This fortnight's news - 14th January 2019

New Year message from our Chief Executive

Happy New Year from MVSC.  We wish you a year full of promise, opportunities and successes for your organisation and in all you do for your service users in Merton.

We are very excited about what the voluntary and community sector can achieve together in 2019.  Working with public and private sector partners is equally crucial as we cannot achieve our objectives for residents without them.

It should therefore be no surprise that collaboration remains MVSC’s focus and one of our guiding principles this year.  This will be integrally linked to our concept of ‘generous leadership’.

The Big Lottery Fund (shortly to change its name) defines generous leadership as organisations sharing responsibility and influence with each other, having a shared set of goals and values and achieving their mission by looking at the bigger picture rather than what they can do on their own.  This is not new in our sector, we have been working with and supporting each other year on year.  However, the constraints and challenges of recent years have put a strain on some working relationships.  Where necessary, we need to rekindle our natural inclination for collaborative working, within our sector and across sectors.  We will build on Merton Accord, which is still in its infancy, and social prescribing, two good examples of recent collaboration in Merton.

We will also be exploring the best ways to support voluntary sector leaders who are facing significant challenges in running their organisations.  This initiative is starting with a VCS Leadership Workshop on 30th January.

Networking and strategic representation are part of our day job.  The quarterly INVOLVE and voluntary sector thematic forums resume this January.  In April, there will be INVOLVE elections of voluntary sector representatives to strategic partnership bodies.  You will have an opportunity to stand for elections as well as vote for your sector colleagues.  We will expect your effective contributions to the refresh of the Merton Community Plan and Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

This year’s Volunteer Awards and Voluntary Sector Conference are two big events MVSC is planning for the summer.  Keep a look out for further information soon.

Funding is never far from our minds in the voluntary sector.  Plans are advanced to grow Merton Giving to increase funding opportunities for local organisations.  Working in partnership with the Merton Chamber of Commerce, Merton Council and other local partners, we are engaging with businesses to harness their potential for doing good in the community through their corporate social responsibility, another example of generous leadership.

MVSC recently led a successful bid to the Mayor of London’s Young Londoners Programme to support youth partnerships and networks across four boroughs in a joint project with infrastructure organisations covering Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth.  We will also explore Government funding opportunities related to the national Civil Society Strategy and Loneliness Strategy.

While we wait for what Brexit would bring, the Local Authority Financial Settlement and the NHS 10 Year Long Term Plan will determine the future priorities for investment in local services by Merton Council and Merton Clinical Commissioning Group respectively.  There is also the much delayed Green Paper on Health and Social Care and outstanding Government’s spending plans for Public Health.  Much to look forward to in 2019.

One again, all the best for 2019.  Keep doing what you do best in the voluntary and community sector; provide services that improve the lives of local people.

With best wishes

Khadiru Mahdi
Chief Executive Officer

The NAVCA Awards are coming

In March, NAVCA we will be hosting the inaugural NAVCA Awards, designed to celebrate and showcase the best in our very unique and specialist sector.  NAVCA see examples that inspire and deliver real and meaningful impact every single day.  But does the  sector shout about them enough or tell the story of local sector support and development organisations?  

Well, this is NAVCA members' opportunity to tell their story; to celebrate and showcase their staff and volunteers, and to demonstrate the difference they make every single day.  The award categories are:

  • Telling the story
  • Collaboration and partnership working
  • Embracing digital
  • Leadership
  • Rising star
  • Trustee Board of the year
  • Making a difference

The awards are open to NAVCA members and NAVCA and we will be opening entries in the coming weeks.  Submissions will include a 300-word description and a two-minute video, both demonstrating how applicants meet the criteria.

This, and many other news pieces, can be found on the NAVCA website

EU Settlement Scheme Grant funding

The Home Office has launched grant funding of up to £9 million available to voluntary and community sector organisations to help vulnerable or at-risk EU citizens needing additional support when applying for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

Most readers will have seen details of this, so this is by way of a reminder.

Ensuring that vulnerable or at-risk EU citizens and their families are supported to obtain a status is a critical objective in the delivery of the EUSS and the grant funding.

There will be two levels of award:

  • Level one – projects from £5,000 up to £39,999
  • Level two – projects from £40,000 up to £750,000

Organisations are invited to submit proposals as to how they can support the diversity of needs of a diverse EU citizen population to make their EUSS applications.  The application period for bids will close at 12pm on 1st February 2019.  

