Help us, Help You! Complete our 2 second survey to let us know what’s important to YOUR Berkshire community

Please take two seconds to answer this extremely short questionnaire which will really help programme our work as a charity going forward in 2020 and beyond. It’s so crucial we know what’s important to you and your Berkshire community. Thank you in advance (it literally takes two seconds so please click):

New course from Volunteer Centre West Berks; Zoom Bid Writing Course

Zoom Bid Writing Course
Thursday 19th November 2020, 10.30am – 12.00pm

Sara Hanson, Volunteer Sector Support Officer is an experienced bid writer and evaluator, and has designed this course to challenge you and give you the tools you need to be able to move forward in your bid writing.

This course is designed for people with no to limited experience with Bid Writing and will go over completing forms online, providing you with hints and tips on preparing and completing them and the language to use. Sources of funding opportunities, the criteria to meet, the jargon used and the reasons applications fail will also be covered. 

Cost: £10
Please fill in the details on the booking page and we will get back to you with details on payment. 

New Free Training opportunity for Volunteers & Practitioners working in West Berkshire; Energy Advice & Awareness Webinar

Exciting new webinar on Energy Advice & Awareness Training from CCB just announced.

On Tuesday 24th November from 10am – 12pm. The training will be run by CCB’s Energy Expert Helen Dean and full details including how to book can be found below, join from the comfort of your own home of office.

About this Event

This course aims to provide training, advice and useful information to practitioners and volunteers that work with low income and vulnerable individuals, including families, those with long term health conditions and the elderly.

The sessions will ensure learners know and understand;

* The definition of fuel poverty, and how to advise and support the clients you work with

* How to compare costs and switch supplier to get the best deal;

* The discounts available to those on low incomes

* Funding for insulation and boiler improvements for low income households from 3 sources

* How to reduce costs by reducing energy usage

* Information on the Priority Services Register

* How best to deal with debt and support available

* Useful sources of further information

Places booked on a first come, first served basis. To book your place please click here: This training is supported by West Berkshire Council Adult Community Learning

Extent of rural economic and social benefits from village and community halls revealed

Village and community halls in England offer extensive economic and social benefits to rural communities, a report from CCB’s national body ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) has revealed.

Just before lockdown 2,109 halls took part in the National Village Halls Survey 2020 which provides a detailed snapshot of the operations and management of community buildings across the country.

The survey found that village halls make a significant contribution to the economy.

At least 10,000 individuals earn a living connected to the use of these community buildings, from Pilates and Yoga teachers to people running dog training classes. A further 4,500 people are employed as cleaners, caretakers and managers.

Nearly half of all halls serve as a venue for private parties, and a quarter host weddings; events which provide commercial opportunities for local businesses.

One in ten are also home to community businesses; enterprises which are owned and run by residents for local community benefit, such as shops, cafes, and post offices.

Additionally, 70% of respondents had undertaken improvement work, extensions, or new halls in the last five years, contributing well over £46 million to the UK economy. Local builders were often used.

Village halls also offer extensive social and cultural benefits, ACRE’s research found.

Those living in rural areas are at heightened risk of social isolation, which can lead to poor health, loss of independence and lower quality of life, according to the Local Government Association.

This makes the work of village halls particularly important. An astonishing 60% of respondents stated that their halls are the only meeting place for their community, with activities such as coffee mornings and luncheon clubs helping to address loneliness among vulnerable groups.

Volunteers also play an important function in maintaining the buildings, carrying out small repairs, maintenance and checks within 94% of respondent halls. Two out of five have volunteer caretakers or handypersons. This involvement generates considerable wellbeing benefit for those who take part.

ACRE Chairman, David Emerson CBE said:

“It is only through the commitment and generosity of 10s of 1,0000s of volunteers who help run halls and the activities within them that we create the multiple social and economic benefits which these halls deliver for their communities.

Yet the major problem reported was the difficulty recruiting new volunteers. With more people now working from home we hope a new generation of volunteers will step forward in every community.

Community activities build strong communities and create better mental and physical health, not just for vulnerable individuals but for everyone. 80% of respondents knew someone whose lives have changed for the better as a result of joining activities at their local hall. The service provided by these unique spaces is needed more than ever.

 Deborah Clarke, Rural Evidence & Village Halls Manager, commented:

The report demonstrates the huge economic and social benefits that village halls in England provide. ACRE is extremely grateful to the 2,109 volunteers who kindly took part in this survey.

What is the VCS Emergencies Partnership?

In September, CCB joined a coalition of front-line charities working across the Thames Valley to improve the provision of support during emergencies

The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Emergencies Partnership exists to respond to requests for help with preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies. If local support structures such as councils for voluntary service, local resilience forums and local authority hubs cannot provide the support a local community or organisation needs, requests for help that can’t be addressed locally can be escalated and the VCS Emergencies Partnership can step in to facilitate provision of that support. Further information on this initiative will be made available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please visit the RVA website here: or the VCS Emergencies Partnership website: