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Activity Report 2018-19

The 2018-19 Annual General Meeting was held on Friday, 20th September 2019 in the Cedar Room at The Orchard.

In addition to the AGM business, attendees heard presentations on:

  • Brighter Basingstoke & the Role of the Voluntary Sector – The Worshipful the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Diane Taylor and The Rt Hon. Maria Miller MP for Basingstoke
  • A Journey of Change, Transforming Volunteering in our Borough – Tony Capon, Chief Executive, Basingstoke Voluntary Action
  • Time Well Spent, National Insights on the Volunteer Experience – Shaun Delaney, Volunteering Development Manager, National Council for Voluntary Organisations

Copies of our annual accounts may be requested by emailing contact@bvaction.org.uk

Report from the Chair of Trustees (Carol Bode)

The year 2018-2019 continued to be one of change and challenge for BVA as it effectively continued to review and transform its practices and procedures to reclaim its position as a sustainable and vibrant organisation with a purpose “to enable and sustain a confident, resilient and vibrant voluntary and community sector within Basingstoke and Deane (B&D) that changes lives of local communities for the better”.

I am conscious that I stated in our report last year that I was very confident that BVA was starting 2018 in a much better place to seize the opportunities and play to our full potential in the year ahead – something we did not fully deliver due to a number of key personnel changes. There were significant changes in leadership during the year at both CEO and Trustee level. I would like to thank Bridget Phelps who stepped in as Interim Chief Executive until July 2018 for her contribution and ability to identify the improvements that needed to be made. In August 2018 we welcomed Pat Fitzsimons as CEO who brought different ideas and approaches during the 6 months that she was with us and I thank her too for her contribution during that time. During that time however, the groundwork for stabilising BVA continued and I can say with certainty now that already in 2019 those plans and preparations are now coming to fruition under the leadership of Tony Capon who joined as CEO in April 2019 after a period as a Trustee of BVA.

From the Trustee Board we said goodbye to 3 long standing Trustees during 2018:
Andy Taylor (resigned 25th March 2019 Gilda McIntosh (resigned 12th June 2018) Frank McKenna (resigned 21st September 2018)

All had given several years’ service to BVA and their dedication, time and commitment was valued and appreciated by us all during that time and on behalf of BVA I thank them for it. We were lucky to attract 4 new Trustees with varying backgrounds and expertise who have all settled in well and are fully contributing : Stephen Brearley (appointed 21st September 2018), Jeannette Welton (appointed 21st September 2018), Karen Chilman (appointed 21st September 2018) and Beth Linklater (appointed 21st September 2018)

Our vision in 2018-2019-to be:

  • an outstanding membership organisation for the voluntary and community sector within B&D, unrivalled in the influence, voice and support we offer to our members and to our local communities;
  • a builder of community capacity and resilience to address local quality of life, including reducing dependence on public services in the context of public sector funding cuts;
  • a champion and innovator of voluntary action connecting communities and people across B&D.

Our 5 strategic aims remained:

  1. To be the best membership organisation we can be
  2. To work actively in partnership with key stakeholders to build sustainable communities
  3. To support more active communities across B&D through volunteering
  4. To ensure The Orchard is the “go to” centre of excellence for voluntary action in B&D
  5. To support innovation and financial resilience.

The annual report describes in detail the actions and developments delivered through the year and plans for the year ahead:

  • Through our core activities;  BVA Group Development – providing support to local groups and charities, Grants and Funding Support, Volunteer Centre, Community Training, Forums and Partnerships
  • Through our role as landlord of The Orchard
  • Through our projects; Basingstoke Young Carers, The Camrose Centre

I would like to thank our staff for all their hard work and perseverance through yet another challenging year for BVA, the many volunteers who help BVA, my fellow Trustees who have given much of their time during the year, all our members who do great work in our communities, and our key stakeholders for your continued support.

