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
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.
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
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
Further details of the itinerary for the evidence gathering session together with details
of the projects can be found at Appendix 1
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
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:
4.30pm to 5.00pm Committee travel by bus from Gateshead Civic Centre to Birtley
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
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.