To more information, and to make a grant application

NHS Long Term Plan – NAVCA member briefing

The much-anticipated NHS Long-term Plan was published on 7th January.  The Plan, a blueprint for the future of health and social care in the UK, was significantly postponed due to ongoing Brexit business.

The Long-term Plan has been drawn up with the expertise and experience of NHS frontline health and care staff, patient groups, VCS organisations and others, as well as a consultation which received around 2,500 submissions from individuals and groups representing the opinions and interests of 3.5 million people.

The document launched outlines a challenging set of priorities focused around delivering world-class care and making the NHS sustainable alongside a funding pledge from the Prime Minister of £20bn a year above inflation until 2023.

Social and Sustainable Capital: Housing Fund

SASC are an impact-led social investor, established in 2012.  An award winner in their field.  They have provided more than £25 million to over 20 charities and social enterprises.

SASC recognise that, for many organisations, housing their beneficiaries is increasingly difficult.  In 2017, based on their discussions with charities and social enterprises in this sector, SASC designed a structure that:

  • Enables organisations to provide housing for their beneficiaries
  • Absorbs the risks associated with buying or renting property
  • Gives the borrower the benefit of long-term asset ownership
  • Satisfies their investors regarding risk and return

The SASC Housing Fund is designed to provide small and medium-sized charities and social enterprises, with the finance to fund 100% of the property purchase plus associated costs, without requiring fixed-term mortgage-like repayments.

To flyer with more information on SASC and the Fund

Prevista training

Prevista are proud to provide employment training in Merton.  The training covers occupations including health and social care and retail.  Much of the training is open to all adult residents.  Some is specialised - for example, for women from ethnic minority communities.

Follow the above links to flyers which should be helpful to people in the borough who want to refer residents for employment opportunities.

Free training for woment from the South London Refugee Association

The South London Refugee Association run free activities for women, every Friday during school term times.  These activities promote women’s wellbeing and building community together in South London.  

Open to all women (aged 18 and above) who are refugees, asylum seekers or migrants in need of support, of any immigration status:

There is no need to book.  But, if anyone would like to ask questions beforehand or would like to be posted flyers, please contact or 020 3490 3443.

Follow the above links for more information on the training.

Feeling anxious or low?

Free support is available in Merton – on time, in person or online – commissioned by the CCG.

To flyer with more information on this therapy

Alcohol training in Merton

Merton’s Public Health team have asked Alcohol Change UK to run a programme of free training courses in Merton.  The first dates to be released are:

  • The Blue Light Project – Working with High Impact & Change Resistant Problem Drinkers  (one day course -  two dates available)
  • Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (half day course – one date available)

All the courses are held at Merton Civic Centre in Morden.   There is no cost to these courses.   

To book, click on the link next to the date you require and follow the instructions.   Please feel free to pass this on to colleagues.

One day - The Blue Light Project – Working with High-impact and Change Resistant Problem Drinkers Course
25th February 9.15 for 9.30am – 4pm

To book

One day - The Blue Light Project – Working with High-impact and Change Resistant Problem Drinkers Course
1st March 9.15 for 9.30am – 4pm

To book

Half-day Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice training Making Every Contact Count
22nd March 1.00 for 1.15pm – 4.30pm

To book

Job vacancy

Merton Mencap
Community Engagement Officer
21 hours per week
£15,834 pa + Pension

Merton Mencap is a dynamic independent charity providing a range of innovative services and activities for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and their family carers in the London Borough of Merton.

Due to our growth, we seek to appoint to this new post. The successful applicant will work closely with the Chief Executive to implement key aspects of our strategic plan. 

As Community Engagement Officer, this role will be pivotal in the delivery of a newly funded Community for Life project to build impactful partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders in our community, whilst developing and delivering our volunteer strategy.

Applicants should have demonstrable experience of developing and sustaining relationships with donors, funders, and senior contacts with commerce and business, to promote our work, secure funding and build mutually beneficial relationships. Team management experience will be important as this role will have many direct reports, and be responsible for the volunteer team.  Credibility to liaise with a wide variety of stakeholders, including in the local authority, businesses and VIPs is essential.

Full advertisement

Job description and person specification

Spreading the word

We are keen for the eBulletin to reach and be read by everyone in the borough who wants it.  So please do feel free to forward this eBulletin to any colleagues or friends who you think would find it interesting and helpful.

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Next edition and copy deadline

The next edition of the eBulletin will be on 28th January 2019.  The copy deadline for this is - 23:59 on 23rd January 2019

Would you like an article in the eBulletin?  Or advertise an event on our website?

We welcome news and other articles from voluntary, community and public organisations in Merton.  Please send text and images to Simon at


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