VNews 2023, Regional Roundup

VNews 2023, Regional Roundup

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VNews 2023, Regional Roundup

Your latest VNews regional roundup full of the updates happening in your area.

February 2023 Update

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the first VNews of 2023. January is over and dare I say that we might be seeing the first signs of spring? Either way, it definitely feels like the blues have lifted and there’s growth around the corner. The same can be said for CSSC, with our Active Wellbeing challenge underway (will we make it around the world?) and new volunteer and sport improvement plans in the pipeline (more on this later).

We have two new Volunteer Team Leaders; Kate Hanlon in the North West and Kelly Young in the South and South East. Please join me in a warm welcome to both Kate and Kelly, whom I’m sure you will meet on your travels.

AGM season is approaching at speed and the VTLs are really looking forward to getting out and seeing our volunteers in action. It’s all go, as usual and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So, grab a brew, a slice of cake (or fruit if you’re still sticking to your healthy eating New Year’s resolution) and read on to find out more about all things volunteering at CSSC.

The Scotland region are fresh from their annual regional conference. The conference went well, brilliant ideas were shared, and people were recognised for their contribution.

Volunteer of The Year - Bob Harvey

Area Association of the Year - Aberdeen

Certificates of Recognition: 

  • Michelle Doig
  • Avril Watson 
  •  Sandy Watt

Well done to you all and thank you to everyone who attended.

Upcoming events in the region

Fancy fresh air in Fife? Come along for a walk and meet some fellow CSSC members. A wee trip to the theatre?

In the Midlands we sent out a Regional Newsletter in mid-August with exciting news of members can get involved with your CSSC Midlands Regional team by helping to offer events, and offers of activities to our members.  We’ve already had a response from a member in the Lincoln member who is interested in organising rifle shooting so watch this space!   We also launched the annual photography competition and gave updates on the Big Band and Book Club which had a visit from the author of the best seller Cecily, Annie Garthwaite in May.

Around the region things are busy, we have offers at West Midlands Safari Park, Dudley Zoo and Gardens and Gullivers Theme Park in Matlock, add to that virtual Bingo Crown Green Bowls and Snooker and there's something for everyone! Check out the website.

We’ve been busy interviewing for volunteers for the Regional Secretary and Regional Diversity Champion so hopefully, those posts will be taken up soon and we’re getting close to our annual Volunteer Conference that will take place on the 8th and 9th of October in Sutton Coldfield so were busy with final preparations.

Activity is booming in the North East and Yorkshire, with every area planning their AGMs and organising exciting events for our members to attend. Here is just a taste of what is on offer in the North East and Yorkshire:

Mid & West Glamorgan area are fast becoming an establish area association following a merger of the Bridgend and Swansea areas in 2018. Mergers always come with some challenges but once some of the unknown fears are addressed it can become a positive and beneficial action that members ultimately reap the rewards from.

Mid & West Glam are now supporting the two adjoining areas that are a little geographically remote in Wales and therefore struggle a little to recruit and retain volunteers.

West Wales and Aberystwyth are the areas in question and the volunteers that we do have in those areas have recently met with volunteers from Mid & West Glam and have started a positive conversation around what they can do to work in collaboration to ensure that members across the areas in question get maximum use of the membership.

In addition, and as a by-product of the Wales Blueprint group, a further collaboration with the Newport and Cardiff Areas has also recently kicked off. The Wales Blueprint group have forged a great relationship which has galvanised the areas in Wales and has built a strong network of volunteers who are working in the right direction for the benefit of members.

This is really positive and is testament to the way in which the group has come together and is working towards common goals. The Wales Football Team coined a phrase – “Together We are Stronger” The Wales region without realising it are doing the same!

Love these guys – keep up the good work.

In January we held a Regional Blueprint meeting in Huntingdon. This was a good opportunity for volunteers from around the Region to get together, discuss any common issues and see how we can progress over the coming months. We also used some of the time to review the Regional Conference and look at new ideas for Regional events and activities for 2023.

