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Welcome to Walsall Voluntary Action

FUNDING SUPPORT SURVEY

As part of our ongoing transformation we have begun looking at our service delivery; we know that delivering a funding support service is important for voluntary and community organisations in Walsall.  In order to help us make sure we are meeting the needs of the sector we would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete our short survey: Funding Support – Survey Monkey or complete the Word version  Funding Support Survey 2016 and email it back to us at reception@walsallva.org.uk

WALSALL VOLUNTARY ACTION

IMPORTANT NOTICE 

The future of Walsall Voluntary Action

Walsall’s voluntary and community sector (VCS) has faced tough challenges over recent years. WVA has not been immune to these; uncertainty over our future funding and a high turnover of staff and Trustees has meant we’ve not always been able to fully meet the needs of the sector.

WVA and Walsall Council recently commissioned an independent review into the future of local voluntary sector support services. The Connected Communities Report identifies locally-run VCS support services need to be available if the sector is going to continue to respond positively to the needs of our communities and manage the effects of changes in public service delivery.

The report also identifies many things need to change if these services are going to be delivered successfully.

In response to the report, WVA is embarking on a project of transformation. During this project, most of our other services will cease – we won’t be accepting any new referrals for support and we won’t be publishing our previous Funding and News Bulletins.

Whilst we know many of you will miss these services, having time to focus on redeveloping our offer will mean Walsall’s VCS organisations will have access to much better support in the near future.

We want to ensure we have the right foundations from which to begin building a new offer of support for local VCS organisations and the only way to do this effectively is to cease current activity for a period and concentrate on redeveloping our own organisation.

We have already taken the first steps on this journey, with a new Board of Trustees elected to oversee the transformation project.

Some of the key changes you can expect over the next 12 months include:

  • A new name, brand and look for your support organisation
  • A new suite of services designed around and responsive to the needs of Walsall’s voluntary sector
  • An expanded staff team with the resources, skills and experience to deliver support services
  • More opportunities to get involved in networks that build collective a voice in the sector
  • More opportunities for local collaboration
  • Improved support to access funding from a range of sources
  • More support for volunteering; for individuals wishing to volunteer and organisations seeking volunteers

We’ve created the Q&A document below to provide more detail on the transformation project and we will continue to update you on progress via email and our website.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us by email (reception@walsallva.org.uk) or phone 01922 619 840.

You can also submit any general comments, suggestions or thoughts on how your revised support organisation should look via our online comments box (please note we will not respond directly to any comments left here).

Transformation Project Q&A

  • Why is WVA being transformed?

We recognise the need to break with the past, ensure support services are delivered effectively and that local VCS and partners can have confidence in their support organisation. This means completely rebuilding the organisation, including its governance, its brand, its services and its staff structure.

  • How long will the transformation project take?

We expect to launch the new support organisation towards the end of 2016. We believe it is appropriate to take time to develop the organisation and ensure it is fit for purpose. We want to make sure we have the right foundations from which to provide a better offer of support.

  • Where can I see the Connected Communities report?

Connected Communities Report

  1. Who can support me/my organisation in the interim period?

During this transition phase, we won’t be accepting any new referrals for capacity building support and most of our other services will cease. Whilst you may miss these services, having time to focus on redeveloping our offer will mean Walsall’s VCS organisations will have access to much better support in the near future.

Organisational governance/development: If you have a critical issue that cannot be delayed, please get in touch and we will help you to identify alternative support.

Accessing Funding: Our funding portal will remain open on our website for you to search for funding opportunities.

  • What will happen to the Volunteer Centre?

The Volunteer Centre (Jerome Chambers, Bridge St) will remain open during the process and we will continue to support people who wish to find volunteering opportunities. We will also continue to advertise local volunteering opportunities on behalf of local organisations.

However, the Volunteer Centre will also be redeveloped as part of the wider transformation project, and will deliver wider, better quality services to volunteers and local organisations in the future.

  • What do you expect to change through the transformation project?

Our aim is to deliver a completely new organisation. This will include:

  • Our Governance – We have already recruited five new trustees who are leading the strategic direction of the transformation. As we develop, we will be seeking more Board members to provide a wider range of skills and experience to meet our needs.
  • Our name and brand – we will completely rebrand the organisation to bring it up to date and help to deliver the break with the past history of WVA.
  • Our services – we are completely redesigning our services to meet the needs of local organisations. We know some core activities, such as organisation capacity building, support to access funding, and support with volunteering, which continue to be needed, but we recognise the need to offer better quality and more effective support in these areas. We also recognise there are services which are missing, including better representation of the sector, and better opportunities to connect and collaborate locally.
  • Our Staff team – we will be growing and developing our staff team to ensure we have the human resources we need to meet the needs of the Borough, and the breadth of skills and experience to support organisations effectively.
  • Our location – we are keen to explore opportunities to move from our current location as our offices are inaccessible to many and are quite run down. We are continuing to seek opportunities to identify better suited town-centre premises for the transformed organisation.
  • Who is on the new Board of Trustees?

