This is where we’ll post third sector news and important updates that are useful for your organisation.

FREE interactive, online training on gambling and young people

The subject of gambling and its associated harms is currently a hot topic and is acknowledged by health experts as a serious addiction with far reaching negative consequences. It negatively affects relationships, finances, physical and mental health, not just for the gambler but also for those around them.

There are estimated to be around 450,000 disordered gamblers in the UK, including around 75,000 women, and 55,000 people aged under 18. Research suggests that, on average, for every person who is gambling in a disordered way, 6-10 other people are affected, and women and children are disproportionately at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm. Despite the prevalence of gamblingrelated harm, the harms are largely hidden, with fewer than 1% women affected accessing support.

Gambling disorder is a recognised mental health disorder and has been found to lead to the initiation and exacerbation of major depressive episodes, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders, as well as generating intense guilt and shame, impaired decision-making and difficulties sustaining personal and work relationships. Women consistently score higher on measures of psychological distress and are more likely to have experienced domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and past trauma, all of which are risk factors for disordered gambling.

GamCare runs established treatment and support services available to men, women and young people to ensure that where difficulties with gambling exist, they can be tackled through open, nonjudgemental conversations and access to free, specialist treatment and support. GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline took over 38,000 calls last year from men and women affected by gambling-related harm and over 10,000 people accessed free treatment through the treatment network across England, Scotland and Wales. 19% gamblers and 80% affected others calling the National Gambling Helpline were women, with rates of female gamblers seeking support rising at twice the rate of men.

Two-hour (flexible) FREE interactive, online workshop for professionals working with women and families in the East of England We are able to offer you free training and support to provide you with knowledge of how women and young people are affected, the confidence to have conversations about gambling, and awareness of how and when to appropriately signpost and refer on.

In the session you will:

< Learn about the risks and impacts of gaming and disordered gambling

< Discover screening methods to assess the impact of gambling on people’s lives

< Learn how to ask questions about the impacts of gambling-related harm on people’s lives

< Gain vital knowledge about referral pathways for support and treatment

< Understand the issues specific to women and young people

If you have any questions about the training or would like to book a session, please feel free to contact me: Polly Johnson, Training and Engagement Lead, Women’s Programme

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

East Anglia Wellbeing Roundtable

Organised by the Charted Institute of Fundraising – East Anglia


Spring is almost upon us, the days are growing in length and the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is becoming brighter as more people receive their vaccinations and we have a road map for the easing of lockdown restrictions over the coming months. For some this may be very welcome but it also brings with it further challenges, uncertainties, anxieties and stresses for some – both from a personal as well as a professional basis.

To help those in fundraising across the region (and beyond!), our next virtual event on Thursday 25th March is going to be all about Wellbeing. We have Susanne Reid, who is a qualified and experienced health and wellbeing professional starting the session, and will focus on lots of self-help as well as some practical things we can all do.

Then we will be joined by Gavin Lamb, a Fundraising Manager as well as a mental health first aider at Ormiston Families along with Emma Ihsan, Head of Corporate Partnerships from MIND (national) and who manages a large team. They will be sharing their thoughts about taking care of your mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. There will be plenty of practical advice as well sharing of information to help you develop an action plan which can be a useful tool and aid communication with your line manager.

After the session we’ll also be sending out some follow-up information sheets to build on what was covered.

Register here.

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Join the National Lottery Heritage Fund user research panel

We are changing our services. We are considering all stages of the journey of applying for and managing grant funding.

We want to speak to people who:

– have considered applying for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

– have applied for funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund

– are actively preparing an application for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

– have been successful in their funding application – have been unsuccessful in their funding application

– are waiting for a decision to their funding application – have managed grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund before

– are actively running a project with the National Lottery Heritage Fund now

– have completed a project with the National Lottery Heritage Fund in the last 6 months If none of these apply to you, that’s okay.

We would still like to hear from you, but we will need to know a bit more detail about what research you’d like to contribute to, and what topics might be relevant to you.