We have had five Area meetings this month and lots of planning is underway for some exciting new events that will be coming up in 2023. Events have started to pick up and so far this month Hertfordshire have had a tree planting event, Hunts, Cambs and Beds had tickets for the Exotic Marigold Hotel in Milton Keynes. South Essex went to see Blood Brothers at Cliffs Pavilion and had a coach trip to Christmas at Kew Gardens.

Coming up this month Anglia have a trampoline fitness class booked and Peterborough are off to Rushden Lakes for some shopping paired with a Peaky Blinders Theatre Trip. Hunts, Cambs and Beds are off to an adult panto and to Six the musical and South Essex have tickets for Cirque the Greatest Show and have many offers for Adventure Island, afternoon tea and crazy golf (along with lots more!).

In sports news we have the Regional bowls competitions taking place this month and the planning is underway for other Regional sports taking place this year. We have just recruited a new Regional Golf Organiser, and already have provisional dates for this year’s event!

This month CSSC London says goodbye to Paul Stubbs who is stepping down as London Chair after 8 years in post. A big thank you to Paul for everything he has done for the region.

I am sure you will all join me in welcoming our new London Chair, Steve Marshall. The region will be benefiting from Steve’s extensive experience and expertise. Watch this space for some exciting plans in the works for CSSC London.

Our event organisers have been busy scheduling in activity for 2023. 18 January saw the start of our 11 week Modern Ballroom and Latin American beginners and improvers dance course and various theatre trips have passed and are upcoming across London’s West End. Also, to be added soon are tickets for London based flower shows, language courses and museum/ heritage site access.

Grant applications were distributed to London clubs at the beginning of the year with the aim to review following 17 February. We are excited to work with and support the clubs to continue the great work they do to get CSSC members more active.

The new Volunteer Team Leader for North West is Kate Hanlon who you can contact at kate.hanlon@cssc.co.uk / 07801458305

AGMs

  • Bolton Thursday 9t March Bolton College (Deane Road Campus Deane Road, Bolton, Greater Manchester, BL3 5BG) 6pm.
  • Blackpool & Fyldes - Marton Institute, Blackpool, FY44DR on Thursday 30 March at 7pm.
  • Manchester – Thursday 23 March Venue TBC
  • Merseyside – TBC
  • Central & East Lances - Monday 6 March 2023 from 6:30pm at The Houghton Arms Blackburn Road Withnell Chorley PR6 8BL

The North West hosted our Annual Regional Conference on Sunday 29 January & Monday 30 January. They were a great success with lots of creative and innovative ideas for new events across the region.

A calendar of events is currently being created and will be shared with all volunteers shortly.

Kelly, South and South East VTL

Hi everyone, I’m Kelly. I am the Volunteer Team Leader for the South and South East of England. I have a long background in volunteer management and community support for the third and public sectors.

I am passionate about supporting our volunteers because throughout my career I have seen first-hand the amazing things that can be achieved through the dedication and care of volunteers. I am looking forward to bringing my previous experience to CSSC and supporting you in all the great volunteering you do.

In my spare time I enjoy hiking, archery, travelling and learning new skills.

Fun facts about me

  • Favourite food: Cheese 100%
  • Superpower I’d most like to have: the ability to speak all languages
  • Favourite sport to play: squash or archery
  • Famous person I’d most like to have dinner with: Prof. Alice Roberts

Upcoming events in the South and South East

  • Wilder Kent Walking Safari: Bison at West Blean and Thornden (cssc.co.uk)
  • Gosport & Fareham Area/Mountbatten Festival of Music (cssc.co.uk)

Things are looking bright in 2023 for the South West with a plethora of potential events discussed at conference and already proposals coming in for Blueprint funded events for the year ahead.

