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3 CORPORATE VITALITY OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 17 NOVEMBER 2008 TITLE OF REPORT: Review of Promoting and Supporting Volunteering REPORT OF: Roger Kelly, Chief Executive Margaret Whellans, Group Director, Community Based Services SUMMARY The report gives details of the purpose of the evidence gathering session that will take place on 17 November 2008. Evidence will be gathered from services and partners in Gateshead regarding the promotion and support of volunteering in Gateshead. Background 1. Vision 2030, the Sustainable Community Strategy, sets out six big ideas to help us to achieve our vision for Gateshead. One of these big ideas is for Gateshead Volunteers. This is about enabling everyone to make a recognised contribution to their community. 2. For this to happen the Gateshead Strategic Partnership is working, through the Sustainable Community Strategy and the Gateshead Agreement, to develop a co- ordinated programme for promoting volunteering and voluntary action, both to support Gateshead’s Year of the Volunteer and beyond. This will be measured by calculating the percentage of local people participating in regular volunteering. 3. Through Gateshead Volunteers we want to maximise the potential of volunteering in Gateshead for both individuals and the wider community. Promoting volunteering will help to raise the profile of ‘third sector work’ (the term encompasses voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises, and co-operatives) and encourage more local people to become involved in and contributing towards achievement of Vision 2030. Purpose of this session 4. The purpose of this session is to gather evidence from community and voluntary groups in Gateshead by means of site visits and by meeting volunteers face to face. The session is intended to provide an overview of the Council’s position as both an employer that supports volunteers and an organisation that supports the voluntary and community sector. The session will include visits to the following community and voluntary groups: Birtley Community Partnership Birtley Boxing Club. Friends of Elisabethville The session will aim to ask the following questions: What has been the benefit of the project to the local community? What barriers are there to volunteering? What challenges are there in setting up a community group? Are there any groups that we are failing to engage? What can Gateshead Council do better to support community and voluntary organisations? Further details of the itinerary for the evidence gathering session together with details of the projects can be found at Appendix 1 Recommendation 5. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is recommended to note the arrangements for gathering evidence for the Review of Promoting and Supporting Volunteering. Contact: David Bunce, Director of Culture and Communities Extension: 3250 Lindsay Kirkley, Director, Policy and Improvement Extension: 2794 Appendix 1 Corporate Vitality Overview and Scrutiny Committee Visit to Volunteer Centres in the South of Gateshead Monday 17 November 2008 Timetable and Itinerary for the evidence gathering session: Time Venue 4.30pm to 5.00pm Committee travel by bus from Gateshead Civic Centre to Birtley Methodist Church 5.00pm to 5.30pm Committee Meeting at Birtley Methodist Church, Morris Street, Birtley. 5.30pm to 6.00pm Meeting with members of Birtley Partnership Birtley Methodist Church 6.00pm to 6.10pm Travel to Birtley Boxing Club 6.10pm to 6.55pm Meeting with members of Birtley Boxing Club Old Birtley Fire Station Edward Road, Birtley 6.55pm to 7.00pm Travel to Elisabethville Community House 7.00pm to 7.30pm Meeting with members of the Friends of Elisabethville, 14 – 16 Birch Terrace Birtley Overview of Groups Birtley Community Partnership In 2002 the Birtley Community Partnership was formed as an umbrella group, that brings together Residents’ Associations, Youth Groups, Police, Community Groups, and strong support from all the town’s churches to provide both positive and practical help. As the Partnership was to be non-political, non-sectarian, and work for the inclusion of all people, it was agreed Councillors would be included to support this approach. The reason for the formation of the Partnership was to take up the Government’s challenge for communities to have more say in their area, and in response to what was felt to be a decline in the town of Birtley through crime, vandalism and the run-down appearance of the Town Centre. Birtley Boxing Club The Birtley Boxing Club was formed in 1979 and is currently located in the old Birtley Fire Station on Edward Road. It boasts over 100 members with a further 20/30 volunteer trainers, trustees and helpers. Over the years, numerous members of the club have represented Birtley at regional, national, international and Olympic level. Ron Rowe, the secretary of the club, is also a national coach. Gateshead Council recently awarded the club with a Respect Gateshead Award for their Liberty Project, with a focus on tackling anti social behaviour by working with local youngsters to improve their self esteem and discipline. This project runs a programme of positive activities to promote health, fitness, education and citizenship, along with mentoring schemes supporting younger members. Friends of Elisabethville Local people in Elisabethville formed the Friends of Elisabethville group in 2006, as they wanted to continue the successful work of the Community Partnership in the area that took place during 2001-2005. The group were constituted in 2007 and have a membership representing all age groups from the local area. All the volunteers have taken up training, such as food hygiene training and first aid, offered by Gateshead Council. The group’s focus is to work with all local service providers to improve the image of their community and offer improved local services. They are focusing particularly on promoting neighbourliness, supporting volunteering and out of hours activities for young people (after 4pm on weekdays and weekends). They have received funding and support from Housing Services, The Gateshead Housing Company, South Problem Solving Team, Community Safety, Community Health Team, Property Services, Neighbourhood Management, Birtley Children’s Centre and the Elisabethville Tenants and Residents Group. The group have raised several hundred pounds by holding several local fundraising events. Overall they have attracted funding in excess of £12,000 in funding.
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