Voluntary, Community & Faith Sector Newsletter – 12 February 2021

Newsletter and Update No. 23 – 12th February 2021

Message from Cath Witherington – Chief Officer 

It’s always interesting to reflect over what has happened over the past couple of weeks when preparing my introduction to our newsletter. Earlier this week I had a fascinating conversation with a former colleague about what the legacy of this pandemic would be. I thought it would be helpful to share those reflections here. 

In the UK and across much of Europe, government responses have been radical and exhaustive. Health services have mobilised at scale, finance ministries have acted fast. Individuals have adapted to strict restrictions and many have suffered tremendous loss. Whilst the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, this crisis has shown beyond a shadow of doubt the importance of the voluntary, community and faith sector to our nation – now and in the future. 

There many areas in which the COVID-19 crisis has put a spotlight on a wide range of social issues for example:

  • National lockdowns have been harder for families with no outdoor space, little access to technology and lower or interrupted incomes.
  • Awareness of existing inequalities have been heightened. Financial difficulties, children being permanently at home, increased domestic violence and health agencies under pressure all increase inequalities.
  • There is a recognition that the pandemic is likely to leave a legacy of poor mental health. People with other clinical conditions face extended waiting times – so what preventative or coping support can be provided in the meantime?
  • For vulnerable groups in particular, social distancing may be required for some time to come, which means that ongoing community support and civic engagement could be vital for a ‘new normal’ ahead of us.
  • The shift to digital first and home working has been seismic. After an extensive period of remote working, many organisations will want to retain its advantages going forward. That will come with a range of technological and HR implications, and the way in which we use space. Combined with the growth of online shopping what will this mean for the town centres of the future? 
  • In the UK, some 750,000 people volunteered to support the NHS by offering practical help including back office administrative support and producing comfort packs for patients. Here in Doncaster, in addition to the many local community groups and volunteers that have been working hard for the past year, I am so proud to be able to say that nearly 200 new volunteers have come forward in the past month alone to help with the vaccine roll out. That’s fantastic! Thank you. If anyone else wants to help, our door is still open. 

As normal life eventually resumes, these extraordinary levels of volunteering will inevitably drop off. But I think a critical challenge for our sector is to improve awareness, understanding and appreciation of how we can be mobilised quickly and effectively at all times – not just during a national emergency. Our sector has never been more needed and there is certainly a clear and ongoing need for our collective support.

We have another bumper packed edition which I trust you will find as useful as ever!  Over the coming editions, our Trustees will be introducing the newsletter – so I hope you will enjoy meeting the Board and I will be back in a few weeks. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Information in 11 Languages

NHS doctors, nurses and other frontline staff have come forward to help reassure communities that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and have been independently tested to the highest standards. Clinicians have recorded messages in some of the most commonly spoken languages – apart from English – in the UK to help ensure messages about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine reach everyone.

They explain how the vaccine is given, and give clear evidence that the vaccines work and are safe. It is hoped that the videos will be shared among friends, families, faith and community groups via WhatsApp, text message and on social media.

You can view the script in English and download the videos via the NHS England website.

The languages the videos have been produced in are: Arabic; Bengali; Gujarati; Polish; Punjabi; Romanian; Spanish; Swahili; Turkish; Urdu and Yoruba.

COVID-19 Volunteer Vaccination Marshalls Needed!

It is fantastic news that we have commenced the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Primary Care across Doncaster. As this is the largest vaccination programme ever embarked on in Doncaster we are asking for as much support as possible, from volunteers, to support marshalling the five vaccination sites across Doncaster. ​We’ve had a fantastic response to this call for volunteers so far, but we need to keep up the momentum as there will be an ongoing demand for support throughout the vaccination rollout.

The marshalling support will involve the following duties;

  • Greeting and directing those people being vaccinated to the correct place within the venue
  • Taking temperatures/asking questions regarding symptoms
  • Informing attendees about COVID safety measures
  • Maintaining flow and social distancing
  • Observing people for 15 minutes post vaccination
  • Support to anyone requiring additional assistance e.g. mobility issues
  • Providing general support to staff working at the site

As a Vaccination Marshal Volunteer, you will not be asked to provide medical assistance, advice or personal care to patients. 

The role will be an active one and volunteers will need to be mobile/on their feet for the duration of the session. This role is open to those aged 16 and over.  

The rotas are subject to change according to the availability of the vaccine and this can be at short notice. Typically, a session will be from 8am to 2pm and 2pm to 8pm daily. Volunteers will be required to attend a briefing on arrival at site and therefore must arrive 15 minutes prior to the session start time. It may also be necessary to stay on-site for a debrief/handover at the end of each session. It is vital that you have photo ID with you. Please wear your own mask if you are able to, but personal protective equipment will be provided by the site.

Anyone who is able to help out should complete this ​short form​ (you can specify in the comment box that you would like to support the vaccination programme) and we will be in touch with further details and to facilitate your placement on the rota. You will receive at least one email per week – usually on a Friday – showing the shifts available for the following week for you to book on to. If you know of anyone interested in supporting the vaccination rollout, please share this with them! 

You can send any queries to ​volunteering@voluntaryactiondoncaster.org.uk

Advice for Supermarket Customer Service Advisers

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have created a document to help customer-facing supermarket staff who are in contact with the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable population.

The FAQ page can be accessed via our website.

Funding February

Here at Voluntary Action Doncaster, we are hosting some great funding fayre webinar sessions as part of our Funding February Initiative. Today we had a great session with The National Lottery Community Fund, where they explained the amazing support they offer and how VCFS organisations can access it.

Next week on Friday 19th February we will be joined by Clive Smith from Rotary Club of Doncaster St George’s, he’ll be telling us all about their Community Grants Scheme. There’s an article about the scheme in this newsletter, so have a look and get in touch to book your place if you’re interested!

Following this, on Friday 26th February, we will be hosting a session with SYFAB’s Peter Foyle, who will be giving an introduction to finding funding for community activities, such as where to start and who to apply to. He will also be covering what support is available from South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau. SYFAB is a great source of information for all things funding, lots of the grants and funds we’ve featured in this newsletter are ones we have been made aware of thanks to the work they do!  

If you would like to book a place on either (or both!) of these upcoming events, please email info@voluntaryactiondoncaster.org.uk and specify which session you’re interested in attending.

Bridging the Access Gap in Yorkshire

A new initiative to encourage more members of the public to take up sign language as an extra language and skill is now available to residents of Yorkshire.  The Signs4Life scheme is to help people to communicate and engage with children and adults who may have hearing impairments. 

Hana Riaz, Signs4Life programme manager, explains “There are more than nine million hearing-impaired people registered in the UK. We have already worked with York Minster, Leeds College of Art, Whitby air cadets, and Bradford’s Science and Media Museum. We wanted to open our programs to the general public, who might also have an interest in learning sign language, especially now that many people are stuck at home during this third lockdown. We are offering a free 6-week BSL program, which you can enjoy and access from the comfort of your homes, delivered through Zoom”. Signs4Life is leading efforts towards a society in which people with disabilities have full access and are working to raise the public and political awareness of disability provision. 

For more details on the free community program, due to start after February half-term, please email Hana, on hana.riaz@signs4life.org

Mac Group Professional Holistic Therapies

“No matter what age or status, we cannot underestimate the value of talking through our current life challenges. 

If you or someone in your network is experiencing anxiety, depression or emotional discomfort, Mac Group can remotely support them towards a more balanced state. Mac Group provides numerous holistic therapies by trained professionals across the borough. We have immediate access to NO FEE remote hypnotherapy or talking therapies to support emotional well-being.

For a simple referral process contact Sarah

Tel: 01302 278184

Email: sarahallantherapies@gmail.com

Any questions contact us via phone on 07951 138579 or via our website.”

Free EU Settlement Scheme Workshops

Migration Yorkshire and Seraphus are hosting a range of workshops aimed at LAs, charities, third sector organisations and faith and community groups who are already working with EU nationals and their families, and are familiar with the EU Settlement Scheme and the eligibility criteria.

