Recent blog posts

The District Council is pleased to announce the launch of its Shop Front Grants Scheme aimed at enhancing shop fronts. 

Qualifying businesses are invited to apply for one-off grants of up to £500, towards the cost of external painting and decorating. The Scheme is open to applications from independent shops and businesses within the District, with the exception of the major Market Towns of Stratford-upon-Avon, Shipston-on-Stour, Alcester and Southam.

Cllr Maurice Howse, Enterprise, Housing and Revenues Portfolio says: “The Shop Front Grants Scheme is intended to assist businesses in ‘sprucing up their shop fronts’ in an effort to improve visual appearance, help with better promotion, kerb appeal and footfall.”

This is also a great chance for as many qualifying businesses as possible to use this as an opportunity to get ready for Small Business Saturday which takes place on 5th December 2015.

Full details of the grant scheme and application form can be found by visiting  or by contacting the project officer, Lana Long on 01789 260609/01789 260803, Please note that the closing date for applications is 30 September 2015 

You may also be interested to know that we produce a bi-monthly e-newsletter ‘Business Matters’ aimed at updating businesses in the district on matters that may affect them and are important to them. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please visit:

Adult & Community Learning Services have just published their brochure for courses for Autumn 2015. Most are to be held in Leamington Spa but a number are in Stratford and one (Mixed Arts) in Claverdon with a specialist Young People's course at Lighthorne Heath Early Years Centre

Essential Skills: English, Maths and ESOL - those held at VASA offices starting 22/9 (English) and 24/9 (Maths)

With the help of ACL friendly, experienced tutors, you will receive support to build your confidence in these subjects and improve your employment prospects, help support your children and gain qualifications.  All courses are FREE (there may be qualification fees for ESOL courses).
Computing for beginners and improvers - those held at VASA starting 21/9

Adult and Community Learning introductory courses provide a great way to get to grips with using a computer, find out what the Internet is all about and to send and receive emails.  Next Steps sessions are ideal for those who have some basic skills and would like to find out more.  Additional courses include digital imaging, Internet safety, using social media, introduction to the iPad (and introduction to the tablet computer (Android)), desktop publishing and web design.

Leisure courses - nearly all held at Leamington

A wide range of opportunities are available including British sign language, drawing and painting skills, art day schools, family history, sewing skills,  sugarcraft, upholstery, confidence building and many more.
For more information, please visit the
Adult and Community Learning web page. For printed brochures or further details email: or call 01926 738978.

Enrollment for all courses held at VASA is on Tuesday 15th September between 10.00am and 4.00pm - please download the brochure from the above link for full details

VASA's offices will be closed on Bank Holiday Monday 31 August 2015.

The offices will be open as usual on Tuesday 1 September 2015.

Tagged in: VASA

Please click on the link below for the latest update.


Tagged in: equality

VASA’s Alcester office will temporarily be moving to Church House in Butter Street whilst refurbishment works take place at Globe House to accommodate Alcester Library.  The move will be effective from Friday 4 September 2015.

The Volunteer Transport Service, taking people to their essential medical appointments with the kind assistance of volunteer drivers, will continue to run as now, with the office being open 10.00am to 12.30pm, Monday to Friday.  The telephone number will also stay as now, 01789 763117.

The Wheelchair Loan Service, however, will be relocated to VASA’s Stratford office for the duration of the move.  The telephone number for this will be 01789 262886.

For more information on the temporary move please contact Alison Moore, Volunteer Services Manager, 01789 262886 or

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Please click on the link below to view the programme.


Please click on the attached list of opportunities, arranged by the six locality areas in the district.


If you would like more information on any of these opportunities, please contact the Volunteer Centre on 01789 262889.

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Please click on the link below for the latest update.

CSW Broadband Update August 2015

Tagged in: broadband

Posted by on in Jobs

In the spring of 2014 Stratford Town Trust made a financial award to Stratford Samaritans for the purpose of setting up a Community Hub in the town.  The Hub will be occupied by a number of agencies providing a range of support services to those in need.


The Hub Manager is a new, exciting and varied role – being responsible for ensuring the building offers a well maintained, safe and harmonious environment for its occupants and visitors.  The manager will also be required to promote the services on offer, maximising occupancy of the various offices and meeting spaces available.


This will be a self-employed position starting in October, initially for two years, with an option to extend subject to future funding being available.  The contract is for 30 hours / 5 days per week with a rate of £17 per hour (approximately £23,600 per annum).

Further details, including the full job description and application form can be downloaded from our website:


Or requested via email to



The closing date for completed applications is September 14 2015 with interviews week commencing September 21 2015.



