This year, our small but very experienced capacity building team has continued to support local voluntary sector groups with a variety of interventions. This period has also seen CVA break new ground in terms of support to enterprises and job creation.
Training and events
CVA’s training offer this year has included core modules such as Starting up, Fundraising, Project planning and Good governance. In addition we have strengthened our specialist offer including Social Media, Safeguarding Children (Level 1 - 4) and Emergency First Aid.
CVA also joined forces with other London charities through the hosting of additional training workshops, including Localgiving.com (Fundraising through Social Media) and Engage London (Violence Prevention works for children and young people). We also worked with Croydon CAB to offer the Advice Quality Standard quality mark to local groups.
We organised a Meet the Funder event with the Big Lottery Fund with over 60 people attending and also hosted a number of events highlighting opportunities through Croydon Council’s grants programmes, European Social Fund initiatives and various funders targeting sports and youth projects. CVA continued to follow-up on each of these information events with practical one-to-one support for organisations wanting to submit bids or discuss their project ideas further, including potential partnership working.
One to ones
One to one capacity building support has remained at the heart of CVA’s offer to Croydon’s groups. Our team of experienced staff have delivered support to groups and enterprises on registering a charity; business planning; good governance; developing policies and procedures; managing staff and volunteers; recruitment; marketing; conflict resolution; and print and design.
The print and design service has been offered to groups for over 25 years with over 150 assignments being undertaken in the past year.
CVA also continued to provide a property advice service to community groups and this year 25 groups received support ranging from help with leasehold negotiations to practical advice on hiring out facilities and helping to let unused office block spaces. A total of 124 different groups have benefitted from this service since 2011.
Top of the list in terms of demand for one-to-one support has remained fundraising support. Although very resource intensive in terms of staff time, the team provided more than 80 one to one sessions to local groups specifically around fundraising, including access to Grantfinder.
We managed two funds in 2014 / 2015 and distributed grants to local Croydon groups on their behalf.
Information and communication
CVA continued to produce its weekly e-bulletin every Monday with an average distribution of around 1,800 during the past year. The e-bulletin has continued to be very popular and brings to the sector timely news and information about funding opportunities, training events, national and local developments, and links to useful resources.
An impressive 83% of survey respondents of our recent annual membership survey report that CVA has provided their members with a good information service enabling their organisations to be more aware of opportunities / share ideas and network with other organisations. We’re delighted that our new website, use of Mail Chimp for our e-bulletins, our networks and increased use of social media tools (with our Twitter account reaching 1,554 followers) is so highly rated and helpful to our members.
Our new website, is more visual and user friendly, embedding a range of social media tools that we have introduced this year (Flickr for images, Audio boom for interviews, Vimeo, Animoto and You Tube for videos) and has attracted 5,800 unique visitors in the last 3 months.
Set up in 2013 in the aftermath of the civil unrest in Croydon, CVA’s Enterprise Hub project has gone from strength to strength.
By the summer of 2015, the project had provided 12 hours business support to over 104 existing businesses; helped create 58 new businesses and social enterprises; and created an outstanding 90 new jobs for Croydon businesses. 438 Croydon residents received practical one-to-one support through the project.
The achievements are all the more impressive when considering the profile of clients that the Enterprise Hub has supported. Many of the clients would be regarded as ‘hard to reach’ or disadvantaged economically and / or socially. 79% of the clients supported were from BAME background; 52% were women; more than 50% were from the North of the borough; almost half were aged 40+ and 49 entrepreneurs considered themselves to have a disability.
I found that the Enterprise Hub was a fantastic critical friend service - I felt like I was always able to bounce ideas off of them and that really helped. I particularly value the working relationship we were able to build and the effectiveness of that relationship; we could feel that the Enterprise hub team were always gunning for us to succeed.
Mum's the Chef
Enterprise Hub helped with everything, from organising and planning the initial vision, through the business plan, to starting up and finding premises and people to employ.
Way of Nature for Human Expression
CVA manages four community centres; Cornerstone House, CVA Resource Centre, Waterside Centre and Thornton Heath Health Living Centre and also runs services from CVA Centrale Team Croydon Shop, where the Volunteer Centre is now based.
These Centres and offices provide a range of office and meeting space facilities for use by CVA members, community groups and statutory agencies. The Centres are staffed by Centre Administrators who assist groups facilitate their activities and develop their groups profile.
CVA also managed virtual office space on behalf of 3 groups managing post and phone calls. 10 different kinds of Statutory organised activities took place at the Centres including a satellite NHS Croydon baby clinic, Polling Station and Training for potential foster carers.