Sally  Sally Young, Chief Executive 

A few years ago I was accused by a well-respected commentator on the voluntary sector of ‘crying wolf’. I had predicted the closure of some local charities because of austerity. I reflected that maybe my perspective was disproportionately negative as CVS often supports organisations in difficulties.

Martin Martin Gollan - Support and Development Manager

Psychologists define cognitive dissonance as simultaneously holding two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. If you want to know what this might feel like have a skim through ‘Building a future that works for everyone’ the government’s new Civil Society strategy.

 IMG6683a Pam Jobbins, Policy Officer

Dismayed by the increase in racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic attacks after the 2016 EU Brexit vote, Advocacy Centre North and Newcastle CVS staff, volunteers and trustees joined NCVO and others in sending a message of support from the voluntary sector to those that might feel unsafe or unwelcome. The poster of signatures, #welcomehere, is still displayed in the reception area of our office.

For Welcome Here, our latest report, I asked voluntary and community organisations about the issues facing the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities that they work with, and sought out vignettes of the outstanding work that they are doing.

Martin Martin Gollan, Support and Development Manager

By quite some measure most the 166,000 plus voluntary sector organisations in the UK have little or nothing to do with delivery of public sector contracts. NCVOs Civil Society Almanac 2018 tell us that of the £15.3 billion in 2015/16 that went from the public sector to voluntary organisations most of it went to organisations with an annual income of £10 million or more. These charities make up a mere 0.43% of the total voluntary sector.

Delivery of public sector services might appear from these figures to be something of a minority pursuit and therefore unimportant to the rest of the voluntary sector. Except it’s the largest voluntary organisations that are most visible in the public eye and that when things go wrong can quickly easily find themselves under the media spotlight.

Martin Martin Gollan, Support and Development manager

Last night the North East Together Network held yet another interesting and thought provoking event, this one on the future of volunteering.

The evening’s key note speaker, George Thomson CEO of Volunteer Scotland, set us off with a series of reflections, ideas and actions arising from a ten week study leave taken last summer. During his ten weeks, George travelled up and down the UK from Bo’ness to Oxford by way of Sunderland, Liverpool and all points in-between.

His journey brought him into contact with a wide array of academics, voluntary sector leaders and others as he deliberated the meaning of public value and its connection to volunteering, community spirit and grassroots leadership.

Sally  Sally Young, Chief Executive 

For the last eight years I have been asking local voluntary and community organisations their views on how life is for them and for the people and communities they support.

I’ve just written up the report (GaN Canny 2018) after 168 organisations responded from Gateshead and Newcastle. It is both uplifting and bleak.

Sally  Sally Young, Chief Executive 

Most people will have been repulsed at the events that took place last week at the President’s Club. Let’s be clear, this is nothing to do with charity and all about men behaving badly. But this episode has given some charities an ethical dilemma about what to do with the money.  Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and others have been criticised in the Daily Mail and other media outlets for returning the donations.

Having spoken to a few charity leaders, there are clearly different perspectives on this and each organisation needs to decide its approach, based on its ethics and values.

pic of vicki  Vicki Harris, HAREF Network Coordinator

We’ve had a really busy and interesting time delivering workshops to 300 4th year medical students at Newcastle University. Working with the Regional Refugee Forum (RRF), we have run 16 workshops using HAREF facilitators and members of the RRF. The aim of the workshops was to give the students ‘food for thought’ about meeting the health needs of people seeking asylum in the UK.

Sally Sally Young, Chief Executive

Lord Beecham, our Vice President, recently described Universal Credit as “the poll tax of our time”. Sir Jeremy has been a serving Councillor in Newcastle upon Tyne for over fifty years. Benwell and Scotswood, the ward he represents, is among the poorest in the country. Newcastle was one of the first cities to pilot Universal Credit two years ago. Universal Credit is rolled out to Gateshead this week.

Martin Martin Gollan, Support and Development manager

For some children in Newcastle and Gateshead the return to school last week will mean from Monday to Friday they can expect a regular hot meal. During the six week summer holidays, the West End Foodbank ran a holiday club which provided food for 40 primary school pupils. Each week the foodbank feeds around 400 school children.

Northumbria University’s Healthy Living Lab recently carried out a nationwide survey of holiday clubs that provide food and other assistance during the summer holidays to children from low income families.