Interested candidates are encouraged to attend an open evening on either the 1 or 2 of September at 7.00pm at 1a Shakespeare Street Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6RN. 

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JRF has recently announced four new calls for proposals regarding poverty. The deadlines range from 1 September to 6 October.


JRF call for proposals

Tagged in: funding fundraising

The Covenant Fund will have 4 broad funding themes now and in future years. They are: removing barriers to family life; extra support after service for those that need help; measures to integrate military and civilian communities and allow the armed forces community to participate as citizens; and non-core healthcare services for veterans.

The themes will shape the fund, and annual priorities will ensure that it stays focussed and current.  For 2015/16 these priorities will be projects that support:

  • Local armed forces community integration projects.
  • The coordination and delivery of support to the armed forces community.
  • Veterans in the criminal justice system.

To address the priorities, MoD will make funding available for:


  • Small grants up to £20,000, primarily for community integration projects, which will be launched and open to applications in 13 August, with a deadline of 17 September, with the deadline for the second round in October 2015.
  • Large grants up to £500,000, for more strategic, higher impact projects (one round this year) which will also launch on 13 August with a deadline for EoIs of 24 September.


Decisions on both small and large grants will be made by a national panel based on the recommendations of regional panels.


More information at -

Tagged in: funding fundraising

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BBC Children in Need's Small Grants programme is open to charities and not-for-profit organisations applying for any amount up to and including £10,000 for one year only. Deadline is 1 September. 


Small Grants Programme

Tagged in: funding fundraising

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Cash 4 Clubs is a sports funding scheme which gives clubs a unique chance to apply for grants to improve facilities, purchase new equipment, gain coaching qualifications, and generally invest in the sustainability of their club. Since 2008 over £291,000 has been given out in grants to 373 community sports clubs across the UK. It's a flexible, no-fuss way to get some help for your club or team.

The Cash 4 Clubs scheme is funded by Betfair and is supported by SportsAid, the charity for sports people. Betfair and SportsAid have worked in partnership for a number of years and both organisations understand the importance of community sport in promoting an active lifestyle and stimulating local pride. It's a great time to be involved with sport and Cash 4 Clubs can hopefully play an important role in helping clubs to sustain and develop themselves.

As the Bank of England calls for Business to show 'responsibility', a group of Stratford companies have stepped forward with an offer to local schools, sports clubs and charities - 'let us help you'.

Stratford Vision founder, Denys Shortt OBE of one of the town's largest employers, has led a consortium of businesses to pledge a 'kitty' to be used to help schemes which have a real chance of success.

'It's basically crowdfunding. A group of businesses pool their funding or resources to help the community. Small amounts from many businesses can go very far, ” says Shortt of 'DCS.

“In just over a week eleven businesses have pledged a total of £55,000 for the community.”

“Communication is key. We need organisations to share with us their needs on the website.  From schools, to sports clubs to charities - they are all welcome to participate"

"We have lots at our disposal - not just cash but also free printing and employee volunteer help."

"We want more businesses to join us too.  The criteria is they have to pledge to give at least £5000 a year in cash or in kind - in other words with free goods or services."

The first eleven businesses to team up are : NFU Mutual, Guy Salmon Land Rover, Barclays, DCS Group, Alscot Estate, Baraset Barn, FirstlookTV , Vale Press, Enable Software, BDR Group,  and Quentin Wilson - TV presenter.

For more information see

This consultation is designed to give residents, businesses and other organisations the opportunity to comment on whether Stratford on Avon District Council should join the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority, sometimes referred to as the “Midlands Powerhouse" or, “Midlands Engine".

This explanation is accompanied by a series of questions and answers that are intended to help you formulate views. At the end of this you can state your views by clicking the link to the survey.

The following questions and answers are several that have been raised by councillors and staff in the past few weeks.

What is a Combined Authority?

A combined authority is a grouping of local authorities and other relevant organisations that are created through a legal process. They are a way of devolving power, funding and decisions traditionally made in Whitehall to other parts of the country. Councils can work together as a group, or combination, to make decisions based on that area's priorities (not national ones) although it is certain combined authorities will contribute to national priorities. A combined authority structure is designed to help councils work together – each Council will maintain its sovereignty.

The purpose of combined authorities is to ensure better collaboration between councils on issues that are more effective when delivered together or, ones that cannot be decided upon alone, such as transport investment or strategies for skills and economic prosperity.

What has Stratford on Avon District Council decided about the Combined Authority?

The Council is engaging with the work to develop the combined authority but has made no formal decision as to whether it should be part of this arrangement.

