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VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 9th July, 2014.

 

Present: Councillors Ms. R. Birch, L. Burnett, G.A. Cox, Ms. K. Edmunds, Dr. I.J. Johnson, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, N. Moore, R.A. Penrose and E. Williams.

 

Representatives from the Voluntary Sector: Ms. R. Connor (Vale Centre for Voluntary Services [VCVS]), Ms. G. Murphy (Vale Volunteer Bureau) and Ms. N. Sargent (Vale Volunteer Bureau).

 

 

189     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Ms. T. Burris (Age Connect Cardiff and Vale); Linda Donovan (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board); Ms. A. Harris (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board); Ms. K Quinn (Atal y Fro) and Ms. A. Steere (Vale Volunteer Bureau);

 

 

190     APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN –

 

AGREED – T H A T Councillor E. Williams be appointed Chairman for the current Municipal year.

 

 

191     APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN –

 

AGREED – T H A T Councillor N. Moore be appointed Vice-Chairman for the current Municipal year.

 

 

192     APPOINTMENT OF HONORARY VICE-CHAIRMAN –

 

AGREED – T H A T Ms. K. Quinn (Atal y Fro) be appointed Honorary Vice-Chairman for the current Municipal year.

 

 

193    MINUTES – 

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 8th May, 2014 be approved as a correct record, subject to the amendment that the request for an update brought on the Barry Elim Church Project had been made at the meeting of 27th February 2013. 

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson also informed the Committee that on the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s website the May meeting of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee was listed as having been cancelled and requested that this be amended.

 

 

194     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – 

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

195     UPDATE REPORT ON BARRY ELIM CHURCH 'CAN DO PROJECT' (MD) –

 

The Committee received a report on the progress made on the Barry Elim Church 'Can Do Project', presented by the Children and Young People Partnership Manager.  The project had received a grant funding of £60,000 to be split £20,000 per annum over three years commencing in year 2013/14. 

 

Committee, on 8th May 2014, recommended that a progress report in respect of Barry Elim Church Project be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

The Can Do Project was aimed at those young people who were in danger of becoming disengaged from education due to emotional issues and eventually NEET (Not in Education, Employment and Training).  Attached at Appendix A to the report was a detailed update on the progress to date of this project.

 

Following presentation of the report Members were offered an opportunity to ask questions and a Member stated that it was hard to ascertain performance of the project and any improvement made and asked how improvement could be quantified. They also requested more facts within the report as currently it contained nothing definite with regard to pupil attendance improvement.  In response the Children and Young People Partnership Manager advised the Committee that not all pupils involved with the project had attendance issues but that next year’s report could contain this data. 

 

Another Member asked whether the issues arose at the transition from primary to secondary education or when pupils chose their subjects in secondary education.  The Children and Young People Partnership Manager stated that the project focused on Year 8 pupils and that this was when research suggested disengagement occurred, however, other services provided support for transition funded under Families First and with Year 9 pupils funded by the Youth Service, the project was only working with two secondary schools within the Vale of Glamorgan area.

 

A Member asked to what extent this project was in addition to what was already taking place within schools and requested clarification as to the participation of the schools within the project with concern expressed that the project was not replicating what was already being carried out by other organisations.  In response the Children and Young People Partnership Manager advised that the schools had been very complementary of the project to date.  It was felt that there was no duplication taking place, yet there was no definitive list across the schools with regards to what they provide.  The Families First Board was looking into an expansion of the transitions project, widening involvement and support to Year 5 through to Year 8.  There would be no duplication of work involved with this project as those involved were fully aware of what the responsibilities of all parties were. The Committee was further informed that the Barry Elim Church project would continue to be a Year 8 focused project as it was a set provision, however this may be withdrawn in the future if the schools deemed it unnecessary and the funding could be retargeted if required.  The project had also received Communities First funding which had allowed the engagement of mentors coming in from universities on a termly basis working with 11 pupils to help bolster support to increase GCSE results. 

