Voluntary Action Camden

16th December Voluntary Action Camden Forum: Why Neighbourhoods Matter

Participants list for this session here

Aim: To look at the purpose of the neighbourhoods agenda and build the knowledge of the VCS

Powerpoint 1 VAC Forum Powerpoint
Powerpoint 2  Community Connectedness
Powerpoint 3 Camden ICP Presentation
Powerpoint 4 Social Care Neighbourhoods

Useful Links :

NHS Strategy – Integrating care: Next steps to building strong and effective integrated care systems across England
LB Camden ASC Strategy: Supporting people, connecting communities
Notes of the VCS Partners Meeting Neighbourhoods discussion
Kingsfund Guide to Integrated Care Systems

3 questions made during a break out room discussion:

Q1. What are the opportunities for health/social care/VCS to connect people with activities/services?

Brendan – CDA – Focus a lot on people who are already unwell. Prevention is a big part and many people are going about their normal lives so are not linked up with health/care/VCS orgs

Lots of people who do not know about VCS orgs or are not confident about using a VCS organisation. This can be a barrier.

Maddie – Question the Winch are asking!! Who are the first person they go to when they need help? Not health and care organisations (or VCS), but relatives. How do we changes this mindset?

Beneficiaries can become attached to one organisation rather than going to new support organisations. Often VCS have to help people make those connections. Can there be greater collaboration.

Camden is a big borough. Can be a challenge to understand the lay of the land.

People have their definition of where they belong and do not know what we mean by neighbourhoods or community.

Person-Centeredness – Often the first part, about engaging with someone about what they want for their health and care/support. But it does not always get carried through or the system does not manage a person’s expectation about what is actually possible.

VCS spend a lot of time with people and have a lot time to understand what people are saying and want. This can be lost when people are having short/one-off conversations with other colleagues (health and social care).

VCS engagement with this agenda is likely to be at neighbourhood level and practical. ‘Who do I talk to?’ e.g. having key contacts in e.g. social care, health etc would be of useful.

Communications are key: favoured central channels which can be cascaded.
Mentioned Greenwich CCG setting up a what’s app broadcast group for messages to be shared.
Other suggestions were a periodic newsletter
Larger organisations are key to helping share information with smaller organisations.
Can’t forget the voice of the resident
Need engagement at PCN level.
Focus on real people, they don’t understand how this fits together – how can we better facilitate this? People need to develop the priorities, both neighbourhood and strategic.
Developing peer support
Remember to include everyone in engagement including young people.
Commissioning at a local level need to ensure this happens through ICS/ICP.
How can help people move between opportunities, accepting DBS checks done by other organisations.
Opportunities to engage more because on Zoom etc. Although mindful of digital divide.
Shared training, DBS checks, help people with setting projects up (templates, documents etc).
How do we include people who are not placed based: students, homeless, people who move frequently. Opportunities for virtual groups.

Q2. Other things VCS should do to engage with this agenda? – Council routes? NHS routes?

What is the expectation on VCS organisations to get them together and engage. Lots of VCS organisations do not have the funding/resources to bring people together. This can mean that those that do have resource are the organisations that have their voices heard.

No Disabled persons organisations, community centres, young people’s voices on ICP.

Voluntary organisations have a lot of knowledge and valuable information to be fed into the strategy

Commissioning doesn’t currently fit a sa way of resourcing VCS support – not straightforward service / activity delivery, lots of additional aspects. More holistic / lifestyle change culture. Commissioners need to understand VCS offer and value.

Comes down to communication again. Perhaps a separate newsletter.
Sharing models of good practice.
Need to be mindful of targeting engagement – numerous interdependencies in ICP, want to join up on approaches to VCS and residents so less impact on time.
Issues around co-production. Can’t be just a tick box exercise.
How does NCL work together – models of care/examples of what worked – build on this best practice.
Importance of trust.
Mapping what VCS offer including knowledge, skills and training. Capturing these skills. City and Hackney paper? Example of how this has been done.
Who is responsible for integrating and co-ordinating this work? Communicating that the Terms of Reference for the Health and Wellbeing has changed. How are voluntary representatives chosen? Who is accountable and how do they work with everyone?

Q3. Things that VAC could do to help that engagement?

Kate – Do organisations know who each other are?

Can VAC do more to provide a way to inform VCS organisations of each other and their offer.

Joint directories of service

Maybe most important aspect is how VAC facilitate the capturing of residents voices, who are, ultimately the beneficiary of the services and support.

VAC needs more support from statutory bodies, council CCG in representing the sector.

Data – better sharing, funding it, structuring it and telling the stories around it. VAC could hold a session on this and share experience e.g. what works to engage and influence in this environment.
Messages need to be practical, simple, welcoming, transparent, inclusive. Role for VAC in this.
Understanding that these things will mean different things to do different people.
Using other partners when VAC can’t attend meetings.

18th November Voluntary Action Camden Forum: Overcoming Digital Divide

Participant list for this session here

For this months forum we looked into overcoming the digital divide. We know many have be working to help residents to get online and use technology, overall we found that the main issue is access to broadband.