The West Midlands Combined Authority proposal is designed on the three geographies of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas. At this stage, the matter under consideration is at the beginning of the formal legal process that is set out by Government as part of its devolution agenda.

Stratford on Avon District Council is intending, at its Special meeting on the 1 September 2015, to give an indication in principle as to whether it wishes to be part of the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority. In making that decision the Council wants to know the views of its residents, businesses and other partners.

If the Council joined the West Midlands Combined Authority it would not be merging with other councils and would still be an entity in its own right. The proposal does not mean transferring powers from Stratford to Birmingham, Coventry or any other metropolitan area but that arrangements can be made for powers to be devolved from central government to the new combined authority. Stratford on Avon District Council would not lose any of its current powers but would be able to influence other issues that it currently does not have the opportunity so to do.

Why is the consultation being carried out now?

The initial ideas for the combined authority came out in November 2014. The period up to the General Election in May 2015 were designed to clarify what the combined authority would entail. In June 2015 the West Midlands authorities were involved in a meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when it was identified that a proposed Combined Authority should include the three LEP areas described above.

Subsequent to that, in early July, a launch statement entitled “West Midlands Combined Authority – Growing the UK Economy through a Midlands Engine" was published. This was mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his budget statement on 8 July 2015. This was followed up with details of the Spending Review process where it was identified that any proposals for a combined authority must be with the Government by 4 September 2015. The proposal must identify the geography of the combined authority that will undertake devolved powers.

In responding to this, Stratford on Avon District Council wants to ensure that a decision is made by full Council prior to that date. This consultation will therefore influence that decision.

What is on offer from the Government?

It is up to the individual proposers of a combined authority to identify what powers they would seek to be devolved from Central Government. These are being worked on at present but the Launch Statement identified that any work would be based on partnership and collaboration. The principles identified were:-

-          A commitment to collaborative working on the creation of a combined authority at the heart of a Midland's engine covering the geography of the three LEPs.

-          A prize of strong economic growth for the West Midlands as part of a Midlands Engine and a rebalancing of the UK economy.

-          Smart investment which ensures focus on where the biggest outcome for the combined authority can be achieved.

Pursuing growth accompanied by an agenda of innovation and public service reform that will reduce the overall level of public spending.

Collaborative working with the private sector as the primary driver of economic growth and working with them to establish the economic priorities of the combined authority.

All communities benefiting from growth but not necessarily at the same time nor in the same way.

When would a Combined Authority be set up?

The current timeline indicates a new combined authority working fully from April 2016. The process will require a number of approvals and is dependent upon, amongst other things, Parliamentary time to debate the issues and embrace new legislation. A Bill now before Parliament is expected to become law in January 2016

How will monies be distributed to cities and districts within a Combined Authority?

In terms of finance, for the combined authority, there will not be a set amount per head of population for each council. The Government will pass on funding for the combined authority that was previously allocated and decided on either by Westminster itself or a Government agency. It is proposed that decisions about transport investment, for instance, would be made by the West Midlands Leaders of Councils each with an equal vote in a combined authority, instead of the current system where Government Ministers and Civil Servants make decisions about funding these kinds of major infrastructure projects.

In the combined authority the decisions would be based on a formal assessment of the benefits of any scheme or programme to the local economy and local residents, for example in terms of productivity, jobs and skills.

The key is that powers, responsibilities and funds move from Whitehall to the West Midlands. By doing this it is proposed that decisions which take account of an area's needs and ambitions can be made more effectively than by National Government.

The Council looks forward to receiving your views by completing this questionnaire.

The deadline for completing the questionnaire is MONDAY 24TH AUGUST AT 10AM

Tagged in: SDC

Volunteers are needed for the following roles:

Voluntary Action Stratford-on-Avon District – Volunteer Drivers.  Do you have the time, care and patience to become a Volunteer Driver?  This essential service provides transport to hospitals, doctors and day centres, and is a lifeline to many people.  An allowance of 45p per mile is paid for authorised journeys.

Stratford Samaritans – Publicity Officer.  In preparation for the move to new premises, a volunteer is needed to help launch and publicise the building’s facilities.  You’ll need good literacy and people skills, and familiarity with all forms of media.  Make an amazing difference to someone’s life and build long lasting friendships.

Stratford Town Football Club – Various roles.  After celebrating recent promotion success the club is looking for new volunteers to help with maintenance, gardening, groundwork, fundraising and match stewarding.  Any gardening, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, training or maintenance skills would be useful, but not essential.  

Shottery Youth Theatre – Assistant Choreographer and Props Making Assistant.  A choreographer is sought for the production of a Christmas show, putting together and teaching dances to children and young people.  A props maker is needed to bring life to productions, constructing props, setting and striking the stage.

