Parish & Village Organisations
Support Staffordshire works with a wide variety of parish and village based organisations throughout the county. They include groups attached to local churches, schools, community centres, village halls, shops and even pubs. Many groups provide local services and activities from village halls in particular. Village or parish halls can often be the key hubs in their communities and are usually run by separate village hall committees.
We also work with, and alongside, parish and town councils, who whilst statutory and not part of the VCSE sector, often have similar approaches to other community based groups in supporting local activity, and they may also be eligible for some community grant funding. Parish councils can also provide match funding for local community projects or even help provide the up-front cash for a project when grant funding can only be paid in arrears (for example with some Heritage Lottery Fund projects).
Support Staffordshire works across the localities of Staffordshire and this means reaching into the rural areas as well as the towns. In some cases we have a specific remit to support rural groups, for example under the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) we have been encouraging and supporting community groups and parish councils to apply for Heritage Lottery Funded community grants.
Here are some of our members to give you an idea of the sorts of groups we support
How we work with groups
Support Staffordshire can provide advice and support to parish and village organisations on project development and funding through one-to-one advice. Where there is a specific local community focused grant scheme, Support Staffordshire may invite groups to come to a presentation or workshop sessions to find out more in a shared environment.
Rural communities may also be involved in setting up new groups to provide a local service, perhaps taking on a service that is under threat such as a local pub. Recent examples of this are the community owned White Hart in Alton and the Royal Oak in Rushton Spencer.
Advice from Support Staffordshire on appropriate legal structures for such community businesses is also on offer.
Neighbourhood Plans are proving popular with some parish councils. The main source of support for these will be the planning services of the local district or borough councils. There is also a range of help available at a national level. For further information visit the Forum for Neighbourhood Planning.
Some communities find that that they are interested in developing a wider community plan which assesses the range of community needs, and results in a village or community plan covering all aspects of life from play areas to activities for older people to encouraging tourism and heritage projects.
Whether the community is developing a neighbourhood plan or a community plan, Support Staffordshire can help with the community consultation elements, such as organising open consultation public meetings or questionnaires. We have SNAP software which is capable of producing questionnaires as well as collating and analysing results for up to several thousand responses. (The largest done to date was a survey of the whole community of Biddulph in North Staffordshire.)
For further information on the Support Staffordshire offer on rural community consultations or the application of SNAP surveys email Jill.Norman@supportstaffordshire.org.uk
Support Staffordshire regularly highlights news relevant to rural areas in our monthly e-bulletin. This includes information about relevant European funding programmes such as the Staffordshire LEADER programme. The Support Staffordshire e-bulletin is available to any organisation or individual. You can subscribe for FREE by visiting our e-bulletin page.
Main partners and organisations
Community Council of Staffordshire
The Community Council of Staffordshire is actively engaged in protecting and improving the quality of life for all those living or working in the communities of Staffordshire by promoting self-help initiatives within communities, especially those in rural areas. Amongst its activities it provides a specialist advice service for village halls, and also a bulk oil buying scheme to help those living in rural areas without mains power sources.
For further information go to www.staffs.org.uk or phone 01785 242525.
The Village Halls Advisor, Cathy Russell, can also be contacted at this number
Staffordshire Parish Councils Association
The Association is a network for communications, and lobbies on behalf of Parish Councils to represent their interests. It is a source of information for Parish and Town Councils across the whole spectrum of a Council's business including providing free legal and financial advice.
The Association aims to promote good local government and grassroots democracy, by keeping Councils up to date with the latest developments.
For further information go to www.spcaonline.org.uk or phone 01785 277499 or 01785 895353.
There are over 180 parish and town councils across Staffordshire, ranging from very small rural parishes like Fawfieldhead Parish Council in the Staffordshire Moorlands to Stone Town Council in Stafford Borough.
A full list can be found on Staffordshire County Council’s website.
National Association of Local Councils
The NALC represents 9,000 local councils and 80,000 local councillors in partnership with County Associations. They provide advice and guidance to members, assist with lobbying and campaigning, print publications, provide toolkits and hold a variety of conferences and events.
For further information please visit the National Association of Local Councils website.
Action with Communities in Rural England
There are 10,000 village halls In England representing the largest network of community owned facilities in rural Britain. This includes a range of rural buildings such as church halls and community centres which are used for a wide variety of activities. They also frequently provide a meeting point for the rural community, providing vital and diverse support to improve quality of life.
Volunteer management committees ensure the continued operation of village halls however they face ongoing challenges such as meeting legislative requirements, and ensuring they are financially sustainable, frequently through fundraising.
Some halls face difficulties recruiting volunteers due mainly to an ageing population in rural areas. However, with the support of the ACRE Network and Village Hall Information Service the challenges facing community buildings can be overcome.
For further information please visit the Action with Communities in Rural England website.
Follow our Twitter List on Parish & Village Organisations for the latest news.
For further information, or an informal chat, about how we can help you on this subject or any other, please contact your locality office during their opening hours, or on 0300 777 1207 anytime Monday to Friday, 9am - 4pm. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
See also Area of Activity…Environment, Rural, Sustainability & Animals