A number of local providers working to support mental health and financial hardship have come together to highlight the range of support on offer to everyone facing redundancy across the town.

Time to Change Swindon, who have been operational as a partnership for 18 months are now urging business leaders to promote local services to all their staff effected by organisational change and uncertainty.

The campaign video, which airs on social media on World Mental Health Day, showcases 4 business leaders across the town who support the campaign messages, signposting to a centralised website, which lists all free or low costs services available to residents of Swindon.

Time to Change Swindon also wants the friends and family members of those facing redundancy to promote the website in hope that their loved one will seek support early into a redundancy process.

Pam Webb, CEO of voluntary Action Swindon says “The Time to Change Swindon partnership brings together a range of organisations focussed on providing the best possible advice and support to local people in these unprecedented times – I would recommend everyone to find the one and half minutes to watch this short video as it’s likely we or a family member will all know somebody that will find it helpful and might just prompt them to take the first step to seek help and advice that they didn’t know was available”

Claire Newport, CEO of Citizens Advice in Swindon says “We have helped people with a huge range of issues since lockdown, but we know that as the furlough scheme draws to an end, lots of people may be feeling worried and need advice. We are here to help and can offer advice to anyone about their money worries, employment rights and benefits entitlement. The worry of redundancy and financial insecurity can be overwhelming, but you do not have to face this alone. We would urge anyone who is unsure or struggling with these issues or their mental and emotional wellbeing to take the first step to get help as soon possible”

Swindon Borough Councillor Ford says “I really comment this initiative, many people are experiencing unexpected situations or new emotional worries as a result of COVID-19 and may not be used to seeking help – this initiatives reminds us all that it’s OK to need help sometimes”

Time to Change Swindon, which is a community run initiative have opted to use the Swindon Borough Council website as it has a broad range of services on offer, but people should contact the services listed directly for more information.

Media contacts:
Charlie Paradise – Swindon Borough Council Mental Health Champion – 07584 151307 – CParadise@swindon.gov.uk
Pam Webb – CEO, Voluntary Action Swindon 07717 874880 – pam@vas-swindon.org
Claire Newport – CEO Citizens Advice Swindon 01793 402103 – chiefofficer@swindon.cabnet.org.uk

Responsible to: Funding and Governance Manager
Salary: £4.15 per hour
Hours 35 hours per week

Purpose of the post
To complete the apprenticeship training programme by:

Key Accountabilities
To complete the full range of administration tasks associated with the day to day running the VAS office (under supervision) by:

The list is typical of the level of duties which the post holder is expected to perform or be responsible for. It is not necessarily exhaustive and other duties of a similar type and level may be expected from time to time.
Person Specification
This Person Specification lists the essential skills, attributes and experience necessary to successfully carry out this apprenticeship. Please illustrate on your application form how you meet the requirements of the post.
No previous experience of business admin is required, as full training will be given. However, we do expect a good level of commitment, a ‘can do’ attitude and a willingness to learn.
Please be sure to cover each one of these points in your application form.
Skills and Knowledge



Closing date: Friday 13th November 2020
Interview date: Wednesday 18th November 2020
To download an application form please click here

Please email your completed application form to Carol Willis at carol@vas-swindon.org

Kate Rowe is a facilitator, leader and manager, with over 30 years’ experience of working in community settings. She continues to find creative and positive ways to help people find a voice and brings her skills as an active listener, a clear communicator and an enabling facilitator.

Kate has worked in London and in Swindon for national and local charities, borough councils and neighbourhood renewal companies, as well as delivering training and facilitation services as a self-employed consultant all over the country. She has delivered services to adults (e.g. neighbour mediation; learning ambassadors; singing for health and wellbeing, parent carer forums) and children (e.g. family group conferencing; supervised contact; youth information café).

Kate has a degree in Peace Studies with Conflict Resolution, PGC in Psychotherapy Theory, level 6 in Leadership & Management, and teaching certificates in lifelong learning and English language.

Works To: Project Manager
Salary: £10 per hour subject to annual review & availability of funds
Hours: 25 hours a week.
Contract Term: 12 month contract from date of appointment.
Holidays: 28 days per year, pro rata, plus bank holidays
Notice Period: 1 month after completion of 3 month probationary period
Location: The Harbour Drop-in Centre, St. Luke’s Hall, Broad Street, Swindon SN1 2DS
Job Purpose
To be the primary point of contact for all young Visitors to the Harbour Project (under 25’s), to ensure that their voices are heard and their needs are understood. To arrange, coordinate and lead activities specific to this age group with the support of volunteers and other members of staff. To be the primary point of contact with other agencies supporting young Visitors.
Principal Responsibilities
Working With Young People

Leading Activities

Working With Other Agencies

Resource Management



Candidate Specification – Essential



The successful candidate will be subject to an Enhanced DBS check.
If you would like to apply for this role, please submit your CV and a covering letter explaining why you think you are suitable for the position to info@harbourproject.org.uk
Application Closing Date: Friday, 18th September 2020.

Local charities and voluntary groups around Swindon are facing tough times. Lockdown has meant a big loss of income for many organisations – just when their help and services are needed the most.

