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The Voluntary Sector Survey 2017

We carried out a survey of the voluntary and community sector in Swindon in 2017, as part of a wider consultation with the local sector, which included several focus group sessions. The survey was launched on 11th April 2017, and closed on 11th May. A total of 146 responses were received, representing 111 organisations. Focus group sessions were held in October-November 2016 and were attended by 49 people representing various voluntary and community sector groups.

Read the Full Report Here

Executive Summary

  1. This report sets out the results of a survey of the voluntary and community sector, carried out by VAS, in April-May 2017; and several focus group sessions with voluntary and community sector organisations, carried out by VAS in October-November 2016. We obtained a total of 146 responses from people answering on behalf of 111 different organisations, and increase of 19 responses and 7 organisations compared to the previous survey. A total of 49 individuals representing various voluntary and community sector organisations attended and fed into the focus group sessions.

  2. Organisations representing the whole range of voluntary and community activity are present in responses to the survey. The majority are registered charities. Around one fifth are sports clubs, and about the same proportion are companies (charitable companies, not-for-profit companies, and Community Interest Companies). Smaller proportions include community centres, associations, trusts and social enterprises.

  3. Nearly half of all respondents are paid staff. Nearly one in ten are volunteers. Two-fifths are committee members – many of these will also be volunteers, in the case of charity boards who are usually unpaid. This differs substantially from the previous survey, where only a third were paid staff and more than a quarter represented volunteers. This could be due to organisations using fewer volunteers and more part-time paid staff compared to the 2015 results, as reported by respondents.

  4. Fewer respondents are using regular, committed volunteers compared to the 2015 survey – the proportion has dropped significantly, from 86% to 67%. Those using casual or occasional volunteers has also dropped slightly. The proportion of respondents using part-time paid staff has risen, though not dramatically. One third of respondents use no regular volunteers at all; more than half use no casual volunteers. The majority of respondents use volunteers only and do not have any paid members of staff. Apart from the drop in regular, committed volunteers, staff and volunteer numbers are largely consistent with the results from the 2015 survey. Despite the reduction in regular volunteers, reliance on volunteers was felt to be increasing by half of respondents, and to be static by nearly half. What this means is volunteers are seen as no less essential than before, but organisations are struggling to recruit or retain them, possibly due to lacking resource.

  5. Registered charities are more likely to use both volunteers and staff than respondents overall, and in greater numbers. Sports clubs are much less likely to employ anyone, and are also likely to have fewer volunteers. Organisations which are branches or members of larger organisations report having significantly more regular volunteers than organisations that are independent or local. Word of mouth is the most popular way for organisations to recruit new volunteers, which is consistent with the 2015 results. The majority of respondents feel that the volunteers they recruit are a good match for their organisation’s needs most of the time.

  6. Nearly half of respondents reported that their income has remained static over the past year; just over a quarter reported that it has increased, and a similar proportion reported that it has decreased. Donations from individuals is the most common source of income for respondents, followed by fundraising events, grants from charitable trusts and foundations, and public sector grants or contracts. Public sector income has reduced more than any other income stream over the last year.

  7. The majority of respondents reported that their expenditure has increased over the past year. Around two-fifths reported that it has stayed the same, and a very small proportion reported a decrease in expenditure. Nearly all groups with increased income also reported increased expenditure. Respondents have taken various actions to make ends meet – the most common being reviewing spending on small items, followed by recruiting more volunteers to cover services, and investing in fundraising, marketing or business development. Cutting services or making staff redundant were much less common methods of making ends meet.

  8. The most common beneficiary group among respondents is children and young people, with more than two-fifths of respondents supporting this group. This is followed by older people, supported by more than one third of respondents, then by people with mental health problems, supported by three in ten. Nearly three in ten report that they supported between 201 and 500 beneficiaries in the last year. One fifth reported supporting over 2,000 people. Almost half of all respondents report that they are supporting about the same number of beneficiaries as they were a year ago, but more than two-fifths report that they have seen an increase in beneficiary numbers. In total, respondents reported that they have supported 342,963 people in the last twelve months, although this result should be interpreted with caution as one respondent had reported supporting 200,000 people – roughly the population of the Borough of Swindon. It seems unlikely that this respondent was referring to direct beneficiaries of their work.

