The Power of Digital Communities

The Essex Coronavirus Action Support Facebook Community was set up during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a collaboration between Essex County Council (ECC) and the Essex Public Health Team as well as local Facebook admins. It focuses on three objectives: preventing the spread of infection, informing Essex residents of guidance and assisting residents who may be vulnerable.


The National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NIHR) funded PHIRST South Bank Centre co-produced an evaluation of the project with local stakeholders. The evaluation sought to understand the following questions:

  • How effective is a digital community development approach during a pandemic?
  • Was the ECAS digital community development approach successful in achieving improved health literacy, protective health actions and community connectedness and mutual aid?
  • Was the ECAS digital community development approach successful in achieving whole system change for the public health function?
  • What factors were important in contributing to the outcomes?


This event will be an opportunity to talk to those involved in setting up this initiative, hear the findings of the evaluation, discuss what lessons can be learnt and how these can be used to plan future work with digital communities in Essex.

Thu, July 7, 2022

1:30 PM – 4:45 PM BST

Central Baptist Church

Victoria Road

South Chelmsford



Book your ticket here. 

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Social Value Fest 22

If you wish to bid for local authority contracts, you can expect tenders to include questions about social value: how the way you deliver the contract impacts or benefits local jobs, businesses, communities and the environment.
Essex County Council’s second, social value festival is a free, 4-day learning event for any organisation that wants to learn about social value, bid for ECC contracts or benefit from the social value offers that suppliers make to our local communities.
Join us this summer, book your place hereAll the sessions will run online, free of charge.
This year’s event is packed full of practical advice on how to approach social value and climate matters and will provide many examples that you can adopt or use to inspire your own ideas. It is suitable for organisations of any size and type and you will have the opportunity to speak to our experts about social value and climate.
Schools, colleges, universities, SMEs and charities too can find out what ECC’s suppliers are committing and how to access their offers such as careers advice, business advice and staff volunteering time.
Full details below-

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Trustee Vacancy – Healthwatch Essex

Healthwatch Essex was created as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and the Government’s aim of ‘putting patients and the public first’ through strengthening their collective voice. A national network of local Healthwatch organisations, and a national umbrella organisation, Healthwatch England were created. The purpose is to be ‘an independent voice for the people of Essex, helping to shape and improve local health and social care services’. Our success depends on building constructive partnerships with the NHS, local councils, and voluntary and community organisations.

The staff team and our network of volunteers and Ambassadors undertake work that includes engaging the public in innovative and effective ways. We produce films, podcasts and engagement projects as well as carrying out high-quality social research and sharing our reports. We provide a telephone- and web-based Information Service to help the public access and understand the NHS and social care services. We anticipate that our work will continue to grow and diversify following the pandemic, as the needs of the people of Essex change and commissioners seek our knowledge and expertise to provide the best most widely accessible care and support.

Trustee opportunity – Healthwatch Essex is governed by a Board of Trustees with a diverse range of skills and experience. We would like to add an additional Trustee with finance and accounting qualifications and experience to the Board. If you have these skills, can offer clear oversight and direction as a Board member and are interested in the work of Healthwatch Essex we would like to hear from you.

For more information about the role of a Trustee and Healthwatch Essex, call the office on 01376 572829.or visit, or contact the Chief Executive Sam Glover [email protected], or the Office Manager Helen Wakeham [email protected]. Closing date 30th June 2022

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Peaceful Place – Job Vacancies

Day Service Operations Manager 

Peaceful Place is an award-winning charity seeking an Operation Manger to join our team of forward-thinking creative people.  

You will have experience of multi activity coordination in any field with an aptitude for creating warm friendly and supportive environments.  

You will have the ability to engage partner services in arts, culture and sport and have a flexible and team empowering approach in coordinating a variety of activities. You will have demonstrable experience of professionally liaising with health and social care professionals. You will have full ownership of developing this role, working closely with the CEO and will enjoy and maintain our culture of fun in a stimulating and rewarding environment. 

Place of work: Peaceful Place, 261 Timberlog Lane, Basildon, SS14 1PA 

Hours of work:  Flexible  (core hours 10:30-3:30) 

Working days:  Monday to Friday – 5 days per week. 

Salary: Negotiable £30,00 – £32,000  

Reporting to: CEO

Holidays: 28 days pro rata – Please note we are open bank holidays. 

Application Process:

Please forward a current CV with a statement, no more than 2 A4 pages, outlining your skills and aptitude to make this role a success. Please ensure you provide evidence in your statement of direct practice in relation to the job description attached. 

We welcome applications from any field demonstrating transferable skills.  

Please send to:  

Charlotte Curran CEO. 

Email c[email protected] 

Tel: 07860 610 767 

Closing date: Monday 1st August 2022 @ 5pm 

Click here for the job description.


