Supporting the local voluntary and community sector

Many of us have been volunteers at some time in our lives. You may have helped raise funds for charity by doing a sponsored walk or a street collection, or perhaps helped at a local animal shelter or in a charity shop. All over Calderdale, voluntary and community organisations provide essential public services, from meals on wheels and refuges for victims of domestic violence, to support for people looking for work.

Calderdale Council is committed to supporting voluntary and community organisations. This sector plays an important role in tackling the challenges facing our communities, and by working with local voluntary organisations, charities and community groups, a real difference can be made for the people of Calderdale.

The Council helps by providing grants and other assistance to charities and groups across the borough, and also by recently awarding a contract to North Bank Forum to provide sector support in Calderdale. North Bank Forum has been providing services in the area since 1 April 2013, following Cabinet approval in December 2012. Services include:

  • Supporting organisations to develop – e.g. training courses, fundraising information, one-to-one mentoring and advice, access to learning resources
  • Support for volunteering – e.g. being a contact for people interested in volunteering but not knowing who to volunteer for, advising organisations which use volunteers, promoting and encouraging volunteering generally
  • Helping the voluntary sector to have a voice in wider decision-making, either by supporting voluntary organisations to join in consultation, partnership and engagement, or being a representative from the sector itself.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Steve Sweeney, said:

“By investing in support for voluntary and community organisations, we are ensuring the continued development of these services. We are helping groups achieve their aims, by sharing information, advice and good practice, and promoting volunteering.”

The Council awarded the contract to North Bank Forum, a Yorkshire-based voluntary and community sector organisation, which has an administrative office at Clare Road in Halifax. It has a great deal of experience through its work with other local authorities and brings new skills and will enhance the work of Calderdales voluntary sector.

Chief Officer of North Bank Forum, Kath Jones, said:

“We are really pleased to be offering an exciting sector development programme over the next two years and look forward to working proactively with the borough’s groups and organisations in supporting their needs. Our approach is to be accessible to all groups, regardless of their size and delivery, with an outreach presence in Calderdales communities.”

The Council and North Bank Forum are working together to let local voluntary and community organisations know about the support available. Official launch events are being held in July to give information, advice and the chance to network, share knowledge and promote services.

    • Monday 1 July: Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre, Halifax, 10am 2pm (‘Funding with or without grants’)
    • Thursday 4 July: Todmorden Town Hall, Todmorden, 10am 2pm (‘Voluntary and community sector showcase’)
    • Tuesday 9 July: Waring Green Community Centre, Brighouse, 10am 2pm (‘What is resilience?’)

For more information and to book a place at the launch events, please contact Olivia Swingler at North Bank Forum’s Sector Support Calderdale Team on 01422 345174 orĀ

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