VAC Annual Report 2013-14


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Find out about our work supporting Camden Civil Society in 2013-14

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Demonstrating Our Value on g s n i s me s u co c fo out n o i t n e rv g es n i l iti k c al a t qu e in y r e t v e un ng co i ak und m o p te n i y l r ea Voluntary Action Camden ANNUAL REPORT 2013/2014


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VAC’s Mission ‘To work with local residents, community groups and organisations to develop and support a vibrant civil society that underpins a high quality of life in Camden and the surrounding areas.’ Camden market graffiti art VAC Charity Number: 802186 Company Number: 2388150 Registered Office: 293-299 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2TJ Tel: 020 7284 6550 Fax: 020 7284 6551


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Chair’s Address Welcome to VAC’s Annual Report for 2013/2014. VAC has continued to work with a range of brilliant partners over the last year and we are looking forward to some positive and fruitful collaboration over the coming year. The climate for civil society organisations (CSOs) of all kinds continues to be a difficult one, with major pressures on all the resources we depend on, whether that is people’s time and enthusiasm, affordable places to meet or hold an event or funds to provide services and support to those who need help. At VAC we have been keen to find out what services and support are most valued by the many organisations we’re in contact with and we’ve been looking at how we provide that support. Like everyone else, we have to try and find ways to do more with less and to test what we do against the impact our work has. Our objectives for the year have remained unchanged: supporting individuals and groups to get involved in civil society, developing ways of sharing good practice and resources and helping to coordinate diverse voices of individuals and organisations so that together we can have a positive impact on wider social agendas. I continue to be very impressed by the quality of VAC’s staff, volunteers and trustees. The Board has a range of skills and expertise that helps us provide both challenge and direction for the organisation. Staff and volunteers have shown repeatedly an ability to respond flexibly to new opportunities, a willingness to look at issues in fresh ways and a commitment to finding the best solutions to the many issues they encounter. Whilst a great deal can be provided through web-based resources (and we have made significant improvements to these over the past year), it is the face-to-face contact that we know is extremely valuable – putting someone in touch with a group or an individual who can help, linking one network to another over a shared issue or passing on details of new developments and opportunities to the sector as a whole. These are all crucial to VAC’s success. The challenges in the coming year are going to be big ones – for both small and large civil society organisations, for our statutory partners facing what to me are truly alarming levels of cuts in their resources and for many residents of Camden facing ever widening levels of inequality. At VAC we will do all we can to engage and support the work of the sector and, with our partners, promote the positive community values of a truly civil society. 1


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About us VAC has its roots in the pioneering philanthropy of the nineteenth century and traces its origins back to the Charity Organisation Society of 1860 and the pioneering work of the nineteenth century Hampstead philanthropists. At the turn of the last century, the Hampstead system was widely recognised as a pioneer of cooperation between municipalities and the voluntary and community sector and was also pioneering in acting as a coordinating body for a plethora of overlapping organisations. In 1965 the organisation took on a Camden wide remit, adopting the name Voluntary Action Camden (VAC) in 1983. Today, VAC continues to build on these firm foundations, and in particular, the role of co-ordinating the work of people, communities and organisations across a wide spectrum of activities. Whilst VAC focusses its work on the London Borough of Camden it also works across Greater London in providing specialised and bespoke services. More than 2,400 civil society organisations provide vital activities and services, create local job opportunities and enrich lives in Camden. At VAC we support these organisations so that local people and communities can continue to benefit from a thriving voluntary and community sector. As a civil society organisation ourselves, VAC recognises the importance of securing a robust Quality Assurance Framework and has various quality marks to support the work it is delivering for Camden residents and organisations. In 2013/14, VAC renewed its Investors In People Quality Mark. This quality mark is for VAC to advance its performance through its team. It helped to improve performance and realised objectives through the management and development of the team. We have other quality marks, such as MATRIX, for giving information, advice and guidance as an education and training provider to the sector. We also have the NAVCA quality mark as an infrastructure organisation. Bridge over Hampstead Heath 2


