Join us


Cygnus Support is a vibrant charity with a strong reputation as a professional emotional Wellbeing service, offering talking therapies, education and support to individuals across the Northumberland. Cygnus Support has had a presence in Northumberland for 30 years and we are very aware of the increase in the number of individuals who are struggling to maintain a good enough level of mental health. The charity is poised for growth and is looking forward to increasing its portfolio and expanding into new markets over the coming years. Mental health has become more common place and as an organisation we are working hard to consolidate our experience in order to improve and expand our services and be more responsive to local need in this area.

Cygnus Support have a number of exciting projects happening across Northumberland. We have been successful in attracting three years funding from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, we support victims of crime, including domestic abuse, with financial support from the Police & Crime Commissioner, we are a key provider in the Northumberland Building Better Opportunity Programme focussed on employability, and we have the investment of Community Foundation Fresh Ideas funding to establish a commercial arm to enable financial sustainability.

As the breadth of our work increases, and our focus is firmly on delivery of our future we are inviting new additions to our already committed Board of Trustees. We are particularly interested in recruiting trustees with experience in the following areas:

  • Finance
  • Legal
  • PR & Communications
  • Marketing
  • IT
  • Social Media
  • Fundraising

Even if your experience is not in one of these areas we would still like to hear from you.

As a new trustee you will be fully supported through an induction, followed by ongoing support from board members and management with Cygnus Support.   These roles are unremunerated, but reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.

The Board meets every six weeks and trustees and invited and encouraged to support one of our sub-committees, and where possible representing the charity at public events.

If you would like to learn more about Cygnus Support or what it is like to be a trustee then please contact Jill Scarr, Chair on 07764 996571

Application forms are available from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 01670 853977, or write to Cygnus Support, 1 Council Road, Ashington, NE63 8RZ


Direct Secondment Opportunity for a Mental Health Community Partner in DWP


Salary range: £28,307 - £32,239

Secondment term: 12 months

Hours: Up to 37 hrs ( to be detailed in the Secondee Agreement)

Work pattern: Can be Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Closing date: 12th December 2017


The Mental Health Community Partner role is a new and exciting opportunity to be part of a team of Community Partners to work collaboratively with the Third Sector in strengthening mental health awareness within Jobcentre Plus.  This includes enhancing the support offered to customers with a mental health condition.

The Mental Health Community Partner will have a base location of Ashington Jobcentre Plus office. However the role involves regular travel to meet community organisations & groups across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and occasional travel across the wider Northern region.

For more details and information, download the application document.



Direct Secondment Opportunity for a Learning Disabilities and Neurodiverse Conditions Community Partner in DWP


Salary range: £28,307 - £32,239

Secondment term: 12 months

Hours: Up to 37 hrs ( to be detailed in the Secondee Agreement)

Work pattern: Can be Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Closing date: 12th December 2017


The Learning Disabilities and Neurodiverse Conditions Community Partner role is a new and exciting opportunity to be part of a team of Community Partners to work collaboratively with the Third Sector in strengthening awareness and understanding of disability and health conditions within Jobcentre Plus. This includes enhancing the support offered to customers with learning disabilities or neurodiverse conditions.

The Learning Disabilities and Neurodiverse Conditions Community Partner will have a base location of Ashington Jobcentre Plus office. However the role involves regular travel to meet community organisations & groups across Northumberland Tyne & Wear, and occasional travel within the wider Northern region.

For more details and information, download the application document.

Natural Ability logo 


Full time position

Salary: £38,000 p.a.

Closing date: Saturday 25th November



Natural Ability was founded in 2009 to provide a great choice for people with learning disabilities who enjoy being outdoors and active.  By providing our Day Farming service we enabled people with learning and other disabilities to engage in rural activities, learn through challenge and well-managed risk, doing meaningful work, having fun and with a sense of personal autonomy.


We also provided home based support to enable a young man with learning disability to live independently in his village community.

Since 2009 our services have grown to include Alternative Education provision and an increase in Independent Living Services from support to one individual to currently supporting six independent households. 


Our Mission is to create an environment where people with learning and other disabilities live and work as valued and contributing members of the community, having excellent quality of life with purposeful employment, lifelong learning and pride in their achievements. We build on people's strengths and aspirations helping them to learn, gain skills, make friends and be included as valued members of the community.


We also work with children and adults with long term mental health needs and physical disability and can also support people with Dementia to enjoy Day Farming.


The role of CEO is a newly created position, designed for someone to develop and promote the charity building on our success to date. This is an exciting opportunity for a creative leader who can bring a business focused approach whilst ensuring we continue to deliver services that embody the ethos of the charity. 

 The successful candidate will ideally demonstrate the following attributes:


  • Empathetic to the ethos of Natural Ability
  • Have proven success in driving forward partnerships and forging relationships with stakeholders, ensuring an effective and persuasive public face of Natural Ability.
  • Proven experience in developing strategy, ensuring decisions are delivered operationally and implementing organisational growth
  • Experience of working in a senior position within a supported housing or education setting 
  • Commercial acumen with the ability to identify and develop new opportunities
  • Ability to lead, motivate and support staff and volunteers, team building across the organisation, highlighting good work and results.

