Our News - Page 3 of 6 - CVS Uttlesford

ByRichard Corby

Great demand for Green Matters community gardening service

When we launched our gardening service for disadvantaged, disabled and vulnerable people in Uttlesford we could only dream of the levels of demand we are experiencing

Through the deployment of teams of locally sourced volunteers, lead by our Horticultural expert Mark Ropkins, gardens are fully or partially reclaimed, in order to improve local resident’s health and wellbeing and to reduce the risk of trips and falls

When we developed the proposal for Green Matters and took it to potential funders and partners, we thought our first year target of completing 80 gardens was ambitious but achievable.  Less than five months into the project and we have already received 55 referrals from across the district, with more coming in to the office each day.

If you know a person whose garden is a cause for worry, or they feel unsafe stepping out of the back door due to overgrown paths and trip hazards, please get in touch.   You can make a referral through Uttlesford Frontline or if you would like to discuss an application for support you can call Richard or Jacqui at the CVS Uttlesford office on 01371 878400.

Some examples of people we have already helped:

  • A retired married couple where the wife is in need of long-term care. We cut the front lawn and undertook pruning and weeding.  The garden had got out of hand as the husband busy caring for his wife. We have returned the garden to a manageable condition and the gentleman is now happy to continue the work himself.
  • A retired lady living alone.  We have reduced the size of her shrubs as they had become large and unmanageable.  We removed a dangerous branch from one of her trees, as it was split and at risk of falling on the resident.
  • A retired lady living alone.   Her hedges were overgrown and this, together with two small trees, were blocking the light coming in to her house.   We removed the trees and cut back the hedges to open up the property.
  • A gentleman affected by Multiple Sclerosis who was waiting for an operation.  He lives alone and used to love his garden, with a particular fondness for fuchsias.  We cut back the shrubs, weeded and cleared his pathways to improve his access.   This will help him to get around the garden safely when he comes home from hospital.   He is now able to care for fuchsias  in baskets that he doesn’t have to lean down to and can easily keep them watered himself.

We need your help

Our team will visit gardens and help to restore some control over them, but we need the help and support of neighbours and neighbourhoods to keep on top of the gardens in the areas we are working.  If you are able to volunteer and hour or two a week to help a neighbour or person in need stay on top of their garden then please get in touch.

If you are waiting for a visit

If you have been referred and are awaiting an initial visit, we will get to you as soon as we can.    We try to visit a number of properties in the same area on the same day, so may take a week or two getting to you.   We will however be in touch to confirm an appointment for the first visit and advise you of when we expect to start your garden.   Lead time is currently around six weeks.

If you would like to discuss your upcoming visit or need to change the appointment please call Richard or Jacqui on 01371 878400.   We’ll be pleased to help.

ByRichard Corby

Free Mental Health Awareness Training 31st August 2018

An introductory four hour session to raise awareness of mental health

Our free training for charities and voluntary groups is designed to give:

  • An understanding of what mental health is and how to challenge stigma
  • A basic knowledge of some common mental health issues
  • An introduction to looking after your own mental health and maintaining wellbeing
  • Confidence to support someone in distress or who may be experiencing a mental health issue

Learning takes place through a mix of presentations, group discussions and workshop activities.   Limited to 25 places so that the instructor can keep people safe and supported while learning.

You will receive:

    • An MHFA manual to refer to whenever you need it
    • A workbook including a helpful toolkit to support own mental health
    • A certificate of attendance to say you are Mental Health Aware

Book Tickets

ByRichard Corby

Working Together: CVS Uttlesford and Frontline

Frontline is a community project that helps the public and frontline workers quickly find details on local health and wellbeing services

Frontline was designed by Uttlesford Citizens Advice, but it is really a large community project where organisations and services sign up to improve people’s knowledge and access to local services. Frontline in west Essex is funded by Essex County Council and the NHS’s West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group. CVS Uttlesford operates a technical support service for Uttlesford, Harlow and Epping Forest Frontline, helping users  both online and via the telephone.

