2023 was an exciting, inspiring, and sometimes challenging year. CVS Inverclyde enjoyed some terrific highlights and we worked hard to support local charities and voluntary groups.

Let’s explore the stand out moments from the past 12 months.

We moved into a new home at West College Scotland on Finnart Street, Greenock. Thank you to the College for making us feel so welcome.

Our stylish new site has features the third sector will find useful – register as a member and discover the Members’ Area. Browse the Community Noticeboard and find out events and activities happening where you live. Have a look around while you’re here!

In March we brought together local charities and voluntary groups who have benefited from the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund to highlight how they have made an impact locally.

This course gave budding third sector leaders the opportunity to develop and grow their leadership skills and knowledge. It covered topics such as coaching, the elevator pitch and delegating VS empowerment.

The sector was invited to chat to local experts about issues ranging from funding, governance to community asset transfer. It was brilliant to host this event and let the sector share knowledge and expertise.

 In June we marked the annual Volunteers’ Week campaign to celebrate and thank the incredible efforts of Inverclyde volunteers. CVS Inverclyde volunteers supporting vaccination clinics were awarded Kindness Awards for their incredible contributions.

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In 2023, we administered the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for the third year in a row and a total of over £240,000 was awarded to 19 organisations in Inverclyde.

The third year of the fund opened in September 2023 and Inverclyde was awarded £240,739.48 to distribute to local charities and community groups.

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The local CLW Team provided a workshop on their use of Group Reflective Practice at the first Annual Community Link Worker Conference this year.  Some feedback from VHS following evaluation of the Conference: “I just wanted to say a massive thank you to you and your team for presenting the workshop yesterday. The workshops were one of the most mentioned things in the ‘What was your highlight of the day?’ question on the feedback forms.  It’s fair to say your workshop was an absolute hit!”

This year one of our CLW team has also successfully trained and been delivering ‘What’s the Harm’ training which has provided an additional asset to raise awareness of self-harm in Inverclyde.  This is done in partnership with other organisations and will continue to be rolled out.

We have also become part of the Maximising Independence Community of Practice, sharing with and learning from our partners to support patients to maximise resources and social assets to promote a healthier and fuller life.

We developed an online training programme to challenge the stigma people with problem alcohol and substance use face. The 7 modules explore topics such as what is stigma, how it impacts people, the language of kindness and what we can do to tackle it.

Start the training now.

2023 was an exciting year for CVS with the start of three new projects: Inverclyde Youth Volunteering Project (IYVP); Investing in Communities Enterprise Project (ICE); and Enterprise Project for Investing in Communities (EPIC).

IYVP is a partnership project with Inverclyde Council, looking at developing local Youth Volunteering, offering advice, guidance, mentoring, rewards schemes and all the benefits that volunteering can offer.

ICE and EPIC have a social enterprise focus, with ICE aimed at communities, regeneration, Net Zero, and 20-Minute Neighbourhoods. EPIC is aimed at developing the local social enterprise landscape, offering support to existing Inverclyde social enterprises, and helping local social entrepreneurs to launch their ideas into fully-fledged enterprises.

You can follow along with all the project news on their social media accounts – @invcomentpro (ICE and EPIC) and @volunteerinver2 (IYVP). You’ll also find more info on accessing the ICE surveys there, which are open until January and February 2024. The direct link are: Residents Survey: https://forms.office.com/e/wzeR2hhuy1 and Third Sector Survey: https://forms.office.com/e/TSZc1L8Gnh

If you have a great idea for a local social enterprise, you can contact lee.trotter@cvsinverclyde.org.uk 

Similarly, if you think you could mentor a young person and support them into volunteering, get in touch with caroline.johnstone@cvsinverclyde.org.uk

Funded by Inverclyde HSCP, in 2023 we administered Start Licenses to hundreds of volunteers and staff in the third sector. The licenses provide access to a world-leading suicide prevention training via Living Works.

Partnership working is at the core of what we do as a third sector interface. Our partnerships facilitator connects the third sector with each other, as well as cross-sector organisations, for the benefit of our communities.

One highlight was our engagement sessions, held on behalf of the Place and Wellbeing team at The Scottish Government, on how community organisations can influence wider policy on reducing health inequalities.

CVS Inverclyde CEO, Charlene Elliott, and long-standing trustee of Inverclyde Community Fund, Susan Robinson, were invited to attend a Garden Party at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, to celebrate the King’s Coronation.

The two local third sector leaders were invited in recognition of their contribution and dedication to Inverclyde’s communities through the organisations they have served over their lives.

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