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COVID-19 is having a detrimental effect on the total income of 71% of Northumberland charities, community groups and social enterprises, with 54% having less than six months of reserves left, finds a recent ‘COVID-19 Impact Survey’ carried out by Northumberland VCS Assembly.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the voluntary and community sector is never more needed as people across Northumberland rely on charities, community groups and social enterprises for essential support more now than they have ever done before. The unique role of the voluntary and community sector and the services it provides have proved to be invaluable during lockdown, and they will continue to be essential to help our communities heal and re-build as we recover.

Full recovery from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak will take a huge amount of effort. Unemployment and poverty figures are growing. Soaring demands for foodbanks, benefit and debt advice, domestic abuse services and counselling support are already putting enormous pressure on the not-for-profit providers of these services at a time when much of their income from fundraising and social trading has disappeared, forcing them to rely more and more on dwindling reserves.

The VCS Assembly, managed by Northumberland CVA – a charity that provides much needed support to voluntary and community groups across the county – is a firm supporter of the UK-wide #NeverMoreNeeded campaign, which urges government not to overlook or undervalue the voluntary and community sector when it is most needed.

Anne Lyall, CEO of Northumberland CVA said, “Throughout the pandemic, despite having had their income slashed, every charity and community organisation that has been able to continue working has responded swiftly to the crisis, with many new volunteer-led COVID-response groups setting up too.

“The sector has rapidly and effectively adapted service delivery to the restrictions of lockdown in order to reach out to those most vulnerable. But in continuing to support their community when most needed, many charities and community organisations have put their own survival at risk.

“The staff at Northumberland CVA have continued to work remotely throughout the lockdown to give support to charities, organisations groups and volunteers. We created an online searchable database of the support available in our communities, we expanded the information and resources available on our website, set up a Facebook page to link together Mutual Aid/Isolation Help Groups and community activists across Northumberland and we continued to issue our fortnightly e-bulletin to keep everyone up to date.”

Following publication of the impact survey, on behalf of its members the VCS Assembly has now written a response to the COVID-19 crisis in Northumberland and the county’s recovery planning which calls for a seat at the table during consideration of all recovery planning arrangements by the public sector as well as any future emergency planning.

Author of both reports and development officer for the VCS Assembly, Ann Atkinson said, “The public sector in Northumberland is going to be relying on the voluntary and community sector to deliver a number of services for them in the coming months and years but many organisations may not have survived the crisis to provide them. Our sector needs to be a part of future planning but it also needs additional support from government so it can be an effective partner in the recovery for coronavirus and in the future.”

Both reports are available on the Assembly’s website: You can find out more about the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign at: Any charities or voluntary organisations in the county needing support can contact Northumberland CVA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit:  

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Northumberland CVA will be running a new series of six, 6-week courses to support individuals to develop important skills to help them find work.

Northumberland CVA has received funding from the Coalfields Generation Trust to deliver the new SkillsUNeed training that will help participants write the perfect CV, carry out effective job searches, complete engaging application forms and learn how to be successful at interview. The training will also help participants prepare for work and manage on a budget.

SkillsUNeed will run one day per week, between 9.30am-2.00pm, with the first course starting on the 22nd April 2020. The sessions will take place at Northumberland CVA’s offices, based at 107/109 Station Road, Ashington, NE63 8RS.

Northumberland CVA has over 20 years’ experience of running employability projects and providing support to individuals to help them develop the skills they need to move nearer to employment and increase their confidence and well-being.  

Anne Lyall, Northumberland CVA’s Chief Executive Officer said “We are very pleased to be working with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust once more. Our new SkillsUNeed project will enable us to provide more individuals with a range of useful skills that can make a real difference for them in finding and sustaining employment.”

If you would like to find out more about how we can help, please contact Liz on 01670 858688



crt colour logo   NCVA Logo

We are excited to be part of a new partnership between local infrastructure organisations that has been formed to help charities across the region to protect vulnerable people and will allow us to offer greater support around safeguarding to groups across Northumberland.

Safer Culture North East, a partnership between Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East (VONNE), Connected VoiceNorthumberland CVACatalyst Stockton on Tees and ourselves will champion safeguarding and help charities across the region to embed best practice.

The group has been awarded £115K in funding by the National Lottery Community Fund (The Fund) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to deliver regular training sessions to voluntary organisations and work with local safeguarding networks. The project will also raise awareness of a new online safeguarding tool, launched last week, which offers charities a helpful step by step decision-making tool for those with concerns about someone’s conduct within their organisation.