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Focusing on Outcomes In 2013/2014 VAC provided direct support to individuals and organisations to do what they do best – making their own and their communities’ aspirations a reality. VAC supported local residents, groups and organisations to achieve the outcomes that they set for themselves – to bring about a better quality of life and more sustainable communities in Camden. Profile of services of the groups we work with and who their service users are: Primary Services Environment Fundraising Law VCS support Employment Supplementary School Advocacy Housing Leisure and sports Social business Campaigning Education Equality and access Art, music, drama Faith Self help Training Advice/information Care services Children and Young People Community centre Health Community work Percentage 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 2.6 2.6 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.4 4.3 4.3 4.3 5.1 5.1 5.1 5.1 6.0 6.0 6.8 6.8 6.8 8.5 3 Service Users Ex-offenders and families LGBTT people People with HIV/AIDS People with learning disabilities Carers Bereaved people Drug/Alcohol/Substance users Homeless people Lone parents Disabled people People with basic skill needs People with mental health needs People in most deprived areas Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants Unemployed people Adults Tenants and residents Children Older people Black and minority ethnic people Women Young people All people Percentage 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.2 3.3 3.3 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4 5.6 5.6 6.7 6.7 7.8 7.8 7.8 12.4


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Delivering Outcomes During the year VAC continued to deliver excellent free or low-cost organisational development and capacity building services to Camden groups. VAC supported over 330 groups with setting up, registering as a charity or company, governance matters, employment advice and income generation. Business planning is also an essential task for new and existing groups alike to underpin sustainability and to continue to deliver outcomes for Camden residents. VAC provided tailored business planning support to 32 Camden groups, whether this was for the first time as the organisation set up, or for those established organisations looking to review their current plan in light of emerging trends and opportunities. This acted as a catalyst enabling people to think about strategic issues with an emphasis on forward planning and financial management. Supporting Civil Society Organisations Focus on Outcomes 54 84 32 28 52 organisations supported on governance, structures, registering a charity and setting up a group organisations advised on employment and human resources matters organisations helped with business planning support and support on setting up a social enterprise organisations received support on financial planning organisations received advice on income generation and quality assurance 65 16 organisations used the Salary Administration Service (payroll) organisations received accountancy support through the Community Accountancy Project 750 finance queries 107 organisations signposted to advice & support CASE STUDY: BUSINESS PLANNING AND STRATEGIC AWAY DAY We have an annual session every year where the board meets to review our business plan and update aspects of it, like the risk assessment / skills audit, depending on what the priority is at that time. VAC has facilitated that for us twice, so trying to get the information from the board in terms of what we want to do, how we deal with anything we want to change, updating our mission statement etc. This was particularly useful for the board because of VAC’s knowledge of Camden and the current environment. It provides a bigger picture of Camden. I think one of the biggest impacts for the board was that they got a lot more knowledge about the Camden situation generally, the economic climate, the financial climate, the funding climate, relationships and organisations within Camden. I think it definitely improved their knowledge of that, which helped them to make decisions more efficiently about our organisation and how it fits within that environment. Lindsay Richardson, Director of Abbey Community Centre 4


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CASE STUDY: VAC SERVICES VAC was very helpful in our setting up because they advised on our corporate status and helped us to choose becoming a charitable incorporated organisation. We’ve also had a lot of help in human resources because we had to do everything from scratch, like design conditions of service and decide what should be our contract level. In our early stages, when we were developing our business plan, we got help around the models of business plans. We were able to talk to people in the sector and weigh up if this would work for us. We also use VAC’s payroll service, which I think we get really good value from. The savings in manpower are significant. If we did it in house it would take eight times as long. It also means that I can feel confident that staff are getting the correct amount on the correct day. It was also very important for us to be able to make contact with the right people in the sector. VAC were really, really helpful in pointing us in the right direction towards people to talk to, people in the community. Just saying, “have you spoken to such and such, you should be in contact with so and so,” is a very helpful thing. And also working out the kinds of programmes that VAC is currently running, they were able to bring us up to speed about the kinds of projects running in Camden that we should be concerned with and we should know about. Francis Hasler, Director of Healthwatch Camden CASE STUDY: REGISTERING AS A CHARITY Our organisation has been set up about eight years. The idea of becoming a charity has come up regularly, but in the past we were always put off for various reasons. It became more pressing, however, after we secured £50K from a charitable fund that wanted assurances around our governance. So we decided to look into becoming a charity again. I had no idea where to start so I contacted VAC. The advice was invaluable because it made us realise that one of the options for us was to become a charitable incorporated organisation, a structure which enabled us to pay our group members for delivering certain work. So then we got help with developing the constitution. VAC looked over the application before I submitted it. The end result was that we got charitable status the first time running, so it’s been brilliant! Amy Anderson, Anybody UK 5