Critically, you will be able to work at both a strategic and operational level across a range of functions including marketing, income generation, external relations and financial management.


To find out more or request an application pack please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., telephone 01434 618149 or look at our website:


Closing date for applications is Saturday 25th November with interviews w/b 4th December 2017

Ashington male voice choir



A negotiated honorarium is paid for the position

Deadline: Monday 20th November 2017


This community based choir, having recently celebrated its Centenary Year, is highly respected throughout the North East. The choir committee members are seeking a suitably qualified and experienced person to take on the role of Musical Director and Conductor and lead the choir into the future.

The appointment will commence from January 1st 2018. Weekly Thursday rehearsals lead to a number of concerts during the year which includes at least two ‘choir promotions’ as well as a number of community and charitable concerts. The choir is a member of the National Associations of Choirs and participates in regional activities. There is a break in activities during August and over Christmas. Choir membership is currently 30+ with a spread of voices over the ‘four lines’. The Musical Director plays a key role in the overall direction of the choir and works with the enthusiastic management committee.

Interested persons are invited to contact the Choir’s Secretary for further information and then submit a letter of application including details of two referees by not later than Monday 20th November 2017.

Send your application to: Colin Prow, Secretary, AMVC, 53 Beverley Drive, Stakeford, Choppington NE62 5YA. Call 01670 815534 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Jigsaw compressed


We're finding recently that some people are feeling very confused about the various memberships we offer - and that's perfectly understandable given that we often talk about the three entities almost in the same breath, so here's a quick rundown on each of the memberships we offer with links to find our more:


Northumberland CVA:

Now in our 30th year of providing support to the voluntary and community sector (and previously operating under the name Wansbeck CVS), Northumberland CVA is an independent membership organisation offering infrastructure support for the voluntary and community sector in Northumberland.  It is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. 

We provide information, support and training on funding, governance, project development and volunteer involvement to help voluntary and community groups operate safely and legally and support them to grow and thrive. We also represent the interests of the voluntary and community sector at a strategic level, working with key local partners across all sectors. In addition, Northumberland CVA offers a range of Specialist Services including intensive funding support, bespoke training, business planning, project management and monitoring, as well as payroll services.

Having a strong membership helps us to achieve our mission to engage, stimulate and inspire the creation and development of strong, sustainable and vibrant communities in Northumberland and the surrounding areas.

Membership of Northumberland CVA is free and open to any voluntary and community sector groups, clubs and organisations based within or operating in Northumberland, regardless of size.

Becoming a member of Northumberland CVA allows you to show your support for our mission and influence the way we develop in the future. Membership also offers a range of valuable benefits.

Why not join us. We’d love to have you as a member of Northumberland CVA.  Visit to find out more about the benefits of membership, and download a membership application form.


Northumberland Trustees' Network:

As a result of a scoping exercise in 2014 on the needs of trustees, Northumberland CVA (then operating as Wansbeck CVS) was asked to lead on the creation of a new network for trustees and we were awarded two small grants from The Hadrian Trust for that purpose. Following consultation, Northumberland Trustees’ Network was launched in June 2016.

Membership of the network is free to trustees of organisations that are members of Northumberland CVA as well as to any groups in Northumberland with an income below £10k. It costs less than £1 per week (£50 per year) for others. 

The network offers access to a huge online bank of over 400 resources that offer guidance in every aspect of a trustee's role and members receive additional monthly e-bulletins featuring changes in the law and updates on essential guidance. Find out more about the network at


Northumberland VCS Assembly:

The Assembly is an inclusive, independent and influential voice for the voluntary and community sector in the county. It is a mechanism for better engagement and influence with public sector partners and strategic partnerships to shape and respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the sector in Northumberland.

The Assembly is currently being facilitated by Northumberland CVA under our Northumberland County Council VCS Support Services commission. It is a separate entity and is not a part of Northumberland CVA. It has a democratically elected Executive Committee of twelve members, drawn from across the spectrum of Northumberland’s Voluntary and Community Sector. Find out more about Northumberland VCS Assembly at

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland


Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland (RCTN) are setting up a Black Asian Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) Women’s Sexual Violence Network. The network is aimed at BAMER women who work or volunteer in frontline roles in generic, holistic or specialist organisations (this can include statutory and voluntary sector organisations).

The network is for workers and volunteers in Tyneside (Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and South Tyneside) and Northumberland. The network is for BAMER people who identify as women including Trans women.

We work to continually improve our ability to meet the needs of and reach out to all women and girls. The aim of the network is to increase BAMER women workers’ knowledge, skills and confidence in working with sexual violence and to inform the development of our engagement of BAMER women in our specialist services.


Free Training

Women who join the network will be welcomed to access free training. This training aims to increase workers’ confidence, awareness, knowledge and skills relating to sexual violence and to explore the issues that may affect you when receiving disclosures. 