Help is at hand from Voluntary Action Swindon – usually know as VAS – which provides help and advice for charities and voluntary groups in the town. In a new initiative, VAS is launching VAS-LIVE, an online get-together for local groups and organisations.

The first online session will focus on Filling the Gap – how charities and communities can find funding to keep going in these difficult times. Two guest speakers – Carol Willis from VAS and Anthony da Souza from the Crowdfunding Academy – will share the latest top tips for fundraisers as well as where to go for more help and advice.

Every month, VAS-LIVE will be a place where staff and volunteers from local groups can get information and advice, as well as discussing their own issues or concerns.

“Local groups and organisations sometimes don’t know there is help available – or that other groups are dealing with the same issues. The new online network aims to help people connect with each other, get help and useful information” said Jol Rose, the VAS team member behind the new network.

VAS-LIVE kicks off on Wednesday 26th August, from 12.30 to 1.30pm – register for free at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/filling-the-funding-gap-help-for-swindons-voluntary-sector-tickets-116624544151

VAS offers a range of services for the local voluntary sector, including copying and printing, meeting room hire, DBS checks and a programme of training courses. Through the lockdown VAS has also provided volunteers for food deliveries to Swindon’s most vulnerable people, as well as up-to-date information and support for people and groups via its website, www.vas-swindon.org

‘Swindon: It’s up to all of us’ is the headline call to action of a new town-wide communications campaign launched today (12 August) to reinforce a number of important public health messages to Swindon residents.

The campaign is urging all individuals in the town to play their part in minimising the spread of COVID-19 and keep themselves and the community safe.

Earlier this week over 1,000 residents shared an update social post from the Council on the current situation, which reached over 80,000 people – showing the Swindon community is keen to help spread the word.

Cases are continuing to rise within Swindon and, in an effort to reduce the Borough’s COVID-19 case rate, health chiefs in the Borough are reminding residents to protect themselves and others by continuing to wash their hands, cover their faces if in enclosed spaces, and to stay at least one-metre apart from people not in their own household.

In addition, people are being asked to stay at home, even if they have mild symptoms of coronavirus, namely: a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change to people’s sense of smell or taste.

Crucially, anyone who has any symptoms must book a test and not leave home for at least 10 days. Those living in households should self-isolate for 14 days if they or any members of the household receive a positive test.

Earlier this week, thousands of households in the SN1 and SN2 areas were sent a letter from the Council’s Director of Public Health reminding them of the advice they need to follow after the latest case and contact tracing data showed a high proportion of new confirmed cases were from residents living in those postcodes.

On Friday (7 August) the Government described Swindon as ‘an area of concern’ on its national COVID-19 watch-list following a spike in cases in the week up to 2 August involving workers at the XPO Logistics distribution centre in Penzance Drive.

The Council will be asking more than 500 community groups and hundreds of local businesses to remind residents of the need to adhere to the Government guidance, while public health messages will also be posted on social media and through the Council’s website and various e-newsletters. Leaflets will also be sent out to households and reminders put in various local magazines and newsletters.

Steve Maddern, Swindon Borough Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The recent rise in cases and the Government highlighting us as an ‘area of concern’ is a wake-up call to us all. We cannot even begin to think we are coming to the end of this public health crisis.

“We are not at the point of implementing local restrictions, but we need to do everything we can to limit the spread of the disease and to keep our case rate down so we do not end up at that point. We need to break the chain of transmission and we need the public and the local media to really get behind this important campaign.

“The message of this campaign is simple: it’s up to each and every one of us in Swindon to play our part. Wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a face covering when you need to.

“If you think you have symptoms, no matter how mild, book a test immediately and if you test positive make sure you self-isolate for at least 10 days. If you fall ill, everyone who lives at your property must also self-isolate. Staying at home, means not going out for any reason, including to work, or to the shops.”

Dr Charlotte Forsyth, Medical Director at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The number of COVID-19 patients we are currently seeing in hospital is thankfully much lower than it was but I would urge the public not to get complacent.

“We can all do our bit to help prevent the spread of infection and it is important that everybody follows the national guidance. This includes social distancing, the wearing of face masks or coverings in public areas and frequent hand washing. This is vital not only to protect yourself, but also to protect family, friends and the public around you.

“If you do show symptoms, you should get tested and must self-isolate immediately, to reduce your risk of spreading the virus.

“We all need to work together to control this virus. Here at the hospital, everyone is working very hard to continue looking after every patient that comes through our doors, but please help us by following the national guidance and staying safe.”

Dr Amanda Webb, Clinical Chair for Swindon, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG, said: “As a GP, I know that many people in the local area like to take responsibility for their own health, and only seek help when their symptoms are no longer manageable at home.

“However, now is not the time to be a hero.

“It’s vitally important that people do not dismiss mild symptoms such as a fever, a cough or a change in taste or smell as a common cold, hayfever or a reaction to the warm weather.

“These symptoms are the warning signs that need to be acted on so, if you do begin to feel unwell, self-isolate immediately and book a coronavirus test by calling 119.”

