Voluntary Action South West Surrey

A member of the Ash & Tongham, Godalming, Cranleigh, Haslemere, Farnham, Guildford, Surrey Business and Surrey communities

About Voluntary Action South West Surrey

We are a local support and development group helping local voluntary and community groups develop and thrive.

We provide funding advice, we recruit volunteers, we run training and events and have projects to promote community involvement and encourage volunteering.

If you are a local community group needing more volunteers, some help with finding funding or with any other aspect of running you group please get in touch, our email is info@vasws.org.uk

Find us online

Visit our website at https://voluntaryactionsws.org.uk/

Join one or more of our mailing lists:

Join this mailing list to be kept up to date on the Older People's Network for South West Surrey

Cancel Join now

Guildford & Waverley Mental Health Forum

Cancel Join now

Voluntary Action South West Surrey Mailing list

Cancel Join now

VASWS Annual Conference

I consent to receiving an email newsletter from Voluntary Action South West Surrey containing updates about activities and events

Cancel Join now

Latest posts

Front of House Volunteer Needed

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Established in 1965, thanks to public support, the Yvonne Arnaud presents a programme of top quality drama, both touring and in-house productions, and our own annual pantomime.

As we plan the future of the theatre, post Covid-19, we are recruiting a regular team of volunteers who will act as ushers for our productions and be able to assist with other front of house activities as required.

Our programme will include more home grown productions, alongside a diverse selection of plays which will represent contemporary theatre-making at its best.

This is a great opportunity for anyone who loves theatre to be part of our story.

The Role

Our Front of House Volunteers will be an integral part of the Front of House Team. They will meet and greet our audience members, and take primary responsibility for the health, safety and comfort of the public while they are on the premises.

For many members of the public the Front of House team are their first point of contact and will influence the first impression they have of the theatre. All team members will be expected to give patrons a warm, friendly and professional welcome and deal with all queries in a helpful manner.

Shifts will be during the day, evenings or weekends and will be advised in advance on a rota. They are subject to availability, depending on the size of the audience for the performance.

Minimum Age 18 years.

For more information please visit: MyImpactPage - Front of House Volunteer (betterimpact.com)

The Big Give's Women's and Girl's Match Fund

The Big Give is the UK's #1 match funding platform. We specialise in bringing charities, philanthropists and the public together to multiply their impact. The Big Give has raised over £160m for thousands of great causes through the power of match funding.

​​​​​We are getting in touch with you to share the exciting news that the Big Give will be launching a new match funding campaign for 2022 - The Women and Girl’s Match Fund! Applications open from 13th December - 11th January.

The Women & Girls Match Fund is a match funding campaign for charities that are working to improve the lives of vulnerable, disadvantaged or underrepresented women and girls in England and Scotland (The match funding is being provided by DCMS’ Tampon Tax Fund and has been restricted to projects in England and Scotland only).

All public donations made to participating charities via theBigGive.org.uk during the week of the campaign (8 - 15 March 2022) will be matched up to a specific amount.

Charities will be awarded a ring-fenced amount of match funding which will be used to match public donations - either £2,500, £10,000 or £25,000.

All match funding is being provided by DCMS’ Tampon Tax Fund.

We will also be hosting a webinar about the Women and Girls Match Fund on Tuesday 14th December at 12pm, we will provide further information about the campaign and answer any questions you may have. Sign up for the webinar here.

Applications open from 13th December - 11th January.Further details including eligbility, key dates and how to apply can be found here:


Age UK Surrey Christmas Carol Service

The Age UK Surrey Christmas Carol Service will take place this year at Guildford Cathedral on Friday 17 December 2021 at 11.00am with traditional readings and carols led by the Guildford Cathedral Singers.

Coffee, tea and mince pies will be served inside the Cathedral from 10.30am. Free tickets must be pre-booked in advance due to limited space. Donations are welcome and the service will be live-streamed for those who are unable to attend. The wearing of face masks is encouraged for those attending in person. Tickets can be booked via the website www.ageuk.org.uk/surrey.