 

A Member expressed concern that 51 pupils involved in the project seemed to be a high number and asked how this compared with the All-Wales average and expressed the view that the Council should be looking at other Authorities with a view to the prevention of these types of issues.  The Children and Young People Partnership Manager stated that the project was concerned with providing emotional support to pupils in danger of poor attendance and becoming NEET and that there was a whole raft of reasons why this might occur.  The Committee was informed that data with regard to the level of support that pupils required from Years 4/5 up to secondary school could be provided through the wellbeing monitoring tool and that there were a variety of projects ongoing to ensure that young people are engaged in the system. A Member stated that the number was not high in relation to pupil numbers and that some of the pupils would be able to come off the project throughout the duration and that the number related to pupils who were at risk of becoming NEET, rather than those who were NEET.  Furthermore, the Children and Young People Partnership Manager advised that the project was complementing the provisions of the schools and not instead of these provisions. 

 

A Member requested further information with regard to any correlation between children who had been referred to Social Services, were in receipt of free school meals and other factors and pupils involved in this project.  They felt that a breakdown of questions asked within the project would be useful as the questions listed within the update report were open-ended. They advised that they required more detail and asked whether there would be a follow up on this project once pupils reached Year 10 or 11.  In response the Children and Young People Partnership Manager advised that they were only able to provide data for the first year of the project; as it had only existed for one year and only had three years’ funding. However, the Committee was informed that they could provide a follow up update on this project.  Further concern was expressed by Members with regards to the lack of detail within the update report and that they required more specific detail in order to ascertain levels of success of the project.  The representative from the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS) stated that the project had been dramatically reduced in order to come within the £20,000 per year funding grant; that the evaluation by the Local Authority had been very useful and that grant funding was a useful tool for trying out innovative projects.  The Children and Young People Partnership Manager stated that there was a danger of over scrutinising one project which could put off potential bidders for small projects in the future and the good level of detail contained within this report was due to the current project lead.  The Chairman stated that expectations for the project needed to be made clear at the commencement of the project.  A Member queried whether there was any indication as to how many children within the scheme were in care and the Children and Young People Partnership Manager advised that they were not aware that any of the children taking part in the scheme were in care, however they could check on this and advise accordingly. 

 

A Member stated that the Committee required a better understanding of all the projects that were being funded, particularly due to the austere times and the Committee had a duty to monitor the performance of such projects.  Another Member stated that they needed to be able to measure the success of projects and it would be interesting to know if care packages were being received by pupils involved in the project and also whether the project had improved the attendance of those being looked after. 

 

A Member expressed the view that in measuring outcomes, care needed to be shown in order that the spirit of what was achieved was not lost, particularly when more third sector projects are running innovative projects.  The Member further stated that we need to enable organisations to be able to communicate the learning gained from these types of projects, both good and bad, in order to move forward and that caution should be used to ensure that not only hard data was reported.

 

The representative from the Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB) informed the Committee that they had held a showcase evening which worked extremely well in the past and they could provide case studies which would exemplify the successes of these types of projects and could be an option for future Committees. 

 

Following consideration of the report it was

 

AGREED –

 

(1)       T H A T the progress made to date on the Barry Elim Church “Can Do Project†be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T an update report on the Barry Elim Church “Can Do Project†be provided to the Committee in a year’s time.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  In order that the Committee can monitor the progress of this project.

 

 

196     CORPORATE PARTNERSHIP TEAM NEWSLETTER (MD) –

 

The Committee received a copy of the Corporate Partnership Team Newsletter as produced by the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board, dated May 2014. 

 

The Committee was informed that there was a huge amount of activity taking place with regard to partnership work.  The newsletter was produced twice yearly and covered activities carried out by the Local Service Board including regeneration and partnership work. 

 

Following a request for questions, a Member stated that it was good to see all of the information in one place and asked whether it had been sent to all Vale of Glamorgan Council Members and it was confirmed that it had been and was also on the Council’s Website.  A Member noted the significant increase in neighbourhood disputes between 2012/13 and 2013/14 and requested further information with regard to these figures.  The Children and Young People Partnership Manager advised that they would approach the Principal Community Safety Officer with a view to providing more detail on these figures. A Member informed the Committee that the reason for the change in statistics could well be due to the change in reporting procedures and criteria used by South Wales Police. It was confirmed that the figures were now more accurate, furthermore, major crime had decreased and although the figures had increased, they were likely to plateau in the future. 

 

Following consideration of the newsletter, the Committee

 

AGREED – T H A T the contents of the Corporate Partnership Team Newsletter be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having regard to the contents of the newsletter.