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Target HR Training Programme Investing in people is one of the best ways to ensure that they are able to focus on and achieve outcomes. In 2013/14 VAC provided free or lowcost training to equip people to deliver services and to respond proactively to the demands of a very challenging environment. 45 36 7 organisations supported trustee HR volunteers London boroughs 50+ 680 200+ courses individuals organisations Target HR provides free employment and human resources (HR) advice and support to small and medium-sized organisations working with marginalised communities, across the seven London boroughs. Securing advice at an early stage helped 45 organisations improve their practices, skills and knowledge. More complex and costly situations were often avoided enabling organisations to focus on securing key outcomes for their communities. An important benefit of Target HR was the involvement of trustees as Target HR volunteers – an experience that benefits the individual with the acquisition of new skills and the long term sustainability of organisations. In 2013/14, 36 trustees became Target HR volunteers. CASE STUDY: WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP TO DELIVER ADULT EDUCATION We have worked together to develop a whole range of qualifications that we deliver in partnership with VAC. The Mary Ward Settlement provides the education and the expertise, liaises with the relative bodies, provides the quality assurance, and VAC provides us with specialist staff to teach those courses within the context of voluntary community organisations. We are also able to help with the funding of certain courses through our skills funding agencies funding. This means the courses are much more affordable for voluntary community organisations because they are at least part subsidised. Working in partnership with VAC has provided good networking opportunities for us, particularly for things like community outreach partners and looking for opportunities to work together with other organisations. This is very important for us as we are an adult education provider, a tiny college in some ways, and we want to focus at least a large portion of our work in employer engagement on voluntary and community organisations like ourselves. VAC have really helped us to fulfil that mission and keep us clear about what kind of training and learning opportunities the staff and volunteers of voluntary and community organisations require. Suzanna Jackson, Warden of Mary Ward Settlement “Your support is unique in that it is placed in the local context and able to use local experience to locate and guide us in accessing practical support and resources.” Target HR Service User 6


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“The main benefit for me was that it gave me a very good overview on business strategy and planning. It gave me a clear pathway on what I had to do in terms of setting up the company. It gave me the confidence to move forward.” Delegate Feedback British Museum Reading Room “If I hadn’t got that advice we’d have to pay for it. And If I hadn’t followed it, it would have ended up costing our organisation a lot of money.” Target HR Service User “We did not need to worry about cost and could ask on a number of priority matters. Budget is not easily found for HR in a small organisation yet all the same HR difficulties remain and can have a far more adverse impact.” Target HR Service User 7


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A Hub of Activity –Providing Greater Networking Opportunities and Costing Less Shared Office Space and Services 8 16 373 1246 582 tenants share office space groups using hot-desk hours of hot-desk time booked (an average saving of £5229) room bookings for training & meetings tenant room bookings at reduced rate Many individuals and communities need to have a base from which to work if they are going to be able to focus on achieving their chosen outcomes. In 2013/14, VAC provided access to hot desking for sixteen organisations for a total of 373.5 hours. Eight organisations also shared the office space and back-office facilities. They benefited from discounted rates on room hire and the use of VAC’s equipment, which generated considerable savings to be reinvested back into achieving the organisation’s outcomes. Tenants and individuals coming to training and meetings also tell us that VAC is a hub for civil society organisations, providing fantastic networking opportunities. “Hot-Desking is very useful. I have a computer, but if I’m working alone I don’t have the support I have here at VAC. If I don’t understand something, someone here will always help me.” VAC hot-desk user 8 “We’ve managed to make direct contact with two of our target groups because they were in the building and we managed to nab them and say ‘hello, do you want to come and talk with us later?’ And they did!” VAC Tenant


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Communications Communication is vital to enable working together and keeping abreast of the latest trends and opportunities for the sector. This year we have been working really hard to improve how we communicate with each other and the wider sector. This involved improving our use of social media and the redesign of our website, which is due to launch in December 2014. 37,036 602 3000+ 94.1% hits to VAC and One Camden websites tweets, 447 followers, Klout score 43 subscribers to VAC newsletter say newsletter is a quality resource “The VAC newsletter is the best resource that I’ve come across to let everyone know what’s going “I love the newsletter, I on.” don’t miss one! I find it VAC service user very, very useful. One of our service-users found a job from the newsletter” VAC service user 9


