This week is Volunteers' Week and a chance to reflect on the achievements of the thousands of volunteers in our region who have helped to support communities through what has been one of the most challenging years we've seen.
Connected Voice Magazine Summer 2021: Community Action
To coincide with Volunteers' Week and to shine a light on the many organisations that make a positive difference in our communities, we've published our Summer 2021 edition of Connected Voice Magazine on the theme of Community Action.
In an opening editorial, our Chief Executive Lisa Goodwin, reflects on the theme and what it means for our work:
'One of our values as an organisation is ‘we support action’, and supporting community action is a big part of our day to day work. Whether it’s providing training for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations, giving advice and support about aspects of running a VCSE organisation, or helping with the bits going on in the background through our finance services, we support community action in one form or another every day.
Community action is changing – people are organising digitally to a far greater extent, and we’ve seen a huge increase in less formal means of community action through mutual aid groups and other neighbourhood- level support networks. We have a duty to make sure that our services shift to take account of these changes, and more importantly that they make it easier to get involved in community action – rather than asking people to jump through hoops. However we need to balance that with our duty to support safe and inclusive community action – making sure that organisations who seek our support are aware of the safeguarding and health and safety responsibilities they are taking on, and that they can support others to get involved too.'
Connected Voice Advocacy: 25 Years of Community Action
Connected Voice Advocacy is proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Over the years we have relied heavily on volunteers to deliver one-to-one advocacy support to people but also to help fundraise and steer services, recruit staff, and ensure service-users have a voice in what we do and how we do it. Read Jane Kingston's article - 25 Years of Community Action - in the latest edition of Connected Voice Magazine.
Volunteering and Employment
Last week, in advance of Volunteers' Week, we ran a networking event on the theme of Volunteering and Employment. We heard from local organisations about the amazing work they do in supporting volunteering opportunities but there was also a theme with many of the speakers offering a personal insight into how volunteering had helped them in their own career journey. It got us thinking about how our volunteers benefit from working in the Advocacy team, and how many have used their experiences to gain employment, either within Connected Voice or elsewhere in the sector.
One of our Senior Advocacy Coordinators, Gill, has written a personal blog about how she arrived at Independent Advocacy by volunteering. Read about Gill’s journey.
Tracey recently became a sessional Advocate in our Statutory Advocacy team and you can read about her journey from volunteering in on our news page.
One of our longest-standing Volunteer Advocates, Gwen has been with us since 2008. This is her story of her work providing support for her advocacy partner, Sandra. See what Gwen does
Volunteer Centre Newcastle and the Volunteer Passport
This week Volunteering Matters are launching their Volunteer Passport Scheme Newcastle. The scheme will enable the formation of a network of volunteers, who are fully recruited, trained, support and ready to respond quickly and appropriately to the needs of the local community, and VCSE organisations. You can learn more about the Volunteer Passport at
Volunteer Centre Newcastle feature as a Spotlight in our Connected Voice Magazine so you can learn more about how they support over 2,000 potential volunteers a year and more than 1,000 organisations, as well as hear about a new partnership with Connected Voice looking at how volunteering has changed as a result of the pandemic and what support organisations will need in the future.
Coordinating Community Action in a Digital Age
If you're looking for 'Ways to Help' in your community then why not take a look at the listings featured on OurGateshead.org - Gateshead's community website? We've seen a huge increase in the number of posts over the last few weeks as organisations prepare for the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions. If you're an organisation that would like to feature on OurGateshead.org then take a look at our quick guide.
You can learn more about future plans for OurGateshead in our latest edition of Connected Voice Magazine.