Five new board members were elected by our members at the AGM on 9 March. As we develop, we will be seeking more Board members to provide a wider range of skills and experience to meet our needs. Current Board members are:

  • Denise Birkett (representing Old Hall People’s Partnership)
  • Neil Chambers (representing Darlaston Town (1874) Football Club CIC)
  • Chris Towe (individual member, Walsall resident)
  • Sean Coughlan (representing Palfrey Community Association)
  • Geoff Henderson (individual member, Walsall resident)
  • Davina Lytton(representing Age UK Walsall)
  • The independent report recommends all existing Board members should resign. Why is Davina Lytton still on the Board?

Davina is remaining on the Board for a period of time to assist the new Board members with the context and background to the organisation. Davina has made her intention to resign from the Board clear and she will do so at an appropriate time during the transition project

  • Who’s leading the transformation project?

The Board of Trustees are responsible for ensuring the project is delivered. In the near future, the Board will hold a recruitment exercise to establish a new staff team including a new CEO. An interim CEO is in post to move the project forward until this point; Alex Boys can be contacted on 01922 619 840 or alexboys@walsallva.org.uk

  • Why don’t you just close WVA?

In effect WVA will close. However, we have taken the decision to use the shell of the current organisation to act as a foundation from which to transform and relaunch. This will help in re-establishing the new organisation quickly and efficiently, as we’ll be able to retain some small but fundamental aspects such as our existing charity number, quality marks and our financial history.

  • Who’s paying for this project?

In response to the Connected Communities report, three local funders have made a commitment to fund the organisation over a period of three years which will enable us to develop and embed our support. Walsall Council, Walsall CCG and the VIEW Fund are all contributing to the transformation programme.

This is a time-limited approach and, as part of our long-term plan, as we develop we will continually seek opportunities to lever in additional funds from outside of the Borough to support local voluntary sector delivery.

  • Wouldn’t the funders be better off giving the money directly to existing voluntary sector organisations?

The decision to fund a transformed support organisation has been taken as it represents a longer-term, strategic investment in supporting the local voluntary sector. It is expected the investment made into developing a strong support organisation will have a long-term positive impact across the sector by improving its representation, ability to collaborate and access more funding from a wider range of services.

The Connected Communities report, and evidence published by national organisations including NVCO, NAVCA and major funders highlights the importance of locally-run voluntary sector support services. The evidence these organisations have provided demonstrate that a local sector is stronger where there is good support available to them. NAVCA’s recent Change for Good report is a good example of evidence in support of the approach taken in Walsall.

  • Are things really going to change?

Yes. The transformation project will see the effective closure of WVA and the development of a new support organisation. The transformation project is an extensive undertaking aimed at bringing about effective and long-lasting change for the sector.

WVA has been subject to a number of reviews and changes in the past. However, the scale of this project is much bigger and intended to completely transform the support available to the sector.

  • How can I get involved?

We want to ensure organisations are consulted as we progress our redevelopment and your views are essential to ensuring we provide services which are based around your needs. We’ll be in touch via email and updates to our website to let you know of how and when we will engage and seek your views.

We want to make sure engagement is meaningful. This means we’ll be holding more one-to-one discussions and direct engagement, rather than using surveys, to ensure we engage everyone, not just those who are easy to reach.

In the meantime, if you would like to get in touch, you can leave general comments in our online comments box, or email reception@walsallva.org.uk

  • Where can I get more info?

We will continue to publish updates on our progress on www.walsallva.org.uk and will send emails with specific information at key milestones in the project.

If you wish to update your organisation’s contact details on our mailing list, please contact us on 01922 619 840 or email reception@walsallva.org.uk

 

 


Latest News

  • Funding Support SurveyPublished in Email News,Featured,Fundraising,Job Opportunities,Local News,National News,News on 11th May, 2016

    As part of our ongoing transformation we have begun looking at our service delivery; we know that delivering a funding support service is important for voluntary and community organisations in Walsall.  To help us make sure we are meeting the needs of the sector please take a few minutes to complete our survey: Funding Support – […]

  • IMPORTANT NOTICEPublished in Email News,Featured,Fundraising,Local News,National News,News on 23rd March, 2016

    The future of Walsall Voluntary Action
    Walsall’s voluntary and community sector (VCS) has faced tough challenges over recent years. WVA has not been immune to these; uncertainty over our future funding and a high turnover of staff and Trustees has meant we’ve not always been able to fully meet the needs of the sector.
    WVA and Walsall […]

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