Email enquiries@ageuksurrey.org.uk or call 01483 503414 to book a wheelchair space or for further details. A special 2-course Christmas lunch will be available in Seasons Café (Refectory) - direct booking essential by calling 01483 563841 or emailing bookings@thetipsypigs.co.uk.

Barnardo's Boloh Helpline

Barnardo’s Boloh Helpline is pleased to announce the expansion of our service to support the mental health and wellbeing of adult asylum seekers across the UK. This project is funded by the Home Office and is in addition to our current service that offers support to children, young people and their parents.

The Helpline will offer advice, signposting, emotional support and 8 free sessions of therapy by qualified Barnardo’s therapists. These sessions can take place remotely via telephone or online. Barnardo’s has a large pool of culturally informed therapists who speak a range of languages. Sessions can take place in your own language at a time that works for you.

Helpline Advisors can also offer practical support such as food vouchers and access to digital devices. We are continuing our partnership with Vodafone to ensure that asylum seekers can access support by providing refurbished tablets and mobile phones.

We welcome referrals from professionals via our referral form, as well as direct contact from asylum seekers by telephone, email or online chat.

You can make a referral to the Helpline here.

The Helpline is open Monday – Friday (10am-8pm) and Saturday (10-3pm) via phone, webchat and email.

We have attached a printable awareness poster and an information card to this email. Please share among your colleagues and community networks. Hard copies of the poster and credit cards are also available if you would like copies to hand out. Copies are available in different languages.

Please contact boloh.helpline@barnardos.org.uk to order hard copies or for further information about this project.

Age UK Surrey and The Clockhouse merge

Two local independent charities Age UK Surrey and The Clockhouse merged on 30th November 2021. The merger comes following talks with both charities’ Boards of Trustees on how The Clockhouse can sustainably provide community based services to Milford and neighbouring villages.

Both charities are dedicated to improving the lives of older people through person centred services and activities. The merger provides the opportunity to expand community based services at The Clockhouse.

The Clockhouse will retain its name and operate under Age UK Surrey.

Waverley Borough Council will continue to support The Clockhouse through its existing funding contract.

Clive Webster, Chair of Trustees of The Clockhouse said: ‘The Clockhouse has served the Milford community for over 20 years. We are indebted to volunteers, staff and supporters who have committed to ensuring our elderly community have a welcome and safe place to enjoy refreshments, services and activities. The Board of Trustees welcome the merger as it offers The Clockhouse support from an established local charity that has a wealth of experience in supporting older people and will enable The Clockhouse to sustainably move forward. We will continue to support the coming together of the two charities to ensure the future success of The Clockhouse.’

Sue Zirps, Chief Executive Age UK Surrey said: ‘I know Milford and the surrounding areas well and am delighted that Age UK Surrey can play its part in ensuring that older people are continued to be served well. The Clockhouse is a great community space and we look forward to working with and supporting the whole community more in the future. I would like to thank The Clockhouse Board of Trustees for their support in this initiative’.

Information about Age UK Surrey

Age UK Surrey is an independent local charity. We work across Surrey to help improve the lives of older people. Our services are designed to enable older people remain independent and informed, healthy and active and connected to their communities. We help combat loneliness and social isolation.

County wide services include: Information and Advice, Help at Home, Lasting Power of Attorney, Independent Care Advice, Check in and Chat telephone befriending, GO50 Walks and Tech Support.

Current projects include: Call of Friendship and Support for Veterans and Scams Advice.

Local services and activities: Tea and Chat in Tandridge, Shopmobility in Guildford, Men in Sheds in Ash, Home visiting Befriending in Guildford, Waverley, Runnymede & Spelthorne, Café Culture in Cranleigh and Farnham.

Information about The Clockhouse (Milford & Villages Day Centre)

Origin: The Clockhouse has evolved since 1986 when a small group of dedicated people identified a social need for older people who were living alone. In order to satisfy this need they began using Milford’s Scout Hut where they gathered the old and lonely, bringing them in their cars and taking them home again. Games, entertainment, talks and a cup of tea with a chat on one day a week was the start.

