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Charities and volunteers the winners after great start for Community Works

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More than 180 charities and volunteer groups have been helped to improve their operations and finances in the first 18 months of a contract awarded by Adur and Worthing Councils.

A report says Community Works (CW) has made a great start helping the sector increase its contribution to communities across a range of areas including health services, wellbeing and caring for young people. On a day to day basis, the body gives training, mentoring, support and in-depth advice to groups as well as helping with submissions for funding.  Their wider role is also to develop, enable and promote local voluntary and community action and they have been achieving this with gusto in Adur and Worthing since July 2016.

According to a report compiled for Councils since July 2016 CW has given help to 182 organisations and has a membership of 58 bodies. It has run 21 training sessions on funding, governance and health services attended by 74 organisations in Adur and Worthing. Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Val Turner said, “I have been very impressed with Community Works since we awarded them the contract. They have increased the range of individuals and groups helped and made a real difference to the amount of excellent work this vital sector is undertaking in Worthing.”

Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Dave Simmons, said, “These are impressive figures. Our volunteers and community groups are simply gold-dust, and are playing an increasingly important role in helping preserve the social fabric of our district. Community Works is giving them fantastic support in helping to continue their essential role.”

Based at Worthing Town Hall CW was funded to the tune of £88,000 by Adur and Worthing Councils and £35,000 by West Sussex County Council. The current contract ends in March but is set to be extended for another year.

Case Study 1

Community Works met with the trustees of the Shoreham Community Trust which runs the Shoreham Centre and conducted an in-depth organisational health check.

This covered governance, organisational structure and culture, embedding HR mechanisms such as training, supervision, appraisals and performance management.

Together with the Community Works staff members the trustees identified priority areas for immediate attention: business planning, policies and risk assessment, website, and HR development. Community Works is currently developing the next stage of the support package, including brokering a consultant.

Matt Davis, the chairman of Shoreham Community Centre said, “Engaging Community Works to assist our Trust to achieve the desired benchmark has been a rewarding experience. Their consultant’s constructive and supportive approach to getting us up to speed on matters of policy and governance has been a smooth ride, and certainly to our benefit, our thanks to a great organisation.’

Case Study 2

Worthing Counselling Centre provides low cost counselling in the Worthing area and has a team of 20 counsellors.

It is a registered charity and aims to promote counselling as widely as possible for individuals and communities that might not usually be able to afford it.

Community Works was approached by the newly-appointed co-ordinator for support around fundraising and development.

This included development support towards three funding applications, all of which were successful: £4,637 from the Sussex Community Foundation for subsidised counselling and work on the website, social media and leaflets, £1,500 from Worthing Community Chest towards premises and £1,504 from West Sussex County Council Community Initiative Fund towards replacement of furniture, equipment & soundproofing.