Birmingham Voluntary Services Council


BVSC (Birmingham Voluntary Services Council)  is one of the largest voluntary sector support organisations in the UK, which works to:-

  • Provide people with opportunities to make a positive difference to their communities
  • Provide voluntary and community organisations with the resources to help them achieve their goals
  • Champion the voluntary sector as an influential force for positive change.

From the BVSC HQ in Digbeth the following services are provided: Click the links to find out more.

Resource Centre – ‘First stop shop’ for new volunteers and voluntary and community groups.

Sector Development – Advice, support and resources for organisations

Policy and Communications – Information and communication services to the third sector and public sector partners

Volunteer Centre Birmingham – Citywide volunteering opportunities for individuals; placement service for organisations

Corporate services – Back office services: Payroll Bureau, Accountancy and HR Advice

Conferences – Extensive facilities for meetings, events and conferences with special rates for the voluntary sector.

Arts for Change – Gallery exhibiting work with a social message

Further details are available on the website :-

Click for:- BVSC Membership Leaflet

Click to read:-  BVSC- Code of Conduct for Trustees

Click for:-BVSC Annual Report and Audited Accounts for the Year Ending March 2009

Click to see:-  BVSC Strategic Plan



Public Service Funding Cuts
Many of us are in the process of dealing with recent decisions around public service funding cuts.  You may find the  information in the attached communication from Brian Carr, Chief Executive of BVSC, useful:-BVSC-PbicSrvcFndngCuts-10-7

BVSCRead the Latest BVSC News.  Click links for further information:-

NAVCA DH SP Survey draft 8

NAVCA Topic guide SPP

Birmingham CompactLatest edition incorporating amendments:-pdf-Plain English-Consultation_all_responses-Refresh_of_BIRMINGHAMCOMPACT2010

Digital Switchover – BBC Seeking Help to inform hard-to-reach groupsDigital Switchover-help neededImpact of Department for Communities and Local Government Public Spending Cuts

Following the announcement of the £6.2 billion public spending cuts announced by the Chancellor on 24th May, it has been identified that the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) will be cut by £1.166billion.

CLG have announced in detail where the cuts would fall; the announcement can be found here:

There are significant cuts to a number of programmes that will impact on third sector organisations either directly or indirectly, including Area Based Grants programmes such as Supporting People, Working Neighbourhoods Fund and Cohesion funding.

CLG have also produced details of grant reductions to individual local authorities.

SHARED CARE NETWORK:  Shared Care Network, founded by short break scheme organisers who felt a need for a co-ordinating national body to share information and promote good practice, represents around 180 services UKwide providing short break services to support disabled children and their families.For more: 2 further papers on Health & Social Care development:-

1. Progress on Personalisation


Read the Endorsement of the Birmingham Compact:-


Big Society News:-Read the latest documents:-




Comprehensive Spending Review – Read about the effects on the voluntary sector:-



Birmingham LINk (Local Involvement Network)

The Birmingham LINk was established to replace the Commission for Patient & Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) and Patient & Public Involvement Forums (PPIFs).

Click BIRMINGHAM LINk to read the purpose, vision, mission and values of the Birmingham LINk. The full strategy will be posted when it has been agreed with the Core Group.

The overall management of Birmingham LINk is the responsibility of the Core Group.  Click Birmingham LINk Core Group Members

(updated 04.12.2009) to see the list of Core Group members

Read the annual report on the website of Birmingham LINK by clicking:-


2. Plans to establish Healthwatch to replace LINk



Birmingham Health and Well being Summit

The Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Summit occurs quarterly and includes statutory organisations and 3rd sector organisations involved in health and social care.

Health and Employment

Respond to the consultation on Birmingham’s Health and Wellbering Strategy:-


See the Summit presentations, click  BHWP-EmplymntSmt-10-7

Fair Society, Healthy Lives (Marmot Review)This report explores the link between socioeconomic status and health and recommends a number of policy changes to reduce inequalities in health.  Click:- FairSocietyHealthyLives

To read the October 2009 report click Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Summit October 2009, which includes information on Health Inequalities; JSNA (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment; Joint Commissioning;  Personalisation; Be Birmingham Partnership; and Core Cities.