Join here.

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Suicide Awareness Hub – Free Training Dates Until December

These workshops will give you the skills and confidence to intervene if you think someone is feeling suicidal.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in men and women aged under 45 in England. Suicide is a preventable death. Suicide is indiscriminate and can touch any of us.
Our Suicide Awareness Hub is here to offer training, support and education on what we can do. Suicide is a societal issue and therefore as a society we need to know how to respond and where to get help.
So what do we do?
The Hub will give you the skills and confidence to be an informed friend for someone who is at risk of ending a short term problem with a long term solution.
We have a FREE workshop consisting of two 2 hour sessions (virtually for now). These cover:
About suicidal feelings
Risk factors
Why suicide
How to help
To register your interest please contact Mike via [email protected] to find out more.

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

Who is eligible to apply for the grant, how much you can claim and details of the funding criteria for businesses that have been severely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, regardless of whether they pay business rates.

This is a discretionary scheme to help businesses which have had to close, or been able to trade but have been severely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, regardless of whether they pay business rates.

COVID-19 – Additional Restrictions Grant (discretionary scheme)

This grant is only available whilst Uttlesford District Council’s area is subject to national and localised restrictions where businesses are mandated to close. This will cover COVID restriction affected businesses in Alert Tiers 2, 3 and 4.

These businesses will take priority on funding, but applications are invited from other businesses who satisfy the scheme criteria and have either been forced to close or have been severely affected by Tier 2, 3 & 4 local restrictions or the widespread national lockdown.

Please read the following guidance before submitting an application online.

Apply here

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Support Payment for wet-led pubs

Who is eligible to apply for the grant, how much you can claim and details of the funding criteria for pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions.

The Christmas Support Payment (CSP) is a one-off payment of £1000 to support ‘wet-led’ pubs through the festive period.

The payment is for the period 2 December to 29 December 2020, and is for pubs that predominantly serve alcohol rather than food. The pub must have been forced to close under local restrictions.

Apply here


Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Help improve local Dementia support services

The West Essex CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) provides GP, memory clinic and hospital consultant services. They want to hear from people with dementia, their carers, families, friends, staff and volunteers, to inform its Development Plan. This is to improve dementia support services locally.
Could you please share this 2-minute survey as widely as possible as well as pass it on to colleagues, friends and family and anyone who can support this:
The deadline for survey completion is 28 February 2021

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Interview with Lorraine member of The Steering group for The Essex Alliance

  1. What is your role and what organisations do you work for?

I work for Provide CIC, a community interest company delivering NHS services and my role within Provide is Volunteer coordinator. At the start of the pandemic, I was also asked to support the setting-up of the Essex Wellbeing service by onboarding volunteers.  The Essex Wellbeing Service is funded by Essex County Council and was developed as a response to the pandemic with Provide’s Essex Lifestyle service.


Normally, my role is recruiting, training and placing volunteers within our community services.  We have community beds on wards in St Peters Hospital Rehabilitation and Stroke Unit in Maldon and Halstead Hospital ward.  Volunteers would be running pop-up shops, engaging with patients in activities, acting as lunch buddies and general befriending.  As well as ward volunteers we have people meeting and greeting visitors to our services both on the wards and in reception areas for different services like outpatients and therapies.  We also have volunteers in admin support roles.


During the setting up of Essex Wellbeing Service I helped to onboard over 500 volunteers.  It was an epic task and new technology was developed to do this process as effectively as possible.  Volunteers were enlisted to complete set tasks like shopping, befriending, dog walking and transport to hospital appointments.  The pandemic created a need for a massive community response and a re-thinking of ways to recruit volunteers in order to get the rapid response needed.  Using the “Priority Me App”, volunteers could log-on when they were available to pick up jobs, which allows for a lot of flexibility.