The purpose of this workshop is to give frontline staff a clear understanding of:

  • what having pre-settled status means, rights and responsibilities that comes with it, and future challenges
  • the rights different groups of EU nationals and their family members will have during the ‘grace period’ (starting from 1st January 2021 and lasting until 30th June 2021) and implications that might have on the EU Settlement Scheme
  • how EU family members can join their ‘sponsors’ in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme, what conditions they have to meet and the rights EU joining family members will have in the UK and how they can lose them
  • where the EU Settlement Scheme is at and the changes that have happened since the scheme opened to the public in March 2019

These online workshops will take place via WebEx and will include a presentation (which will be shared with the delegates after the event). You can book your place at these workshops via the links below:

EU nationals with pre-settled status:

Wed, 24th February 10:00-11:30am

Thurs, 11th March 10:00-11:30am

EU Settlement Scheme in the ‘Grace period’

Wed, 3rd March 10:00-11:30am

Thurs, 18th March 10:00-11:30am

EU Settlement Scheme and EU joining family members

Wed, 24th March 10:00-11:30am

Progress of the EU Settlement Scheme

Wed, 31st March 10:00-11:30am

Community Matters Research Project

Community Matters are looking at how Community Spaces are coping with the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and what the future holds.

The research is going to be in two parts, the first being a survey for which they need as many organisations to complete as possible, as this allows them to speak to public sector bodies with a strong evidence base. It should take about 10 minutes to complete the survey.

The other part of the research is a round of interviews, so if you would be interested in taking part in this please contact Heather at admin@community-matters.org.uk.

#NeverMoreNeeded: #RightNow Campaign

The #NeverMoreNeeded campaign is having an action day on 17th February 2021 called #RightNow.

The idea is for voluntary sector organisations up and down the country to post statements on their social media pages such as:

  • #RightNow, we’re checking in on some older people isolating in our community
  • #RightNow, we’re answering calls to our helpline
  • #RightNow, charities and their volunteers are restocking 1,500 food banks
  • #RightNow, we’re raising money for our local youth group

The #RightNow Campaign is an opportunity to join other charity supporters and send a public message to the government that charities urgently need an Emergency Support Fund so they can provide vital support to our communities and causes.

They have written an open letter to the government, as well as creating a template for everyone to use to contact their local MP, as well as Social Media assets to be used before and during the campaign day. These can be accessed via their website.

The Sleep Charity CEO Wins Award

‘Doncaster CEO, Vicki Dawson, of award-winning voluntary organisation, The Sleep Charity, has been awarded a top accolade at the Nursery World Awards.

Vicki was crowned the winner in the Trainer of the Year category at the Nursery World virtual award ceremony on 4th February. The award was for those responsible for early years and childcare training in colleges, training companies and in-house nursery groups.

Said Vicki Dawson, CEO of The Sleep Charity: “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded Trainer of the Year. Well done to everyone who was shortlisted. It’s great to see so many people out there doing incredible work and that it is being acknowledged.”’

Read the full press release to find out more. Congratulations Vicki!

Funding Opportunities

DMBC’s latest Funding Newsletter is now available.

Rotary Club of Doncaster St George’s Community Grants

Each year the Rotary Club of Doncaster St. George’s makes donations to local charities and community groups under its Community Grant Scheme. Applications are now being considered for Grants of up to £750. Over 100 charities have benefited since the scheme’s inception including, among many others, carers groups, brownies, autism charities, counselling organisations, community libraries, the local branch of the Samaritans and conservation projects. In 2020 we were able to award grants totalling over £20,000 to more than 20 different charities and groups.

If you would like an application form and/or information on how to apply, please contact the grants coordinator Clive Smith by email at:


Completed application forms must be received by 31st March 2021.

Here at Voluntary Action Doncaster, we are hosting a webinar session with Clive Smith from the Rotary Club of Doncaster St. George’s as part of our Funding February initiative. The session will take place on Zoom on Friday 19th February, where Clive will be telling us more about the Community Grant Scheme, how grants have been used in the past and giving more information about how to apply.

