Waverley Borough Council Home Page Waverley Borough Council Home Page


Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 04/12/2007
Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure Support



APPENDIX Q
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE - 4TH DECEMBER 2007

Title:
Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure Support
[Portfolio Holder for Partnerships and Community: Cllr D J Munro]
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

This report seeks to update Members on the project to develop infrastructure support for the voluntary and community sector in Waverley, and to seek support for the future.

Environmental implications:

There are no environmental implications.

Social / community implications:

The voluntary and community sector plays a crucial role in delivering public services and in building strong, cohesive and self-determining communities. Frontline organisations often work with those most at risk from social exclusion, providing help and support, and meeting multiple needs in ways which not only give local residents and users a voice, but also the means to tackle the underlying causes of their problems. Despite a revolution in the contribution of the voluntary and community sector to service delivery, many frontline organisations, especially the small and medium-sized, are still unable to access the support they need.
Improving the infrastructure support to frontline organisations enables them to reach their full potential in improving the quality of life of the communities they serve.

E-Government implications:

There are no e-government implications as a direct result of this report.

Resource and legal implications:

Joint resources are required in the long term from the County Council, the Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the Borough Councils to ensure the development of an appropriate, effective and sustainable infrastructure support organisation for the voluntary and community sector in the area.

Approximately 20,000, and a great deal of Officer time, has already been given by Waverley Borough Council in the development stages of the infrastructure organisation.

Introduction

1. Infrastructure support for the voluntary and community sector is defined as: “The physical facilities, structures, systems, relationships, people, knowledge and skills that exist to support and develop, coordinate, represent and promote frontline organisations, thus enabling them to deliver their missions more effectively”.

2. Research undertaken across Surrey in 2004 found that while voluntary and community sector activity in Waverley is extensive, there is a clear gap in infrastructure support to this sector in the Borough, despite it being one of the largest rural areas in the county.

3. The voluntary and community organisations across the Borough were found to work very much in isolation with few networks of support and limited understanding of the voluntary and community sector environment outside their specific service.

4. The existing infrastructure organisations in Waverley, including Haslemere Volunteer Centre and Farnham Voluntary Services Council, are only able to provide Volunteer recruitment services and have highlighted that they are not able to provide comprehensive infrastructure support across the Borough within current resources.

5. It has also been identified that there is a clear gap in infrastructure support for the voluntary and community sector in the Guildford area.

6. For efficiency and greater effectiveness the two Borough areas have joined forces to seek ways of developing infrastructure support, to reflect the South West area boundaries of other organisations and to demonstrate partnership working.

Developing Infrastructure Support for the Voluntary and Community Sector in Waverley and Guildford

7. With grants from Waverley Borough Council, through its Community Partnerships Fund, along with significant additional funding from Surrey County Council, Surrey PCT, Guildford Borough Council and Surrey Community Action, a time-limited development project was launched in 2006 to develop the research within the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in Waverley and Guildford and to put together a case for long term funding for a future infrastructure organisation in SW Surrey from 2007 onwards.

8. A South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service (SWSCVS) was formed to take this work forward, with support from, and Membership created around, the trustees of the existing infrastructure organisations (Farnham Voluntary Service Council, Haslemere Volunteer Centre and Guildford Association of Voluntary Service).

9. The development project, under the management of the SWSCVS, identified four main themes in their research with the VCS:

o the need for support with accessing funding and recruiting volunteers;
o the need for improvement to infrastructure services for smaller community groups;
o the need for improvement to frontline services for socially excluded people; and
o an overarching need for the existing CVS and volunteer centres to work together and to effectively market themselves to the VCS and to the public.

10. The development project also focussed on opportunities for volunteering outreach in the areas not yet covered by the current infrastructure organisations, namely Godalming, Cranleigh, Ash and the 42 rural villages. The Project Development Officers have worked alongside the town and parish councils, the health check coordinators, and other key partners.


The Future of the South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service (SWSCVS)

11. The SWSCVS lodged an application with the BIG Lottery Fund through its BASIS programme to seek funding to build on the work of the development project to establish a robust SWSCVS for the future.

12. It has just been announced that the group has been successful with the Lottery bid and will receive nearly 500,000 for a four year programme to create and develop an organisation which has an overarching structure across SW Surrey and which embraces the existing infrastructure organisations to maintain a presence in the main areas of the two Boroughs and to deliver outreach to the rural parts.

13. With Lottery funding the SWSCVS will:

o set up one Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) organisation (known as Voluntary Action South West Surrey), out of the three existing organisations, to operate across Guildford and Waverley Borough Council areas,;
o deliver the CVS function across Guildford and Waverley;
o co-ordinate Volunteer Centres and establish work in Godalming, Cranleigh and Ash;
o using outreach, develop focus on rural, minority and socially excluded communities;
o increase volunteer numbers and opportunities; and
o provide networking, representation and information sharing for the VCS

14. The long term aims of the new organisation are as follows, to:

o develop an effective, sustainable and much needed infrastructure organisation;
o build capacity within the voluntary and community sector; and
o create opportunities for volunteering

15. The stated objectives of the new organisation are to:

o improve infrastructure support especially to small and medium-sized groups to reach their full potential thus improving the quality of life of the communities they serve;
o improve recruitment, support and encouragement of volunteers. Research shows volunteering improves the well being of individuals and of communities;
o create networking groups, raise awareness and improve information sharing;
o maximise the range of services available and bring like-minded groups together to maximise scarce resources; and
o give local residents and users a voice, and a means to tackle the underlying causes of their problems. Harness skills, resources and passions of both paid and unpaid activists

Financial Implications

16. There are no immediate financial implications for Waverley Borough Council however during the four year period of the Lottery funding work can be done with partners to secure longer term funding for the organisation on a similar basis to all other parts of the County.

17. Meanwhile the Farnham Voluntary Service Council and Haslemere Volunteer Centre continue to be funded in a small way by the Waverley Voluntary Grants Partnership.


Conclusion

18. Research and consultation undertaken in Waverley and Guildford identified the need to build capacity within the voluntary and community sector by creating an appropriate, effective, sustainable and much needed infrastructure support organisation.

19. Voluntary Action South West Surrey has been created with the support and Membership of the three existing infrastructure organisations in Waverley and Guildford and has secured funding from the Lottery Fund for four years from April 2008. With sustainable funding this organisation is poised to plug a major gap in Surrey by providing support to the hundreds of voluntary and community sector organisations currently operating in isolation across Waverley and Guildford.

Recommendation

Members are asked to note this report.

Background Papers (DoH)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Alayne Boyden Telephone: 01483 523350

E-mail: aboyden@waverley.gov.uk



Comms/exec/2007-08/164