During the pandemic existing Provide volunteers have helped in many ways supporting staff and services.  The Halstead Ward location was moved to Braintree and volunteers played an important role in helping pack up wards and be there to support patients during the changeover.  Up until this last lock down volunteers were being used to meet visitors and patients, take temperatures and for logging track and trace details.


As we have all experienced through the current situation, the demands on my role has been constantly changing and I have had to adapt to this.  For example, I just recruited six new volunteers for the outpatient service in St. Peter’s Hospital, Maldon. This is a lot of work with the screening process, ID and DBS checks.  I had no sooner completed the process when the clinical staff were re-deployed onto front line wards and the new role has been suspended for the moment.  Luckily, I was able to direct these volunteers to the mass vaccination recruitment coordinator so I hope they get to volunteer soon.


Since the pandemic began my role has changed direction several times.  From mass screening of volunteers, to actually driving patients to emergency hospital appointments when no one else was available.  I have had to respond rapidly to requests from services who may need volunteers for urgent one-off tasks followed by specialist support roles which need an experienced volunteer. I have had to be very flexible and adaptable and this looks set to continue for a while yet.  I do look forward to the time when the wards re-open and normal volunteer services re-commence and our regular long-term volunteers return to their roles.  Unfortunately, many of our pre-Covid volunteers were unable to continue during the pandemic as they had to shield but are keen to return.


  1. Last year was a very different experience for everyone. How did you find your organisation dealt with the pandemic?

Provide is a really good organisation for communications and it works very hard to make sure people understand how the situation was unfolding.  I think this really helped me to cope with so much uncertainty.  As well as regular notices and briefings, our CEO produces a weekly update video, and it shows he is reaching out to us.  I have certainly felt safe with the working arrangements which have been put in place and those which apply to going into the office.


As well as regular meetings with my line manager we, in the HR Department trialled a buddying system to support each other which was also very helpful.  Colleagues met for a twenty minutes session each week to share and listen to each other.  Not as a result of the pandemic but something which was being developed anyway was introducing “Schwarz Rounds” which are meetings for teams specifically to be therapeutic and supportive for people in the NHS and I have been asked to train as a facilitator.


My organisation’s IT department was very quick to get Teams sorted out for everyone, which really helped with everyone being able to communicate and continue with meetings.  Teams has become second nature for communicating now and it is difficult to imagine going back to travelling to face to face meetings as we used to.


Obviously, delivering all the clinical services that Provide has to do, this year has been a great strain on everyone because of the massive changes which were required and also staff re-deployment.  Interestingly, I know some of the staff who were and are re-deployed have gained a real insight into the frontline experience.


The other big change which had to be made over this period was the whole recruitment process.  The Provide volunteer recruitment process is aligned to NHS guidelines and involves interviewing and meeting volunteers face to face at least twice, as well as their attendance at Corporate Training.  Adaptations had to be made and a new process has been developed and, I wonder if we will ever really return to exactly what we did before, especially for volunteer training. NHS England set-up on line Volunteer Passport and, to be honest, whilst the content is the same as I delivered, the format is very accessible and the new volunteers have said they enjoyed it and could do it in their own time too.  Obviously, this would not work for volunteers who don’t like or feel confident or access internet.


Overall, I think Provide proved to be very adaptable and resourceful and did have to put demands on staff and I certainly felt, informed and supported during the process.


  1. The Third Sector has found the global pandemic difficult across the board. Is there anything you found challenging within job role and organisation?

The biggest challenge is having volunteers who want to help but not having enough roles available.  We do have to be very mindful of not putting patients, staff and volunteers into a high-risk situation and, particularly on the wards, it was agreed that we could not provide enough support to put volunteers into Covid wards.  All credit to Provide, active volunteers working for Provide have, along with paid members of staff, have all been offered the vaccine.


Another personal challenge is the feeling I cannot plan services in the way I would normally do.  Even when I do plan, it literally doesn’t always work out as expected.  An example of this was when the vaccine programme was announced.  I immediately recruited a team of driving volunteers, as I expected a surge in requests for volunteer drivers.  So far there has not been a great demand and I think this may well be because people have built a support network up during this last year.