BVA Group Development - providing support to local groups and charities

As the voluntary sector membership body for Basingstoke and District, we offer free professional help and advice to our member Voluntary and Community groups. As part of our role as the umbrella body for local community organisations we provide group development, support and training on a wide range of topics including start-up, governance, funding advice and guidance, business planning and general good practice. Throughout the year we have continued to see a demand for our group development advice and support services, including working with our wider partners to promote social enterprise and diverse fundraising opportunities within the borough.

Following an extensive review of our membership criteria and offer which resulted in a consolidation of organisations classified as full members, we currently have 259 active Member Organisations, along with a further 164 associate member organisation with whom we hold a signposting and information sharing relationship with.

Across the year we have facilitated an ongoing project to improve the quality and currency of the member information that we hold within our CRM database. This has included ensuring our data is fully GDPR compliant and that members have the option to reaffirm what information we currently hold on them and to request modifications and corrections. As the depth and complexity of interaction with our CRM database usage increases, we have begun to reap the benefits of improving further the centralisation, accuracy and timeliness of interactions with our member organisations.

Future Plans

  • We will continue to review our group development offer to ensure that we are effectively targeting areas of development and support most needed by our member organisations.
  • We will continue to integrate our systems and practices, particularly to ensure a greater cohesion between our Volunteering and Group Development support offer.

Grants and Funding Support

We continue to maintain a large section on our website devoted to promoting and publicising available grant opportunities for community groups. Through the use of link tracking we are able to monitor the level of visitor numbers and interaction with the opportunities advertised, using this data we are able to ensure that our grants promotion is reaching audiences effectively, publicising things further where required. As part of our grants and funding support service we also continue to send out periodic targeted emails promoting specific grants to selected member organisations along with offering targeted guidance and advice to our members on fundraising opportunities that may be suitable for their needs.

We have also begun to use the Funding Central portal, run by the NCVO, as a major source of funding and grant information to be produced on request for our member organisations. To ensure that this service continues to have a positive impact amongst our member organisations we have begun to collect information on grants applied for, and successfully acquired, within our CRM system.

Future Plans

We shall expand this service further by offering 1-to-1 funding consultations using the Funding Central platform which will allow individuals from member groups to bring a funding requirement to us and leave their appointment with a selection of viable options to follow up.

We will be running regular ‘Fundraising Forums’, sharing successful approaches and featuring guests from various funder organisations sharing their perspective and information on best practice/tips for success.

Volunteer Centre

We work with local voluntary, community and charitable organisations that are in need of volunteers in order to fulfil their mission and help the people and communities in Basingstoke and Deane. Via our dedicated ‘Volunteer North Hants’ online platform, jointly managed in partnership with Hart Voluntary Action and Rushmoor Voluntary Services, we offer a comprehensive brokerage and matching service for volunteering within the borough.

Within the year we helped find opportunities for 358 volunteers who registered with us triggering over 856 enquiries around volunteering along with 14 new organisations choosing to advertise their volunteer vacancies on the platform, taking the total up to nearly 500. (all these numbers aren’t clear how they relate to each other).

To further promote volunteering, we continue to attend events and hold regular information stands across the borough including student events at Queen Mary’s College, a weekly drop-in service at Basingstoke Discovery Centre and hosting our own events such as the Celebration of Volunteering.

Future Plans

  • We will continue to seek new opportunities for promoting and encouraging local volunteering
  • We will expand our reach into rural communities by offering further drop-in sessions outside the town centre

Community Training

We delivered a range of training sessions for community groups across the year on a wide range of topics including First Aid, Volunteer Recruitment and Writing Effective Bids/Grants. These courses were well received by local groups and going forwards we intend to review our training offer to ensure that it offers the greatest possible breadth and opportunity for development to our members.

Future Plans

  • We will revise our Community Learning Programme, in conjunction with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, following member feedback to ensure that additional courses on a greater number of topics and areas are made available.