The Frontline Report Q1 Apr to June 2018 is now available to download

Monitoring of Frontline performance by the back office team shows that this quarter has been another best quarter performance in all districts.

We are delighted to partner with Uttlesford Citizens Advice in delivering Frontline across three districts, and together we have ambitious plans to extend the reach of the platform into other districts and regions.  This includes the recent development of installing public access terminals in GP waiting rooms, so that patients can access additional help and support at the same time as they are seeking medical help.   Loneliness and isolation are key concerns in our area.   Our befriending fact sheet has one again been the most popular download.

Kate Robson, Chief Executive Officer of Uttlesford Citizens Advice says:

“Frontline was always an ambitious project to see if the voluntary sector could develop and operate a single, secure pathway to support joint working across community partners – (district councils, social care, local health, community support) and it is working!! Thanks to everyone who really are helping and supporting this project. A special thanks also to Uttlesford CVS – who electronically monitor the system to ensure no referral is ever missed!”

Frontline is free to use – for both services and service users.   To find out more or register visit:



ByRichard Corby

Consultancy for Charities

We can provide charities with advice and guidance on a range of issues

Our team in Uttlesford has over 40 years of involvement in the voluntary and charity sectors.   We are able to draw upon a wide range of experience, relating to funding, financial management, compliance, governance, health and safety, safeguarding and risk management.

As an entry level member of CVS Uttlesford you are entitled to four hours of free consultancy each year.  Join us today – and then give the team a call to arrange an informal first meeting.

Telephone 01371 878400 or email info@cvsu.org.uk

We’re here to help.



ByRichard Corby

Automatic disqualification rules for charity trustees and charity senior positions

From 1 August 2018 changes to the automatic disqualification rules mean that there will be more restrictions on who can run a charity

For most charities, taking some simple steps to update recruitment and appointment systems is all that will be needed to prepare for the rule changes

Under current rules, a person is disqualified from acting as a charity trustee, if certain legal disqualification reasons apply to them.

These reasons are mainly bankruptcy related, and also include unspent convictions for crimes involving dishonesty or deception.

It is usually an offence for a person to act as a charity trustee whilst they are disqualified.


A disqualified person can, in most circumstances, apply to the Charity Commission to waive their disqualification. They can do this at any time after they become disqualified.

The new automatic disqualification rules

From 1 August 2018 there will be 2 key changes to the automatic disqualification rules:

  • an increase in the number of legal reasons that disqualify someone from acting as a trustee. The new reasons include being on the sex offenders register, and certain unspent convictions – such as for terrorism or money laundering
  • people who are disqualified from acting as a trustee are also disqualified from holding certain senior manager positions at a charity


For useful guidance on how to comply with the new rules, visit the Charity Commission website:



ByRichard Corby

Social Isolation and Loneliness are driving some of the worst issues in our society

CVS Uttlesford hosted a loneliness and social isolation knowledge sharing event at the Uttlesford Community Hub on Friday 6th July 2018.   Here, Chief Officer Clive Emmett talks about some of the learning and the challenges we are facing in energizing our communities to address them

ByRichard Corby

Great free and donated resources for charities and community groups

Charities and Community Groups may find these money saving links useful in running their enterprise

If you need detailed help or support CVS Uttlesford is here for you – contact info@cvsu.org.uk or telephone the team on 01371 878400

On this page we have listed links to organisations who offer free services, donated equipment or resources that charities and community and voluntary sector groups can make use of.

Before spending hard earned funds on computers or software, take a look at donated items available on the Tech Trust website.

There are alternatives to Office365 too, so have a look at Google NonProfit. Eligible organisations can get free business standard email, using your own domain, as well as using cloud drive, calendar and Google Docs too.