After the success of last year’s synchronised Cream Tea, we are looking to get more synchronised events underway such as ‘Seaside Days’, ‘Steam Railway Adventures’ etc, along with tickets for county shows and much more! We are delighted that our ‘Winter Warmer’ virtual events are underway and have been opened up nationally so that members from all over the country can join in:

As always we need your help to showcase the brilliant range of benefits members can enjoy and the fun they have at the events you organise, so please send your pictures to Chris Camps via comms.sw@csscvolunteer.co.uk

At the last Board meeting in Dec 2022 the Blueprint trail was discussed and the Board has agreed the recommendation from the Volunteer Committee that the trail was a success and that it should now be incorporated into CSSC’s normal business as usual (BAU).

It was clear that it has made a valuable and telling contribution to how CSSC, the Regions, Areas and our Volunteer community are better able to communicate, engage and progress CSSC matters.

As you are aware the three main elements of the Blueprint are:

  1. Area representation at Regional Committee meetings to plan and discuss funding and events.
  2. The selection of a Regional representative to attend Volunteer Committee meetings.
  3. Shared regional events/activities/offers using “top Slice” funding.

Should you require any further information, your VTL will be able to assist.

Our lovely VTL Jenny Yarrow is still offering Nutickets training sessions for all volunteers. There are sessions for learning the basics, making the most of the reporting functions and general Q and A sessions. To sign up, click here and find a session that suits you.

A new year and with this comes new plans! we have released a number of documents outlining our vision and strategy for the next five years. The plans are exciting, ambitious and will ensure we can support our vision to inspire our members to explore new ways to be active while maintaining and developing their physical and mental health. The plans are available to read here.

There are two new plans which will be of specific interest to volunteers. These are:

  • The Volunteer Improvement Plan- Discover our plan for the volunteering aims and objectives for the next five years here.
  • The Sports Improvement Plan- Read about our plan to refocus our intentions and outline our ambitions here.

In 2022 we awarded 22 certificates of recognition to our volunteers. In January alone we have already awarded six!

Three of the six have been presented to:

  • Sandy Watt
  • Avril Watson
  • Michelle Doig

The other three are still to be presented so we will keep them stum for now…

If you know a volunteer who deserves recognition, you can nominate them here.

The volunteers at CSSC do such an amazing job at organising a wealth of events, activities and opportunities for our members to get involved in. However, you’re a modest lot and don’t always blow your own trumpet. We want this to change, and we want our volunteers to turn up the volume and shout about the incredible work you do. The best place to do this is social media, utilising these platforms to highlight to members all the events you offer.

The coms team will help you share your events on social media, so please can you send any details of your events or activities to editor@cssc.co.uk email address. From here the team will choose the most suitable social channel and get it out there for you.

To help tell your story and really showcase your endeavours please include as much detail as possible such as:

  • Nice clear photos of events (think people having fun and engaged)
  • Dates, locations, who arranged, any partners involved, number of participants etc
  • Any similar upcoming events to mention
  • Any quotes from participants or organisers

That’s it for your first V News of the year! As always, the VTL team are here to support you (volunteersupport@cssc.co.uk) and we look forward to seeing you at AGMs in March.


May 2023 Update

Check out the most recent VNews updates for you region here.

The Scotland Region held their annual Volunteer Conference in February. Congratulations to Aberdeen Area Association who won Area of the Year and Bob Harvey (Secretary of Ayr Area Association) who won Scottish Volunteer of the Year. Both very well deserved!

In March, a group of CSSC eco volunteers from Queen Elizabeth House and Scottish Government planted 200 trees! The next event will be a beach clean followed by a picnic. Details will be shared shortly.

Central & East Lancs, along with Blackpool & Fylde will join forces on Saturday 24th June, offering a free event to both members & non-members to join in with a beach clean at Lytham St Anne’s. Families, friends, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances are encouraged to come along and take part in this eco event supporting our local area and this beautiful beach. It will be a great opportunity to meet new, likeminded people, as well as promote the member benefits at CSSC and hopefully encourage potential new volunteers. There will also be some tasty treats at the end of the event to thank all our hard working, eco volunteers.

