Will 2017 be the year you start your adoption journey?

ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) would love to hear from anyone who can provide a secure loving home to a child in care.

PACT is holding a series of information events where anyone considering adoption can find out more about what’s involved and the services it offers. Events include a session in Reading on Tuesday 21 February at 6.30pm. It is free to attend but please book a place in advance by calling 0300 456 4800.

PACT supports families across the south east through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects. Last year PACT placed 91 children with 58 PACT families through its adoption services. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England.

PACT is particularly looking for couples or single people, including those from the LGBT community, who can consider adopting a child with additional needs or a sibling group of three or more.

PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “We would love to hear from you if you are thinking about embarking on a route to adopt. We understand this is a big step but getting in touch with us and attending one of our information events is a great way for you to find out more and work out if this is right for you. It could be the first step you take on an amazing journey.”

Information events are led by a PACT social worker and will include a talk from someone who has adopted through PACT. There will also be chance to ask questions and talk informally to adoption staff, and there will be information to take away and read at home.

Shirley Elliott, Head of Adoption at PACT, added: “Our experienced and approachable teams can offer help and support from day one. If you are thinking of adopting or have any questions at all about our services, please do get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.”

You can find out more about PACT and its adoption services at www.pactcharity.org or you can speak to one of PACT’s dedicated enquiry officers by calling 0300 456 4800. Lines are open 10am-3pm Monday to Friday.

Praise for OCVA

Our new Volunteer Centre Coordinator, Emily Shaw, received this email:

Just a note to thank you for all your efforts in assisting with recruiting volunteers. There has been an instant hit with several candidates asking for application forms with some that look to be very good indeed. Within a couple of weeks you have helped us to recruit and start interviewing potential volunteers from all areas around Oxford. Thank you.

Comment: ARCh recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2016

ARCh recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2016

A voluntary group from Oxfordshire working in the community to help children enjoy reading has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

ARCh is a registered charity which recruits, trains and supports volunteers to work 1-1 with children in primary schools across the county. With a growing network of over 260 volunteers working in over 100 Oxfordshire schools.

Development Managers Elaine Adams and Jane Rendle from ARCh attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 24th May where they joined the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

ARCh is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards given to groups this year is slightly higher than last year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

ARCh received the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson at a celebration with their volunteers at Cokethorpe School, Witney.

Tim Stevenson, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, said:
“I am absolutely delighted that ARCh has won this prestigious and rightly coveted award. The strength of the ARCh model, the support the organisation gives to kids and its engagement, training and support for its wonderful team of volunteers is exemplary. Many congratulations”
Elaine Adams, Development Manager for ARCh, said:
“It was a delight and great honour to attend the magnificent garden party at the Palace on behalf of all our volunteers who do such a wonderful job supporting Oxfordshire’s children each day”
“We would like to encourage more people to join ARCh and change a child’s life – call us on 01869 320380 or email info@archoxfordshire.org.uk to find out more.”

ARCh is recruiting now for volunteers to join and be trained in their next training course on 27th and 28th September 2016. Please visit our website for more info www.archoxfordshire.org.uk

Oxford Computer Consultants Become Latest OCVA Associate Members

Oxford Computer Consultants, founded in 1989, have become OCVA’s latest Associate Member*.

OCVA has 10 Associate Donor Members, 9 funders, and 14 organisations who sponsored this year’s Charity & Volunteer Awards.Without the help of these organisations, OCVA would not exist.

It’s easy to become an OCVA Donor. At just £65 per year and with inclusion of a web link at the foot of every OCVA web page it’s a great way to show your support for Oxfordshire’s voluntary, community and non-profit sector. (We’ll turn your donation into the core support services our valuable and hard-pressed sector needs.)

Oxford Computer Consultants (OCC) is a software development company with clients across the public and private sectors. They develop custom software for energy, health and science. They provide products for social care finances.

OCC are currently developing their own social enterprise, ‘Ami’, and so it is a wonderful time to be welcoming them into the OCVA family. (Ami sponsored one of this year’s Charity Awards.)

“Ami are investigating new ways of connecting with other people to reduce loneliness and isolation, helping people to lead healthier, happier lives.”

You can read more about OCC at https://www.oxfordcc.co.uk and Ami at http://www.withami.co.uk

 

*As a matter of procedure, all Memberships must be ratified by OCVA Trustee Board. However all Membership brackets enjoy the full benefits of Membership as soon as signing up, including prior to formal ratification.

NEWS: University Student Says OCVA ‘light years ahead’

A student of Royal Holloway, University of London has said OCVA’s work on data is ‘light years ahead of much of the sector’.

Cartographic Representations front coverThe comment came in along with submission of the student’s thesis, ‘Cartographic Representations of the Third Sector’ for OCVA to publish on our website (with institutional consent).

The author of the thesis, James Bowles, is hoping to continue his fascinating studies at PhD level, where he would examine how digital platforms can better document and chart the work of the third sector in order to help people drive greater efficiency, sustainability and provision.

OCVA features in the thesis several times; and the work forms an excellent analysis of the opportunities now existing with technology in mapping and visualising the sector’s work, and also the challenges in doing so.

The Charity Commission publish the most recent accounts, annual reports, rough area of operation and mission statement, all of which provide a good overview of the charity. However, the register is still not completely open as only 500 search results are downloaded at a time, and the information that gets downloaded is very basic. The Charity Commission supply an extract of the database, but it requires a content management system in order to properly view it. At a regional level, the best data is held by [councils for voluntary action (CVA/CVS/VCS)], such as the OCVA.

Download: Cartographic Representations of the Third Sector by James Bowles
Opinion: Trevor Barton

OPINION: Key themes to 2020 and what we are doing about them

Funding of groups

  • Conference for Funders with an interest in Oxfordshire to encourage application consistency and open publishing of historic data on what’s been funded so that groups know who to apply to and funders know what to prioritise (pending)
  • Data for Good web tool to assist groups, funders, and strategists (in progress)
  • Contract Hub (in progress)
  • Open data publishing, passing data to funders (soon)
  • Online census to improve the data we can share (done, will repeat yearly)

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  • RASCG (participation)
  • Single point web resource for referral (done)

Community-owned Energy Generation

  • Possible co-led training event run with partners (just an idea)

Emergency Response Planning for Communities

  • Currently just a possible work area off the back of our work with RASCG and learning from others

Housing Deprivation / community-owned housing schemes

  • Online network (done, needs plugging)
  • Possible physical network cross-sector event linking up with RASCG

Economic Development

  • Partnerships with SMEs providing discounted services to the sector (growth area)
  • ROBIN (done)
  • CSR in terms of creation of new funds via TVCC (idea)

Food banks

  • Online network (coming soon)

Industrial Revolution 2.0: Reskilling the Workforce

  • Not our remit, but possible involvement in FE/HE public/third cross-sector conference (idea)

Sources: TheNextWeb.Com, Shift2020, Futuretimeline.net
Opinion: This is an opinion piece from Trevor Barton

5 things you probably didn’t know about OCVA

  1. We have a wormery
  2. If you put all our paid hours together, it’s the equivalent of having fewer than 5 full-time staff – yet see what we achieve!
  3. Very few of us are from Oxfordshire originally. Our cleaner is from Croatia and has worked here 16 years
  4. Few of us live in Oxford. We travel in from all over the county
  5. Our CEO (Kathy) has met Vladimir Putin