience of working in a communication and/or marketing environment, have excellent communication, digital skills, social media, networking, and analytical skills, and are passionate about improving the lives of communities in South Yorkshire, then we would like to hear from you.

This is a full-time role and the deadline for applications is Monday 18th January 2021 at 10AM. You can find more information about the role and how to apply on the SYCF website.

Social Enterprise Exchange (SEE) Fund Manager – SYCF

Social Enterprise Exchange (SEE) is a programme managed by a consortium of specialist social enterprise support organisations and part funded by the European Union through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme 2014-2020. SEE provides a comprehensive programme of social enterprise support contributing to jobs, growth and social inclusion across the Sheffield City Region, linked to the Regional Growth Hub. The project will promote social entrepreneurship, through awareness raising events, knowledge exchange and peer networking; it will provide step-up support for start-ups, including hot-desks, start-up grants and mentoring; and it will offer specialist enterprise advice and support for existing social enterprises to grow and to develop new products and services.

The Fund Manager’s role is to assist in the delivery of the Social Enterprise Exchange Programme (SEE) with particular responsibility for the distribution of the South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s funds, SEE grants panels, and DIGITS database, in ways which are comprehensive, fair, and equitable and meet contractual requirements. The successful candidate will work alongside other Fund Managers in the SYCF Grants Team and SEE partners to deliver the programme.

SYCF are looking for someone who has excellent verbal and written communication skills, has experience of managing and distributing community grants; business acumen and used to working as part of a small team are essential, preferably with previous experience of ERDF programmes. This post has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the 2014-2020 Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

You can also find more information about this role and how to apply on the SYCF website.


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