The latest summit was held on 14th January 2010 at which the following topics were covered:-

These reports cane be read by clicking :-

Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Summit


VCS Matters

VCS Matters is the 3rd Sector Assembly network with responsibility for children’s and young people’s services.

VCS MattersRead the Latest VCS Matters News (Children’s Services).  Click links for further information:-

VCS Matters-enews-10-9-2

VCS Matters-enews-10-9-3




Safeguarding Procedures and Vetting Arrangements

VCS Matters has been asked by Birmingham City Council to make you aware that arrangements for safeguarding have been revised following the release of the ‘Working Together 2010’ requirements. It is important to ensure that your organisation, staff and volunteers are reminded of the impact of safeguarding guidance and procedure requirements alongside the organisation’s vetting arrangements. This will enable individuals to promote and respond to safeguarding procedures accordingly.

To support this process, please find links to information as follows:

Follow this link to access the revised Working Together procedures (‘Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’):

Follow this link to access Birmingham Safeguarding Children’s Board (BSCB) procedures:

Follow this link to access the introduction section of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Procedures:

Follow this link for the steps needed and what you should do if there is a risk:

Please be mindful of the requirements in the procedures for reporting safeguarding concerns and also that these procedures are updated periodically so you need to check every so often to ensure you are linking to the latest versions.


Outcomes are a key concept both in Every Child Matters and in the planning for outcomes process in Birmingham.  What difference will an activity or service make to children and young people?  What will be achieved and what evidence is there that it has been achieved?

In September/October 2007 and in March 2008 VCS Matters ran a series of seminars on ‘Outcomes’.  The key presentations by Liz Hoggarth, Hilary Comfort and Andy Bulman from DeMontfort University Youth Affairs Unit are below.

What difference does it make? – Free handbook available

There has been a sea change in the planning of public services, especially those for children and young people. Voluntary organisations used to be asked by their funders for outputs such as attendance figures or the number of sessions delivered. Now project managers are being asked for evidence of the outcomes of their work, to demonstrate that it ‘makes a difference’.

Planning and commissioning processes are replacing traditional grant regimes. Commissioners are funding services that they believe will contribute to the changes they want to see achieved, to outcomes for a city or district or for a particular group of people. They want to fund effective projects and to see the evidence that they can achieve change for their users.

This turnaround has happened in Britain over a five to ten year period. Only over the last year or two has the trend started to filter down to local projects. A new handbook on evaluating outcomes has now been published, with the title ‘What difference does it make?’ It is intended as a resource for workers delivering services at community level to help them respond to these demands for evidence of outcomes. The handbook was written by Liz Hoggarth and Hilary Comfort of the Youth Affairs Unit at De Montfort University, Leicester, commissioned by Birmingham Children’s Fund, with printing and distribution by VCS Matters with permission from Birmingham City Council. The book is based on practical experience with the projects funded by the Birmingham Children’s Fund in the last few years of its life.

This free publication provides an account of approaches to outcome-led evaluation for small and medium sized agencies working directly with children and young people and enters the debate about what is feasible and proper evidence for small projects to produce. It is deliberately geared for people who may not have had any previous experience or training in evaluation and it offers case examples and good practice from Birmingham projects and activities you can try yourself to apply the thinking to your own situation.

