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Swindon's voluntary & community sector
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VAS information digest

23rd December 2016


Opening Times Over Christmas

The VAS office at John Street will close at 12.30pm today (Friday 23rd December) and will reopen at 9:30am on Tuesday 3rd January.

The main Sanford House reception and Citizens Advice Swindon reception at Sanford House will close at 4pm today (Friday 23rd December) and will reopen at 9:30am on Tuesday 3rd January.

From all at VAS, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Passes Available for Fleming Way Parking

VAS has two passes available for spaces at the Fleming Way car park. These passes are available at £55 per month for employees of local charities and community groups. This is a large discount, as the passes cost £172 if purchased directly from the Council. The passes can be used at any time, 7 days a week.

For further information please email or call us on 01793 538 398.

Charities at Risk of Cyber Attack

The Charity Commission has issued an alert about two prevalent scams that charities should be aware of. In the first, fraudsters are sending out phishing emails to personal and business email addresses with the message subject heading ‘Crime Prevention Advice’. These emails distribute powerful malware via a malicious email attachment.

The second scam involves emails with the subject heading ‘Notice of Intended Prosecution’ and ‘NIP - Notice Number’ followed by a combination of letters and numbers. These emails distribute Banking Trojan malware, through a malicious link embedded within the email.

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Commissioning in Crisis

A report by the Lloyds Bank Foundation argues that current commissioning processes are a major threat to the survival of smaller charities. The report states that the requirements of commissioning can shut many small and medium-sized charities out, as they have too few resources to dedicate to the tender process, so inevitably find it harder to respond to disproportionate requirements.

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Swindon Community Conference 2017

Community & Voluntary Sector groups working in Swindon are invited to attend Swindon Community Conference 2017.

The event is being organised by Voluntary Action Swindon on behalf of a number of local groups. The aim of the event is to bring together representatives from the wider Community & Voluntary Sector in Swindon, in order to share information on projects and work taking place and identify opportunities for collaboration and developing the sector in Swindon. It will also be an opportunity for networking.

Date: Saturday 21st January
Time: 10am - 4pm
Venue: National Trust ‘Heelis’ offices

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Vision for Wroughton New Year's Day Trail

Vision for Wroughton are holding a New Year's Day Family Village Trail & Quiz. Entry costs £2 per adult (children free) and includes cream tea and entry into the raffle, plus a children's quiz with small prize for all taking part.

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Funding Opportunities

Communities Fund

The new ‘Communities Fund’ has been launched to help local people who are struggling to manage. It will be targeted depending on local pressures, and could be used to help those facing domestic abuse, to provide support for disabled children’s services or to support those facing long-term unemployment.

Alongside grants of £70,000 or more, grassroots organisations will benefit from expert advice from the local government sector, training from a ‘grassroots network’ and advice on evaluating the success of their services.

Apply Now

Funding & Governance

Tackling Abuse & Mismanagement

This week, the Charity Commission published its annual report of compliance and investigatory work, Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement. The report highlights the Commission’s work in identifying and tackling concerns in charities as it continues to make better use of its powers.

The report also confirms poor governance to be at the heart of much of the Commission’s case work this year, include high profile cases regarding fundraising and financial abuse. It identifies the strategic vision, oversight and evaluation that a board of charity trustees should provide is not an ‘optional extra’ in a charity.

Read the Report

Plans to Help Small Charities Deliver Services Welcomed

Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson recently announced three initiatives aimed at helping small charities get commissioned to deliver services. A public service incubator will be developed, and the Government is looking into developing a kitemark that will set a best practice standard for charity-friendly commissioning.

The Minister also announced plans to recruit a voluntary, community and social enterprise crown representative to champion commissioning practices that help small charities contribute to public services.

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Autism Spectrum Condition Awareness Training

Swindon Autism Team are providing training in Autism Spectrum Condition Awareness in the new year. This training will help organisations to comply with the Autism Act 2010 requirement for front line staff to be equipped with appropriate autism awareness training.

The Team are also providing a training session on Communication Tactics for Supporting People with Autism. The focus of this session will be on tactics and support to use with people with autism who use some verbal communication. This will be suitable for people working with young people and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome or mild to moderate learning disability and Autism.

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Voluntary Action Swindon is registered charity no. 287732.

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