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Tackling Inequalities The population of the London Borough of Camden is 225,000. The difference in life expectancy for people living in the richest parts of the borough compared to those in more deprived wards is 13 years for men and 8 years for women. 24% of residents in Camden live within the 20% most deprived areas of England where there is an 83% higher prevalence of serious mental illness. People from a low socio- economic status, women, Black Minority Ethnic groups and people with long term conditions or disabilities are more likely to suffer from mental illness and 50% are more likely to have a long term health condition. In 2013/14 the work that VAC did to support individuals and communities was central to tackling inequalities. VAC undertook targeted work focussing on mental health for Black, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BMER) communities and seeking to improve the health and well being of communities as a whole. Mental Health Community Development Project (MHCDWP) Delegates at the BMER Mental Health Summit Camden has the third highest prevalence of serious mental illness, significantly higher than the London and England average. There is widespread under-diagnosis and under-treatment of mental illness across the population. Prevalence is highest in Black or Black British communities (4.8% in men and 2.7% in women). Investing in early intervention and focused mental health services helped to save money as well as improving people's lives. The MHCDWP worked to increase awareness of mental health services within BMER communities and how these services could be accessed. It did this by working with BMER communities, service providers and commissioners to identify and remove the barriers to accessing services. The project recruited local community members as mental health champions who, with the support of the community development workers, worked to reduce stigma, strengthen and widen local community service delivery and “Camden has the highest level of mixed develop and support conversations between commissioners race people using the mental health services and communities to co-produce future services. MHCDWP in England. A big challenge is when groups also supported the Camden Mental Health User Involvement isolate themselves. There are a lot of historic Service and the Camden Borough User Group to promote and cultural expectations on men and and organise a successful World Mental Health Day event. women and how religion and mental health and medication are viewed. So it’s very challenging.” NHS Mental Health Outreach Team 10


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Maureen Brewster, Senior MHCDWP Worker at VAC with Dr Caz Sayer, Chair of Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCCG) at the CCCG’s AGM 5 9 2 2 19 workshops covering: Mental health & Wellbeing, Depression, Understanding Dementia, Stress and the Workplace, Self-Advocacy were held: a total of 60 participants sessions Mental Health First Aid training – 113 people Bangladeshi Mental Health & Wellbeing Forum meetings – 28 people Mental Health Information & Networking session – 44 people trained mental health champions, 9 peer mentors attend the Mental Health First Aid Training and 7 attended the Coaching & Mentoring training 11


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BMER communities have a wealth of mental health expertise that others can learn from. The BMER Mental Health Summit, held in September 2013, was attended by 35 community members, service providers, commissioners and decision makers. 79% of attendees were from BMER communities. People worked together to look at the mental health needs of communities, how current mental health services were working and to identify and agree actions to tackle inequality and gaps in service provision. “There is no word for mental health in the Bengali language. There is no word for dementia. So how we went about addressing these issues was by working with VAC.” Crossroads Care CNL 35 38 8 650 individuals representing 27 organisations attended BMER Mental Health Summit mental health outreach sessions Dementia friends sessions in Camden with 119 participants organisations signed up to Mental Health newsletter Delegates at the BMER Mental Health Summit “VAC has well established links and has connected me with various BMER groups. What struck me about working with VAC is how hard they work to establish those links. Certain BMER groups are really hard to engage with and I’ve been very impressed with what VAC has done to establish those connections.” VAC service user. 12


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Health Inequalities Hub VAC, in partnership with the Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCCG), lead on the development of the Health Inequalities Hub. Activity took place across the borough and it sought to tackle health inequality by piloting new ways in which the ‘non clinical’ demands on GP services could be met through the presence of volunteer health advocates and the signposting of people to local community based services. The project piloted new ways of working across the health service, the local authority and civil society and at the same time provided a conduit through which a two way communication loop could take place between local communities, the CCCG and commissioners. One of the long term ambitions of the project is to influence commissioning in favour of prevention and encourage the development of the health advocate role into ‘co-commissioning’ and participation in social prescribing. To-date, VAC has recruited and trained 50 volunteer health advocates, 28 of whom were placed in eight GP surgeries and one Mosque in Camden. There are currently 16 volunteer health advocates providing the signposting service. Ethnicity Bangladeshi Black African Black British Black Caribbean Chinese Greek/Greek Cypriot Indian No Comment Other Turkish/Turkish Cypriot White Irish White Other White British % 4.9 13.2 5.5 3.8 2.2 4.4 4.9 3.8 11.5 0.5 2.7 7.1 37.9 Community Health Advocates receiving certificates following RSPH Training 8 1 50 28 16 13 GP surgeries Mosque Volunteer Health Advocates received RSPH training to-date Volunteer Health Advocate placements Health Advocates currently signposting to services



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