Safer Culture North East is one of six partners to be appointed across England to share the tool and a freely-accessible suite of high quality online resources provided by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), raising safeguarding awareness and standards as part of a joint £1.2 million DCMS and National Lottery Community Fund investment.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, VONNE’s Chair of Trustees Sir Paul Ennals CBE, who also chairs the Safeguarding Adult Boards of Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland, as well as the Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships of South Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead, said: “Ensuring the safety and security of people within our communities is our collective responsibility, and I’m proud that this partnership has been created to help ensure that voluntary sector organisations across our region can play their part in keeping children and vulnerable adults safe.

“Each member of the partnership has its own meticulous procedures and policies to protect those it serves, but by working together we can ensure that local voluntary groups are trained and supported in keeping people safe across the region, from north Northumberland right down to the south of the Tees Valley.”

Between now and the end of 2021, around 80 training courses will take place across the region. For further information about the partnership and its planned work, contact Anne Fry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 0191 233 2000.


DCMS TNLCF RGB logo for use with Safer Culture North East comms 

Alnwick Castle is playing host to fifteen different funders at a countywide funding fair organised by Northumberland Community Voluntary Action.

On Thursday 5th March 2020; against the backdrop of the historic castle; local, regional and national funders will be attending to provide advice and support to community groups and charities in order to help them secure funding for projects, services and core costs.

Marc Johnson, Funding Officer at Northumberland CVA said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to speak directly to the funders about your project and the difference your organisation makes in your community. The funders are always interested in speaking to representatives from a range of different projects – from very small local activities to large countywide or regional projects.”

BBC Children in Need, National Lottery Community Fund and Greggs Foundation are amongst the 15 funders that will be available to talk directly to groups about applying for funding and how to have the best chance of submitting a successful application. The event is being supported by the Northumberland Estates through free use of the Guest Hall at Alnwick Castle and by providing catering. Northumberland Estates will also be promoting their own Community Fund on the day.

Attending this event can make a real difference to your organisation. After attending our Funding Fair in Hexham in October 2019, and armed with invaluable advice from funders, The Friends of Eastwoods Park were able to make successful bids that have brought in £93,000 in funding to support the development of their project in Prudhoe.

In addition to funders, the Northumberland VCS Support Services team will be available to advise groups on developing their projects, volunteering and other sources of funding.

Appointments with funders must be booked in advance and the booking deadline is 9am on Monday 24th February. To book your place, contact Northumberland Community Voluntary Action on 01670 858688; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit


Local legend Barry Mead


Our congratulations go to local archaeologist, Barry Mead who has become a National Lottery Local Legend.  The National Lottery Local Legend Award “recognises a person that has made an outstanding contribution to their local area. They may have enhanced the local culture or quality of life by dedicating their skills, enthusiasm and energy to a diverse range of projects”. The winners were selected by a panel made up of representatives from the National Lottery family.

Barry said “The 12 Local legends and guests were invited to the BBC studios in Wood Lane, London last week to watch the National Lottery awards show being recorded. It is being shown, I believe, on the 19th Nov. During the recording other award winners received their award from a variety of celebrities, including Hugh Bonneville, Torvill and Dean and Chris Hoy.

“Although the local legends weren’t filmed, were given their awards backstage by none other than BBC presenter and Strictly winner Ore Oduba. We were also treated to live performances from Rick Astley and Emeli Sandé. It was an exhilarating and unforgettable day.”

Barry is an archaeology & conservation volunteer in Cresswell, where he is involved with two of our Northumberland CVA member organisations: Cresswell Village Hall and Cresswell Pele Tower Charitable Incorporated Organisation. He was also awarded Community Archaeologist of the Year 2018 by the Council for British Archaeology for inspiring others to share his love of archaeology. He is also currently involved with the development of the Rocket House at Newbiggin by the Sea.

In the past, Barry has been a key member of the project teams in the development of Newbiggin Maritime Centre and Woodhorn Colliery Museum & Archives, amongst others, and has been a volunteer digger at the Lindisfarne Peregrini project, Mardon Hill excavation, Linbrig excavations, Land of Oak and Iron project and the Land of Oak and Iron project, and a conservation volunteer for CoastCare Northumberland and Northumberland National Trust. He has delivered archaeology sessions in schools in Linton, Lynemouth, Ellington, Widdrington and Heddon on the Wall. In his spare time he also gives talks on the local heritage to interested parties.


Barry Mead Ore Oduba      Barry Mead Comm Archaeologist award 2