If you’re interested in coming along to this session, please email info@voluntaryactiondoncaster.org.uk

Carers Trust Grants

Carers Trust are currently offering grants to carers to the value of £300. They recognise that the process to get such a grant can be one of the main reasons that puts people off applying, so with this in mind, DonMentia is supporting Crossroads to administer applications to make it really easy for Carers. The grants are for all carers and not just carers of people affected by dementia, but they are pushing for dementia applications across the borough.

You can find out more about the grant and how to apply via their poster.

Job Opportunities

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Co-ordinator 

This is a new and exciting time for the Inclusion and Fairness Forum and Voluntary Action Doncaster. We are eager to take forward a new programme of work to help embed the principles of our new Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Statement with a wide range of partner organisations across Doncaster. We are looking for an Equality Diversity and Inclusion Co- ordinator to engage individuals, groups and stakeholders. This is a unique opportunity to represent the voice of disadvantaged and under-represented groups and influence and improve the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion practice of a wide range of partner organisations..

We are looking for a dynamic individual that can work effectively with stakeholders. The post holder will work with a Leadership Team drawn from key partner organisations. chosen for their skills, knowledge and experience. They will provide vital strategic support and direction.

This would be perfect for an experienced Equalities Co-ordinator or Project Manager who has relevant lived experience or someone who has a good understanding of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion issues. We would be open to a secondment for a period of 1 year into this role for the right candidate and if their employer would permit it.

For further information, please read the Inclusion & Fairness Forum’s EDI Statement Analysis and the Recruitment Pack for this role. The vacancy is also advertised on the Jobcentre website.

If you have any further questions, please email cath@voluntaryactiondoncaster.org.uk

Closing date: noon on Friday 26th February 2021.

Interviews will be held via Zoom week commencing 8th March 2021

NHS Careers

Advance are holding a masterclass for careers in the NHS in conjunction with DBHT and RDaSH with guest speakers from the recruiting managers.

They will be discussing current and pending vacancies and opportunities along with hints and tips for applications. There will be an emphasis on how people can transfer their skills from other sectors, therefore if you know anyone furloughed and looking for a change, anyone facing redundancy or generally looking for a career in the NHS this could be a great opportunity for them to find out more.

The free event is taking place on Tuesday 16th February, 1pm – 2pm. To register or find out more, head to their Eventbrite page.

Public Health Improvement Officer

Doncaster Council’s Public Health team are looking for two highly motivated and enthusiastic individuals with a passion for Public Health to be part of their Wider Determinants Team. The link between health and the environment has a strong evidence base and these posts will be at the forefront of assisting in the development of sustainable and innovative approaches to provide the right conditions for residents to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. The post-holders will work with different council departments, communities and external partners to identify opportunities that will reduce health inequalities in Doncaster by developing healthy places and tackling the wider determinants of health.

You can apply for this role via the DMBC website, applications close on 18th February 2021. For further details or an informal chat please contact: Caroline Temperton, Tel: 01302 734481 or Email: caroline.temperton@doncaster.gov.uk.

For further vacancies please take a look at the latest Employment Hub Vacancy Bulletin.

Director of Finance

Project 6 is looking for a new Director of Finance whose key purpose will be to work as part of a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to create a healthy, positive and high performing team and organisational culture. Working to achieve Project 6’s strategic objectives while promoting their values at all times and ensuring long-term financial sustainability.    

Director of Finance Key Responsibilities:   

  • Work collaboratively with the CEO and SLT colleagues to deliver a shared vision and deliver strategic priorities in line with the organisation’s business plan.    
  • Reporting directly to the CEO; providing sound financial advice to the Finance Committee and the SLT in line with our values.   
  • To take the lead on projects specifically related to finance; working with other SLT members as appropriate.   
  • To develop, implement and direct Financial systems and procedures in conjunction with senior managers and external advisers, where necessary.   

For a thorough job description/person specification and to apply for this role, please visit the Project 6 website.

Project 6 also added: “We have recently undertaken the challenge of looking at ourselves in terms of diversity and inclusion and would be delighted to see applications from all the communities we exist to support, particularly from people from BAME communities, who are under-represented within our organisation.” 

Closing date: Friday 5th March 2021 at 5pm 

Interview date/s: W/C 15th March 2021

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 24th February.

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