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National Lottery award to boost communities’ recovery from Covid-19 pandemic

Voluntary Support North Surrey has been awarded £459,000 funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to support communities’ recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath. The project, which will run over four years, will boost support for and build the capacity of voluntary organisations providing services to local communities across the three boroughs.

Voluntary Support North Surrey was established almost 30 years ago to support voluntary and community organisations and identify and fill gaps in voluntary service provision. It has grown significantly in the last decade, a tribute to the connected and dynamic support it provides to the crucial community organisations that deliver essential services and support to local people. It acts as a critical friend to local voluntary groups and offers free services including finding suitable volunteers, funding advice, help with business planning, marketing, access to training and much more.

In conjunction with more than 80 community groups, many of which currently work in isolation, the lottery project will work to address six main areas
• Creating a skills bank of professionals for fundraising, marketing, governance and more
• Recruiting new volunteers
• Recruiting and training trustees
• Linking groups so they can share knowledge, skills, volunteer recruitment campaigns, admin tasks and training to improve capacity to deliver their services
• Upskilling groups with digital skills
• Providing hands on support to improve sustainability

Solette Sheppardson, Voluntary Support North Surrey’s CEO, explained: “We have seen the impact that the pandemic has had on individuals, families, communities and the organisations that are there to support us all when we are in need.

“A strong voluntary and community sector is vital, and successfully provides the safety net for those residents who are most vulnerable, and with the continuing impact of the pandemic and now the rising cost of living, we will be able to offer timely and in-depth support to crucial voluntary services thanks to National Lottery funding. The idea for this project was born in the community itself and we are excited to work with the lottery in delivering a new model of support in communities. This is not about imposing best practice but working in partnership to help local organisations reach their potential.”

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