 

 

197     ECONOMIC VALUE OF VOLUNTEERING WITHIN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN – VALE VOLUNTEER BUREAU (VVB) (VS) –

 

The Committee received the Annual Report on the economic value of volunteering within the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

The Committee was informed that the audit of voluntary activity was firstly undertaken by the VVB 2000 where the monetary value of volunteering was calculated to be £8,207,136. Last year a figure of £34,942,587 was calculated as the average monetary value of voluntary activity in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

This exercise was repeated by the VVB at the beginning of 2014.  Questionnaires were sent out to all recruiting organisations based in the Vale and registered with VVB.  For the purposes of ascertaining the monetary value of volunteering these averages were then applied to the 190 recruiting organisations registered with the VVB and operating in the Vale of Glamorgan. From this information the VVB were also able to calculate the total number of volunteering hours that had taken place.

 

The information received from the returned questionnaires provided the average number of active volunteers per organisation, and the average number of hours worked by those volunteers each week.  The figure of £11.08 was then applied which according to the 2011 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings was the average hourly rate.  A calculation based on this hourly rate and the information received from recruiting organisations was undertaken by the VVB.

 

In comparison with the previous year the monetary value of volunteering had risen from £34,942,587 to £46,470,000, which was an increase of £11,527,413.

 

There had also been an increase in the number of volunteering hours carried out in the Vale of Glamorgan.  Last year 3,153,663 volunteering hours were conducted and this year it had increased to 4,194,043, an increase of 1,040,380 hours.

 

This increase can be attributed to the rise in the number of volunteers recruited through the core service and the young persons’ and supported volunteering project. The VCVS also had a greater presence in the Western Vale through outreach sessions and a shop fronted premises in Llantwit Major that is shared with Adult and Community Learning.  This facility was also available to recruiting organisations to use to further promote their services and opportunities.   It should also be noted that this was an average figure and only provided a snap shot of the voluntary activity taking place in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The type of volunteering referred to in this report related to formal volunteering.

 

Following presentation of the report Members were offered the opportunity to ask questions. A Member noted there had been an astonishing increase in the value of volunteering from the previous year of over £11m and asked if the representative from the VVB could attribute this to anything in particular.  The Committee was informed that it was down to wider society, high levels of unemployment and changes in benefits and that volunteering was now being championed as a route back into employment.  7% of those who volunteered were retired in 2013, 10% were 60+ years and 3% of these 60+ individuals were actively seeking employment and volunteering represented a stepping stone into employment. 

 

A Member queried the average hourly rate of £11.08 contained within the report and stated that this seemed high and asked whether it was the same figure last year. In response it was confirmed that the figure was £10.42 last year and that the hours for volunteering had increased which had had the biggest impact on the figures. 

 

A Member recommended that the increase in volunteering hours contained within the report be noted as a remarkable increase. 

 

Following consideration of the report, the Committee

 

AGREED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the 71 fold return on their investment through voluntary activity alone was acknowledged.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet and other Members of the Council for information.

  

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To acknowledge the contribution that volunteers make to the Vale of Glamorgan and to provide an annual update on the Compact Action Plan.

 

(2)       To apprise all Members of the Council with regard to the economic value of volunteering within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

 

198     STEP FORWARD PROGRESS REPORT JULY 2013 – MARCH 2014 VALE VOLUNTEER BUREAU (VVB) (VS) –

 

The Committee received a report presented by Ms G. Murphy, Volunteering Support Officer, on the progress of the Step Forward Project at the end of the first year. 

 

The Vale Volunteer Bureau's (VVB) core service is to recruit, interview, refer and place volunteers with recruiting organisations.  As part of this process the VVB noted that some potential volunteers who were in receipt of benefits or economically inactive did not take up volunteering.  On further investigation it was identified that some of their reasons for this  included a lack of soft skills for example; not being confident, mental health issues including anxiety of getting to the volunteering placement on their own, a lack of knowledge of local transport links, etc.

 

As a result of this a successful consortium bid was submitted to the BIG Lottery to fund a 2 year supported young persons (Under 25) volunteering project.  The funding for this project came to an end in March 2014 but proved to be extremely successful in supporting young people into volunteering.  However, despite this there continues to be those aged 25+ who are still not engaging in volunteering for similar reasons as highlighted above.  Within their core service the VVB do not have the capacity be able to provide the additional support required for these participants to succeed in volunteering. 

