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Voluntary Action North Somerset

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News and Views from the VCFSE Sector – June 2021 For the first week of June we celebrated Volunteers’ Week and this year especially we have to say a very big thank you to all volunteers who have gone above and beyond in very unusual circumstances.

Volunteers are invaluable to so many organisations in supporting their activities and during the pandemic the commitment of people to ‘step up’ and support their communities and people who would have been totally isolated, has been extremely humbling.

As restrictions are being lifted, more and more organisations are reinstating their volunteering programmes and producing more volunteering opportunities, so our Online Volunteer Centre is starting to advertise new roles, so, if you have some spare time available, then why not think about volunteering by clicking HERE 

VANS staff have been busy supporting the mass vaccination volunteer programmes across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and we’ve recruited hundreds of volunteers but with the Government ramping up the programme we would welcome even more volunteer registrations. 

If you, or anyone you know might be interested in volunteering as general vaccination stewards, then get them to register with us and they will be able to view all the opportunities we have available.

If you are a business owner and want to support this programme, consider releasing some of your staff to volunteer as part of their personal development or your corporate social responsibility.  

If you’d like to discuss employee volunteering options, then contact Paul Lucock, our CEO on 07930 736778 or email him at:  Our monthly newsletter is published during the second week of each month, so if you have any items you would like to see included in future newsletters please make sure we receive this information by the end of the first week of each month by emailing any text, photo’s, logo’s or promotional material to:

Voluntary Sector News


With the Government ramping up the vaccination rollout programme there is a need for additional volunteers to help in non-clinical and stewarding roles to meet the demand at the large scale vaccination site at Ashton Gate, Bristol and at GP Surgeries and Community Pharmacy sites across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).
Volunteers are asked to commit to a 4½ hour session to cover the 12 hour daily vaccination programme at Ashton Gate, Bristol and there are also a number of other sessions requiring cover at GP Surgeries and Community Pharmacy sites across the BNSSG area.
If you’re interested in volunteering to support the NHS medical teams, then register


Once registered, you will be able to see the volunteering opportunities available at the different sites and book the session/s you’re available to volunteer for. You will then receive email confirmation of your commitment.
If you have some free time to support this essential and important programme, then please register NOW.


Thousands of first dose Covid-19 vaccination appointments for Ashton Gate Vaccination Centre have been added to the National Booking System for over 30 year olds (from w/c 14 June)

If you’re in this age group and haven’t had your first vaccine, please book today by visiting or dialling 119.          

BNSSG CCG are keen to vaccinate as many people aged 30+ before the next age group becomes eligible. Once the next age group opens up, the appointments will go quickly.   
Ashton Gate vaccination centre will be busy for the next few weeks – please use the Long Ashton Park and Ride when you attend your appointment


Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. Whether you attend a face-to-face Information Session or watch the online video, Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.

For more information about becoming a Dementia Friend, click HERE 

People living with dementia, face social isolation, now more than ever.

Learn about dementia and the challenges people face so you can support them in your community’s response to coronavirus



Kooth continue to be available for young people aged 10-18+ (up to 25 in leaving care or have an additional need) in North Somerset for free, safe and anonymous wellbeing support and advice, accessible from any internet enabled device. There are a number of ways young people can access support on Kooth from our Magazine, Forum, Therapeutic activities, Journal, Goals, messaging and chat! You can access Kooth’s promotion hub Swivle where you’ll find digital resources including posters, videos, Covid-19 infographics, data and resources. You can view ‘How to use’ Swivle guide here

Video Link:


‘Commonplace’ the unique interactive platform that captures community feedback went live in February and it’s your chance as a resident of North Somerset to be part of the conversation on how North Somerset can emerge from the pandemic as a stronger, happier, healthier and more inclusive community.

It’s envisaged that by learning from the local North Somerset community, we can make a real positive change in how the community is served moving forward but we need you to get involved and join in the conversation.

It’s live until the end of June 2021 and we want as many people as possible to be part of this conversation, so please get involved and we, together with our partners can plan the best way forward.
If you live in North Somerset be part of the conversation by clicking on the following link:

Over £350,000 additional funding for domestic abuse and sexual violence support services

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford has welcomed an investment of £353,116 from the Ministry of Justice to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence across Avon and Somerset.

The much-needed domestic abuse and sexual violence financial uplift will be distributed to 19 victim services across the force area including VANS/Reclaim. The £16,200 that Reclaim have secured will be used to support counselling to people who are no longer in an abusive relationship but are and have been affected by domestic abuse which will enable them to cope and recover. 