The Orchard

2018/19 has been a busy year at the Orchard as we commenced an office refurbishment programme; 4 offices and our main meeting room (Cedar) were redecorated and re-carpeted while in the grounds we reduced the trees to open up the back garden. We saw a change in resident organisations as old organisations moved out either because their project was completed or to reduce overhead costs, however we also welcomed new organisations to the building. Our resident survey held in December 2018 showed a marked improvement on the previous year with our Reception being highlighted “Reception staff/volunteers are brilliant. Always helpful and informative”.

Our meeting rooms continued to be well used with the number of bookings compared to 2017/18 increasing by 40%. This was due to increased marketing and Reception staff taking a proactive approach to enquiries. A hirers’ survey was introduced to identify successes and areas for improvement and all respondents reported that they would recommend the venue to other users “Excellent service and room was wonderful to deliver training”.

We have been lucky enough to be successful with grant applications during the year and would like to thank Councillor Paul Frankum, Councillor Jane Frankum, Four Lanes Trust and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for their support. We would like to thank our great volunteers for all their support during the year.

Future Plans

  • Continue refurbishment/upgrade programme
  • Increase use of the Orchard by local support groups to deliver their services via regular drop-ins open to the public and pre-booked advice sessions

Forums and Partnerships

Following the successful formation of the Basingstoke Community Support Group as a forum to discuss applications made to the Mayor’s Community Chest grant scheme, we have continued to facilitate meetings of the group post-closure of the grant scheme due to its agreed value as a vehicle for sharing local knowledge, contacts and information on community activities amongst partners. Representatives include the various Rotary Clubs, Basingstoke Lions, Moose International and Community Champions from the major Basingstoke superstores such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose.

Throughout the year we continue to host a variety of partnership meetings, providing opportunity for community organisations to come together to share best practice, news and updates. These included the Older Persons’ Partnership, where attendees comprise a range of organisations who interact with and support older people within B&D alongside other longstanding events such as the Voluntary Sector Forum. BVA serves as a co-chair for the Health and Wellbeing Partnership, along with a staff member chairing the local Sports & Physical Activity Alliance. As a result, our members continue to be well represented across various initiatives and promotions linked to health, wellbeing and physical activity across the borough.

Future Plans

  • To build upon our social media and online presence in order to continue to build effective partnerships and disseminate information.
  • To relaunch our successful ‘Meet & Match’ events brokering resource and skills sharing between local business and community groups.

Projects - Basingstoke Young Carers (BYC)

BYC is a BVA project providing practical and emotional support to young carers and their families and ensuring those young carers enjoy and achieve just like their peers. BYC is part of the Hampshire Young Carers Alliance (HYCA) partnership developed by BVA across 10 Young Carers organisations across Hampshire, whose work is funded by a Big Lottery grant and Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services Integrated Grant funding, as well as many generous community donations.

BYC’s staff team, supported by many volunteers, supported more than 200+ young carers across the year, with a further 100+ receiving respite either in schools or from the weekly youth clubs, residential and day activities aimed at giving young carers relief and a chance to be young. BYC has also supported families to access better support and benefits to minimise the role of the young carer within the family. BYC continued to work with various local schools to deliver young carers provision.

To reflect the changing needs and landscape for young carers provision with the borough, BVA are working closely with partners on the set up of a newly registered charity ‘Basingstoke & District Young Carers’ with a view to transferring our current provision to the newly formed organisation as an independent entity. In winding down BVA’s current young carers project and supporting provision delivered by an independent charity within the borough, BVA seeks to ensure that the support and services available to young carers within Basingstoke flourishes and continues to grow from strength to strength. A full project plan and timelines for this transfer have been drawn up and approved by Trustees with an estimated completion to take place during the first quarter of 2019-20.

Future Plans

To work with the newly constituted charity to transfer our young carers services and support an independent delivery within the borough.

Projects -The Camrose Centre

The Camrose Centre is a BVA project that works with clients who are homeless, vulnerably housed or socially isolated every Tuesday and Thursday in Glebe Hall, St Michaels Church, Basingstoke. The Centre offers a self-service breakfast, a two-course hot lunch, warmth, shelter and a listening ear. It supports clients with practical help, clothing, a hot shower, access to a telephone and individual support. It also opens on Fridays for homeless people only. In 2018/19 we have welcomed 503 clients of whom 183 had slept rough the night before and 79 ‘sofa-surfed’ with friends or relatives.