From this developed the idea of a purpose-built centre and so this dedicated group took on the challenges of land purchase, planning, finance, building construction, and developed a group of volunteers to help in its creation.

In 1998, the resulting building in Chapel Lane was commissioned as a functioning day centre open one day a week needing to expand, develop a membership and make the most of this wonderful brand new building.

Growth: In time with a full time manager and many more elderly visiting 5 days a week, a full programme of talks, games, puzzles, chair-borne physical training, entertainment followed with Christmas pantomimes and organised sea side holidays or day trips. Lunches provide a variety of menus - enjoyable food, meeting the needs of individual members and their carers. The atmosphere is homely, warm, friendly, accepting, caring, good fun, challenging and inspirational. Hair dressing, chiropody, aromatherapy are also available.

Today: Our volunteers are an outstanding group of men and women. They provide refreshments, wait at meals, welcome all at reception and at the pay desk for meals, and above all help our members in difficulty & provide them with that warmth, care and support, together with the encouragement which they need to take part and support the range of activities that we organise.

Our guiding principles are: Respect - for all who come within this building in whatever capacity. Loyalty – to Trustees, management, staff and members. Care - for those we serve.

Future: The trustees have, even with financial support, especially from Waverley Borough Council, local parishes, Clockhouse Fundraising, and local and national charitable grants, come to the unanimous decision that it is undoubtedly in the Clockhouse’s best interests that a larger organisation with strong financial backing should take over the running of the building and providing for the needs of those who now, and in the future, benefit from the building and its facilities.

Social Care White Paper: Importance of home recognised, with cash and promised action

The Government has launched its wide ranging 10 year vision for Social Care, ‘People at the heart of care’

Overview of main proposals concerning housing

There is a welcome recognition of the importance of home in relation to care and support for adults of all ages (Chapter 4) with a recurring phrase of ‘Making every decision about care a decision about housing’.

Whilst most of the listed housing actions, funding and initiatives are related to building new, specialist and supported housing [SEE BELOW], it is acknowledged that most people live in mainstream housing as they age [Clause 4.18] and there is news about home adaptations and help with minor repairs:

*Funding for Disabled Facilities Grants reduced – budget will be £570 million per year in 2022–23, 2023-24, 2024–25 [4.20]

The national budget in 21-22 is £573m. Whilst continuation of the DFG funding is welcome news, this will result in a significant reduction in the number of people who can be helped given the rapidly rising costs of labour and materials.

*Funding for a new service to make minor repairs & changes in peoples’ homes to help them remain independent and safe [4.21]

No cash amount is specified, but it is hoped that this will give a boost to handyperson services that are so highly valued by older people and provide such a great return on investment

Future promises

Proposed changes to DFG are highlighted, including reviewing the means test, increasing the DFG upper limit, expanding DFG scope to include more assistive technology, altering the system for allocations to LAs, plus forthcoming new Guidance about delivery [P.38]

There is a promise to look at improving access to information and impartial advice to help people to plan for their future housing, care and finances [p.39]

A decision about making all new homes more accessible is again put off to a future date [4.24]

Other investments announced in Housing Section:

  • Invest at least £300 million over the next 3 years to embed the strategic commitment in all local places to connect housing with health and care and drive the stock of new supported housing.
  • Invest at least £150 million of additional funding over the next three years to drive digitisation across the sector; and unlock the potential of caretech innovation that enables preventative care and independent living.
  • Launch a £30 million Innovative Models of Care Programme to support local systems to build the culture and capability to embed into the mainstream innovative models of care. This will work for a changing population with more options for people that suit their needs and circumstances.
  • Continue to invest in the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) fund with £210 million available for the period 2022–23 to 2024–25.

Surrey Hills Boundary Review

Surrey Hills: your place, your voice

The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a nationally important landscape, something everyone living in the area should be justly proud of.

There has been a desire locally over many years for a review to decide whether areas adjacent to the existing Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty boundary should also be designated.

A formal boundary review is now underway led by Natural England, and we are keen to have your involvement. It is very important that people who live in and around the Surrey Hills have the opportunity to participate in this review process. Your local knowledge is our starting point.