Resources and information mentioned in the workshop:

West Euston Partnership newletter can be accessed here: https://www.westeustonpartnership.org/about-us-2/newsletters/

Anyone wanting to explore online community courses (arts, crafts, exercise, digital skills, employability) with WMC, please get in touch: patriciat@wmcollege.ac.uk
WMC courses currently running (face to face – covid secure: https://www.wmcollege.ac.uk/courses/computing-and-digital-skills/1018

Restart Project can possibly help with repairing tablets: https://therestartproject.org

The resource pack ABC and NLC put together can be found alongside other info on the work our partners are doing on the digital divide http://www.ageingbetterincamden.org.uk/bridging-the-digital-divide

https://abilitynet.org.uk/ – Providing Free Online Tech Support and IT Courses;
https://wavelength.org.uk/what-we-do/ – WaveLength gives media technology to lonely people living in poverty.
https://www.onlinecentresnetwork.org/projects/DevicesDotNow – Everyone Connected (formerly DevicesDotNow) is a project aiming to improve people’s quality of life that has been made harder during the Covid-19 pandemic through lack of access to digital technology and skills training.

Adult Community Learning which can help with digital skills: https://www.camden.gov.uk/about-adult-community-learning

Unity Works – We are still helping people with learning disabilities to get connected and learn skills (face to face) to access zoom and WhatsApp. We also have a full weekly zoom timetable for people with LD to access. Broadband access has been a big challenge or helping people to connect to public wifi/understanding what is safe, inputting passwords etc

Winch – Tablets and phones were provide to some of our service users – Opened courses with parents for children under 5 and/or new parents. Learnt that people are craving face to face but making sure its all Covid Secure. Children and Young people had problems with getting online access where we tried to assist.

CDA – Funding has been provided for technology support. Service not launched just yet, looking at the service design and possible collaborations with other groups. Looked into some face to face opportunities to assist/coached with tech at the greenwood centre (covid safe). Also for laptops and assisted technology depending on needs. Possibly also having a kind of cafe so people can meet in person and online to be assisted on using technology.

21st October The Future of Food Projects in Camden

Powerpoint Presentation

Resources and information mention in the workshop:

Email – Michele.debroglio@coop.co.uk for info about coop foodshare scheme and co-op stores’ community donations.
Email – will@timetospare.com – if you have any questions re Time to Spare
Camden Covid information page – https://www.camden.gov.uk/covid-19 
Brilliant work done by “Lifeafterhummus”

Participant list for this session here

23rd September Re-opening Community Buildings with Locality – Follow-up Workshop

Re-opening Community Buildings with Locality

A Follow-up workshop with Locality

Powerpoint Presentation

Resources and information mention in the workshop:

Details on where QR codes are mandatory https://www.gov.uk/government/news/venues-required-to-enforce-rule-of-6-nhs-qr-code-posters-and-contact-logs

QR Poster – https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster 

For contact tracing: For visitors who don’t use the QR code you can use Time to Spare (www.timetospare.com) to log their details. Time to Spare is free for charities and can be used for a variety of purposes, including tracking monitoring and evaluation data for your activities. We can put you in touch with them if you would like (vcs@camden.gov.uk)

Signage: A reminder you can also find signs to print off here, along with sample risk assessments: https://www.camden.gov.uk/support-for-community-organisations#fsmp

Summary list of issues/tensions raised: 

  1. Balancing different users- those that want to stay safe vrs those that think it is all too draconian/a conspiracy
  2. Verify mask not wearing exemptions – many saying the have asthma as a get out (but lying!)
  3. Engaging / liaising with users about re-opening or changing rules within space – some good practice on this that has helped
  4. Multi-function spaces – which rules / indoor vrs outdoor – confusion when delivering wide range of diff uses and interpreting diff guidance
  5. Health vrs community wellbeing – some vulnerable groups so isolated that bringing them into space (and risk) might be worth it
  6. Financial concerns about staying afloat – affecting decisions about opening – e.g. letting churches hire space when they know it is probably flouting rules
  7. Support Group vrs Social Group – how to distinguish (latter not permitted)
  8. Charitable activity? (Does this relate to org delivering or not)
  9. Learning from what’s working online
  10. Access to digital important – people don’t have the IT to speak to family etc
  11. Duty of care to those leaving premises together – groups congregating outside after sessions
  12. Front of building checks – balance welcome and compliance – difficulty with track and trace for some vulnerable groups (homeless)

NB Further #BuildBackBetter resources here.

29th July: Sustainable Food Supply


Claire Pritchard, CEO Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency and Chair of the London Food Board.

Alicja Bjorn, Pioneer Member for the Cooperative Society and Researcher.

Farrar Rainfly, Founding Director, Lifeafterhummus Community Benefit Society


Claire Pritchard recommended Sustainable Food Places website as a platform for the work in Camden.

Farrar shared Lifeafterhummus’ Emergency Response Data Impact Covid-19 report.