Seeking Volunteer Coordinator

Peaceful Place is an award-winning charity with great ambitions to maintain and grow it’s innovative, creative and empowering service. To support us on this journey we are seeking a professional, friendly, flexible, person who enjoys empowering team colleagues and adaptable to the daily changes that makes this role an exciting opportunity for a person with ambition. You will have full ownership of the volunteer project. You will develop the role and ensure the service has sufficient volunteers to support the Charities aims and objectives. 

You will have further responsibility for the recruitment and support of very dedicated and hardworking volunteers in our successful charity Shop based in Southend. 

We are seeking a person with knowledge and experience of good practice on volunteer coordination. You may not have direct experience of volunteer management but have transferable skills required to develop the project and make it a success.

We have an ambition to seek a relevant Quality Mark in volunteer Management and you will play a leading role in achieving this. 

In return you will receive excellent support from a friendly professional team and enjoy our culture of fun in a stimulating and rewarding environment.

Place of work: Peaceful Place, 261 Timberlog Lane, Basildon, SS14 1PA 

Hours of work:  Flexible 

Working days: Monday to Friday incl.  

Salary: Negotiable £26,000 to £28,000  

Reporting to: CEO

Holidays: 28 days pro rata

Application Process:

Please send a current CV with covering letter, no more than 2 A4 pages, outlining evidence of experience, skills and abilities relating to Job Description attached.  

Charlotte Curran CEO. 

Email [email protected] 

Tel: 07860 610 767 

Closing date 1st August 2022 @ 5 pm

Click here for the job description.


Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Work for ECVYS as our ‘Partnership & Projects Manager’

This is an exciting new role to develop the work of ECVYS and to work closely with the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) for the shared purpose to further develop & amplify the voice, presence and joint working of the voluntary youth sector in Essex, Southend & Thurrock.

We are looking for a dynamic and creative networker with an organised and analytical mind-set who has experience of the voluntary sector in Essex and grant management, and who would like to be a part of this exciting new role with ECVYS.

The contract is initially for 3yrs and will be home based but with travel across Essex, Southend & Thurrock.

Please find the full j.d and application details below or email [email protected] if you have any questions. Thank you for your interest in this position.


Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Grants for Good – Matthew Good Foundation

Making a positive difference to communities, people & the environment

Grants for Good is our first fund that invites local charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises that have an average annual income of less than £50,000 to apply to us for funding.

What is the Grants for Good Fund?

Every three months, we’ll share £10,000 between 5 shortlisted projects that have a positive impact on communities, people or the environment.

Since 2011, the Matthew Good Foundation has empowered employees of the John Good Group to support many good causes in the UK and around the world by nominating good causes for funding. However, in 2021, our tenth year, we wanted to extend our impact and allow small charities, community projects and social entrepreneurs to come straight to us.

To stay true to our ethos of donating funds to causes close to the hearts of our members, every three months, five shortlisted projects will be voted for by John Good Group employees. These five charities will all receive a share of £10,000 – the more votes a cause receives, the bigger the donation. Following the vote, the project that receives the most votes will receive a grant of  £3,500, second place £2,500, third place £2,000 and fourth and fifth place will both receive £1,000.

Charities and projects are welcome to apply all year round, and your application will be considered in the next funding round. Funding will be awarded every three months, in April, July, October and January, with an application deadline of the 15th of the month before. Eg. for the April round, applications will close on the 15th March, for the October round, applications will close on 15th September.

Who can apply?

Your application must be on behalf of a local community group, charity, voluntary group or social enterprise that has a positive impact on communities, people or the environment and has an average income of less than £50,000 in the last 12 months.

We want to make it easy for very small charities or new community interest companies to apply, so organisations/groups do not need to be a registered charity, however, you will need to have a bank account in your organisation’s/project’s name such as a community bank account. We are not able to provide funding to personal bank accounts.

How to apply

We don’t want small charities to be intimidated by lengthy forms to complete – so we’ve kept the online application form straightforward. We’ll need your contact details, a brief outline of the organisation’s work, and how you’ll use the funds. We’ll also need a reference from someone not involved in the project, but with enough knowledge of what you do to support your application.

If you have any problems applying using the online form, please email [email protected]

Visit the website for more information. 

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

999 BSL

999 BSL is the name of the UK’s first ever Emergency Video Relay Service in British Sign Language (BSL). The service is available to download as a smartphone app (iOS and Android) and access as a web-based platform. It launched on 17 June 2022.

In a statement on 27 January 2022, Ofcom set out a requirement for communications providers across the UK to make an emergency BSL service available from 17 June 2022.

Ofcom approved Sign Language Interactions (SLI) as the sole provider of the service, which enables deaf BSL users in the UK to make calls to emergency authorities such as the police, ambulance, fire and coastguard services via BSL video relay interpreters.

SLI is working closely with BT, who is the wholesale supplier of the service to the telecoms industry. We are also committed to working closely with communication providers. We take care to ensure that the service is compliant with Ofcom’s General Conditions and provide them with resources to help promote the service within their networks.

We communicate regularly with the deaf British Sign Language community and continue to provide regular updates on the service through our own communication channels and those of other stakeholders we work with, including third sector organisations.