  9. Respondents are considerably more familiar with VAS than with other infrastructure organisations (i.e. organisations supporting frontline work, across the public, private, and voluntary and community sectors). Awareness of public sector bodies such as One Swindon and My Care My Support is low, while awareness of voluntary sector organisations such as the Volunteer Centre and Sanford House is relatively high. Awareness of Healthwatch Swindon is also relatively high, and has risen considerably since the 2015 survey. Close to three-fifths of respondents work with Swindon Borough Council, but confidence in their effectiveness is relatively low. More than half of respondents work with VAS, which scored the highest for effectiveness as a partner organisation.

  10. Respondents feel more engaged with voluntary and community sector networks than other networks and infrastructure bodies, although Swindon Borough Council and local media also score relatively high in engagement. Charitable funders, local businesses, and public sector bodies score relatively low, indicating respondents do not feel engaged with them. Respondents feel they would benefit most from greater engagement with local businesses and charitable funders.

  11. Respondents see their main training and development needs as fundraising and volunteer recruitment. Awareness raising (including marketing, media, advertising and PR) also scores high. Raising income to provide services is identified as respondents’ primary challenge. Other challenges include recruiting new trustees, engaging with the wider public, replacing lost income streams, meeting core costs, and recruiting new volunteers.

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Female Administrative Support Worker & PA to Director at Swindon Women’s Aid

The following is a vacancy from Swindon Women’s Aid

Location: Swindon
Salary: £15,000.00
Work Hours: 37 hours per week

Job Purpose: The objective of the post is to provide PA support to the Director and reception and administrative duties for Swindon Women’s Aid, including meeting/booking in visitors, populating the electronic management system and being the first point of contact for telephone enquiries.

Responsible to: Director
Direct reports: Nil

Main duties:

Managing service delivery and performance

Person Specification


It is essential to the development of Swindon Women’s Aid service delivery that the post holder is able to respond flexibly to changes in the requirements of this post. This job description is therefore a guide and not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities the post holder may have over time.

Please visit our website for an application form.
This post is exempt under the Equality Act 2010, schedule 9 part 1 and is female applicants only
Successful applicants will be required to undergo an enhanced children & adults DBS check

Closing dates for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 4th October.
Interviews will be held in Swindon on Thursday 12th October.

Applications should be sent to:

Application Form

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Voluntary Action Swindon 2017 AGM

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 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 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

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Swindon Sports Forum Small Grants

Swindon Sports Forum small grants closes on Friday 8th September. Up to £1,200 is available for sports clubs to fund up to 75% of a project designed either to increase participation or club development.

Clubs must operate within the Swindon Borough and must be at least Level 1 accredited through SBC, WASP, Sport England or their sport’s National Governing Body. They need to have a constitution, bank account, proof of insurance (public liability), Child Protection Policy & known by your National Governing Body.

Funding can only be for projects which only start after 23rd November 2017.

Previous successful grant winners must complete an End of Grant Report detailing spend and how it has helped before applying for another grant – this can be either through a Word doc form which Grants Officer Neil Bromley can provide.

New initiatives will be favourably considered by the Grants Panel

Applications close on Friday 8th September

Clubs that have received funding in the past year include wheelchair basketball, sword fencing, hockey, cricket, lawn bowls, croquet, angling and American football to name a few.

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Project Coordinator at Big Breakfast Plus

The following is a vacancy from Big Breakfast Plus.

For over 23 years Big Breakfast Plus has been providing a cooked breakfast in central Swindon to those in need across the borough, and helping those who are without accommodation to engage with support services.

We’re now looking for a Project Coordinator to manage the day to day operation, including supervising our dedicated team of catering staff and volunteers, as well as supporting our management committee with administrative, PR and fundraising tasks.

