Winter newsletter

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					VSO Supporter Groups Mailing – December 2009

Dear Supporter Groups,

Seasons greeting’s, welcome to the winter supporter groups newsletter. This issue has a
wide variety of information from various teams across VSO UK. It also details some
important news for you about how you can help VSO with the upcoming General Election,
VSO moving London offices and details from the Forum meeting held in November.

The General Election is just around the corner and VSO would like you, our supporters to
help to ensure that the next intake of politicians remain conscious of public support for
international development. We will be asking groups to engage with your current and
prospective MP’s by raising awareness of development issues at a local level by inviting
them to your upcoming events and or holding debates. VSO will be providing resources for
you to help you to organise a debate/event in the New Year. I will be in touch again in the
New Year to give more information and distribute resources. It would be really great to
have as many groups as possible taking part in community debates. If you have any
questions at all or to register you’re immediate interest please contact me on thank you.

Thank you to all groups for submitting an activity report for the Forum meeting; which was
held on 21st November 2009. These reports are really useful for all Forum members to see
how their groups are doing and also for me to be able to identify areas that groups would
like assistance with. At the meeting we discussed various things, importantly the Terms of
Reference for being a Forum member was revised and agreed as well as recruitment of
new forum members. This is available for members to see at any time, please contact me
if you would like a copy. If you would like to see a copy of the minutes from the meeting
please contact either your Forum representative or myself.

Are you interested in becoming a Supporter Group Forum member for your region? Forum
members act as a liaison between the groups within their region and myself. The aim is to
be able to maximise the groups and offer support where needed. The Forum meets twice
a year alternating between London offices and Harborne Hall in Birmingham. One
Supporter Group Forum representative is elected from each of the regions below, you will
see what regions currently need members to be nominated for.

REGION                NAME                   STATUS                        NOMINATION DUE
London                Richard Rushworth      Term ends   November   2010   N/A
Mid East England      Julian Gibbs           Completed   term              20TH MARCH 2010
Mid West England      Celia Burton           Completed   term              20TH MARCH 2010
Northern Ireland      Anne Campbell          Term ends   November   2010   N/A
Pennines East         Derek Riley            Term ends   November   2010   N/A
Pennines West         Tristan Pocock         Completed   term              20TH MARCH 2010
Republic of Ireland   Mona Lucas             Term ends   November   2010   N/A
Scotland              Nick Woodhead          Completed   term              20TH MARCH 2010
South East England    Rosemary Moss          Term ends   November   2010   N/A
South West England    Janet Way              Term ends   November   2010   N/A
Wales                 Graham Cole            Completed   term              20TH MARCH 2010

I have attached nomination forms with full details of the nomination/election process. If
you are interested in being nominated please complete the attached form and return it to
me by 20th March 2010. Thank you to all retiring Forum members for all the work you
have put into supporting the groups, it has been a pleasure working with you.

VSO is moving offices. All teams who are currently in the Putney office based at 317
Putney Bridge Road will be moving either to Carlton House or another office near Carlton
House called Carlton Plaza. VSO will be saving a considerable amount by moving offices,
which will take place the first week in January 2010. Please continue to send any
correspondence to me at the usual email address; as soon as I can confirm the postal
address I will forward this information on. In the meantime any post will be directed to us.
I am particularly looking forward to being closer in vicinity to other colleagues in other
teams and VSO International.

Maria Gierszewski
Supporter Group Network Advisor.


Teacher's Got Talent is VSO's first whole-school fundraising challenge, which has a specific
focus on the importance of sharing skills. Students learn about global issues and VSO's
approach to development whilst raising vital funds that help VSO continue its fight against
global poverty.
Students turn the tables on their teachers by teaching them a new skill. Teachers
nominate themselves to learn a skill, whilst students put themselves forward to share one
of their skills. Everyone pays £1 to vote for which teacher they would like to learn which
skill. The Challenge culminates in a performance of the students and teachers working
together to showcase their skills. Please encourage any teachers and schools you know to
get involved. For more information and to sign up for a pack, please visit


We need urgently skilled, professional volunteers in the following areas:

       Primary school teachers, Education managers, Secondary teachers (maths, science
        and other academic subjects), and Special Education teachers
       Social researchers
       IT professionals
       Midwives
       Senior health managers, public health managers and public health educators
       Agricultural specialists
       Business Managers and small business advisers with at least 5 years’ experience.

In general, unless otherwise indicated, we are looking for people with a relevant degree
and a minimum of 3 years’ experience in their professional fields.

