“Transforming Local Infrastructure” (TLI) is a Cabinet Office project, with money being distributed through the National Lottery’s “Big Fund”. The project’s aim is to support infrastructure charities – those that provide services to other charities and voluntary or community sector groups, rather than direct to service users – to work in partnership more effectively; it is also aimed at supporting sustainability in the sector by increasing volunteering, fundraising and development opportunities.
Wiltshire Infrastructure project, “One Front Door” is a partnership between Community First, Develop, Wessex Community Action and the Charities Information Bureau South and West. The partnership has received a grant of £325,000 to carry out a number of partnership activities over the next 12 months:
We need your help!
The Partnership is trying to find out what support the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Wiltshire needs from us. It would really help us to do this if you could complete our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WiltshireCommunitySupportNeedsSurvey
DEVELOP Enhancing Community Support through its Volunteer Centre Wiltshire service will be recruiting and training volunteer mentors to support young people and those with additional support needs who would like to experience volunteering for a local charity or voluntary group. The mentoring service will match volunteer mentors with individuals with additional support needs who would not normally consider taking up a voluntary role. www.volunteercentrewiltshire.org.uk
The Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon is signing charities and community groups up to its “Local Giving” project. Localgiving.com is a fundraising website which gives charities and community groups a dedicated online presence and increases the options for donors to engage with them. There is usually a charge to register with Local Giving, but TLI and Wiltshire Council will be paying this for the first 200 Wiltshire charities to sign up. In addition, the Community Foundation will be running workshops to support groups with developing fundraising opportunities using social media. http://www.wscf.org.uk/giving-localgiving.asp
Social Enterprises are businesses that focus more on meeting local needs and supporting their communities than on profit. They are often run by committed individuals and community groups, and through a mix of trading, volunteering and local networks deliver a range of much needed services; any profits go back into community facilities.
The Social Entrepreneur Training Programme, delivered from Community First’s premises by a range of partners, started in January. The sessions run from 9.30am – 1.00pm and cover a range of issues. Social entrepreneurs, sole traders and companies wanting to develop a more community focus, and people with a range of ideas they want to develop, can attend and share information and skills. We also have a number of business mentors attending to offer support. The format is an introductory talk, followed by practical skills development in areas such as writing a business plan, applying for grants and loans, and advertising and marketing. 1:1 support sessions with mentors are available, and resources are posted up on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SocialEnterpriseWiltshire . If you want to come along, fill in the Survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SocialEnterpriseSupport, or contact Glenys Armstrong on email@example.com Further information can be found in the flyer available for download below.
As well as these projects, the infrastructure partners have been working behind the scenes to create “One Front Door” where charities, community and voluntary groups in Wiltshire can find information, advice and support. Previously, the Wiltshire Infrastructure Consortium identified that it can be difficult for some groups to know which of the TLI partners to approach for help with the range of issues that arise such as finding premises, governance arrangements, employment issues or fundraising plans.
Over the next 12 months, One Front Door will create a single website and a single phone number which will enable groups to find the information they want or speak to someone who can assist them. For the partners, this requires that they map what they do, reduce duplication and take a concerted approach to best practice, sharing policies and procedures and developing future plans jointly. Although each will remain independent and retain their own identity, they will be working much more closely together.
The longer term plan is to be able to offer HR and finance support on an affordable basis to charities and community groups across Wiltshire; and when the right premises become available, an actual “one front door” rather than a virtual one, at a building with access to a range of infrastructure services, serviced starter offices and hot-desk facilities. The TLI Programme Manager, Glenys Armstrong, who is based at Community First is co-ordinating these plans, and would like to hear from any local charities or community groups or social entrepreneurs wanting to know more about or become involved in the Transforming Local Infrastructure project.