We are looking for someone to work 16 hours a week flexibly, including covering 5 breakfast shifts (from 7am to 9am on a rota basis, currently Monday to Saturday but potentially including Sunday) where you will be supervising the team, helping with preparing and serving breakfasts when needed to cover for staff and volunteers’ absence at busy times, as well as engaging with our service users and partner organisations, carrying out stock takes and other administrative tasks. Full training on food handling will be provided.

With your experience of supervising staff and volunteers, you will be able to support us in introducing new processes for personal development action plans, as well as handling recruitment and induction of new volunteers, providing information to our payroll provider and organising rotas.

You will have the opportunity to get involved in many areas of the charity’s work, including liaising with partner organisations, attending networking meetings with trustees to raise the profile of our project and helping with fundraising and marketing activities. You will also support the trustees and management committee by preparing reports and statistics for monthly meetings, reviewing policies and procedures and producing agendas and minutes.

To be successful in this role, you will have an understanding of and commitment to the voluntary sector, ideally including supporting the homeless, and be computer literate. Fundamental is the ability to build rapport, listen without judging and provide a friendly welcome to everyone who needs our services.

We will provide you with a laptop to enable you to carry out some of your work remotely and we require a certain amount of flexibility with regards your working pattern to enable you to attend external meetings.

For further information, please download our background document and job description which includes a person specification. To apply, please download the application form and return it to We do not accept CVs. We are about to launch a collaborative project with Community First Wiltshire to increase our profile and fundraising capability, including developing our website and social media. So, please bear that in mind when you visit our Facebook page or explore our website further.

Terms & Conditions: The salary scale for the post is £10,696 to £11,412 for 16 hours a week (FTE £23,398 to £24,964), plus a contributory pension and 5.6 weeks’ annual leave. Our project is currently based at St Luke’s Church hall in central Swindon.

Closing date: midday 7th September 2017. Interview date is 15th September 2017.

Application Form

Job Description

Background Information

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Adult Community Learning Courses

Are you struggling to find a career? Do you lack confidence with Maths, English and ICT? If so, Whitehead Ross Education & Consulting’s Adult Community Learning courses are for you!

They are running courses from both Voluntary Action Swindon, 1 John Street, Swindon, SN1 1RT and Sanford House, Sanford Street, Swindon, SN1 1HE. They can also fund childcare to allow you to attend.

Getting Started (Monday 21st – Wednesday 23rd August)

Delivered over 3 sessions (13 hours), their vocational taster course provides an introduction to:

Getting Ready (Monday 4th – Tuesday 19th September) every Monday & Tuesday

Delivered over 5 sessions (23 hours), their non-accredited Maths, English and ICT course supports you to improve your skills for work and life.

The courses are fully funded for those who meet the following criteria:

For further information please contact 01792 814708 or

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ESOL Tutor at the Adult Training Network

Company: The Adult Training Network
Location: Swindon
Job Title: ESOL Tutor
Hours of work: 6 hours per week subject to confirmation
Job type: Part time
Career level: Experienced (Non-Manager)
Salary: £18.00 – £20.00 per hour depending on experience
Application Deadline: Ongoing

Company Profile:
ATN aims to unlock potential for employment and social prospects through education and training. The organisation was set up in July 1999 to address the educational disadvantage suffered by certain marginalised sections of the community. We work with mainly unemployed customers in order to help improve their personal circumstances, qualifications and employment prospects.

Job Description
ESOL Tutor required to deliver non accredited ESOL programmes in Swindon by providing high quality, relevant learning opportunities which enable students to maximise their educational, vocational and personal development potential.

You will;

Person Specification

***The Adult Training Network aims to be an equal opportunity employer and is determined to ensure that no applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, age, disability, religion, belief, sexual orientation, marital status, or race, or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be justifiable.***

To apply for this post please send your CV and a covering letter to Sonia Khokhar in HR at

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