Voluntary Action Camden

VAC e-Bulletin – 16th February 2024


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Spotlight  |   Features, News and Policy  |   Funding   |   Events and Training   |
Jobs and Volunteering   |   Surveys, Resources and Opportunities


VAC is welcoming WE RESTART as one of our newest member organisations and part of our Camden New Groups Network. 


WE RESTART is a new charity empowering community through creative arts. In Autumn 2023, they opened the A.R.I.A. (Asylum seeker, Refugee and Immigrant Artists) Hub, a dedicated space to nurture the talents and potential of artists-at-risks. It offers comprehensive, long-term support that is crucial for building sustainable careers in the arts. 


Cristina Antonini is the Co-founder of WE RESTART. She says: 


“The A.R.I.A. Hub is a studio residency here at our office in High Holborn, where 7 selected artists share their experience and develop their career in the arts. Together they are also developing a project to showcase during the next edition of the Refugee Week. WE RESTART are among organisations participating in the Mayor of London’s program Skills for Londoners. We help asylum seekers and refugees in enrolling to ESOL, Math and Digital Skills courses with AEB providers / London Multiply. We do so working from hotel accommodations (more specifically in Brent) to engage directly with potential students. We would like to bring our experience also to Camden and support the asylum seekers staying in hotels in the borough. 

Our program encompasses the provision of tools and materials, mentorship, professional development, and networking opportunities. We firmly believe that by nurturing the talent and creativity of asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrant artists, we preserve their artistic identities – priceless assets in their journeys to rebuild their lives and extraordinary gifts to the communities where they have found refuge.”


To learn more, you can visit We Restart’s website

Trustee celebration on February 28th
Calling Camden’s charity and community group trustees! We’re honouring your hard work and support in our annual trustee event, hosted with Volunteer Centre Camden. This is your opportunity to meet other trustees and celebrate the year’s work over food and drink. Get your ticket here.

VAC Member Benefits Report 2023
We held a survey last year to find out how our members are benefitting from their partnership with VAC, and ways in which we could improve. You can read the report here. Thanks to all who took part!

Community Action Research Evaluation
We’ve just published our report on community voices and participation and developing an integrated approach to health and care. Read more information on the process and impact of our research here.

Furniture needed!

We are looking for furniture donations to help with the move into our new office at 8-12 Camden Road. If you have chairs, desks, tables or cabinets that you no longer need, or you know anyone who might be able to help, please get in touch!

NEW – Safeguarding Training 

More details in the Events and Training section

Implementation of the Charities Act 2022 

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that the provisions in the next tranche of Charities Act 2022 reforms are likely to come into force in March 2024. This will include changes to align the rules on amending governing documents of different types of charity, a new Charity Commission power to confirm trustee appointments, changes in relation to mergers that are registered with the Commission and some more technical measures.

New film invites rethink of charitable spending
Charities should not be afraid of approaching projects like profitable businesses, argues the creator of a new film about the charity sector. A recent screening of the film Uncharitable discussed some of the themes of the film, examining the scrutiny placed on charity spending, and questions whether it lowers ambition and is harmful to long term goals.

Arts Council England updates guidance on political statements
Amid a passionate reaction to warnings from ACE on political statements, the organisation have announced an update to their guidance. Commentators expressed concern of censorship and have emphasised the importance of political art.

Strike action called off at English National Opera
Negotiations between the ENO and the Musician’s Union have resulted in a planned strike, the first in 44 years, being called off. The strike was announced after ENO introduced new employment terms for musicians, due to funding threats.

Every week VAC checks various sources for the latest funding opportunities relevant for Camden groups.
You can visit our website for a round up of the latest opportunities added this week:  Search for Funding – Voluntary Action Camden (vac.org.uk).

We’ve included a selection of the latest funds below but check out our new funding portal for many more opportunities.
If you need help sourcing or applying for funds, get in touch with our consultancy service, free for all Camden groups!

Active Spaces Fund accepting applications for 2024
London Marathon Foundation is offering grants of between £10,000 and £80,000 for not-for-profit groups, community enterprises, local authorities, statutory bodies, and schools across London to deliver projects and activities that engage the least active children, young people, and underserved communities to lead healthier and more active lives. More information about the Active Spaces fund here.

Jerwood Foundation spring 2024 funding round
UK-based organisations that focus on making art available for public benefit and promoting emerging talent in the arts have until 1 March 2024 to apply to Jerwood Foundation’s Spring funding round.
Up to £2 million is available per year to support a variety of projects and activities that promote the arts for public benefit.

Intheloop fund for boosting recycling
Funding is available to support projects in Great Britain to introduce or improve recycling points in high footfall public spaces. In 2024, the Hubbub UK #InTheLoop Grant Fund is seeking to award up to two projects a £12,500 grant to invest in, and boost, recycling facilities. Projects will also receive ongoing light-touch support from Hubbub, as well as support from an external measurement partner and £1,000 to boost their campaign communications.

London Catalyst partners for health grants
London Catalyst, working in partnership with the Hospital Saturday Fund, is offering grants of between £3,000 and £15,000 for charitable organisations across London that wish to offer a new approach or thoughtful development of service for people experiencing significant barriers to health, in partnership with an expert health agency/provider.

Open to VAC Members only
If you are a voluntary service or group delivering services in Camden and are not a member of VAC, please join here: https://vac.org.uk/get-involved/membership

CONNECT LEARN SHARE:  VAC Camden New Groups Network
Next Network meeting: 26th of February
This is a Network for all the new groups that VAC have provided with consultancy support recently and for any community group or individual considering starting a charity, social enterprise or community group. If you want to join please email Vania at vguetova@vac.org.uk.