 

The Step Forward Project aimed to support unemployed and economically inactive people aged (25+) who reside in the Vale of Glamorgan to identify suitable volunteering placements that meet their requirements.  Volunteering offers a wide variety of benefits for individuals including an opportunity to try different career paths, give something back to their community, greater social interaction, an enhanced CV, references for employment, interview skills, time keeping, increase in confidence, builds self-esteem, access to training and qualifications in some circumstances.  All of which can help unemployed and economically inactive people develop essential skills that are transferrable to the work place.

 

During the first 9 months of the project 138 volunteers were interviewed.  The original target was to place 35 volunteers into volunteering opportunities of their choice.  This target was exceeded and a total of 56 volunteers were placed with recruiting organisations.

 

It was identified at the beginning of the project that around 40% - 50% of volunteers had mental health needs and this was the main barrier to access volunteering.  This ranged from anxiety, depression and confidence issues to more serious conditions such as bi-polar and schizophrenia; this dropped to 30% as the project progressed. This figure could have been higher as many volunteers chose not to disclose their mental health condition even though it was an obvious barrier.  The figures attached to the report at Appendix 1 reflected the barriers people faced.

 

Another outcome of the project was to deliver the Agored Cymru accredited Levels 1 to 3 in ‘Volunteering and Community Participation’.  One student had successfully completed and another 11 students had enrolled with their booklets being submitted in June 2014.  The target for 2014 – 2015 was 22 booklets to deliver with the outstanding 2013 – 2014 booklets to be submitted alongside.

 

The reasons for volunteering were also recorded by the VVB. Due to changes within the benefits system there was an increasing number of people wanting, or feeling, as though they need to volunteer in order to continue to receive their benefits and eventually find work.

 

Weekly one to one sessions were held at both Barry and Penarth Job Centre Plus which have proved very successful with sessions often booked up well in advance. 

 

Three case studies had been completed for 2013 – 2014 and a number had been identified and have agreed to document their progress in a form of a case study.  The initial case studies were attached to the report at Appendix 2.

 

Since April 2014 the VVB have tracked the progression of participants after they have started their volunteering journey.  This was to bring their reporting in line with the Vale of Glamorgan's RBA reporting procedure.  Previously they only tracked a volunteer into their volunteering placement.  The VVB were also working collaboratively with Adult Learning as a number of participants would like to access employment related courses such as retail, manual handling and computer courses and any additional positive outcomes that a participant may gain on their volunteering journey would also be captured by the VVB.

 

The committee was informed that the requirement for a professional reference from recruiting organisations was listed as one of the main barriers for individuals to securing successful employment.  Ms Murphy also felt that a showcase at a future committee would be a good idea as it would illustrate first-hand what these types of projects can do and also took the opportunity to thank the Vale of Glamorgan Council for the funding. 

 

Following a request for questions, a Member asked how individuals’ mental health issues were being dealt with appropriately and how the project was helping people into the jobs market rather than forcing them into projects. In response the Committee was informed that the project worked closely with Communities First and Gofal and provided individuals with confidence building courses and helped refer individuals to the appropriate courses and support.  They confirmed that the aim of the project was not to put pressure onto the individual but to ensure that they are provided with the correct services and support required in order to help them back into work and that they worked collaboratively with the Job Centre.

 

The Member also asked how long the project was running for and it was confirmed that it was a three year project and Ms Murphy advised that she would be happy to provide the Committee with an update report to the Committee. 

 

Following consideration of the report it was

 

AGREED – T H A T the content of the report be noted and the success and outcomes of the project was acknowledged.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise the Committee of the progress of the Step Forward Project as required by the terms of the Voluntary Action Scheme Grant.

 

 

199     VALE CENTRE FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICES (VCVS) ANNUAL REPORT (VS) –

 

The Committee received a report presented by Ms R. Connor, Executive Director of the VCVS which detailed the work undertaken by the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS) throughout the year April 2013 to March 2014, which covered the following areas:

 

Governance

 

Welsh Government Audit Review

 

The funding relationship between the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and the Welsh Government was extensively reviewed during 2012-13 by Welsh Government’s Internal Audit Department. The focus of this review was concentrated on examining the financial controls and governance processes in place within the recipients of Third Sector Partnership Agreement funding.  The Welsh Government audit of VCVS took place in August 2013 over a three day period and was extremely thorough and penetrating.

 

The overall conclusions of the audit were positive and complementary stating:-

 

'Our review has demonstrated that VCVS has a robust control framework and sound governance processes. We have identified many instances of good practice.

