Community Action Suffolk (CAS) exists to ensure the sector, and its volunteers, is supported, safe and sustainable and that our communities are active and resilient We provide (or signpost) whatever is needed behind the scenes to enable this, so the sector can concentrate on doing what it does best – making Suffolk an incredible place in which to live and work.
The VCSE sector in Suffolk has never been more needed than in the current climate of national crisis and as a result, CAS has seen an exponential rise in need for support from the organisations and community groups within it. They are working across the Suffolk system with Suffolk Community Foundation and other partners to ensure they provide as much support as they possibly can and are adapting their working processes across the board to ensure that support is accessible to everyone that needs it.
As their staff experience for themselves the practicalities of working from home and delivering services remotely, they are putting that experience to best use developing a continuous stream of digital tools, resources and information in response to requests and need derived from various recent surveys. In total, they have had 823 responses to 3 ‘quick’ surveys of community groups and VCSE organisations in the last few weeks. As a result, the following resources and sources of information have been developed, and the list keeps growing!
· Various resources & toolkits to support Community Response Groups and Good Neighbour Schemes covering topics such as volunteering safely; how to set up a CRG; volunteer recruitment, support & management; shopping & handling money; and many more
· Additional resources & tools to support VCSE organisations during the pandemic including up to date lists of funding sources, safeguarding, business continuity and many more
· Online ‘Talk Volunteering’ network meetings
· Regular 1:1 funding surgeries in partnership with Suffolk County Council
· Online 1:1 and peer group Safeguarding support
· Professional webinars and online videos with experts from ProHelp members
· Weekly Facebook LIVE Q&A sessions (every Tuesday at 11am)
· Peer support group on Facebook for Covid-19 group leaders
· Additional support tools for VCSE organisations for volunteer management & volunteering offer adaptation
They are also sharing information about all of these, and information from key partners through their weekly Covid-19 newsletter, social media accounts, and our brand new website with dedicated Covid-19 pages.