The training hopes to achieve the following learning outcomes

  • Define sexual violence
  • Understand the effects of rape and sexual assault on individuals
  • Understand the impact of victim blaming and societal attitudes on those who have experienced sexual violence
  • Identify specialist support available to those who have experienced sexual violence
  • Identify key practice issues relating to receiving disclosures



Monday 23rd October 2017

Arrive from 9.15am to begin promptly at 9.30am. The session will finish at 2.30pm

Workshops will be held in a central Newcastle venue which will be confirmed after booking. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Places on the training will be limited to 2 workers per organisation.

More training dates will be available so please get in touch to either book your place at this training or to express an interest in future training and the network.

Contact Dawn: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0191 222 0272


More about the network

How participants benefit:

  • Access to free specialist sexual violence training and information
  • An increased understanding of women and girls’ experiences of sexual violence
  • Increased confidence in receiving disclosures of sexual violence
  • Clear information about our services and how to refer into them

How we benefit:

  • A network of BAMER women who have clear information and confidence about our services and how to refer into them
  • Increase of referrals into Rape Crisis services by BAMER women
  • Greater understanding of the needs of BAMER women

Stop Loan sharks


Over 310,000 households in the UK use illegal money lenders every year and problems caused can include often serious physical and mental health issues.

Now the North East Region Illegal Money Lending Team has produced an NHS Health Guide for Health Care Professionals around recognising such issues in colleagues and patients and giving information on where they can access Loan Sharks Advice.

Download the guide.

Northumberland CVA has been asked to disseminate the following information on behalf of Northumberland County Council:


1. What is VCSE Health and Wellbeing Fund?

The VCSE Health and Wellbeing Fund is part of a wider new VCSE Health and Wellbeing Programme. Each year the fund will be will be themed around a specific topic for each round. For 2017-18 this is social prescribing. Social prescribing means different things to different people, however, the Social Prescribing Network’s co-produced definition is: “Enabling healthcare professionals to refer patients to a link worker, to co-design a nonclinical social prescription to improve their health and wellbeing.” Social prescribing is generally understood to be an intervention through which people are supported to access non-medical services in the community. Examples include befriending, art classes and exercise classes, but a wide variety of activities can be included. Typically, a community navigator/link worker will work with the individual to co-produce solutions that best suit their needs. A range of terms are sometimes used for the community navigator/link worker, including health advisor, wellbeing coordinator and community connector. The community navigator/link worker role is a key element within successful social prescribing models.  Therefore we require all applications to demonstrate how their scheme will support this role. Organisations are invited to bid for funding of up to £300,000 for the first year of their scheme. This is a maximum and when applications are assessed consideration will be given to the scale and scope of schemes in relation to the amount of funding requested. They expect to be able to announce successful schemes in December 2017 and release the first grant payment once all documentation signed by local partners is provided.

2. Eligibility

  • Work in England, be not for profit and be incorporated or a registered charity.
  • In order for your application to be considered your organisation must: Provide evidence of a commitment from “local partners” (see footnote) for resourcing of: 50% in year 2, 80% in year 3 100% in year 4 onwards.  If we receive a high volume of applications, we will do an initial sift based on this criterion.
  • Include the community navigator/link worker role within its social prescribing scheme model.
  • Be able to demonstrate strong established links with “local partners.” They should provide a commitment from the relevant partners of their commitment to develop a Memorandum of Understanding and information governance and risk management agreements.
  • Commit to input experience and share learning with NHS England about measuring the impact of social prescribing.
  • Commit to share learning and contribute evidence towards evaluation of the Fund.
  • Commit to joining the national Social Prescribing Network and, if relevant, their local regional social prescribing network.

Full details on the funding scheme can be found at

3. Approach in Northumberland

We are looking at a phased approach in Northumberland as there is a significant commitment required from the “local partner” which to recap can be:

  • Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group,
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Northumbria Healthcare Trust

The first phase will be submitting the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Fund 2017 -18 : Social Prescribing Application Form (which can be accessed at to Kirsten Francis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please submit these Application Forms no later than noon Tuesday 31st October. Please put VCSE HWF Phase 1 in the title bar of your email to ensure it is identified.  At this stage there is no need to complete the Eligibility part of Section E but DO complete the Details of Scheme section. There will be a local panel that reflects membership of the VCSE Health and WellBeing Programme, which will make an initial assessment and look to agree and work with up to three applications to go forward to full application and submitted to the HW Fund by noon 21st November.

5. Local Priority/Priorities

“Local Partners” are particularly interested in bids that support Young People in terms of social prescribing - especially in regards to those presenting with low level mental health issues however other topics would be considered as what we want to identify are the strongest, deliverable bids that would achieve the maximum benefit for Northumberland residents.
We will also consider supporting more than one project to go forward for selection as this could increase our chances of getting a successful bid for Northumberland. If you have any queries please contact Kirsten Francis on 01670 624741


It is important that the social prescribing schemes receiving grant funding are sustainable. For this reason, we require applicants to gain support from their local CCG, local authority, STP leadership team or Accountable Care Organisation, to invest in their proposed scheme from year two onwards.  Although the Fund will provide full funding in year one, it is the expectation that the local partner will provide 50% of funding in year two, 80% funding in year three and 100% funding in year four onwards. Applicants will be expected to provide evidence of the agreement with the local partner as part of their application.


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