 

Notable areas of good practice included:

 

·         Well administered and managed financial processes;

·         Comprehensive accounting records;

·         Detailed reporting to the Board of Trustees;

·         A good level of scrutiny and challenge by the Board; and

·         Well informed Board Members.

·         Demonstrating an appropriate level of segregation duties and management reviewâ€.

 

Evidence from the review indicated that risks were being identified and managed within the organisation and that they were content with the risk management mechanisms adopted by the VCVS.

 

Good Governance Award

 

In January 2014 VCVS won a runners-up prize in the Good Governance category of this year’s Third Sector Awards Cymru. This was excellent news for VCVS, with staff and Trustees having worked hard in ensuring that the organisation is fit for purpose and that robust policies and procedures are in place providing an exemplar for local groups.

 

Memorandum of Understanding / Merger

 

During 2013/14, as a final development of the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Vale Volunteer Bureau and VCVS, Trustees of both organisations decided to form a Joint Working Group to investigate the possibility the two organisations merging into one new organisation. A decision was taken in November 2013 that a new organisation would be formed and launched in April 2015. Work commenced towards the fulfilment of this goal with clear terms of reference for the Joint Working Group and the development of an action plan to ensure that the objective of merger was met within the given timescale. Members and stakeholders were informed of the decision to consider merger via newsletter and electronic bulletin. Funders were informed by formal notification and the decision to merge has been welcomed by them all.  Members have had the opportunity to complete an online survey which provides them with a chance to voice any concerns.  An event with stakeholders will be held in May 2014 and all will be kept informed throughout the process.

 

IT

 

The VCVS website continued to be a major asset with a phenomenal 21% increase in the number of visits on the previous year. The website session visits rose to a remarkable 24,633 compared to the previous year of 7,895 which is a 212% increase.

 

In February 2014, VCVS was approached to submit a bid to the Communities 2.0 programme to roll out a one year digital inclusion project for the Vale of Glamorgan.  The bid was successful and the project will run throughout 2014/15.

 

VCVS had made a commitment to ensure that the Third Sector organisations operating in the Vale of Glamorgan had the opportunities to gain and build on their skills to make full use of 21st century communication mechanisms. All the staff of VCVS had undertaken Social Media training and a very successful and comprehensive programme of training courses had been developed for groups and organisations operating in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Development and Advice Services

 

The VCVS Barry offices were open to members and potential members for advice and development work.  They offered information and guidance to assist organisations to operate legally and efficiently e.g. by providing information on registering as a charity, how to put together a constitution, policies and procedures. 

 

VCVS had continued to provide Third Sector organisations with a range of support  to develop ideas and projects.  Support had been offered in a variety of ways  including face-to-face meetings, e-mail, telephone consultations and briefing  sessions.  Their range of Information Sheets continued to be popular and had  been invaluable in helping them deal with the more general day-to-day enquiries.  This year had also seen more and more of their information available on line via their  website, enabling their members and the wider sector to access appropriate development information and advice more effectively and at a time that suited them.

 

Information Service

 

We act as an information agency for and about our members, maintaining a comprehensive database and producing a directory of our members to publicise their services; its availability is advertised regularly. We have produced information leaflets on VCVS’ services in Welsh. Our information service was used 1,525 times and the 82% of members with e-mail addresses were also able to receive an additional 53 (add HSCWB e-bulletins) time specific VCVS bulletins during the year. 

  

VCVS launched its new website in August 2012; it had gone from strength to strength with the News posts page being particularly successful. The News posts page consisted of items/articles on topics appropriate to the local voluntary sector.

 

Practical Services

 

These were a real benefit to many small voluntary organisations with little or no spare income.  Low cost, reliable printing, help with desktop publishing, the loan of display equipment for exhibitions and presentations – these were some of the services that VCVS can offer its member groups. 

 

Networks and Fora

 

Their Networks and Fora continued to be a popular way for voluntary and community organisations to access and share information. 

 

Vale Trustee Network

 

The Network provided the opportunity to access free up to the minute professional expertise on issues critical to good governance and management.  The Network is the only local forum dedicated to responding specifically to the requirements Trustees encounter in undertaking their governance roles and responsibilities.  In the past 12 months, the Network has received presentations covering changes to the Disclosure and Barring Service and Tendering for Trustees.