We need people to start applying now for departures next year as the application process
typically takes from 3 to 9 months. So if you know anyone who is thinking about a life-
changing experience, career break, or who wants to develop their professional skills in a
gratifying and challenging way, whilst helping VSO to fight poverty, please spread the
word through your networks, friends and colleagues. Details of roles and how to apply can
be found on our website at:

Return volunteers

A number of our volunteers also go on to volunteer again with us, and we encourage all of
our return volunteers to carry on their invaluable work and re-volunteer. There’s a simple,
fast track process for those who have returned from a volunteer placement in the last 5
years. Return volunteers can apply through the VSO RV Zone website at


We’ve held a number of Meet VSO events and information days around the UK over the
last year, and we’re in the process of planning more for next year across the UK. Our
events are well attended, and we always need people to help out. If you’re interested in
coming along to help, please contact We’ll be confirming the
dates in the next newsletter.


What could be better than making a small donation to VSO each time you buy a present
this Christmas – at no extra cost to yourself. With the VSO Shop you can do just that.

Shop with any of the companies below and they will donate between 5% and 15% of the
cost of your purchase to VSO’s work – all you need to do is click on the link below and
shop with the company as usual.

It costs just £5.20 a day to support a VSO volunteer living and working alongside some of
the world’s poorest communities. That £5.20 enables them to pass on their skills and share
their experience with local people so that they can lift themselves out of poverty. By
Christmas shopping with one of our partners, you will automatically donate to VSO,
helping to continue our work in poor and disadvantaged communities.
Biographies, fiction and recipe books; CD’s and DVD’s; yoga and Pilates equipment;
calendars and diaries; digital cameras and iPod’s, hair strengtheners and video
games… has it all, at some of the lowest prices on the web!
Shop now with Amazon

Lonely Planet
Calendars and coffee-table books; travel photography and writing guides and a wealth of
inspiring titles such as: 1000 Ultimate Experiences, Best in Travel 2010 and 132 Seize the
Days. With Lonely Planet you will find the perfect Christmas gift.
Shop now Lonely Planet

Natural Collection
Gift hampers and gift sets, jewellery and clothing and gadgets and household goods.
Natural Collection has hundreds of fair trade and eco-friendly goods that will make perfect
Christmas stocking fillers.
Shop now with Natural Collection


    If you're interested in organising a walk to raise awareness and funds for VSO's work
    in women's health, then please read on!

    To our delight, several supporter groups have responded enthusiastically to a call from
    the Events Team at VSO UK to organise a sponsored walk in their area on Sunday, 7
    March 2010, to mark International Women's Day. We hope the idea will appeal to you,
    too, so we can make this a nationwide event.

    In January, we will be writing to all our supporters to ask them to organise a
    sponsored walk with their friends and family, or in their community, or to join one
    already organised on Sunday, 7 March - the day before International Women's Day.
    We want to raise awareness and funds for VSO's work improving the health of women
    around the world through our walks.

    Groups who have confirmed they will organise a walk so far are in Cambridge, Lincoln,
    Cheshire, Bristol and London and we are talking to others who have expressed

    We are keen to get more groups involved before we launch the event to
    supporters and the general public in early January, so there are lots of walks to choose
    from. We will send all organisers a pack to help you get started.

    We suggest walks should be an easy distance such as 5 or 10k and over easy terrain,
    that you'd need to set up and staff a registration point as well as recruit some
    volunteers to act as marshals on the day. Walkers will be asked to register online, pay
    £10 to take part, and be sent our fundraising pack. The Events Team would like to put
    people who sign up in touch with our walk organisers to get further information such
    as start times and routes, so we would be keen to have your details if you are an

    We hope to hear from any potential organisers by the end of December, so we can get
    your walk details up on our website by Christmas. Please contact Jane Quayle or
    Marian Nelson in the Events & Community Appeals Team by email to or by ringing 020 8780 7412 if you
    will organise a walk in your area and are happy for others to join it.


This winter the Global Xchange team are busy as always with new Youth Xchange
programmes starting in January in:


And Community Xchanges in:

Belfast/South Africa
Birmingham/Saudi Arabia

We’re currently piloting our first Deaf Global Xchange programme in which all volunteers
and both PSs are Deaf. This exchange is based in Preston and Kathmandu, Nepal and is
being run in partnership with Deafway in the UK, and the National Federation for the Deaf
and Hard of Hearing (NFDH) in Nepal. Consultation with previous Deaf participants and
advice from Deafway and NFDH clearly demonstrated that the best way of giving Deaf
young people the same positive experience of the GX programme as hearing young people
would be to run a programme for Deaf young people using sign language as the main form
of communication.

