What does the Autumn Statement mean for us?

George Osborne has delivered his Autumn Statement and, if nothing else, it’s full of surprises.

We’ve pulled together some links to sources online that give us a view of the impact of the Statement on charities, the wider voluntary sector, and the people of the West Midlands.

For the impact on charities and the wider voluntary sector:

For a view about the impact on the West Midlands

For what it means for individuals

 

Redditch Community Forum

Coming up on Tuesday 27th October is the Redditch Community Forum meeting, taking place at Redditch Town Hall. It’s 5:30pm for light refreshments and 6:00 pm for the main meeting.

The Community Forum’s role is “To participate in community engagement and scrutiny on the effects and outcomes for equality of the policies, practices and decisions of Redditch Borough Council…” There is an opportunity for community updates and feedback, and this meeting will also have presentations from Kat Horner, Alzheimer’s Society with a Dementia Friends session, and Karen Wright from Worcestershire County Council on the Care Act 2014.

If you are able to attend, please could you confirm with Redditch Council (not BARN) by emailing equalities@bromsgroveandredditch.gov.uk as they need approximate numbers for the ‘Dementia Friend’ session.

You can see the full agenda here:

RBC Community Forum – Agenda 27-10-15

Vital Volunteering!

Bromsgrove and Redditch Network (BARN) is offering free workshops for people interested in volunteering.

The sessions are designed to help people who want to find out more about volunteering, gives a chance for people who have previously volunteered to discuss their experiences, and provides an opportunity for those thinking about volunteering to ask questions and receive support.

“Lots of people like the idea of volunteering, but don’t really know how to start or what’s involved,” Gary Roskell, the Chief Executive of BARN, said. “As we’re the local Volunteer Centre we were keen to de-mystify it a bit, and help people find out a bit more. We also wanted to support people who volunteered already, but just needed a bit of extra support or training.”

Sessions will range from working with people to first aid, and are completely free thanks to an Awards for All grant. They will be held at Bromsgrove venues between October and February. Places are limited though, so if people are interested they need contact BARN on 01527 60282 or email office@barn.org.uk to find out more or book a place.

The first two Bromsgrove sessions are

Friday 16th October – Introduction to Volunteering

Interested in volunteering? This session is a great introduction, looking at different ways in which people can volunteer, and the benefits you can get and the difference you make. You’ll also find out how to find and access opportunities, such as the Do-it website and volunteer centres.

Friday 13th November 2015 – Volunteering: Working with people

This workshop will help boost your confidence in a range of situations. It covers the basics of communicating with people, whether that be colleagues, customers or visitors, and includes face-to-face, telephone and email communications. We’ll also look at how to listen, help you with assertiveness when you need it, and how to handle difficult situations.

You can download the press release here:
BARN News release – Vital Volunteering

Bromsgrove District Council Pilot Small Grants Scheme – Deadline 30th September!

bromsgrove-district-council-logoWe’ve been asked to circulate a quick reminder about Bromsgrove’s Small Grants scheme. This is a new scheme for small grants of £500. According to the Council…

This pilot funding programme is intended to assist voluntary, charitable and community groups that operate in the Bromsgrove area that help the community to enjoy a better quality of life.

The deadline is 4pm on 30th September though, so you’ll need to get your proposals in fast. You can download an application below. You’ll need to direct any specific questions to…

Rebecca Dunne- Policy Manager

Telephone: 01527 881616 Email: equalities@bromsgrove.gov.uk

Good luck!

Download the application here…

2015-2016 Pilot Small Grants Scheme- Guidance and Form V2

Would you like to join our board?

We are looking for new trustees to join our board, and particularly looking for a Chair and Treasurer.

Chair

We are looking for someone to provide leadership and direction to the board of Trustees. The Chair’s aim is to enable the board to fulfill their responsibilities for the overall governance and strategic direction of the organisation.

The Chair’s role is also to work in partnership with the chief executive and support the employees, helping them achieve the aims of the organisation; and to optimise the relationship between the board of Trustees and the staff.

We are looking for someone who has the following qualities:
• commitment to the organisation
• leadership ability
• integrity, strategic vision and good/independent judgement
• a willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to their duties as Chair and trustee
• ability to take decisions for the good of the organisation
• good, independent judgement
• good communication skills
• tact and diplomacy
• willingness to speak one’s mind and listen to the views of others
• an ability to work effectively as a member of a team
• understanding of the legal responsibilities and liabilities of a trustee

For the full role specification click here: Chair – role specification.

 

To express an interest in this role, or to find out more, please email the Chief Executive Gary Roskell at gary@barn.org.uk or phone 01527 60282.

Summer budget 2015

The summer budget 2015 is a bit of a mixed bag for the Voluntary and Community Sector.

Most charities or other not-for-profit organisations with any staff will benefit with the National Insurance employment allowance for small firms to be increased by 50% to £3,000 from 2016. And George Osborne has also included some hand-outs to high-profile charities like the Children’s Air Ambulance, which will be good news for them.

But the £12 billion of welfare savings, albeit over a slightly longer period, is bound to have a significant impact on some of the vulnerable individuals and families most in need, with reductions in the income threshold for tax credits, limits to child tax credits, scrapping of housing benefit for 18-21s, and changes to the Employment and Support Allowance.

As Steve Clapperton from the Charities Aid Foundation, comments:

“Many voluntary organisations anticipate that demand for their work will increase over the coming years. With further pressure on  the public finances and welfare spending, it will be important for government to work in collaboration with charities to use their expertise and make sure charities are not simply left to fill the austerity gap.”

What do you think of the budget? How will it effect Bromsgrove and Redditch?

For a summary of the key points of the budget try 

UPDATE

For more summaries and reaction you could also try

A new Chief Executive for Bromsgrove And Redditch Network

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Gary Roskell joins BARN from The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country. Having previously worked across the arts, education, the environment and health, he is looking forward to the experience.

“Bromsgrove And Redditch Network has such a great reputation across the area. The work it does is really valued, and the team here is so dedicated,” Gary said. “I’m joining at a difficult time for voluntary and community organisations, which makes BARN’s job absolutely crucial. When we work together we can overcome a lot of the challenges though, and there are still exciting opportunities out there to find.”

Jean Watson, the Chair of BARN, said, “I am really happy to be handing the reins over to Gary. His breadth of experience and positive attitude is a perfect fit for the role. I have no doubt he’ll be able to build on the achievements of the Network over the last eighteen years.”

Bromsgrove and Redditch Network (BARN) was formed in 1997 to help provide support and services to community and voluntary sector organisations.

The aim of the Network is to give the voluntary sector a collective voice, share ideas and information, identify training opportunities and discuss funding issues. BARN is also a Volunteer Centre, and matches potential volunteers with relevant opportunities.