While Friday sessions were funded by BDBC, funding for all other activities come from donations in cash and in kind from individuals, charitable organisations and foundations, churches and businesses across the borough. It has been encouraging to get so much feedback and active responses through regular Facebook updates. The popular Christmas lunch is prepared and served by Basingstoke and Deane Rotary.

In November, Camrose hosted a visit by Maria Miller MP and held a reception to say ‘thank you’ to volunteers and supporters to mark its tenth anniversary. It has also engaged with young people from QMC, BCOT, Fort Hill and South View schools and uniformed organisations as well speaking at all sorts of social and religious occasions. The Centre has also been helped by local Santander staff who came in to cook and serve lunch and this has created a template for other businesses wishing to offer their staff opportunities for greater social awareness. The wonderful thing is that they invariably say how much they have enjoyed the experience!

Future Plans

  • Incorporate monthly GP consultations on-site as a pilot to increase and encourage client access to wider NHS wellbeing services.
  • Employ a third part-time support worker to cover staff absences and to increase focus on young homeless people.  Develop and deliver further training for all volunteers.
  • Continue to seek to respond to the reduction in HCC funded services.
  • Seek to find a way of providing dedicated premises for the Centre, potentially as part of a Social Inclusion hub, through the Basingstoke Social Inclusion Partnership.
  • Host further catering support sessions from PepsiCo and other businesses.
  • Look at other models of service delivery across the UK to seek out and apply good practice in Basingstoke. Secure a realistically funded medium-term service delivery plan from April 2019 with a reinforced management and support team.

Projects - Real Change for Basingstoke 2018/19

Following the successes of previous appeals, BVA once again led the winter fundraising campaign with Basingstoke’s Social Inclusion Partnership, a team of specialist, voluntary, statutory, faith and community groups all working together to reduce homelessness in the borough.

The target was £15,000 for the ‘Real Change Not Loose Change’ initiative, as an alternative to giving money directly to people on the streets.

The campaign provided essential financial support for the Night Light Winter Shelter which was set up by a group of local churches and opened its doors for the third successive winter – 7 days a week between December 1st 2018 and February 28th 2019.

The winter shelter offered hot food, washing facilities and a bed for the night, as well as company and access to community support and health check-ups. Run by a network of trained and dedicated volunteers.

Future Plans

  • Following its success, the Social Inclusion Partnership, is now building on the commitment shown by local people, businesses and organisations by launching a year-round initiative to support rough sleepers.

Main aims and objectives for the coming year

During a year where we have witnessed a higher than normal degree of senior leadership changes, our main priority for the coming year shall be the stabilisation and review of our core services to ensure that we remain fit for purpose as an organisation and continue to deliver meaningful and impactful services for community and voluntary sector organisations across the borough. In the first quarter of 2019-20 the Trustees shall approve a short-term strategic plan for the year which shall emphasise clear and targeted action plans surrounding areas such as reinvigorating our service offerings and re-energising our community and stakeholder partnerships. Following the approval and implementation of this plan, clear performance indicators shall be established in order to monitor and ensure success. In the second quarter of the year the Chief Executive shall be tasked, in conjunction with Trustees, staff and external stakeholders, with the production of a three-year strategic plan covering the period 202023. Through this planning process we shall actively identify opportunities for future development, increased financial stability and widening of the offer to our member organisations. The final half of the year shall be characterised by a period of reflection and consolidation of any learning, successes and achievements to date within the new strategic framework, in readiness for the implementation of the 2020-23 business plan.

Thank you to our supporters

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our member organisations for their patience and understanding during this challenging year for BVA. We are committed to approaching the coming year with a re-energised focus upon meeting the needs of Voluntary and Community Sector groups in the best possible way. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank officers from our two key funding stakeholders Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council for their continued commitment to helping us champion the sector and providing much needed support and guidance to our community groups.

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