We would like to welcome both Toby & Pam to the Bolton Area Association volunteer team. Toby & Pam both attended our regional conference in January and will bring some new and innovative ideas for membership offers.

Shout out to Dave Wyatt – a longstanding volunteer who currently supports a lot of activity and events in Manchester. Promoting health and wellbeing, sport, inclusion and giving new activities a go, Dave is really embracing lots of the new changes being implemented. Dave is a great asset to the volunteer team, using Nutickets regularly and utilising all the different platforms that we have at CSSC to advertise events. He is always looking to improve his knowledge and keeps great communication with both VTL and his area.

All areas continue to embrace new ideas across the region and want to incorporate this into activities and events. Wellbeing for members is a huge focus for North West volunteers and planning has begun to include this on a more regular basis, including specific events and cashback on wellbeing activities that members participate in. Area’s discussed new ways of working at the recent AGM’s and how we can take these ideas forward for future activity. All areas are keen to also welcome new volunteers to their areas/committee and so are planning “Burger & Beer” evenings, “Tapas evenings”, “Family fun days” & “walks around English Heritage” and this will hopefully support recruitment of new volunteers within the area.

Friday 21st April was Eid, a Muslim festival celebrating the end of Ramadan and an opportunity to spend time with loved ones. To commemorate this special day, the West Yorkshire Area Association held an Eid Celebration on Friday 28th April at an Indian Restaurant in Bradford. The event had forty-eight sign ups of both members and non-members and was a fantastic success. Well done to the volunteers in West Yorkshire for hosting such an innovative and inclusive event.

The 22nd of April 2023 was World Earth Day and we wanted to say a big well done to Tracey Ware (North Yorkshire Area Association Secretary) for organising a litter pick event in York to mark the occasion.

At the end of February, CSSC held their Annual Volunteer Awards and another big shout out must go to the West Yorkshire Area Association who won The Russell Scott Trophy for Area of the Year!

In the Midlands, we’re investigating doing a British Sign Language course to support our members who have a hearing disability and there’s lots of new activity coming online including paddleboarding, pottery, running city centre guided tours and Christmas cracker making planned for Christmas.

Shout out to Janet Welch for her first ever event, Pottery for North Staffs Area sold out in 48hrs, so she’s booked another one! Well done, Janet!

Shout out to Nicky Snaith for organising a member recruitment event at the new Government Hub 23 Stevenson Street in Birmingham and has been successful for Workplace Activity funding to put on Yoga Sessions – that’s how it’s done Nicky, well done! And thank you for all the Midlands volunteers for really picking up the baton and running this year your commitment and enthusiasm is awesome!

Also, the Midlands Big Band have set a date for their next rehearsal- 4th June in Shardlow Derbyshire…watch out for the e-shot to book if you’re musically inclined.

Anglia have been trying to come up with some new, innovative events this year and with Michelle (the new Sports Liaison volunteer) in place, more sport is now on the calendar! They have Tubing event coming up in June where members can experience the thrill of whizzing down Norwich ski slope in the comfort of an inflatable tube!

Sadly, this month we have said goodbye to Yvonne Gaynor, Chair of Hunts, Cambs and Beds Area. We just want to say a big thank you to Yvonne for all her time and the effort she has put into CSSC over the past eight years. We will miss you, but we hope to still see you at local events in future ????

Also, a big welcome to all our new volunteers that came on board during this year’s AGMs. We’re looking forward to working with you and hearing about your ideas to help us engage with more members!

At the end of February, CSSC held their Annual Volunteer Awards and another big shout out must go to the Suffolk and North Essex Area Association who received a highly commended award as runners up of The Russell Scott Trophy for Area of the Year. Congratulations to all the volunteers in this Area, and a big thank you for all your hard work and dedication to CSSC.