You can pick up your free copy of ‘What difference does it make?’ from BVSC – The Centre for Voluntary Action at 138 Digbeth or send your full postal address to

LSC FUNDING CHANGES: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has been replaced by the Young People‘s Learning Agency (YPLA) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) from April 2010. The transition marks a key change in the way funding is channelled into learning and skills and separates 0-19 and post-19 provision.For more:

YOUNG PERSON’S VOLUNTEERING FUND: SITA Trust has launched a new fund to support volunteering opportunities for young people aged 14-25 to volunteer their time to create or enhance facilities that can be enjoyed by the wider community. For more:

‘What difference does it make?’:

A very useful handbook on evaluating outcomes is available from VCS Matters.  ‘What difference does it make?’ is intended as a resource for workers delivering services at community level to help them respond to the demands for evidence of outcomes.  Please use it to give to your contacts and take copies along to meetings.  We can also provide bulk copies for distribution at events you organise or attend.

The handbook gives an account of approaches to outcome-led evaluation for small and medium sized agencies working with children and young people and other voluntary & community sector organisations.  It provides information on what is feasible and proper evidence for small projects to produce and is deliberately geared for people who may not have had any previous experience or training.

The handbook is based on practical experience with the projects funded by the Birmingham Children’s Fund.  It was written by Liz Hoggarth & Hilary Comfort of the Youth Affairs Unit at De Montfort University, Leicester; commissioned by Birmingham Children’s Fund, and printed and distributed by VCS Matters with permission from Birmingham City Council.

Pick up your free copies of ‘What difference does it make?’ from BVSC Reception at 138 Digbeth or email
Further information can be found at:

Vetting and Barring Procedure

The first stage of implementation of the Government’s new vetting and barring scheme for children came into operation in October 2009. For further details and website links click:- Governments Vetting and Barring Scheme


VCS Matters issue a regular e-news. To view the latest one click  It covers the following topics:-

PLAY IN THE WEST MIDLANDS: The Play England – West Midlands team publishes ‘Play in the West Midlands’ with news and information about play in the region. 

For more: _2007525130m

  • Be Heard consultation database
  • Faiths in Action
  • New version of children’s workforce development funding guide
  • New online Money Survival Kit
  • Information on apprenticeships
  • Together we are louder

  • Faiths for Fun

    The Faiths for Fun event for children aged 8-11  years, has now been held for 2 years. It was organised jointly by Birmingham Council of Faiths, Birmingham Scout Association and VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) Active Communities Programme and in 2008, the Global Exchange Volunteers. It was held at Hamstead Hall Community Learning Centre, Handsworth Wood. To read the  November 2008 report click:-Faiths for Fun Report 2008

    The Annual Review of VSO, in which the Faiths for Fun event is mentioned, can be accessed by clicking

    The video of the 2008 event can be viewed at:-

    Photos of the 2008 event click:

    To read the  October 2009 report click:-Faiths for Fun Report 2009

    To see the poster advertising the 2009 event click:- Faiths for Fun Poster 2009

    Funding Opportunities

    BBC Children in Need – Small Grants

    Funding of up to £10,000 a year for three years available to organisations working with young people.

    Children in Need is offering small grants of up to £10,000 a year for three years for third sector organisations working with children and young people.

    The scheme is designed to reach organisations that have not previously considered applying for Children in Need funding.

    Any not-for-profit organisation working with children and young people under the age of 18 can apply, with some exclusions such as projects carrying out medical research or promoting religion.

    The total amount of funding available for the small grants programme would depend on the quality of applications, but funding for the small and large grants programmes together would exceed £38m in 2010.

    Funding will be allocated at local level through seven regional UK bases in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    For more information please visit the website: if you have any questions please contact , email or contact their Helpdesk Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm on 020 8576 7788 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              020 8576 7788      end_of_the_skype_highlighting


    BIRMINGHAM COMMUNITY FOUNDATION GRASSROOTS GRANTS: The Birmingham Community Foundation is urging small community and volunteer led groups across Birmingham to apply for funding of between £750 and £5,000. The BCF has £750,000 to distribute to groups who have a turnover less than £30,000 a year and can demonstrate that their project can bring benefit to the local community. Examples of what can be funded include the purchase of equipment, the costs of putting on a local event or workshop, contribution to rent costs, the cost of attending a conference or event, training for volunteers, additional activities to expand an existing funded project and activities that meet an identified need in the local community.

    For more:

    This powerpoint presentation gives brief information about the Birmingham Foundation. This organisation provides information and advice for 3rd sector organisations on possible sources of funding. To view the powerpoint click:- Birmingham FoundationTo access the Birmingham Foundation website click:-

    Birmingham Community Foundation are keen to receive applications from voluntary/community organisations that are able to demonstrate that their project will build their capacity and bring benefit to the local community and in doing so meet at least one of the criteria listed below:

    > Encourage community responsibility
    > Develop community capacity
    > Are unable to access other forms of funding
    > Does not duplicate other work being done within the area

    Who can apply?> A not-for-profit, third sector voluntary or community group, active in their local community for not less than 12 months.
    > Have evidence of income less than £30,000 per annum, taken as an average turnover for the last three financial years (or over the life of the group if it is less than three years old), and net of any grants received through the Grassroots Grants programme
    > Be volunteer led (i.e. with largely volunteer based input)
    > Be connected with and/or meeting the needs of the local community
    > Have a governing document that has as a minimum: the name, aim/purpose, objects, a dissolution clause for the organisation, a list of Trustees/Committee members, and Trustees/Committee member signatures.

    Examples of what can be funded are:

    > The purchase of equipment,
    > The costs of putting on a local event or workshop
    > Staff costs to enable the employment of individuals, contribution to rent costs (related to activities/service delivery)
    > The cost of attending a conference or event, training for volunteers
    > Additional activities to expand an existing funded project
    > Activities that meet an identified need in the local community, funding to support an organisation to achieve a quality or other standard, relevant to their activities.

    These are just examples and we expect that Grassroots Grants will be led by the needs of local groups and organisations, and local people.

    Birmingham Community Foundation are currently unable to provide funding for:

    > Projects operating outside the Birmingham, Dudley and Walsall areas
    > Donations towards general appeals or for applications from large national charities
    > Individuals, for whatever purpose
    > Organisations and individuals in the promotion of political or purely religious ideology – although some Faith group activities can be supported

    When Birmingham Community Foundation receive your application they will:

    > Send you an acknowledgement of receipt
    > Review your application to see if it meets the criteria of any of our administered funds
    > Contact you if we require further information
    > Notify you of the outcome of your application within 2-4 weeks of a FULLY completed Application Form.

    For further information regarding Grassroots Grants for Birmingham, Dudley and Walsall please go to or contact:

    The Compact: Useful Guidance

    Approaching a new financial year? Use your Compact!

    With the end of the current financial year fast approaching voluntary and community organisations will be keeping a close eye on funding arrangements that they have with public bodies for 2010/11 and beyond.

    This time of year is always crucial for organisations – finding out what grant money is available, entering into contract negotiations, and planning the future work of the organisation can be a stressful and tense time.

    Please find attached a useful two page document which provides three scenarios that organisations have already experienced and come to us with, identifying the relevant Compact principles and suggest some action that you can take should they arise. Click:-



    Big Society BankCabinet Office releases plans for select committee on sector and Big Society Bank. Plans for a new parliamentary select committee covering the voluntary sector and a timetable for the establishment of a Big Society Bank have been unveiled by the Cabinet Office.

    The department yesterday published its structural reform plan, which lays out a number of goals for supporting third sector organisations, including inviting Parliament to create a select committee for civil society, which is expected to be in place by November, subject to parliamentary approval.

    It also says the planned Big Society Bank, which will provide capital for third sector organisations using money from dormant bank accounts, will start giving out funds by April.
    The plan promises that a fund to help set up new community groups, announced by Cabinet secretary Francis Maude last week, will be available by the end of the year.

    Other promises include a taskforce to investigate and reduce regulatory burdens on charities – mentioned in Parliament last week –  and an examination of incentives to encourage social investment.

    The date for an annual day to celebrate the work of the voluntary sector will also be announced by September, the plan says.