Celina Adams, Head of Support Services at Nottingham Community Voluntary
Services (NCVS), presented a report on the current funding issues and opportunities within the Voluntary Sector. The following points were discussed:
(a) due to the varied level of support resulting from the current area-based funding arrangements, NCVS is keen to discuss a more efficient voluntary sector support delivery model with the Council. Discussions are taking place with Councillor Rebecca Langton, as the Portfolio Holder for Communities. In the meantime, NCVS continue to provide advice, support, casework and training to Nottingham’s Voluntary Sector. However, this support is not consistent across the City, currently;
(b) NCVS has started its Enterprising Nottingham training, funded by the Nat West Skills and Opportunities Fund, providing workshop training and one-to-one bespoke support to new and existing social enterprises in Nottingham, which is free at the point of delivery;
(c) Phase 1 of the ‘Hidden Harm’ skills building programme is now complete. The aim of this programme is to equip voluntary organisations with the skills and knowledge required to recognise and respond to indicators of various types of abuse and crimes that often go unreported or unrecognised. Phase 2 has started and low/no cost Safeguarding training is available for small groups who cannot afford to access the existing Safeguarding training offered by NCVS. The Safeguarding training given is comparable to that provided by the Council and a detailed database is in place to monitor the new and existing voluntary organisations that work with children and vulnerable adults. A new strategy is being developed to enable training to be delivered within communities, rather than at a central location. There is an important opportunity to engage with the Council’s Skills and Employment Delivery Team to ensure that information on these Safeguarding training opportunities is raised on the agenda of any other meetings and groups that are likely to be attended by the kinds of voluntary organisation that would benefit from it;
(d) NCVS is part of a working group to explore how the Voluntary Sector will engage with the D2N2 LEP following the UK leaving the European Union. It is vital to influence the future funding made available by the Government and to maintain the dialogue with the LEP regarding the importance of the Sector in economic development. There are Inclusion Representatives on the LEP’s main Board, Sub-Board structures and Advisory Boards.
(e) ‘Futures’ has been announced as the organisation that will deliver the European Social Fund’s Community programme. This will include small grants for voluntary organisations, and NCVS is a partner and sits on the grants panel. Nottingham has had good success in the first round of grants;
(f) there is significant concern in the Voluntary Sector about the impact of Social Prescriptions on Nottingham’s voluntary organisations and groups, particularly in terms of implementation, referral pathways and funding. If Social Prescribing is to be lead effectively by the Voluntary Sector, support must be in place to ensure that organisations have the capacity, infrastructure, resources, training and knowledge to work with vulnerable people. NCVS are partners in the Nottingham Integrated Care System and Integrated Care Partnership and continue to attend meetings with the local NHS and Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that the voice of the Voluntary Sector are heard in the delivery of Social Prescriptions;
(g) in terms of direct projects, NCVS is recruiting a Practice Development Unit Coordinator, which is a partnership between Opportunity Nottingham and NCVS. It offers a unique opportunity for front line workers across the City to learn collaboratively and share good practice and expertise around working with service users who are facing multiple disadvantage. Members can also access a range of resources, including toolkits, reports and presentations, with both a local and national focus;
(h) secondly, the Disability Sport Insight and Participation Project is a three-year programme in partnership with the Council, funded by Sport England, to learn and understand the barriers individuals with disabilities face in order to get physically active. The legacy of this project will be a Volunteer Buddies pilot from May to September 2019. Buddies will be managed by NCVS and provide a befriending-type service to enable citizens with long-term disability or illness to access and maintain physical activity.