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A third sector infrastructure project

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Need

Local charity managers need improved support services in order to strengthen their organisations so that they are better able to meet the demand for services and represent the needs of a rural community.

Evidence

The information provided below is an example. When referring to consultation or research, you should include dates to show when it took place (ideally within the last two years to ensure it is up to date) and clarify the source of the evidence.

  • A local survey was carried out by Darryside Local Infrastructure Group last year with 30 VCS organisations. This identified the need for improved support services for their managers.
  • Staff suggestion surveys from a sample of 10 VCS organisations in September 2011 also highlighted this need.
  • A consultation event this year arranged by Darryside Local Infrastructure Group was attended by 38 people, from a range of organisations representing VCS groups. This consultation noted the need for more effective communication between sectors and the lack of knowledge of government strategies which raised concerns about the services being provided to local communities.
  • National research carried out by Top Survey UK Ltd in spring 2011 identified capacity issues in the VCS sector.
  • The need for the project clearly impacts specific elements of the local authority's 2011 Community Capacity Initiative and the regional Infrastructure in the Voluntary and Community Sector Strategy (2011-15). These strategies highlighted the need to strengthen the capacity of local community groups.

The overall aim for the project

To provide improved support services and representation opportunities for VCS charity managers across a rural county in order to better meet the needs of local community

Outcome(s) for the project

  • VCS organisations in the county are more knowledgeable about, and have better access to, the available support services, enabling them to provide a comprehensive service for local people.
  • VCS managers will report that they are more confident and better able to address the needs of their communities at first point of contact.
  • VCS managers in the area have improved skills in the management of projects, finance and staff that will improve the effectiveness of their organisation.
  • VCS managers are more confident and engaged with local networks resulting in greater representation of rural needs and priorities in local policies and strategy.
  • Tracking progress.

 

Outcome Indicator Indicator level Timescale
VCS organisations in the county are more knowledgeable about, and have better access to, the available support services, enabling them to provide a comprehensive service for local people Level of knowledge about support services 12 VCS organisations in the county report that they are more knowledgeable about local, regional and national support services available to them Annually
    15 VCS organisations report a significant increase in access to support services By the end of the project
    20 VCS organisations form a support network and have increased knowledge of available services across the county By the end of the project
  More comprehensive service for local people 20 VCS organisations report an increase of 100% in the amount of referrals carried out for local people By the end of the project
Charity managers will report that they are more confident and better able to address the needs of their communities at first point of contact Degree of confidence of helpline users 50 helpline users report that they are more confident to address issues within their organisation Annually
    The is an increase of 25% in helpline usage By the end of the project
    A survey of people using VCS organisations involved in the scheme demonstrates at least 90% of users were satisfied that services met their needs well By the end of the project
Charity managers in the area have improved skills in the management of projects, finance and staff, that will improve the effectiveness of their organisation Local charity managers have increased project management, financial management and staff management skills A total of 40 local charity managers have accessed the peer mentoring scheme and/or training courses (12 in year one, 14 in years two and three) Annually
    12 local charity managers report an increase in confidence of their own management skills Annually
    12 local charity managers apply to take a professional qualification in management By the end of the project
Charity managers are more confident and engaged with local networks resulting in greater representation of rural needs and priorities in local policies and strategy Increased participation in rural strategy and policy development 20% of charity managers (24 people) will increase/commence participation in rural network meetings By the end of the project
    70% of charity managers (80 people) will report that they feel more knowledgeable about local policies and strategies  

 

Activities

  • Establish a telephone helpline giving advice on a wide range of issues including recruitment, health and safety, managing staff and financial and project management.
  • Promote local networks and forums
  • Set up peer mentoring service with eight participants
  • Develop tailored self-help packs and signposting guides and distribute to 50 local charities
  • Deliver training to 15 local charity managers
  • Run annual conference with 40 local charities
  • Set up interagency steering group to meet quarterly
  • Produce regular updates about new regional strategy/policy opportunities and decisions

Learning

By the end of year two, the project learned that 15 local charity managers (50%) had identified areas for organisational improvement as a result of peer mentoring but only one of these had implemented change. Telephone calls were then made to some of those not implementing change revealing that this was often due to resistance from the trustees/management committee. This led to the planning of a new project on trustee development.

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