Other challenges have been around working from home.  Not seeing work colleagues face to face and missing the social interactions.  At home, I have found it hard to come away from my desk.  Before the pandemic, my home was always my sanctuary but now it feels like that line has become blurred and home is work and work is home.  Especially when I have taken annual leave, there is the temptation to have a look if everything is alright.


  1. During these uncertain times, it is good for everyone to stick together and give each other a helping hand. What has been vital in supporting you in your job role and you personally during COVID-19?

The main thing which has helped me during the pandemic is having a meaningful job and actually working every day.  Having a purpose, having conversations with people which are not all about Covid and lock down, has been a real life saver.

It has also been really good to work with my colleagues in Provide who are call handlers in the Essex Wellbeing Service.  The feeling you get when you are working with others, to make something happen for someone you will never meet, but know you have made a difference because you helped resolve a problem is really great.

Also working with EPUT and other organisations on a project for setting-up a volunteer’s passport to cover volunteering in the NHS in Essex gave the opportunity to meet with other volunteer coordinators.  It was really reassuring to share similar experiences of Covid, volunteers and issues around recruitment and it was good to actually meet new people.

My colleagues in Provide have also been very supportive of each other.  This came to light particularly at Christmas as I organised some staff events which included, a secret Santa for children of families who rely on the food bank and Christmas bags and presents for the homeless.   There was a huge response from my colleagues, who were incredibly generous and kind, which was amazing and really lifted my spirits.


  1. Let’s look to the future. What are you looking forward to this year in the Third Sector and within your organisation?

I’m looking forward to the services I support returning to whatever will be ‘normality’. It will be a real joy to be able to to plan services, events, recruitment and also have face-to-face contact. Building on the knowledge and experience I have gained, I want to evaluate what good things have come out of all that happened last year. I can see real merit in the new way of recruiting volunteers which saves time for everyone and also incorporates the on-line training as normal.  I will definitely continue to utilise volunteers through the Essex Wellbeing Service for micro-volunteering projects which gives Provide the opportunity to use volunteers so much more.

Most of all, I am so looking forward to going back into the office for at least a few days a week and seeing colleagues and volunteers again on a regular basis.


  1. What would your advice be to other Third Sector organisations while we are in the midst of a third lockdown?

I think it is very difficult to give advice.  For me, I am going to reflect on what happened and not be frightened to think outside of the box.  Given the wave of enthusiasm for volunteering and the acceptance that volunteers can deliver good services, I want to think about what else could they be doing?  I would definitely be looking at micro-volunteering options and reviewing recruitment processes.  I am sure everyone has had similar experiences and realised there are great efficiencies in on-line interviewing and training.  Finally, I would also review risk assessments and ask whether we are being too risk-averse whilst weighing up the benefits to the community that volunteering can bring.

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Community Development Officer – MDCVS

Maldon and District CVS are looking for a full time Community Development Officer to join the team. This is a great opportunity to play a role in supporting communities across Maldon District to build on the community cohesion, partnerships and volunteering that came to the fore during the Coronavirus pandemic. The post holder will take a lead on continued support to people who are vulnerable or in crisis working with and facilitating a network of partners from a range of sectors and local people. They will build on opportunities to create new ways of connecting and promoting wellbeing, work with communities with an asset based approach and develop projects to address needs in the community.

Deadline for applications: 1st March 2021, 5pm

For the job description and application please visit Maldon and District CVS website.

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News

Essex Coronavirus Action Page

Have you got a message you want to get out to the Essex Community? Do you have services that will help to support people in these difficult times? Look no further.
Simon at Essex Coronavirus Action will promote relevant and appropriate services through the ECA Facebook page. If you have anything you feel will be a benefit or any opportunities you may have. share them with Simon via email [email protected] & [email protected]

Author: Jade Bolton
Categories: News