To book a COVID-19 test in Swindon or at home visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119

Free online 45 minute Training Seminars (live, trainer-led training sessions)  
This session explains who Stop Loan Sharks are, what they do, how they do it and how they can work together to help victims of illegal lenders.
These sessions will take place during July and August on the following times and dates:
14:30 –  Tuesday 21st July – Book here
14:30 – Tuesday 28th July – Book here
14:30 – Tuesday 4th August – Book here
14:30 – Tuesday 11th August – Book here
14:30 – Tuesday 18th August – Book here
14:30 – Tuesday 25th August – Book here
The link to the the training will be sent to you the day before your session takes place.

Hours: 28 hours per week
Duration of post: Permanent dependent on funding
Salary: £32,032 per annum (for 28-hour week)
SMASH is an incorporated charity funded by public grants, philanthropic contributions and commissioned services. SMASH promotes wellbeing – the education, research, service delivery and best practice to ensure sustainable change in individuals and ultimately the local community of Swindon.
Wellbeing is the key to the prevention and early intervention of mental ill health and the solutions to thriving individuals and flourishing communities.
The Role
The Project Director is the pivotal role in the organisation’s day to day running and long-term strategic direction. The role is centred around people. To succeed, this role needs to create an environment for individuals to flourish, maintain strong relationships with Trustees and external stakeholders, deliver outstanding services and measure and evaluate the impact of our work.
Main Responsibilities
The post holder will be responsible for:
1. Management of team to build a culture of personal accountability and autonomy
2. Oversight of programme design and delivery
3. Reporting and evaluating
4. Volunteer Management
5. Financial oversight and planning
6. Strategic oversight
7. Policy, procedures and processes to ensure safety and consistency
To download a full copy of the job description please click here
To apply for the role please request an application form by emailing recruitment@teamsmash.org.uk
CV’s are accepted along with the completed application. Closing date for completed applications to be received by email by Friday 31st July at 12 noon. Interviews dates will be arranged for early August.

Based at Sanford House, Swindon (with occasional travel throughout the South West), this role will be fulfilled remotely until further notice.
Hours: 26 per Week
Pay: NJC 7-12 (£19,554 – £21,589)
Term: Initially fixed until 31 March 2021
Closing date: 9am Wednesday 12th August 2020
Interviews: Wednesday 19th & Thursday 20th August 2020 via video call

Aims of the post

We are the independent champion for people who use health and social care services. We’re here to make sure that those running services, put people at the heart of care. Our sole purpose is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf. We focus on ensuring that people’s worries and concerns about current services are addressed. We work to get services right for the future.
This post covers both Healthwatch Swindon and Healthwatch Bath & North Somerset
The Care Forum offer a fair application process with a shortened person specification, Interviews which utilise scenario questions, presentation and assessment to accommodate the differing strengths of candidates.
All applicants are reminded that applications are most likely to be successful if they are written clearly to align with the numbered points in the person specification.
The Care Forum is a strongly committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from all members of the community. The Care Form does NOT accept CVs. This post is subject to right to work checks.
For a job pack go to: https://www.thecareforum.org/jobs/ or email: hr@thecareforum.org.uk

As we all work together in these unusual times to support the residents of Swindon, I’m delighted to introduce two new faces to VAS and at the same time to thank and bid a fond farewell and wish all the very best to Andrea Barrett who leaves us next Thursday to take up a new post with a Mental Health charity in Newbury closer to where she lives.

Joining us on 2nd June as Inclusion and Collaboration Development Manager, is Jol Rose . Jol moves from his current role of development officer at Wiltshire Council where he has been providing support to the small business/social enterprise sector. Prior to this Jol’s career has included working in service provision in the NHS, the voluntary sector and being self employed. Jol has also volunteered for Oxfam and currently volunteers for the Swindon City of Sanctuary charity, organising the weekly drop in café supporting refugees and asylum seekers to meet each other and other communities. Jol is really looking forward to using his range of skills in an area he is passionate about and will be leading our equality work and supporting collaboration across the sector.

Joining us on the 8th June, to replace Andrea as Funding and Governance Development Manager is Carol Willis. Carol has spent the two years as Portfolio Manager for Healthwatch Swindon and Healthwatch B&NES, where her role has involved ensuring a public voice to local partners and stakeholders to influence the commissioning of health and social care including chairing the Engagement Safeguarding Board. Previously she has worked in Adult and Community Education, Swindon Colleges and Swindon Borough Council. Having written successful funding bids herself and engaged with many a Board, Carol is looking forward to combining her range of skills with her passion for the voluntary sector. We’ve also moved this to a full time role in anticipation of the funding and government needs of the sector going forward into the post COVID recovery phase.

I’m delighted to welcome Jol and Carol to strengthen the capacity and knowledge at VAS at a time when our support to the Swindon Voluntary Sector as well as our work to ensure that Swindon remains a welcoming and inclusive town has never been more critical #NEVERMORENEEDED.

The whole team at VAS looks forward to working with you all to ensure that, together, we can provide the best possible support to those that need it most in our local community as we work through and beyond the current COVID-19 Pandemic.