Warks. Remniscence Action Project - Trustee.  Providing reminiscence therapy training for carers and volunteers, WRAP is looking for a new trustee to support the work of the charity.  Someone working in the fields of publicity and social media, and prepared to use these skills as a trustee, would be especially helpful.

Bidford Community Library – Volunteers.  Run entirely by volunteers as a social enterprise, the library is looking for additional help.  Counter Volunteers are needed to issue and return borrowed items.  Fundraisers are needed.  Suitably experienced volunteers are needed for Story Time sessions for pre-school children.


For more details or to apply for any of these roles please contact the Volunteer Centre on 01789 262889 or

The volunteering website includes the details of hundreds of roles available locally.

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We are looking to recruit new volunteer peer reviewers to help assess the quality of health and social care services in Warwickshire to ensure that the customer voice shapes and influences the services we commission.

The next free training sessions will start on Wednesday 16th September 2015 and consists of five sessions, run once per week, over five weeks. The sessions are held between 10am and 2pm.

Please click on the link below for more information, or call Rach Hawthorne on tel: 01926 745618, or email

Peer Reviewers Wanted

Tagged in: volunteer WCC

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WREP is in the process of developing its future services with the intention of widening its focus beyond that of race and to consider other equality protected groups as defined within the Equality Act 2010.

We are consulting with our members and stakeholders in order to shape and influence Equality services across Warwickshire.

We are therefore asking those, who have not had the opportunity yet, to please take the time to help us by participating in this important survey.  Your opinion is very important to us.

To access the survey please use the following link:

The survey is open to all.  The closing date has been extended to 5pm on Monday 10th August 2015

Tagged in: equality

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The Santander Foundation has three grants programmes to help disadvantaged people in the UK - Community Plus (up to £5,000); Learn and Grow (up to £10,000); Money Skills (up to £10,000). There are no deadlines for any of the grants programmes.

Tagged in: funding fundraising

People in South Warwickshire are being offered an exciting opportunity to learn about and experience the day-to-day workings of their local police force, as part of a new Citizens' Academy. The programme will provide a unique insight into Warwickshire Police’s work to protect people from harm and improve the quality of life for residents.

Members of the public over the age of 18 can enrol in the ten-week Citizens' Academy programme, to be held at Leamington Spa Justice Centre from Wednesday, 23rd September 2015. Police officers, police staff and supporting agencies/organisations will deliver presentations on key topics every Wednesday evening, from 6.30pm-8.30pm.

The course will cover a range of policing functions/roles including crime prevention and detection, recording crimes and incidents, road safety, forensic investigation, police use of firearms, internet safety, and the role of Safer Neighbourhood Teams as well as other key departments. Participants will also be encouraged to request subjects of specific interest to them to ensure they get the best possible benefit from the time they invest.

The aim is to open up communication between the community and the police, inform the public about police procedures, reduce the fear of crime and increase people's awareness of personal safety.

Those who complete the programme will graduate from the Citizens' Academy and take part in a formal ceremony. It is hoped that graduates will share their experiences and knowledge with the wider South Warwickshire community, or become special constables or volunteers with the police or other agencies.

Last year an introductory academy took place in Rugby, which resulted in a well-attended graduation ceremony in December 2014. The academy was a resounding success and created a sense of enthusiasm and commitment among the 25 students that surprised the police officers and staff involved.

In light of this Warwickshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire agreed to develop further Citizens' Academies for the autumn of 2015, providing funding to ensure that the participants need only bring their time and commitment.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball said: "The first Citizens’ Academy was a great success and showed how valuable the programme can be not only for the police but also for the people who take part.  I was keen to support further academies in Warwickshire, so I am delighted that the South Warwickshire programme is now taking applications.”

Chief Inspector Andy Nolan from Warwickshire Police added: “I am extremely proud to be announcing the launch of South Warwickshire's Citizens' Academy programme. This is a unique programme which allows the communities we serve to understand and experience how we deliver policing, and protect our communities from harm.

“I would really like to encourage the public to apply as I believe the programme has a great deal to offer and is a great opportunity for our communities to learn in supportive and welcoming environment. I believe that we can also learn a great deal from our communities, so please step forward, join the academy and become a driver for positive change.”

South Warwickshire residents aged at least 18 who want to be part of this exciting new venture can find out more information and register their interest on the Warwickshire Police website or email


Criteria will be applied to the selection process and successful applicants will be subject to security checks.  The final date for applications to be received is Monday August 3, 2015.

Those interested in policing across South Warwickshire can also follow updates from their official Twitter account, @SWarksCops.

Tagged in: community police


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