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‘Nobody’s Perfect’

Celebrating the life and work of CAROLE HOWELLS MBE

At The Mansion House, Fernwood Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1TJ on Saturday 3 October at 11.30am for 12 noon followed by buffet lunch at about 1.30pm. Friends and foes, colleagues and courtiers are all welcome and warmly invited but are asked to book their place at preferably by 13th September. If you have any queries or questions then contact George on 07932 657 767 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Taking the Temperature is a snapshot of the voluntary and community sector in Newcastle. Based on a survey of Newcastle CVS members, carried out during April this year, ‘Taking the Temperature’ finds a sector that is facing increasingly complex challenges. One trend highlighted by the report was a push for specialist organisations that for example are providing services for women, to become more generic and offer a broader range services to a wider set of beneficiaries.

Three quarters of respondents reported an increasing in demand for services with beneficiaries coming to them with progressively more complicated issues. Managers are also spending more time on dealing with organisational change as a result of changes in income, fluctuating staff numbers and ensuring adequate and sufficient premises. A significant number of voluntary sector staff are employed part-time, with higher numbers of volunteers than paid members of staff.

The report finds 83% at risk of using up all of their reserves within one year if they secure no additional income. For many voluntary organisations public sector contracts are a very significant part of their income. For smaller groups however, which are unlikely to hold contracts, grants remain important and grants overall are the second most important source of income for the sector after contracts.

Worryingly, 45% of respondents had experience a decrease in their income and several raised concerns about the voluntary sector being seen as ‘cheap’ provider of competitive services or as a supplier of unpaid volunteers. Instead, voluntary organisations should be seen as a genuine force for good. The report estimates that tens of thousands of Newcastle residents benefit from the impact of voluntary and community activities.

Advocacy Centre North (ACN) has been granted £369,291 to deliver independent advocacy services to people living with neurological conditions in Newcastle and Gateshead. This will be the first service of its kind in the North East. The grant was made by the Big Lottery Fund as part of its Reaching Communities work and will fund the project for three years.

Advocacy helps people when their voice isn’t heard.  Advocates work with people to represent their interests and help them obtain services they need. Advocacy Centre North is a leading advocacy provider in the region.

The service will help people living with neurological conditions including stroke, parkinson’s and autism. People with neurological conditions can be at the complex end of the disability spectrum and are therefore disadvantaged in society and can face discrimination. They are frequently isolated, often have difficulty communicating and engaging with services.

As part of the development of the service ACN will also be working in partnership with the Northern Neurological Alliance, which works with a range of brain and spine charities to campaign for better services. They will provide a source of specialist knowledge of this client group and their needs.

Jacqui Jobson, Director of Advocacy Centre North said:

We are delighted to receive this grant that will allow Advocacy Centre North to provide free and independent advocacy to even more people across Newcastle and Gateshead. It’s crucial that everyone is able to access the services they need and we are excited that Advocacy Centre North will be providing the first help of this kind in the North East.  

We were saddened to hear that Carole Howells passed away yesterday, 24 June 2015. Our thoughts go out to those closest to her.

Carole was Chief Executive here at Newcastle CVS for 22 years when she retired six years ago. She continued to be involved with TDI (The Derwent Initiative) and Involve North East as a trustee and Chair respectively. Carole was also instrumental in helping to establish the Community Foundation (Tyne, Wear and Northumberland).  She was a member of the Tyneside TEC board, a governor of Newcastle College and a member of the North east Regional Committee for the National Lottery Charity Board.

Carole contributed enormously to the voluntary sector in Newcastle and steered Newcastle CVS through to being a sustainable organisation. She actively promoted and represented the voluntary sector at a number of different levels, and made sure we were not ignored. She was awarded an MBE for her services to the voluntary sector

Carole's funeral has been arranged for Monday 6 July at 2.15pm at the crematorium on the West Road, Newcastle.

The North East Combined Authority (NECA) has published the report of a series stakeholder events carried out in March to gauge support for its case for North East devolution.

NECA twelve proposals or ‘asks’ from central government for areas of increased local responsibility and decision making were generally welcomed by those who took part in eight events, held across the NECA area, or responded with written submissions.The detailed feedback is now being used to inform a full devolution prospectus that will be developed over the coming months.

The consultation identified additional priorities to be considered as part of a devolution package as well as highlighting consideration by NECA needed to ensure clarity about decision making and shared approaches to dialogue with government ministers.

Clear messages were given too about involving the voluntary sector and communities of interest or identity. Newcastle CVS will be seeking to ensure that Newcastle’s communities and voluntary sector has a voice in the coming devolution debates at a local regional and national level. 

The Newcastle Gateshead CCG has launched an innovative scheme to support local voluntary and community organisations to deliver some of the aspirations of the Better Care Fund in Newcastle.

The CCG has invested £100,000 into supporting local cluster areas, based around GP Practices in Newcastle. Each cluster area has identified its priorities, and some clusters have joined together to maximise the funding available.

Local voluntary and community organisations are invited to apply for funding up until 31 July 2015.  Decisions will be made in August, and the projects will start in October 2015, for up until one year. There will be a requirement to state key outcomes, planned activities, how organisations will support local people to achieve positive health outcomes, and how this will be measured.

For additional information, please read the guidance notes and application form.  The fund process is being administered by Newcastle CVS. Guidance and an application form are available here. 

For any queries please contact Sally Young on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.