We love Breathe HR – a cloud based HR solution that is free to charitable organisations with less than 250 staff.  Manage also staff and volunteers in one place and it is GDPR compliant too!

n.b.  Links provided for information purposes only.  Clicking the links will take you outside of our website.   We are not responsible for external content.

Communications and Digital

IT & Technology

Staff and Volunteer Management

ByRichard Corby

Charity Futures report into core costs

A new report by Charity Futures, ‘To the Core’, explores the ongoing challenges associated with charities’ core costs and outlines the need to be open with donors about how their money is spent

The report points out the importance of administrative support, stating that “Infrastructure is rather more like a skeleton than scaffolding. You need it all the time and, unlike scaffolding, you can’t dispense with it.” It goes on to explore the behavioural science behind funding and suggests that the way we talk about fundraising could be key to changing perspectives on funding core costs.

You can read the report here.

If you need fundraising support or advice, help with preparing your annual budgets or identifying and allocating the true cost of your work, CVS Uttlesford can help.   Please get in touch.

ByRichard Corby

Digital Boomers – A theory of change for older people, technology and independent living

A ground-breaking report lifts the lid on how tech-savvy older people are in Essex – except when it comes to their health – and sets out the massive opportunity for the public sector to help local people use technology to live more independently for longer, aiming that by 2021, older people in Essex will be the most tech confident in the world

The report Digital Boomers – A Theory of change for older people, technology and independent living (www.rethinkpartners.co.uk ) myth-busts many common assumptions about how older people embrace digital and tech. It includes a Theory of Change: a step by step model to enable citizens, families, professionals and organisations to harness new technology at scale.

RETHINK Partners produced the report after being commissioned by Essex County Council to explore the question “How can technology be better used across Essex to promote independent living?” and worked with a group that included local and district councils, NHS, Fire, care delivery organisations and voluntary sector members from across Essex. They pooled their knowledge and set out to discover what may be enabling or hindering technology adoption amongst older people in the county; coupled with extensive face-to-face insight with people from across Essex, as well as an academic literature review by Anglia Ruskin University. The resulting Theory of Change makes six recommendations for collective action for citizens and professionals alike which together should take us closer to our world-leading ambition.

The Digital Boomers report and Theory of Change gives the entire county the blueprint for ensuring the people of Essex lead the way in tech and independent living.

Go to www.rethinkpartners.co.uk to download:

  • full version of the Digital Boomers report
  • short version of the Digital Boomers report
  • EasyRead version of the Digital Boomers report
  • the Digital Boomers Theory of Change infographic

CVS Uttlesford is working in partnership wtih RETHINK Partners to develop a digital strategy that will enable us to support older community members in their adoption of assistive technologies.  We will have more news soon, including details of how you can be part of our pilot phase of the scheme.


ByRichard Corby

Local Infrastructure & Small and Medium Charity Survival

This week, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales launched the findings of major national research commissioned on the impact of small, local level charities and the challenges to survival that they face

The Value of Small  study was carried out by a consortium of researchers from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University; the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) and the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership at the Open University.

A brief overview:

The research focusses on Small and Medium Charities (referred to throughout the report as SMCs, and defined as voluntary, community, social enterprise and civil society organisations that operate at local level with an income of between £10,000 and £1 million). The study highlights distinctive value that SMCs provide by playing a stabilising role between services and communities and by providing tailored, diverse and responsive local support services that plug gaps in local public service provision. 

  • The findings support the longstanding NAVCA and Local Infrastructure position on the urgent need to address gaps in funding, and also makes reference to the crucial role that local infrastructure organisations continue to play in the supporting SMCs.
  • Practical case study examples in the report highlight local infrastructure organisations’ role in coordinating cross-sector networks, facilitating collaboration and administering funding. This work provides a compelling account of the value and importance of local infrastructure organisations in ensuring the sustainability of SMCs.
  • The report makes strategic recommendations around the reform of funding, reframing the role of social value and sustaining relationships between SMCs, wider voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, and public sector bodies.

Copies of Value of Small can be downloaded here