We hope that you and your community will participate and contribute to helping Natural England in the decision-making process.

How to get involved

The first phase of the boundary review is to gather evidence about the natural beauty of the areas, currently outside of the AONB, that are under consideration. We have designed a website and a smartphone application that will help you gather this evidence

Please use the following link to access the website, where you will find all the information you need to help you participate in this process.

The Support page of the website provides links to a series of webinars which will take place in early December and early January providing an opportunity to find out more about the Boundary review and evidence gathering process.

If you or your community members would like a hard copy of the survey form these can be downloaded from the website or obtained by either emailing evidence@surrey-hills-aonb-boundary-review.org or writing to:

Surrey Hills AONB Boundary Review

c/o Resources for Change,

Cwrt Isaf Farmhouse,





Winter Fuel Voucher Scheme Open for 2021

Do you know someone that can’t afford to top up their pre-payment meter?

The Warmth Matters 'Energy Saving & Fuel Voucher Scheme' helps those who are struggling to pay for their energy with advice and information as well as providing emergency fuel vouchers to help families in times of crisis and financial hardship.

How does the scheme work?

To be eligible for a fuel voucher you must have a prepayment meter and be referred by an independent third party. A referral can be made to davidcarter@surreyca.org.uk. Free and impartial advice and information is also available and if eligible, a voucher can be provided via text message or email. You are also provided with extra information, which details other help and signposts you to additional support.

For more information contact Surrey Community Action's Warmth Matters Adviser at davidcarter@surreyca.org.uk or 07521 503 696

Mental Health Sustainability Fund launches a new Helplines Fund

The Mental Health Sustainability Fund (MHSF) is pleased to launch a new Helplines Fund in November 2021.

With a generous donation from Bupa Foundation, The Association of Mental Health Providers is proud to administer the first targeted grant-making element within the Mental Health Sustainability Programme; to support organisations who have a helpline element to be positively impacted with regards their sustainability at this stage in England’s pandemic response.

This fund will provide small grants of up to £5,000 (from a pot of £50,000), to support sustainability in small-medium sized (up to £250,000 turnover) mental health voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations who offer a helpline provision.

For more information and to apply for the grant, please visit their website.

The Civil Society Group launches to increase collaboration

The Civil Society Group will increase collaboration between the infrastructure, representative and member organisations working across civil society. It aims to harness the collective strengths of their diverse networks, improve efficiency and effectiveness, and allow civil society to clearly articulate shared priorities and views to government. The group will build on the successes and vital role played by charities and social enterprises in communities during the pandemic. It will be open to any civil society representative, infrastructure, and member organisations.

From covid-19 coordination to a relationship for the recovery

The Civil Society Group evolved from the collaboration between civil society representative and member organisations during the pandemic. There was a need for sector infrastructure organisations to come together to support the delivery of vital charity services across communities, and to ensure the sector received support from decision makers.

The collaboration allowed leaders across civil society to share views, information, and mutual support. It also helped organisations involved to coordinate and respond to the increased need in their networks. There were clear benefits from this collaboration, including securing a £750m package for charities in England from government in April 2020 and developing the cross-sector #NeverMoreNeeded campaign to highlight additional support needed for the sector and its vital role.

Charities, social enterprise, and volunteers play an important role in the continued response to Covid. The Civil Society Group aims to bring the efficiencies and effectiveness of the sectors’ emergency response to its work in the recovery from the pandemic.

Collaborating across civil society

The Civil Society Group is a place for sector leaders to exchange opinions and share ideas. It enables policies of mutual interest to be developed and promoted, and intelligence shared. The group is non-exclusive and aims to be comprehensive in its nature. It operates through a strategic oversight group working alongside three sub-groups focused on the main objectives of the collaboration: influencing, policy development and sharing information.

While the group allows for a more coordinated approach to conversations between civil society and decision-makers, it will not seek to be the sole representative voice for the sector or to supplant the work of existing representative organisations or membership bodies. It seeks to accelerate their influence and draw on their diverse networks to help civil society to deliver support for communities more efficiently and effectively.