 

Vale Housing and Homelessness Forum

 

This Forum is the longest established of all of their networks and fora. It has been operating ever since VCVS came into existence.  It works to terms of reference and is made up of agencies (both Third Sector and statutory) that have an interest in housing, homelessness and related problems and issues.  The Forum acts as a representative body in consultation with statutory agencies.

 

The Forum also linked in with other strategic partnerships, networks and fora, e.g. Safer Vale Partnership, Health Social Care and Well Being Network and the Domestic Abuse Forum.

 

Vale Voluntary Action and Community Development Network (VVACDN)

 

In January 2014 the Vale Voluntary Action Network (VVAN) merged with the Vale Community Development Network (VCDN) to form the Vale Voluntary Action and Community Development Network (VVACDN).  Another successful year was had with 61 people representing 34 organisations attending the three meetings. A variety of informative and interesting presentations were arranged and VCVS and the Vale Volunteer Bureau also provided useful input at each meeting. Presentations were provided by:

 

·           Creative Rural Communities

·           Waitrose

·           “Play Aloud†project

·           Diverse Cymru “Community Voice†project

·           Bro Radio CIC

·           Natural Resources Wales “Allan â Ni! Come Outside!†project.

 

Funding Services

 

VCVS’ funding and information service provided support to 139 groups throughout the year, nearly a third lower than the previous year. However, there was a reported nine fold increase in the amount of funding that groups obtained at £466,063.

 

Funding was still a major issue for many groups as the economic situation becomes harsher particularly for those groups that received most of their funding from statutory bodies e.g. local authorities. More groups are seeking funding from other sources e.g. Trusts and Foundations and this is creating a more competitive environment.

 

Training Service

 

During the year 14 group training events were scheduled, all aimed at building the capacity of local organisations.

 

 

Partnerships, Consultation and Joint Working

 

The Third Sector was seen as an important partner in supporting the work of statutory bodies in a wide range of areas, and VCVS was committed to working in partnership to develop and improve local services.

 

VCVS continued to facilitate Third Sector representation in formal joint planning in accordance with the agreed Protocol between the Local Authority and the Third Sector, via the Health, Social Care and Well Being Network, or via the full VCVS membership where appropriate.

 

Health, Social Care and Wellbeing

 

The Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Network

 

This network provides an opportunity to bring together all voluntary organisations operating in the Vale of Glamorgan who have an interest in health and social care.  It facilitates a strong, collective voice, supports the involvement of voluntary organisations in planning, development and delivery of health and social care services, influences health and social care policy to bring about change and improve services and facilitates communication between the voluntary and statutory and other sectors.  The Network has increased in numbers over the year and currently has over 260 members.

 

Network e-bulletins

 

The monthly Network e-bulletins continued to receive good feedback. The e-bulletins included updates on health and social care services in the Vale, updates from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the Vale of Glamorgan Council, from voluntary organisations and wellbeing information. 

 

Developing links to Cardiff and Vale UHB ward staff and Clinical Boards

 

In 2013 – 2014 VCVS started to develop their links with ward staff and front line staff in the Health Board.  This included meeting with Specialist Services, Unscheduled Care and a meeting with Ward Managers which was also attended by Age Connects.  The VCVS would be continuing this work by improving Third Sector links with Clinical Boards.

 

VCVS and C3SC also attended monthly Health Board inductions for their new staff.  This was a great way of increasing awareness about the voluntary sector and a number of case studies had been used to illustrate voluntary sector services.

 

Working with Vale Locality Team and Vale Community Resource

Service (VCRS)

 

The Vale Locality Engagement Group had proven to be an excellent way of providing updates on voluntary sector services to lead health and social care staff, such as the GP Community Directors, the lead for District Nurses and lead for Therapies.  They had been able to highlight services such as Marie Curie carers’ project, voluntary sector transport schemes and Cardiff Institute for the Blind services.  VCVS also attended a Vale Community Resource Service (VCRS) development day.  The VCVS were pleased that funding was obtained from the Regional Collaborative Fund to run a pilot project whereby the British Red Cross are co-located with the Community Resource Service in their new location in Barry Hospital and Age Connects are co-located with the teams in Cardiff.

 

Linking with Vale GPs

 

Voluntary organisations were invited to attend GP training sessions on mental health, substance misuse and older people’s services.  This was an effective way of providing GPs and practice managers with information about voluntary sector services. They hoped to build on this in 2013 – 2014.