New Groups Network
Upcoming safeguarding training 
For all VCS organisations, supplementary, faith schools and groups delivering services to under 18’s in the borough.
In partnership with Camden’s Safeguarding Children’s Partnership:

Women and Girls’ Personal Safety and Awareness
(In partnership with The Safeguarding Foundation)
Wednesday 13 March 2024, 10.00am – 12.00pm
Face to face at Ludham & Waxham TRA Hall, Lismore Circus, Camden NW3
To find out more or to secure your place, please
 visit our website or email the VAC Safeguarding Lead Dianne Carlton-Ogunyemi on: dogunyemi@vac.org.uk

Webinar on everyday premises management 
The Ethical Property Foundation are hosting a webinar on 23rd April, with experienced surveyors and property advisers, to support the UK voluntary sector. Attendees will find out about the finances and risks of property management, looking after tenants and what makes a greener workplace, as well as understanding the principles of effective maintenance management. The webinar will also include an information pack with the opportunity to obtain free follow-up expert advice. You can sign up here.

Community Climate Action day 
Join Camden’s sustainability team on 2nd March to connect with residents and local organisations taking action on the climate crisis, and see how you can get involved. There are a range of iniatives and opportunities you can get get involved with and benefit from, including workshops on food redistribution and community engagement. This event is free to attend, please register here

A beginner’s guide to AI in the third sector
In this session on March 14th, hear from National Trust and Charities Aid Foundation on how they are amplifying their employee productivity and accelerating their digital transformation with AI. This free webinar will show you what’s possible and how best to implement generative AI. More information here.

Public engagement on loneliness & social isolation
Camden’s Disability Oversight Panel invites disabled residents, carers and supporting VSC organisations to attend its forthcoming public engagement session on 21st February, with information on how to build friendships and community connections. With BSL Interpreters and caption/speech to text support.
To register, contact disabilityoversightpanel@camden.gov.uk or call 0207 9743 578. 

Is University for Me? With study skills workshop
Hosted by Birkbeck’s Access and Engagement Department, this event is aimed at adults going to university for the first time and will offer practical advice and guidance for overcoming common challenges and concerns. With a Q&A session, a study skills workshop and a student finance talk, the aim is to help you decide if university is the right option for you. Sign up or learn more here.
Date: 17th February

Hopscotch Women’s Centre panel on healthy relationships 
On Wednesday 21st February, Hopscotch Women’s Centre are hosting an online panel, discussing how policy, culture and colonial power affect relationships. Featuring Jess Phillips MP and Apsana Begum MP and a Q&A with panellists. Sign up here.

Part time Guest Co-ordinator at Touch Project

The Touch Project are looking for a reliable, trustworthy, local person, ideally with a DBS, who would like one hours work on Thursday evenings at the Old Diorama Arts Centre, from 6-7pm each week. This person would ideally be female or non-binary, and would be responsible for room set up and welcoming guests. Please contact Kathy by text on 07932737813 if you would like to apply.

Executive Director at Calthorpe Community Garden
Seeking an impactful, collaborative and proactive Executive Director who holds community and environmental sustainability close to their heart to lead the next phase of implementing Calthorpe’s mission and vision as a Community Garden. This is a permanent, part-time position. Find out more here.
The deadline for applications is Monday 21st February.

Employability Programme for Autistic Adults
Camden Autism Pathways to Employment is a five week programme designed to revolutionise the employment landscape for autistic individuals, equipping them with the tools, knowledge, and confidence needed to pursue their career goals with competence and determination. Participants will receive hands-on guidance in crafting professional CVs and cover letters, ensuring they can effectively showcase their qualifications and skills. The inaugural program is scheduled to commence on 26th February. To find out more click here.

Youth Camden Foundation events and training
There are a series of events and training coming up from YCF over the next few months. Please find information on deaf awareness training, webinars on LGBTQ+ Awareness and getting youth work qualifications, and a forum on working with children and young people. 

February half-term activities for children and young people
Children, young people and their parents / carers can find free and low-cost February 2024 half-term sport, youth, play, creative arts and cultural activities in Camden on Camden Rise website.

Local VCS Newsletters:

Young Camden Foundation (Funding Newsletter)
Young Camden Foundation (Events and Training Newsletter)
AWN (sign up)
Fitzrovia Community Centre
Coram’s Field Community Newsletter (sign up)
CAWH newsletter
St Pancras Community Association (sign up)
Castlehaven in Bloom (sign up)
UCL Volunteering Service Newsletter (sign up)
Latin American House
London Irish Centre (sign up)
Castlehaven Community Association (sign up)
Heath Hands
Age UK Camden (sign up)
Somers Town People’s Museum
Calthorpe Community Garden
Torriano Meeting House
Abbey Community Centre
Brandon Centre

If you would like your Camden VCS newsletter added to this list, please email social@vac.org.uk

Looking for a previous newsletter entry? Find it in our archive here

Find presentations, recordings and resources from past forums here

What would your charity epitaph say?
Highlighted in our news and policy section below is a discussion regarding a new film about the charity sector. In that interview, activist and champion of charitable causes, Dan Pallotta, suggests that a better charity epitaph than “We kept our overheads low”, would be “We changed the world”. In that spirit, we are asking you what you would like your charity epitaph to read? Send your ideas to social@vac.org.uk and we may include some in next week’s newsletter!

Got an item for the e-bulletin?

Send your item to social@vac.org.uk by noon on Wednesday for publication in the following Friday’s edition. Submissions should be 50 – 75 words. Please send plain text or a format that can be copied (ie not embedded in an image). Send links to documents rather than attachments. Make sure to include contact details.

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