A list of organisations receiving additional funding can be found by clicking HERE

PCC Mark Shelford said: “Now more than ever, we need to be supporting victims of domestic and sexual abuse, and this additional investment will help organisations deliver new support and increase their existing services to help even more victims and survivors.”


GamCare are the leading charity helping people with problematic gambling or experiencing gambling harms and are currently funded by the National Gambling Commission to deliver free sessions to all UK professionals who work with vulnerable people.   This free training lasts approx 90 minutes on zoom on the following dates:

1 July at 10am
5 July at 10am
8 July at 2pm
12 July at 1pm
19 July at 10am
22 July at 10am
27 July at 2pm

To book a session email:

There are around 500,000 problem gamblers in the UK, up to 20% of whom are women. For every person who has a problem with gambling, up to 10 other people can be affected, and women are disproportionately at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm. Gambling-related harm can include debt, relationship difficulties, housing issues, gender-based violence, depression and anxiety, feelings of isolation, and suicidality. GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline takes over 30,000 calls a year from men and women affected by gambling-related harm and last year over 7,000 people accessed free treatment through our treatment network across England, Scotland and Wales. Problematic gambling is often a silent and hidden addiction, linked to shame and stigma, and women are far less likely to discuss their worries.

A programme providing healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children is to be expanded to the benefit of children in North Somerset.
The Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) is to provide free ‘enriching and physical’ holiday activity and food projects for North Somerset’s children and young people who are entitled to benefits-related free school meals. It aims to ensure that children and young people eat more healthily, are more active over the summer and Christmas school holidays, learn about health nutrition, and can access fun and enjoyable activities. Holiday clubs funded must provide free to access places to all those on benefits-related free school meals for at least four hours a day, four days a week, for four school holiday weeks during the summer and the choice to also run for four hours a day, fours day a week during the Christmas holiday.
The DfE defines enriching and physical activities as “fun and enriching activities that provide children with opportunities to develop new skills of knowledge, to consolidate existing skills and knowledge, or to try out new experiences. This could include physical activities such as football, table tennis, cricket; creative activities such as putting on a play, junk modelling, drumming workshops, or experiences such as a nature walk, visiting a city, farm etc’’. 
We are now inviting expressions of interest from existing or new partnerships that could include voluntary and community sector organisations, including youth and play organisations, sports clubs, schools and other educational establishments such as SEND, PRUs and supplementary schools, and out of school provision, arts and culture organisations, and outdoor adventure and education organisations. We welcome applications from organisations above who are planning on working in partnership with each other.
To find out more about the programme contact:


People in the area are being invited to put an extra spring in their step and join in a series of free ‘Dance Walks’ taking place in seaside resorts in North Somerset from May.
Local arts organisation, Theatre Orchard, is inviting people of all ages to keep fit and boogie by the beach in sessions being held in Weston, Clevedon and Portishead through May, June and July.
Led by dance practitioner Vic Hole, the ‘Dance Walks’ are designed to uplift energy levels and boost wellbeing in a fun and positive way that can be enjoyed by every age. All the routes will be fully accessible, taking in the scenery of the towns including the beachfront promenades and adding some disco sparkle to the seaside.  
The ‘Dance Walks’ will last no longer than 30 minutes and will follow the Covid-safety measures in place at the time of each separate event.
People need to register in advance, with participant numbers limited to those allowed by Government guidelines. To book a place and find out more about meeting places and the Dance Walk routes, contact dance producer Vic Hole at Theatre Orchard on

For more information, visit

Dance Walks Timetable
Friday 18 June – Portishead 11am 
Sunday 20 June – Clevedon 11am
Sunday 20 June – Weston 2pm
July – all at 11am
Friday 16 July – Portishead 
Saturday 17 July – Weston 
Sunday 18 July – Clevedon  


Testing is a major strand of the government’s road map out of lockdown so North Somerset Council are encouraging anyone who is eligible to start to get in the habit of twice-weekly testing. Covid-19 testing for people without symptoms is available now in North Somerset.  Find out more at website which illustrates all the support you can get and also how you can support the organisation.


For anyone working or volunteering within a community setting/organisation within North Somerset, the Public Health Team have recently launched their programme of mental health courses for 2021. Training is free to attendees and is funded by the Healthier Together Communities Coronavirus fund and North Somerset Public Health Team.  

