St Andrew’s Parish Hall, Stratford – Thursday 17th September – It was a pleasure to welcome representatives of 31 groups to St Andrews for the final Volunteer Forum of 2016, some old friends and several new faces.

These half-day seminars are a chance to showcase the work of groups and of the huge support that the Districts’ local authorities are able to give – even during these more stringent economic times – and the three short presentations reflected work done and how Stratford District is responding to an ever faster pace of change.


First up was Elaine Ives who is part of the Business Change Team for the Social Care & Support Services People Group at WCC – her presentation can be found HERE – Elaine-presentation_20150923-102311_1.pdf


Elaine took attendees through how the 2014 Care Act has already affected the lives of older people (and of other age groups and people with a disability) and what will happen over the next few years.


Once you’ve taken a look at the presentation, please use these links for more information –


Further information is available on the Warwickshire County Council website:


You can request leaflets if you do not have access to the

internet: Please ring: 01926 410410


For details about support services in Warwickshire



Next to speak was Lynne Barton from the Entrust Care Partnership. Lynne is a Director of the Partnership which is a CIC – a Community Interest Company – and her telling of the story of what is a very ‘young’ organisation was wonderful. There was lots of hard work early on (which continues to this day!) and stories of the grant support which has made a real difference – from national bodies such as the National Lottery through to local providers such as The Stratford Town Trust.

For Lynne’s presentation CLICK HERE – Lynne-presentation.pdf

If you can you help as a volunteer, to raise funds, to work for Entrust, to make a donation, collect pre-loved children’s toys and clothes – please contact Lynne and her team –

Fairview House, 26, Vicarage Lane, Harbury, Warwickshire CV 33 9HB – 07712326273 –


The final speaker was Marie Darwen from the Communities Team at SDC – her presentation looked at the detailed research continually carried out as Strategic Plans are developed.

It was all about the work being done on Social inclusion, work which will continue on looking at indentifying and then developing the support that people in need in our District should have.

Some of the key areas covered were –

Education/employment and training

Income and debt work

Social inclusion work

And part of the whole project is the Digital Inclusion Fund. The grant fund has a closing date of 16th October, with £40 000 to be distributed to groups who have projects that will help as many people as possible become ‘connected’ to this new world of information and access at our fingertips. For details and how to apply CLICK HERE


To close each forum, there is a chance for attendees to talk about their work. If you’d like to see a copy of all the news CLICK HERE – VSF-170915-Information-Exchange-notes.pdf


There are though three events you may well be interesting in coming up in the next couple of weeks –

GAGA, a Stratford based charity generating growth for African children and communities, devastated by HIV-AIDS and poverty, through the goodwill of people in the UK and elsewhere are holding a South African barbecue on 25th September, 11.30am to 2.00pm, at 50 Cygnet Court, Stratford, to raise funds for and increase the profile of GAGA.

This is their web site –

On Tuesday 6th October there are two events for your diary –

Making Space, who provide person centred support for people living with a range or mental health conditions, are holding a Tea and Talk event between 11.00am and 2.00pm, at Briar Croft, Stratford. Join Making Space for tea and cake, and have a conversation about mental health to help raise and end stigma. Contact

At Stratford Racecourse, Stratford SCAM are holding an all day conference on ‘Living Well with Cancer’ – all the details are available on THIS POSTER – Scan-conference-poster-AUG15_FINAL.pdf

You’ll find lots of help and support looking at what services & support can help after a cancer diagnosis. Do go along if you can!



The next Voluntary sector Forum will be early next year – probably sometime in February. All VASA members will receive an invite but if you want to find out more, please do bookmark this site or join our Twitter account



Thank you to all the speakers – Elaine, Lynne and Marie – and to all those who came along. Our thanks also go to St Andrews for allowing us to host the event in their beautiful Church Hall.