 

The Wyn Programme

 

This programme focused on improving health and social care services for frail older people in Cardiff and the Vale.  VCVS, as the lead for Cardiff and Vale, was on the Wyn Programme Steering Group and had also been a partner in the Supportive Communities around Wyn project, which was led by the Public Health Team, encouraging earlier signposting to a range of services which supported older people.

 

VCVS worked with partners to put on a Falls Awareness event in June 2013 which was attended by over 50 staff from all sectors.  Speakers included Care and Repair, Age Connects, British Red Cross and Health Board staff and a demonstration of Extend which everyone joined in.

 

Consultation and engagement events

 

VCVS held consultation events on the Vale Needs Assessment for Older People, future development of the Bryneithin site and the development of the information centre at Llandough Hospital.  We also worked with C3SC on consultation events on the Social Services Bill, the South Wales Programme and the annual Keeping in Touch with the Third Sector event.  Over one hundred people attended these events.

 

Directory of Voluntary Sector Services for Older People

 

In response to a number of requests for information about services for older people, VCVS developed a Directory listing services by areas such as befriending, good neighbours, housing adaptations, advocacy etc.  The Directory had been distributed to the CRTs/Vale CRS and was on the Health Board’s intranet site.

 

Vale of Glamorgan directory of voluntary sector services for carers

 

VCVS had circulated this directory to all Vale Councillors and was continuing to keep the online version up to date.

  

Carers Support and Information Network Group (CSING)

 

The Health and Social Care Facilitator continued to facilitate Cardiff and Vale CSING, a group which brings together staff from voluntary organisations and health and social care services.  CSING had been identified as an example of good practice in partnership working.

 

VCVS’ Environmental Impact

 

VCVS was committed to the welfare of the environment and endeavoured to have a positive environmental impact.  VCVS recycles its printer cartridges, paper, tins, bottles, cardboard, plastics and most office equipment.  VCVS strived to send more and more information by e-mail and was now sending its membership approval packs by e-mail and using electronic questionnaires and evaluation forms instead of hard copies.

 

Efficiency savings

 

VCVS was committed and determined to make the best use of funders’ money so had made efficiency savings in a number of areas.  VCVS will constantly aim to become more efficient in every area of its work. Some of the saving initiatives included:  

  • encouraged over 316 contacts to receive VCVS’ Vista magazine and supplements by e-mail
  • introduced an e-bulletin service
  • restricted telephone calls made to mobile phones
  • turning off electrical items when not in use
  • used a smaller VCVS room for their training courses rather than paying for room hire and encouraged staff to only print if required.

This, together with constant vigilance and hard negotiation, continued to ensure that VCVS was getting the best possible deals on contracts and services.

 

Projects

           

The two cross region (Cardiff & Vale) consortium projects that VCVS was involved with continued to work extremely well.

 

Friendly AdvantAGE

 

VVS was the fund holder and consortium manager for Friendly AdvantAGE and the project had gone from strength to strength in year two.  The project received 235 referrals. One-to-one befriending was provided to 121 beneficiaries and over 120 older people have benefited from attending community activities.

 

 

VCVS was leading this consortium project which is delivering a befriending programme for older people across both Cardiff and the Vale and included the partner organisations - Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC), Age Concern Cardiff and the Vale, Scope Cymru and Dinas Powys Voluntary Concern. The project had a very successful first year of operation and a volunteers’ event was planned for April 2013.

 

Co-Creating Healthy Change

 

VCVS, in partnership with Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC) who were the fund holder and consortium lead, together with a group of other organisations, submitted a successful consortium bid for a consortium project covering both Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.  The project was working well and VCVS were ensuring that there was provision for the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Vale Youth Forum

 

The Vale Youth Forum had enjoyed a very successful and interesting year working in conjunction with the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Council and Youth Mayor. Funding bids submitted to the People and Places Lottery strand had not yet been successful and the future of the project was currently being considered.

 

Barry: A New Community

 

This Heritage Lottery funded, eighteen month, family history project commenced in July 2013. The project was progressing well with enormous enthusiasm being demonstrated by local people.

 

The Project was now in its final six months and that meant the VCVS were focusing on the legacy, and on helping others who were seeking to submit new Heritage Lottery bids as one of their commitments was to generate an interest in history and encourage the creation of a Historical Group.

 

Plans for the Future

 

With partners in Health, VCVS was looking to develop a pilot brokerage project that would work with the Community Resource Teams. This project should commence in October 2014 and run for six months.