To enrol on any of the courses listed below, please click HERE: Mental Health Safety Planning  Suicide Awareness  Listening Skills  Mental Health Awareness Connect 5 Mental Health If after registering you are no longer to attend, you need to give at least 2 days’ notice of non-attendance, otherwise you will charged an admin fee of £50.

At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence and on average a women is assaulted 35 times before they call the police. Next Link are working hard with clients and agencies across North Somerset to support victims of domestic abuse. We can work with anyone who is worried about domestic abuse and wants help or someone to talk to – do not hesitate to call 0800 470 0280

We have also seen a growing increase in abuse in rural communities so we have a specialist as part of our Reaching Out Domestic Abuse Work – email: Or you can chat live online with one of our support workers at and click on “live chat NOW”.

(Mon to Fri 1pm – 5.30pm) 
We also offer free training to agencies and organisations to ensure you can support clients you work with. Get in touch on 0800 470 0280 or email: and ask about reaching out.


Supported by Bristol Ageing Better and based on the STAR (Share, Talk and Remember) model, this free training guides local residents and workers through the process of setting up their own bereavement peer-support group in Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire. These groups will be resident-led, self-sustaining, free of charge and open to anyone aged 18 or over.  The course will be delivered by Jan Perry, STAR Network Co-ordinator & Freelance Trainer. The training will embed the core principles of the original STAR group to create a network of STAR bereavement peer-support groups which are self-sustaining, have strong foundations and are led by local residents. The course is particularly aimed at local residents who are interested in setting up a bereavement peer-support group in their local neighbourhood and community workers who can support them with this The free training course involves 4 workshops which will take place online via Zoom, followed by a follow-up session 1 -2 months later. The same course will run on Monday mornings, Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday evenings (please sign up to one course only). Click on the following links for more information and to sign up to the training:

Monday mornings (10am – 12pm) Course: 5 – 26 July 
Follow-up session: 6 September
Tuesday afternoons (1pm – 3pm) Course: 6 – 27 July
Follow-up session: 7 September
Wednesday evenings (6pm – 8pm) Course: 7 – 28 July
Follow-up session: 8 September

If you have any questions please contact Claire Chivers (Bristol Ageing Bristol) or Jan Perry (STAR Network Co-ordinator) Claire Chivers: or 0117 928 1539
Jan Perry: or 07595165082


Resilience Lab Train the Trainer 
(TTT) is to equip professionals working with young people with the confidence, skills and knowledge and tools to deliver Off The Record’s Resilience Lab programme. This programme has been developed in conjunction with young people and is based on research around how we can build and promote resilience.  The 5 areas of the course all focus on different aspects of the trait and include background knowledge, practical activities and self-help tools/skills that people can take away. They include: Pressure ProofMaking Friends with StressThinking TrapsSuperMe and Reach Out.

For more information and to book your place, go to:

Paid-for Opportunities



Healthwatch are recruiting a part-time permanent administration officer to work across Healthwatch Bristo, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.  As the Administration Officer, you will be a team player, a problem-solver and supportive to the staff team and the charity directors at and between monthly meetings such as Board Meetings, Prioritisation Panels and AGM’s.  

The work will be office based and offer a real opportunity to really make a difference for local people.  

This role will support the organisation to carry out its statutory duties and inform commissioning decisions for NHS and Social Care services across the BNSSG area.  

For more information about the role and how to apply, go to:

Closing date: 5pm on Friday, 9th July 2021 Volunteer Opportunities We have many volunteer opportunities on our website but the following ones have been recently posted  – for more information on them, click on the role title:

Virtual Support Service for Care Leavers – Family Action Listening Works

Support at Home Volunteer – British Red Cross

Retail Assistant – Sue Ryder – Weston-super-Mare

Digital Connectors – Sirona care & health, North Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire

Type 2 Diabetes Peer Mentor Volunteer – Brigstowe, North Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire

Organiser for Volunteer Placements in Schools in North Somerset – RSVP, North Somerset

Various roles with The Edge Youth Project:

Fundraiser              Safeguarding Lead              Youth Leader

Funding Opportunities 

There are a number of organisations offering charities and community organisations the opportunity to apply for grants/funds to help them through the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond – to find out more go to our website or follow us on Facebook where we regularly publicise grants and funds that are available – sometimes these have short notice periods so it’s essential to react quickly so we promote them via our Facebook page as soon as we are aware of them. 

Copyright © 2021 Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS), All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS)
Weston Court, Oldmixon Crescent,
Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset. BS23 9AU