Alija shared that enquiries about grant funding should go to rosalind.stevens@coopmembers.co.uk who will be covering Kentish Town now.
Information for signing up to the Coop’s Food Share surplus collection can be found here https://www.coop.co.uk/environment/food-share

Philip Vaughan at Camden Council is the link person at the Council.  phillip.vaughan@camden.gov.uk  Currently Camden are undertaking a survey of food providers, food banks etc.

Laura Murphy  –  contact for Unity Works would be either myself laura.murphy@unityworks.org.uk or Claire.Hilton@unityworks.org.uk We have a full kitchen and staff team available for helping with bulk food prep (Greenwood Centre) or we can also help with ordering wholesale food orders. Really keen to collaborate. Working already with Felix Project. Unity Works also has the Mill Lane Garden Centre in West Hampstead again with training places for people with learning disabilities.


15th July: BAME Organisations and Funding


Nicholas Timms, The National Lottery Community Fund.  Presentation

Susie Dye, Trust for London.  Video

Suneer Fida .  All Ways Network


All Ways Network

All Ways Network (AWN) will be working hard to ensure that we signpost you to relevant organisations and news related to the sector. Visit the AWN website for full details of the support available.

Ubele Fundraising Support for BAME Organisations

Every Thursday at 3:30pm Ubele host fundraising webinars on a variety grant funds that are available with techniques on writing better applications. These webinars are free of charge and the presentations/resources are uploaded on our website.
Registration for Fundraising Webinars here.

Treads Radio produced a show in 2020 all about funding for refugee organisations.

#BuildBackBetter – Re-opening Community Buildings & Planning for the Future Resources

Planning for the Future Resources #BuildBackBetter

A Workshop with Locality

The Poll

Resources Mentioned in the workshop:

Risk assessment specifically for the VCS from Camden Council

Camden and Islington Public Health guide to Test and Trace and latest update and poster to diplay.

Camden and Islington Public Health guide to opening public buildings.    NOTE – Latest Version Here

HSE: What to include in your COVID-19 risk assessment

COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic

Locality re-opening guidance and more resources on the Locality website

Planning for the Future #BuildBackBetter Resources

Risk Assessments:

  1. Examples from risk assessment templates used by Camden Council for its own premises and activities:
  2. Example_Library Reopening_Library recovery toolkit
  3. Example_Parish Risk Assessment Template

Signs – examples used by Camden Council:

  1. Summary of All Signs

NB Further resources from the 23 Sept Update workshop here.

1st July: The Disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the BAME Community & Health Inequalities

The Voluntary Action Forum, on Wednesday 1st July focussed on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the BAME Community & Health Inequalities.  The council shared the work that they have done on the issue and was followed by questions and discussion and next steps.

Presentation here

Notes of the meeting here

Public Health England  report Disparities in the risks and outcomes of COVID-19

Council Working Group: Interim and Final report

The council has published an interim report, exploring how disproportionality is affecting residents locally and outlines six key topics that will be examined to better understand the issues Black, Asian and minority ethnic residents are facing whilst developing actions to protect those in need. Further details and the link to download the report can be found on the Council website.

The final report will be published at the end of July.

Message from Community Partners Team Re: Communications working group

Promotion and invites

The Council sent open invitations to participate in the communications working group in June via the following methods and networks:

  • All organisations registered on the Voluntary Action Camden One Directory of Community Groups & Charities which list their beneficiaries as BAME.
  • Please check your organisation’s entry to ensure it is up to date. You should have recently received an email reminder to update your records. If you haven’t received this please contact alexcharles@vac.org.uk
  • The Council’s Community Partnership VCS mailing list (approximately 400 subscribers from the VCS)
  • Organisations that are funded via the Community Partnership Team and are BAME led or work with BAME communities

VCS attendees

  • Please see page 4 of the attached meeting notes for VCS and faith organisations that attended first meeting or expressed an interest in being involved
  • If you would like to find out more about being involved in this work, please email cohesionandequalities@camden.gov.uk

Next meeting

Future Forum and VCS meetings

Funding for BAME organisations

The next VAC forum on 15th July will focus on funding for BAME organisations in Camden. Speakers will include Nicholas Timms from the National Lottery Community Fund and Susie Dye from Trust for London.  We will also be getting updates from Ubele and All Ways Network.   Full details and booking here.

Sign up to the VAC newsletter for details of future meetings.

17th June: Planning for the Future – Build Back Better

Planning for the Future #BuildBackBetter

3rd June: Financial Impacts on the VCS Survey

This forum focused on the financial impacts of the virus on the sector. Alex Charles from VAC presented the findings of VAC’s recent survey to the sector and the groups broke into breakout rooms on Zoom for a follow-up discussion.



Future topics include:

Wed 1 July 11am Disporportionate Impact of Covid-19 on BAME Communities

Wed 15 July Sustainability or new ways of working??

WEd 29 July Space and place – the role of buildings, offices and meeting spaces in the future??