As well as working on placements in their communities, running community action days
and learning about global issues the team will be creating and performing a piece of sign
language theatre both in Nepal and in the UK. If you want to come and see them you will
be able to find details on the GX website soon.

The GX team have also been working on a new 5-year strategy to guide and shape our
work until 2015 and beyond. The new strategy will allow us to be clearer on our vision and
values as well as areas of focus and growth for the future. We hope to be able to share our
new plans with you early in 2010.

Global Xchange is always looking for support in the UK whether you can provide a host
home, offer a volunteer placement, join in some of our team’s community activities or help
a local volunteer to fundraise. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out about activity in
your area.

It’s also not too late to get involved in our current programmes running in Bristol,
Aberdeen and Brighton. Contact for more details.


In July 2008, the DFID-VSO Diaspora Volunteering Programme (DVP) was launched with
£3 million over three years from the UK government’s Department for International
Development (DFID). The programme encourages Diaspora communities in the UK to get
involved in international volunteering to help fight poverty in their countries and continents
of heritage and raise development awareness in the UK. The DVP builds on the Diaspora
communities’ existing commitments to their countries and continents of heritage.

VSO’s role:

VSO shares its experience, skills and resources with Diaspora organisations in order to
build their capacity to develop and manage their own international volunteering
programme and raise development awareness in the UK.

What has been achieved so far?

Since its launch, the Diaspora volunteering programme has provided the platform for VSO
and its 22 Diaspora partner organisations to work collaboratively to contribute to fighting
poverty and disadvantage. To date Diaspora partner organisations have sent over 250
Diaspora volunteers to their countries and continents of heritage (including Ghana,
Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malawi, India,
Cameroon, Nepal and Pakistan) and delivered over 30 development awareness activities
throughout the UK. To learn more about the programme, please visit our website

The Future & VSO Supporter Groups

Currently, the programme is undergoing a review, which will determine the future of the
programme after 2011. We will inform you in the next newsletter of the outcome of this
review and give you more information on possibilities of engagement between supporter
groups and Diaspora organisations.

        TEAM SUNDAY APRIL 25TH 2010

We are proud supporters of the London Marathon Event. This exciting event is now the
largest annual fund raising event in the world with the 2006 participants raising over £41.5
million for charity, bringing the total amount raised for charity by runners, to a grand total
of £315 million. Every year we have had committed runners taking part in this event,
raising valuable funds for VSO, however we would like to see more.

We are calling on your help to recruit a runner. There are many lucky runners out there
who have ballot places have not chosen a charity to run for. We would love them to run
and fundraise for VSO. They will receive lots of fundraising support from our team and we
would love to see them running in our very own VSO running vest.

'Your role is tell them about VSO and then provide them with my details / 0208 780 7218

Last year 2 of our ballot place runners chose to run for VSO for these reasons -
'We're both keen to apply for VSO work when family commitments allow, so I think we feel
we've made some sort of commitment to VSO already and choosing to fundraise was just
an aspect of that commitment. I really respect the work that VSO does, especially the
absolute requirement that adult volunteers have professional experience'. Jean Adams.
Together Jean Adams and her partner Martin White raised an amazing £2,000 for VSO.


Can you spot a story, accentuate an angle, produce a persuasive pitch or tell the different
between your hi res and thumbnails? If you would like to cut through the media jargon
and find out more about how newspapers make news then you may be interested in
becoming a VSO Media Ambassador.

The Media Ambassadors programme is a new scheme that the VSO UK Media and
Information team will be launching in early 2010. The regional media is a key source of
support for VSO with more people regularly buying their local newspaper than a national
daily. The key to getting in the regional media is having a local ‘angle’ (or put more simply
a local story or case study) and VSO has many of these through all our volunteers and
supporters dotted all around the UK.

To help us spread the message of VSO further we’ll be recruiting VSO returned volunteers
and supporters from around the UK who are interested in acting as spokespeople in the
media. We will be offering advice on what to say (and not say!) and offering media

For individuals and Supporter Groups interested in doing more proactive media work we
will be offering more in-depth advice and guidance, including template press releases,
target media lists, resources for media and suggestions about how to target the media and
training. We will arm you will all you need to know to increase the profile of your Support
Group in your local area.

If you are interested in registering your interest in the programme please email.