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Support Staffordshire wins Award for being the beating heart of the local community

Tue 5 Jan 2021

Support Staffordshire, which supports a membership of more than 1000 voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations across Staffordshire won the 2020 NAVCA Heart of the Community Award for being the beating heart of the local VCS and wider economy.

NAVCA is the national membership body for local third sector support and development organisations in England and alongside their members, they are part of the movement for local social action.

The NAVCA Heart of the Community Awards is the annual celebration of local infrastructure support across England and due to the pandemic the 2020 ceremony was held virtually and streamed live at 3pm on Friday 4th December.  With a total of eight award categories and more than 60 submissions from NAVCA members across England, the Heart of the Community award was the final award of the evening.  

Former NAVCA Chief Officer Jane Ide announced the award by saying, “We all know that our local infrastructure organisations across England are absolutely the beating heart of the community.  Without you however unnoticed or appreciated or undervalued you may feel sometimes without you the local voluntary sector simply wouldn’t thrive or survive even sometimes.”

As Support Staffordshire was announced as the winner of this prestigious award Jane Ide tweeted “I am truly thrilled to present the @NAVCA #HeartOfTheCommunityAward to @SupportStaffs – I know it was a really tough choice for the judges, but I know just how much commitment and care Garry and his team bring to their work.  Truly the beating heart of their community.”

Garry Jones, Chief Executive of Support Staffordshire said “At the outset of the pandemic Support Staffordshire took a very proactive decision not to cut across our communities and step in and do the work they were best placed to do but to support them to wrap our support around them and make the most of it. We’ve used out expertise, our energy and skill and commitment to do that now virtually for the whole of 2020 and I just wanted to say how incredibly proud and privileged I am to lead the organisation that’s done that.  The team have been absolutely fantastic and I couldn’t hope to work somewhere with such commitment and skill as I do.”

In the first 3 months of the pandemic Support Staffordshire reached out to support 312 groups, trained 117 participants through 15 bespoke Covid training sessions and connected 140 people through 18 online forums and supported investment of £1.85M.  From July, a further 220 attended 13 networking forums, 183 attended 17 training sessions, a further 310 groups supported and £1M of funding.

The network of 9 VCSE anchor organisations made over 5,000 weekly food deliveries, 6,000 prepared meals, 2,800 prescriptions, and 1,500 befriending calls; and with their support, engaged a local network in each of our eight districts, working with food banks, mental health, bereavement, domestic abuse, family support and other services, to ensure no caller was left in need.

In addition Support Staffordshire channelled 1,967 new volunteer enquiries in late March and April, with 78% of these being referred immediately and 100% being followed up, have advocated at a multitude of local partnership boards, acted as the National VCS Emergencies Partnership Liaison Lead for 4 UTLAs (Upper Tier Local Authorities -Staffs, Stoke, Shropshire and Telford) whilst continuing to deliver on four community engagement programmes and 11 social prescribing programmes throughout. 

For more information about the work of Support Staffordshire visit the website.