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VAS information digest

7th April 2017


Facing Forward: How Small and Medium-Sized Charities Can Adapt to Survive

Government, funders and large charities must take urgent action if small charities are to survive turbulent times ahead, according to new analysis published by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales.

Facing Forward presents a candid analysis of the ten-upcoming political, economic, social and technological changes which will dramatically affect the operating landscape for the 65,000 small and medium charities working at the heart of communities across England and Wales.

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The House of Lords Report on Charities

The House of Lords select committee on charities has published its report, entitled Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society. The analysis and recommendations of this cross-party committee’s report recognise that Britain benefits greatly from our sector. But that for that to continue, charities, and those who support them, need to adapt so that they can better make an impact in the changing world around them.

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Dell 59 Bundle from Project Reboot

Project Reboot refurbishes old computers and laptops and sells them on to local people. Project Reboot are now offering a complete PC package including a Dell PC with Windows 7 preinstalled, Dell monitor, keyboard, mouse and WiFi dongle, for £59.

Project Reboot is a project of Swindon Children's Scrapstore, a low cost community resource centre and environmental charity.

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PAT Testing at VAS

Organisations (including charities) are legally obligated to ensure that all electrical systems (including electrical appliances) are maintained, so far as is reasonably practicable, to prevent danger. One simple way of doing this is annual Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing), which involves routine checking electrical appliances for safety.

VAS's qualified PAT tester provides a PAT testing service for all class 1 and 2 electrical equipment, including desktop and laptop computers, monitors, speakers, printers, scanners, photocopiers, faxes, microwaves, kettles, toasters, cables, leads, plugs and more.

The cost per item is £1 for the first 100 items, and 65p per item for subsequent items. A £20 call out fee is applied to all visits.

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Swindon Seniors Forum Open Meeting

Swindon Seniors Forum are holding an open meeting on the subject of 'Keeping Up to Date with Your Financial Entitlements.' The meeting will feature speakers from Age UK and U3A (University of the Third Age).

Date: Thursday 27th April
Time: 1:30pm - 4pm
Venue: Grange Community Centre, Grange Drive, Stratton St Margaret, SN3 4JY

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Swindon Sports Forum Meeting

The main speakers will be from Sport England who will be talking about their new strategy and the funding streams that are available as a result, including the Community Asset Fund, a capital fund dedicated to enhancing local community spaces.

Date: 27th April 2017
Time: 6:15pm - 9pm
Venue: Broome Manor Golf Complex, The Fairway (off Pipers Way), Swindon, SN3 1RG

If you are interested in attending please email

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Funding Opportunities

Masonic Charitable Foundation

The Masonic charities amalgamated in 2015 to create the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is now one of the largest grant-making charities in the UK. Its Community Support programme offers two levels of grant support for registered charities: large grants of over £5,000 can be awarded to charities for a specific purpose; and small grants of between £500 and £5,000.

Funding is available for the following areas: financial hardship, health and disability, education and employability, and social exclusion and disadvantage.

Apply Now


Project Worker / Project Support Worker at STEP

Post: Project Worker / Project Support Worker

Salary: £17,500 - £23,500 pro rata (JNC qualified or equivalent)
£14,500 - £19,000 pro rata (non – JNC qualified)

Hours: Variable (full time / part time / sessional) - ability to work regular evenings and weekends with summer and half term activities

Role: Swindon 10 to 18 Project are looking for a vibrant, hardworking individual who works well with young people and has experience within a youth work setting.

Your job will be to support and engage young people, including those with additional needs, through delivery of therapeutic group work sessions.

Acting as both supporter and group facilitator, you’ll draw up session plans to assist young people through and beyond the challenges they face, and work with them to make positive changes. You’ll need to have excellent listening skills, balanced with a team-orientated and proactive attitude.

Closing date for applications is 21st April 2017, 12.00pm. Interviews will be held week commencing 1st May 2017.

Read More and Apply

Memory Makers Case Manager at SMASH

Post: Memory Makers Case Manager

Salary: £22,788 P/A

Hours: 28 hours per week

Role: Memory Makers is part of SMASH. Now in it’s fourth year Memory Makers works with children from 9 to 12 years old who are having a few problems at school or at home. By matching them with a volunteer Memory Maker, the project gives them new experiences, a safe and supportive adult to spend time with and positive childhood memories to help them build confidence, resilience and hope for the future.

SMASH are now recruiting a Case Manager to work with the volunteers and children and to take Memory Makers to the next level. The successful candidate will have a relevant qualification and experience of working with vulnerable children and young people. They will also have a can do attitude, a caring nature and a smile to share.

The nature of the work means that the post holder will be expected to work outside normal office hours and occasionally at the weekend in order to meet the client group's requirements.

Closing date for applications 9am on Monday 24th April 2017. Interviews to be held Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd of May 2017.

Read More and Apply

Manager at Clivey & Twist

Post: Manager

Salary: £22,500 – £24,500

Hours: 37 including some evenings

Role: Clivey and Twist is a vibrant youth project, and they are looking for a passionate and committed hardworking individual, who will change the lives of children and young people that they work with as well as elevate the project to the next level.

Your job will be to:
  • To work in accordance with the vision, aims and objectives of the project.
  • To lead the development of the project in line with the agreed business plan
  • To line manage and supervise the Clivey and Twist team of paid and volunteer staff
  • To be accountable to the Management Group
  • Face to face work with young people
  • Session Planning

Closing date for completed applications is 12.00pm Thursday 4th May 2017. Interviews will be held week commencing 8th May 2017.

Read More and Apply

Experienced Cafe Cook at the Olive Tree Cafe

Post: Cafe Cook

Salary: £8.23 per hour

Hours: Part-time (between 12 and 18 hours a week, regular hours: 9-4pm Tuesdays and 10-3.30pm three Sundays out of four, plus occasional additional hours to cover annual leave and sickness when required.)

Role: Your role will be to deliver hot food from the menu including all-day breakfasts, omelettes and light lunches – all as part of a friendly team of staff and volunteers. You will need to be flexible, fit and enjoy a busy workplace.

You will join a team of people who, as well as serving good, fresh food in a busy cafe, are part of a project that is making a real difference in the community.

Closing date for applications 22nd April 2017 and interviews will be conducted on Friday 28th April 2017.

Read More and Apply


Disability Experts Courses April-July

Disability Experts CIC, based at the VAS building on John Street, are running a range of courses from April to July. These courses include Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), Digital Skills, Driving Theory, Employability Skills and more.

View the Activity Timetable

Fill out a Referral Form

Funding & Governance

15 Questions Trustees Should Ask

Charity trustees need to be able to identify the critical issues - the charity’s purposes and plans, its solvency, its resilience and quality of governance - and to be able to review these at regular intervals. The commission has designed 15 questions to help charity trustees carry out such a review and decide what they need to focus on. The commission has also included links to guidance that can help them understand the issues in more detail.

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Charity Commission Now Provides Accounts Templates for Charitable Companies

The Charity Commission has launched the accounts templates pack for small charitable companies to help trustees of charitable companies with an income of under £500,000 prepare their accounts. The new charitable company accounts templates are the product of a close partnership between Companies House and the Charity Commission to ensure that the templates reflect the regulatory requirements, current guidance and best practice.

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Voluntary Action Swindon is registered charity no. 287732.

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