To find out more about 999 BSL, please email [email protected]

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Now available to book – Trauma Awareness Half Day Workshop

Now available to book!

3-hour Trauma Awareness workshops providing an opportunity for those who work or support people who may have experienced trauma.

This session helps to develop an understanding of the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences using neuroscience research that will enable the attendee to take a trauma-informed approach at work and in their personal life, whilst also exploring the effects of vicarious trauma on themselves and others and how we can all improve wellbeing.

Ideal for those who work in helping professions: health care, education, emergency services, social work, youth offending services, foster carers.

This workshop can be delivered online or in person.

Contact [email protected] to enquire.

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

6 Ways to Lead on Neurodiversity in the Workplace

It has been shown that neurodiverse teams, which include both neurodivergent and neurotypical members, can outproduce teams composed of only neurotypical employees.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I am learning how to build a company that welcomes employees with varying cognitive abilities. I am no expert in this, even though our company focuses on developing inclusive leaders. During the pandemic, the challenges around mental health in the workplace have come to the fore, so I decided to share my adventure in navigating the benefits and challenges that come with neurodiversity. I hope you accept my invitation to do your own learning around this aspect of inclusion, because as you do so, your leadership will grow, and your company will profit.

1. Get clear about neurodiversity

Let’s start with two key definitions:

Neurodiversity “is an umbrella term that encompasses neurocognitive differences such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, intellectual disability and schizophrenia.” (from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network)

Neurodiversity also includes those who operate with “normal” neurocognitive functioning, described as neurotypical. Neurodivergent individuals are those whose brain functions differ from those who are neurologically typical. (from the EARN website)

It’s crucial to remember that many neurodivergent disorders are not evident to the people who are navigating them. Establishing yourself as an ally sends the signal to your colleagues that you are someone to whom it is safe to disclose any challenges they encounter.

2. Clarify the business case

A business should build its capacity to hire and work effectively with neurodivergent employees for a number of reasons, including access to previously unexplored talent pools in a tight labor market and reasonable accommodations for staff who have not previously identified themselves as neurodivergent.

Neurodivergent employees often (but not always) bring strong abilities related to accuracy, concentration, attention to detail, loyalty, timeliness and satisfaction with routine as well as unexpectedly creative views that improve products, services and operations.

It has also been shown that neurodiverse teams, which include both neurodivergent and neurotypical members, can outproduce teams composed of only neurotypical employees.

3. Build your capability

You and your firm can start by building a strong foundation:

  • Explore the resources of the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.
  • If you have an employee resource group with people of different abilities/disabilities, build your approach in consultation with the members of that affinity network. If you don’t, encourage neurodivergent employees to connect informally with one another. The bottom line: You are creating a positive and inclusive environment in which an employee feels safe enough to self-identify as a person with a disability.
  • Self-identification is the rule and practice. Employers and managers should not preemptively identify any employee as having a disability. Relationships built on high levels of trust make it possible to talk about all manner of identities. In this way, our differences can become assets and not liabilities — that’s what diversity at work looks like.
  • Work with your HR colleagues to develop the discipline of reasonable accommodation to support those who may or may not know what to ask for. Not only is this required by the law, but it’s also the right way to honor and value your employees.

For neurodivergent employees like those on the autism spectrum, practices like those detailed in the following three points often serve as powerful investments.

4. Provide opportunities to work flexibly and remotely

The pandemic has created new norms that make working with neurodiverse employees that much easier. Offer flexible work hours, with options for telecommuting and/or working from home, a part-time schedule, job-sharing opportunities, adjustments in the start or end of work hours and compensation time.

Related: How to Talk About Disability Diversity in the Workplace

5. Focus on employees’ strengths and accommodate their challenges

If a neurodiverse employee reports to you, you get to learn how to assess their strengths and adjust to their challenges. The reality: You already do this in the way you individualize how you support every neurotypical employee. You get to prioritize the time it takes to optimize the contribution and solve the challenges that your neurodiverse employees present.

6. Utilize technology to support employees

For some coworkers, assistive technologies can transform their performance. Such support can include software and devices like portable and talking word processors, assistive listening systems, visual organizers and supports as well as virtual reality and gaming for training purposes. The world of assistive technologies is exploding, and tools and approaches like these will equip neurodivergent and neurotypical people alike.

Dimensions of identity like race and gender will always loom large for inclusive leaders, because history and society continue to organize opportunities and resources in relation to the color of someone’s skin and their gender identity. But inclusive leaders learn to work with the particular differences showing up in the individuals with whom they work. We are learning that neurodivergent colleagues have a lot to offer, and they bring to us — if we are neurotypical leaders — a whole new way to grow and serve as allies.

And for leaders and managers as well as individual contributors who are neurodivergent themselves? We all need you to teach and mentor us, because your points of view and lived experiences are golden. We need you to lead us with courage and confidence.

Read the original article here. 

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Social media for charities 101: LinkedIn

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News