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Two North East charities, VODA and Newcastle CVS, gained national recognition for their hard work in promoting and supporting a thriving local voluntary sector, as they collectively won three awards from NAVCA - the National Association of Voluntary and Community Action.

Infrastructure charities or ‘CVS’s (Councils for Voluntary Service)’ aren’t widely known outside of the voluntary sector. That’s because their focus is on supporting other charities to set up and grow. Their work is seldom in the public eye yet they are a vital component of the voluntary sector, providing access to extensive networks and acting as a voice for the sector to campaign on important issues. This is something that VODA has been doing in North Tyneside for over 25 years and Newcastle CVS since 1929.

On Tuesday 19 March, NAVCA, the national membership body for infrastructure charities, hosted their inaugural NAVCA Awards ‘to celebrate local infrastructure - the unsung heroes of our sector’. NAVCA has a membership of over 200 organisations that support over 145,000 local charities and voluntary groups across England. To have two winners from the North East is a tremendous achievement and testament to their hard work in helping a region of the voluntary sector that is valued at £750 million and supports countless individuals and communities.

Last night, NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action) hosted an awards ceremony to recognise the achievements of local support and development organisations throughout England. Newcastle CVS was shortlisted in four categories and picked up two awards: an award for Embracing Digital and a joint award for Leadership.

NAVCA has a membership of over 200 organisations that support over 145,000 local charities and voluntary groups so we are immensely proud to have received two awards, in a very strong field. There was a strong representation of outstanding work from the North East, as North Tyneside VODA also picked up an award for Collaboration and Partnership.


Lift the Ban update

Update: 28 March 2019

Lift the Ban wins Best Coalition Campaign award

The National Campaigner Awards Ceremony organised by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation celebrates the best campaigns and campaigners – whether working locally or nationally, and from individuals and community groups to people working in large organisations. The Best Coalition Campaign award category recognises campaigns led by multiple partners in ways which are creative, respectful and genuinely collaborative.

Sharing this brilliant news, Asylum Matters said 'we are delighted that the award has recognised the collective energy and vision of all 175 members of the Lift the Ban coalition.'


Update: 6 March 2019

An amendment on the right to work was tabled to the Government’s Immigration Bill by Catherine West and Kate Green. Given the narrow scope of the bill, its focus was on EEA nationals rather than on all people seeking asylum, but with the aim of generating a broader debate on the issue by the Bill Committee. The amendment was debated this week, with the Immigration Minister engaging at length on the topic and setting out the Government’s position on the issue.

She noted, “we recognise the importance of getting both the policy and the process right, which is why the Home Secretary has already committed to a review of the policy on asylum seekers’ right to work. Officials are already undertaking that review, looking at available evidence and anticipating the economic impact that such changes might bring about.” The amendment was ultimately withdrawn given its limited scope. We are meeting with Home Office officials next week to hear their latest thinking on plans for the review.

This week, the annual immigration statistics were released which showed that the number of people waiting more than six months for a decision on their asylum claim has risen to record levels. 


International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first​ ​IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the​ Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women's equality. 

Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. Now is a great and important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world. Women have come a long way, yet there's still more to be achieved.

As the world heads toward International Women's Day 2019, step-by-step planning is underway to celebrate women's achievements and tenaciously challenge bias. The International Women's Day 2019 campaign theme of #BalanceforBetter is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. How will you help make a difference? 

There are many ways you can get involved and particpate in International Women's Day on 8 March 2019.

Here are just a few of the local events that are happening. If you are hosting an event that you would like us to add to this list, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

North of Tyne Combined Authority are running three events about how the local voluntary and community sector can engage with and influence the Combined Authority. Through roundtable discussions, they would like your input as to how best to engage going forward. They will provide some examples of the types of engagement and involvement structures that exist across the three local authorities and also in different Mayoral Combined Authorities so we can look at what best practice we will want to pick up and use in the engagement approach for North of Tyne Combined Authority. The discussion will then form the basis of a jointly agreed partnership approach which will set out some key principles and commitments for co-working and governance structures and processes. 

Each event will be the same (with the appropriate Council lead), so please just sign up for one event. The confirmed dates and venues are:


Welcome to On the Hoof January 2019

Wellbeing, health and social care news for people working in and with the voluntary sector in Newcastle, Gateshead and beyond.

This month’s issue includes:

A report on food poverty in Newcastle from Newcastle CVS, impacts of the NHS Long Term Plan for the voluntary and community sector, suicide prevention e-learning, alcohol awareness and local training and events.

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The NHS Long Term plan sets out a ten-year strategy for the NHS that will enable it to:

  • Be more joined-up and coordinated in its care,
  • Be more proactive in the provision of services, moving to ‘population health management’, using predictive prevention
  • Be more differentiated in its support offered to individuals

The plan could have far-reaching implications for the voluntary sector and the communities we support. Some of the suggested changes are welcome: £4.5 billion to fund expanded community multidisciplinary teams and increased funding to address mental health services. Some have been met with caution and scepticism, such as the 1,000 social prescribing NHS link workers who will refer individuals to social prescribing schemes.

Newcastle CVS responds to consultations which are appropriate and relevant to the voluntary and community sector in Newcastle and Gateshead.

In December 2018, Newcastle City Council consulted on budget proposals for 2019/2020, MTP for 2019-2022, Shaping Our Future Together. Gateshead Council consulted on Budget Framework and proposals 2019/2020. We have promoted the budget consultation exercises for Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council through our website, e-inform and holiding meetings for the voluntary and community sector in November, encouraging our members to engage and respond.

The voluntary sector has experienced a period of massive change - the loss of significant government grants, the push to larger contracts, the drop in donations, the contraction of grantmaking trusts, the promotion of social investment, and the changes in the NHS have made the sector itself more vulnerable. This is at a time when we are being asked to take on more (unpaid) work and more clients, users and carers are being sign-posted to us. We believe the voluntary and community sector has a number of resources which we are willing to share, but we want to be treated as a serious partner to help get us all through the tough years ahead.

Read our full responses to these consultations:

Welcome to On the Hoof December 2018

Wellbeing, health and social care news for people working in and with the voluntary sector in Newcastle, Gateshead and beyond.

This month’s issue includes:

Welcome Here calls for action; Thank you for reading; How to find out which safeguarding training is relevant for your role; Improved accessibility for Newcastle CVS websites; Help Stop the #DebtThreats; Newcastle Social Care annual reports; Children drink and smoke less. 

Welcome to On the Hoof November 2018

Wellbeing, health and social care news for people working in and with the voluntary sector in Newcastle, Gateshead and beyond.

This month’s issue includes:

Advocacy Centre North award; our free Cultural Competency Sessions; New free Trustee Safeguarding Training offer for Newcastle and Gateshead; Talking cancer event; Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council 2019/2020 budget consultation; new hate crime reporting in Newcastle; homes not hospitals; new section: ‘in case you missed it’.