Who we are and what we do
Ashfield Voluntary Action is a registered charity which serves the Ashfield District of Nottinghamshire.
The Charity has been operating in the area for over fifteen years, initially under the name Ashfield Links Forum and more recently as Ashfield Voluntary Action. The organisation provides support to other voluntary sector groups throughout the District and also supports individuals through a range of targeted projects and in its capacity as a registered Volunteer Centre.
The Charity runs a number of projects:
The Lifestyles Service is a non clinical service funded by Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group which helps people aged 50 or over who are at risk of falls to access the support they need; ensuring that they access all the help that is available to them.
Whilst this is an invaluable service, the real strength of the project lies in its work to reduce social isolation. Many of the people accessing the service have become isolated as a consequence of bereavement and/or a decline in health or mobility and have often lost their confidence.
Our team typically visits them in their own home, identifies their needs, signposts them to services which address their physical needs and then talks to them about activities which are of interest to them. One of the team can go along with them to the first session of an art class, chair based exercise, or lunch club, for example, to break the ice and make it feel like a less daunting experience. This is the aspect of the project which makes the real difference and can quite literally be life changing. People who are withdrawn, isolated and depressed, develop a social network and friendships and significantly improve their quality of life, as well as accessing the support services they need.
The Step-by-Step project provides support for people with mental health difficulties in the District of Ashfield. This five year Lottery funded project aims to reduce isolation and exclusion amongst adults with mental health difficulties by enabling them to access activities, supporting them with volunteering opportunities in positive environments, signposting to additional services and activities.
Our popular Access Project – provides computer and internet access in an informal and friendly setting, where people can learn how to use a computer and the internet in small groups with one-to-one support, as needed. People learn at their own pace at the twice-weekly sessions which are run on a drop-in basis. Some attend to build their knowledge and confidence and improve employment prospects (some going on to successfully secure employment) others as a pre-cursor to more formal ICT training, and others enjoy the social aspect of the sessions. This project is funded by Nottinghamshire County Council.
The Car Scheme – we work with another local charity, Our Centre, to deliver a voluntary door-to-door transport service for people in Ashfield who have difficulty using public transport. People using the scheme may be elderly and have mobility issues, they may be disabled, have mental health difficulties, or a learning disability and we are able to provide an affordable and supportive service which often serves to give them back their independence and reduce isolation. This project is funded by Nottinghamshire County Council.
We run an Emergency Food Bank providing food parcels for people in Nottinghamshire until they can access the food bank in their area.
Our work with Patient Participation Groups – we also work in partnership with NHS Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group (the part of the NHS which is responsible for planning and paying for healthcare locally) supporting their work around patient engagement.
We are helping MACCG to identify the barriers certain groups of people encounter when accessing healthcare. In addition to this, we also provide support to Patient Participation Groups, health groups, self-help groups and the Citizens Reference Panel as well as attending health events and promotions. Our work is helping to improve the lines of communication between health service and patient and ensures that patients have input into the provision of health care.
We also run the Radiotherapy Car Scheme (funded by Boots Charitable Trust) in conjunction with Nottingham City Hospital. In our area, all radiotherapy treatment is provided at Nottingham City Hospital. Some cancer patients requiring daily radiotherapy treatment were encountering significant problems in attending sessions, to the extent that some were actually refusing life-saving cancer treatment. The taxi fare to the hospital from the Ashfield area is £40 a day and as patients need to attend five weeks of radiotherapy treatment on a daily basis, some simply could not afford to attend. The hospital does provide a non-emergency ambulance service for patients to attend appointments, but this can mean a wait of up to six hours, which presents a serious problem for cancer patients. We work with the Hospital to identify those patients (often with additional medical needs) who would benefit from the service.
Ashfield Voluntary Action also acts as a broker for voluntary sector organisations across the District – placing volunteers with suitable opportunities.
Volunteering is a great way of learning new skills, building confidence and meeting new people and it can help them to get a job too. We provide a service which matches volunteers to opportunities and provides support along the way. We also provide a wide-range of volunteering opportunities and make sure that people are able to access the help that they need.
In addition, we provide support for voluntary sector organisations in Ashfield and can provide advice and support on setting up a new group. For those groups who are already established, we can provide help on funding or growing their organisation, or direct groups to additional support.
Ashfield Voluntary Action
The Health and Well Being Centre
Telephone: 01623 555 551
Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm