Swindon Social Enterprise Network (SSEN) will hold its fourth “networking” event on Wednesday 5th June in Metro Bank, 1 – 4 Regent Street, Swindon, SN1 1JQ. The SSEN will be premiering its latest short movie produced by local social enterprise; Create Studios which focuses on the work of the Swindon Night Shelter and Becky Davison from the organisation will talk about their expansion in recent years.

The event will commence at 4.30pm with an opportunity to mingle with other attendees over tea/coffee/juice and biscuits. At 5pm a formal welcome, introduction to the event and update about the SSEN’s work will be delivered by a member of the steering group.

Becky Davison, who was one of the founders of the Swindon Night Shelter back in 2008, will talk about the work of the charity with the homeless and those in financial need. The organisation has grown rapidly in recent years and it now runs a hostel on a Friday night, the Haven day support centre, a busy warehouse, two “in the community” cafes and their latest venture: The Hub shop & café.

Becky realised some time ago that the charity needed to move towards becoming more financially self-supporting and initially set up two community café’s. The most recent venture: “The Hub”, shop & cafe was set up last year and James Phipps, of the SSEN steering group has been working with Becky to further develop and optimize the business over the past few months.

Becky says; “It’s been a blessing working with James. We now employ a part-time shop and a part-time café manager and alongside all the wonderful volunteers we now make an ongoing profit which makes a significant contribution to the costs of our outreach activities. Our experience has been such that we would encourage any charity to investigate creating a trading income stream”.

The event will finish with a further opportunity to network and informally talk to Becky and members of the SSEN steering group closing at around 6-6.15pm.

Places for the event are free and can be booked here: www.eventbrite.com/e/swindon-social-enterprise-network-meeting-tickets-61684202109

The 2018 Voluntary Action Swindon (VAS) Community Fair will be taking place on Sunday 23rd September from 12 noon-3pm at Sanford House, Sanford Street, Swindon, SN1 1HE.

The theme of the event is homelessness and the aim of this event to promote the services available to people living in Swindon who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness of any kind.

Come along to meet local community and statutory organisations working around homelessness in Swindon, including key charities that provide essential health support services for physical, mental, or emotional well-being. Other organisations providing varied support services will also be present.

This event will be all about bringing the community together to learn about the issues that create homelessness, and to look beyond the stigmas. Service users will also have the opportunity to access support. We will also celebrate the work of charities over the years and the good work that has been done to combat homelessness.

There will be entertainment in on the day provided by a fantastic duet named Sweet Harmony, who will be the performing a range of covers on the day. We would like to encourage all members of the Swindon community to come along and join us to show support to the people that are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

To find out more please contact Jo Roberts at Voluntary Action Swindon on 01793 538398 or by email jo@vas-swindon.org

The latest figures released by Mencap show that there are 1.4 million people in the UK with a learning difficulty. Historically, there has always been a significant gap between the proportion of disabled people in work compared with non-disabled people, yet people with disabilities make great workers. Evidence suggests that employees with a learning disability stay with one employer for a longer time and take less time off work.

The Building Bridges programme is jointly funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery via the Big Lottery Fund. The programme supports people across Swindon and Wiltshire who are facing significant challenges in being able to develop their skills, access education or move towards the world of work.

MP for South Swindon Robert Buckland and Swindon Borough Council have organised an Employment Engagement Event, which will be held in the Sir Daniel Gooch Theatre at STEAM Museum on Friday, 29th June from 10.00am – 12noon.

Robert explained: “Everybody should have the chance to succeed in their chosen career and having a disability should not prevent that, so I have joined forces with Building Bridges programme partner Swindon Borough Council, to encourage more local employers to recruit people with learning difficulties. Swindon and Wiltshire has a wealth of people with valuable skills, abilities and potential who are being overlooked because employers are focusing on the barriers they face rather than the skills and attributes they could bring to the workplace. The Building Bridges programme is working to change this by offering free support to local employers. This includes explorative employment/ work experience discussions, face to face meetings to better understand business requirements, introductions to appropriate candidates, practical support with any agreed reasonable adjustments, HR advice with access to specialist support agencies and support and guidance in becoming certified in employer recognition schemes.”

Cllr Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, said: “The Council’s Supported Employment Team are a part of the Building Bridges programme which supports people across Swindon and Wiltshire who are facing significant challenges in being able to develop their skills, access education or move towards the world of work. We were only too happy to support this event as it provides us with a great opportunity to talk to local employers about the benefits of working with individuals with a disability or long-term health problems. It also gives businesses the chance to develop their future workforce and build a ‘talent pool’ to assist with succession planning. We can offer support to these businesses every step of the way.”

Pluss, a Social Enterprise that supports thousands of people with disabilities each year to find work and achieve a career will also be at the event. Along with Disability Experts, a local community interest company who support people with disabilities and long-term health conditions to live as independently as possible.

If you are a local employer, large or small and you would like to attend this event, please get in touch by emailing robert.buckland.mp@parliament.uk

For more information about the Building Bridges programme in Swindon and Wiltshire visit: www.buildingbridgessw.org.uk

The Preparing for Adulthood Transition Roadshow is a drop in event for parents, carers and professionals who care for young people with additional needs.

Presentations will include:

Time will be available for questions.

Date, time and venue:

Wednesday 20th June
12pm to 6pm
Swindon Borough Council
Civic Offices
Euclid Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH

Limited parking available via Beckhampton Street. Please place a copy of this poster or invitation letter on your dashboard.

Over 30 stallholders, most will be for 18+ with some offering services for 16+.
Full disabled access and facilities available.

Date: Wednesday 15th November 2017

Time: Networking and refreshments 5pm to 6pm – Workshop 6pm to 8pm

Delivered by: James Gare, Partner of Monahans

Cost: £5.00 – food and refreshments

To celebrate Trustee Week 2017, VAS and Involve Swindon have organised this free training session. The training is aimed at general trustees (who want a better understanding of charity accounts) and treasurers, as well as those who are interested in becoming a trustee but would like to find out what the role entails. The training is free but the charge of £5.00 is to cover the cost of food and refreshments for the evening.

About the workshop:

Understanding charity accounts
Statutory charity accounts can be complex at the best of times, but for charities, accounts can be even more complicated. In this workshop, led by James Gare, we will be reading a set of charity accounts together, cutting through the jargon and unravelling the important story that a set of statutory accounts tells you about your organisation.

Charity finance for trustees
If you are a charity trustee or a senior manager and have wondered what you should be doing to govern your organisation’s finances, this part of the course will be very useful. We will be looking at the legal responsibilities of trustees and the circumstances in which they can be held personally liable. We will be examining what makes a good set of management accounts and what you should be looking for when you read them. We will be highlighting areas of significant danger and the tools available to trustees to ensure that things do not go wrong.

Book a Place

Saturday 4th November will see performers get together to help a local charity group. ‘Make Now Different’ is being produced by the MND Association North Wiltshire Group. Their aim is to help raise money to support local people with Motor Neurone Disease as well as raising awareness of the disease. The evening is being spearheaded by Carrie Baxter a volunteer for the group who lost her Gramps to MND in 2015. No stranger to producing charity events Carrie has brought together a variety of performers in memory of her Gramps. When asked why she chose to organise the show Carrie said: “the show will mark 2 years since losing my Gramps to MND, I wanted to do something to celebrate his life. Gramps loved singing (albeit badly!) and dancing and would always come to watch the shows I did when I was younger as well as shows I’ve produced in more recent years. MND is a cruel disease and I want to be able to help support those with MND as well as their families and friends. I want to help make now different for them.”

The North Wiltshire Group is run entirely by volunteers and aims to provide the best possible support to local people with MND, their families and carers. Originally formed in 1988, the group is formed of 14 volunteers but is always open for more. The group objectives are to support people affected by MND in the Swindon and North Wiltshire area, to raise awareness of MND and the MND Association and to fundraise locally. ‘Make Now Different’ will encompass these objectives whilst providing an evening of entertainment. The MND Association North Wiltshire Group said: “this is a joyful way to support local people affected by MND, and we are thrilled that so many performers are excited to share their voices and talents with us”
Performing in ‘Make Now Different’ are local singing groups The Songbirds and The Noteables, two groups that regularly help raise money for charities whilst having fun singing. The Noteables are from all walks of life and some not only have or have had very personal dealings with Motor Neurone Disease. Some of the group work in the healthcare system and have seen from the outside how this devastating disease effects quality of life with progressive, often unpredictable life changing symptoms. Mini Pops from Local performing arts group Julie Scott’s Academy will also be performing on the evening having only been together a few months. Their youngest group member is just 5 years old.

‘Make Now Different’ will be hosted by performer Ben Vivian Jones who most recently finished a UK tour of ‘All-Male Mikado’ and is no stranger to hosting charity performances. Guest performers joining the groups for the evening are Hywel Dowsell and Rebecca Gilliland. Hywel Dowsell is joining the line-up having recently performed in ‘Honeymoon In Vegas’, ‘My Land’s Shore’ and previously as a guest soloist with The Soldiers in the BBC’s The Festival of Remembrance. When he can Hywel enjoys doing his bit for charities including this one which is very close to his heart. Rebecca Gilliland has recently performed in ‘The Hired Man’ at The Union theatre following a successful run in ‘My Land’s Shore’ as Angharad in the World Premier in early 2017.

Join the Motor Neurone Disease Association North Wiltshire Group for this fun filled evening of entertainment so you too can help ‘Make Now Different’ for local people with MND. Tickets can be booked online at www.swindontheatres.co.uk, over the phone with the ticket office team 01793 524481 or in person at Wyvern Theatre ticket office.

Voluntary Action Swindon’s 2017 Annual General Meeting will take place on 21st September, commencing at 1:30 pm, with registration, a buffet lunch and networking opportunity from 12:30 pm. The meeting will be held at Voluntary Action Swindon, 1 John Street, Swindon, SN1 1RT.

Please let us know if you are planning to attend by emailing us at info@vas-swindon.org or calling us on 01793 538 398. Please also let us know if you have any special dietary requirements for the buffet lunch.

1. Registration, Buffet & Networking 12:30
2. Welcome by Tim Ward, Chair of Trustees 1:30
3. Guest cialis online no prior prescription Speaker: Nicola Johnson (Development Worker, Swindon City of Sanctuary) 1:40
4. Minutes of AGM 2016 2:00
5. Annual Report of Trustees 2:15
6. Presentation of Accounts and Auditors Report 2:30
7. Appointment of Auditors – Reeves & Co, Argyle Commercial Centre, Argyle Street, Swindon, SN2 8AR 2:45
8. Election of Trustees 3:00
9. End of AGM 3:30

Improve the digital presence of your business or charity and the digital skills of your colleagues at a free half day workshop delivered by Lloyds
Bank and Google. There are limited spaces in each workshop, so please register in advance for your preferred event to avoid disappointment.

If you have any questions cheap cialis please contact: EllenTurner@Halifax.co.uk

Date & Time: Tuesday 25 July 2017, 9.30am – 1.45pm

Venue: University Technology College, Bristol Street, Swindon, SN1 5ET


9.30am – Registration and welcome
10.15am – Tell your story online
11.30am – Keep your organisation safe online
12.00 – The truth about social media
12.45pm – Event close and networking


Community & Voluntary groups in Swindon are invited to hold a stall at this year’s Community Fair, which will be held on Saturday 15th July from 11am-3pm at the Secret Garden in Queen’s Park.

The theme for the fair is ‘Wellbeing’ and we are seeking groups that fit into one or more of the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’, which are – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

More information on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing can be found below. If you are interested in holding a stall please contact Hannah Parry as soon as possible, but no later than Friday 26th May, by emailing hannah@vas-swindon.org or telephoning 01793 538398.

Evidence suggests that a small improvement in wellbeing can help to decrease some mental health problems and also help people to flourish. The ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ were produced by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and sets out 5 actions to improve personal wellbeing. These are:

Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be active
Go for a walk or run. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a sense of physical activity you enjoy and one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take notice
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep learning
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

If you feel your work fits into one or more of these areas and you would like to let local residents know about your group and the support you provide, please get in touch!

The forthcoming Swindon Dragon Boat Race will take place on Sunday 25th June 2017 at Coate Water Country Park, Marlborough Road, Swindon.

The event is organised by the Rotary Club of Swindon Phoenix and this will be the fifth year it has taken place. Each year the event has grown larger and this year they are hoping to make it even bigger with more teams entering. In order for this to happen they are encouraging businesses, sports groups and local charites to put a team together and use the event either as a team building exercise, or more importantly, for those individuals taking part to get sponsors in order to raise money for the local charities within the Swindon area. Once a team signs up to take part, the Rotary Club of Swindon Phoenix will set up a JustGiving page for the members of the team to collect sponsorship.

The whole day is a great family and community event for Swindon, with many varied stalls to view on site, including charity stalls. Wilson Butchers from Old Town will be there. There will also be rides for the children, a main food stand and beer tent, and the normal attractions Coate Water park has to offer.

The Team Information pack for this year’s event can be found here and includes additional information for an article. The Committee have revised the Team entry requirements for this year’s event, which is now reduced to a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 in a Team, which will hopefully encourage more entrants. The event is very competitive but it is always a real fun day for all those who participate in the rowing.

If you are a charity or business and would like to book a stall at this year’s event, then please contact Chris Sims through www.swindondragonboat.org.uk