The North Wales Area Association have introduced Pickleball into the area with a view to pushing it across other areas in Wales and hopefully inspire areas across the UK to consider how they can introduce it! They ran a taster day in March which was attended by over 30 members and non-members. It was supported by the Anglesey pickle ball club and coaches and was attended by the CSSC CEO Matt Bazley. They have also introduced regular weekly sessions which they are hoping will grow and expand to other leisure centres across the area on North Wales. Pickle Ball is an indoor or outdoor game that is played on a level court with short-handled paddles and a perforated plastic ball volleyed over a low net by two players or pairs of players.

This was also a recruitment opportunity for non-members and will be used to engage with current members and hopefully with a partnership with local clubs gain new CSSC members in the area.

Well done to Anne Morris, who has led on the pickle ball initiative in North Wales, supported by North Wales area volunteers Sian Barnett and Helen Roberts. Lots of hard work put in to get the pickle ball taster and weekly session up and running. They are also in talks with Sport Wales to investigate the possibilities of getting funding to develop the sport in North Wales. Exciting – watch this space!

Cardiff Area, after a period of having minimum volunteers involved in running the area, now have a full complement of area officers and 4 co-opted volunteers onto the area group. As the biggest area in Wales this has been an important step forward. Despite not having many volunteers up until the AGM this year, the small group have done well to put on a varied range of activities and event. We hope that the new group will go from strength to strength in 2023.

One of this year’s priorities across all regions is trying out new, innovative events. The East Kent Area has combined sports and leisure and organised a Speedway Disco Walk along the sea front. The event states “You can walk, you can dance, you can wave your arms in the air, bring your friends, come alone… you will LOVE this Disco Walk”. Find out more here.

Shoutout to Jessie S, Events Organiser at Brighton and Worthing AA. Jessie has been so incredibly proactive in supporting the area, the committee, and members. Such a star! Well done as well to Caroline A, Activity Organiser at Farnborough AA. Caroline has totally run with the prize draw for the Area which is incredible!

Teamwork makes the dreamwork! Recently, Chatham and Maidstone AA and East Kent AA joined together to offer a ABBA Voyage theatre and coach trip. Within 3 minutes of being online, the trip had sold out! Further dates have been organised for later in the year. Well done and thank you to Sam, and everyone in East Kent and Chatham and Maidstone for organising this for our members.

The South West Region volunteers have blitzed the Blueprint funding pot with numerous exciting events planned, with many already underway for CSSC members throughout 2023. From County Cricket and International Rugby tickets to the theatre, county shows and a day trip to the Channel Islands; volunteers have been brilliant in coming forward with their ideas for events.

There is a ‘Coronation Themed Musingo’ event planned for 18th May hosted by Regional Chairman Berewyn Long. As well as a ‘Pub Quiz from Your Sofa’ scheduled for 24th May with host Mr Paul Danneau.

Volunteers from Yeovil Area Association have been busy lately getting involved in a brilliant local project that links with ‘School in a Bag’ and ‘Shelterbox’ by producing sanitary kits that are distributed around the world to women and girls in need through natural disasters, war, or poverty. Volunteers have connected with ‘Sustainable Sanitary Kits Yeovil’ and work to physically produce the kits through their sewing skills, as well as spreading awareness locally to seek donations for the materials required.

CSSC members at the Yeovil AGM raised some money through a raffle that was donated to purchasing materials for the group. Audrey Haskell Yeovil Area Chair said “The group is going from strength to strength with 700 kits having been completed and passed on already this year and at least another 200 in the process of being made. The plan is to continue to seek material donations from our Yeovil CSSC members subject to whatever news promotion we can do in our Area newsletters”. A huge well done to all for being involved in such a deserving cause!

We would love to hear more stories like this, please send them in to natalie.parry@cssc.co.uk