 

VCVS had been successful in bidding for funding for a three year Consortium Development Project that would seek to support local organisations to develop consortia to bid for funding and deliver services to local people and communities.  The project would commence in August 2014.

 

Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS) and Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB) have had a Memorandum of Understanding, agreed by both Boards in place for the past three years; which has committed them to working together and to sharing resources. The latest development of the MoU was that the two organisations have now agreed to a formal merger to form a new organisation that will serve the communities of the Vale of Glamorgan. Trustees view this move as an opportunity to further the development of quality services, bringing together the best from each organisation and strengthening the voice of the sector, rather than as a simple cost saving exercise.

 

This development would mean that 2014/15 will be the final year of operation for the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services.  Whilst this will draw to a close an era of great success and quality service delivery it was also the beginning of an exciting new era with endless possibilities for further quality service development, innovation and a strengthening of the infrastructure organisations that serve the Third Sector organisations in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Throughout 2014/15 extensive and through work will be undertaken to ensure that the new organisation takes the best from both VCVS and VVB and to ensure that the new organisation set to be in place in April 2015 will be fit for purpose and able to take forward the excellent work that has preceded it.

 

Funding for a feasibility study into developing a Third Sector Hub, which would house the new organisation together with other local organisations, had been included in the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s current bid to Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places regeneration funding programme. The three main funders of the two organisations had all expressed their support for this development and it was imperative that effective negotiations took place throughout 2014/15 to ensure that funding agreements are in place to take the new organisation forward.

 

Following the presentation of the report, a Member extended their congratulations for the successful year and asked whether, due to the fact that there had been a nine fold increase in the amount of funding that groups had received this year, previous years had been unsuccessful or was it that the targets set were unambitious.  In response Ms Connor stated that it was difficult to say, as the VCVS did not know the criteria for funding and a large amount of work went into funding applications submitted by local groups, which involved support from funding advice workers. Furthermore, there was always the challenge with regard to the number of groups and the amount of money available, yet nonetheless there had been a great achievement over the last year. 

 

The Member also queried whether, due to the number of partnerships, there was any duplication of work and whether there were processes in place to ensure that duplication did not happen. Ms Connor stated that the process with regard to partnerships had been tweaked over the years and that local authorities and health partnerships were always under pressure to work jointly and that the third sector was delighted to be involved.  Furthermore, she confirmed that a new Joint Local Service Board had been set up between Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan with an expectation that the third sector would be involved and it was vital to share information across all sector partnerships. 

 

In response to a query from a Member as to when the Committee would receive a report on the merger between the VCVS and the VVB, Ms Connor stated that great progress had already been made, however there was some way to go. A governance document had been agreed and signed up to by trustees of both organisations and a name had also been agreed for the new organisation.  A joint working group had been established and the structure for the organisation had also been agreed.  Ms Connor stated that she would be happy to talk to the Committee at any point with regard to the merger and confirmed that an annual report in respect of the Deed of Grant would be required and the VVB also received the same over 3 years which would be coming to an end in March 2015. It was confirmed that a meeting had taken place to discuss the Deed of Grant for the new organisation and that they were again looking for a similar three year Deed of Grant as previously awarded.

 

A Member stated that the work carried out by the VCVS linking to Vale GPs was very important and would be a fruitful area. Ms Connor advised that VCVS had signposted support areas for individuals in order that they can access groups and activities available to them as part of their work of supporting their colleagues in health.  Ms. Sargent stated that the VVB also worked with GP surgeries and recognised the importance of supporting volunteers and people with mental health problems. The Chairman stated that much good work was being done by the Voluntary Sector, including the GP signposting.

 

A Member stated that the Vale of Glamorgan Council very much recognised the role of the third sector with regards to the regeneration work taking place in Barry and that these organisations had been integral to the Vibrant and Viable Places bid.  Furthermore, the Member advised that they had come from a meeting with Welsh Government which had been very complementary with regards to the bid for a Third Sector Hub in Barry.  Another Member stated that future economic progress for the Authority would include continued work with the third sector and that current partnerships had been working very well.

 

Following consideration of the report, the Committee

 

AGREED – T H A T the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS) Annual Report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

As required under the terms of the Vale of Glamorgan Council / Vale Centre for Voluntary Services Deed of Grant and to apprise the Committee with regard to the work undertaken by the VCVS.