This year Action Hampshire turns 70!
Action Hampshire’s specialist knowledge in the community, voluntary and social enterprise sector spans over 70 years. We support this sector to deliver great services to local people and communities; speak up for the changes they would like to see; and shape the future of where they live and work.
We are celebrating this amazing achievement by:
- Sharing 70 impacts, in 70 Tweets over the next 10 weeks. You will be able to follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #H70 or you can follow this page!
- We will be publishing a weird and wonderful facts and figures page on our website later in the year and….
- We’ll be posting video testimonials from our members, partners and Trustees wishing us a happy 70th anniversary.
Would you like to get involved?
We would love to hear about your experiences of working with us and share your stories.
Please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping communities and people thrive!
Whether it’s a large charity, a small lunch club, or a social enterprise, we enable and inspire people, organisations and communities to be the best they can be!
Action Hampshire’s specialist knowledge in the community, voluntary and social enterprise sector spans 70 years. We support this sector to deliver great services to local people and communities; speak up for the changes they would like to see and shape the future of where they live and work.
We bring the ‘voices’ of the sector together to create social change and make the world a better and fairer place. We provide key information to make it easier for the sector’s ‘voice’ to be heard more loudly as to what’s working and what is not. That key information includes how to use resources effectively, be fully informed and legally compliant – making it easier for people to run their organisations and empowering them to make the most change for the individuals and communities they are set up to serve.
We have thoroughly enjoyed looking back and celebrating the ‘weird and wonderful’ work we have achieved over the decades – we hope you have too!
Hear from some of our Trustees, partners and members in our anniversary video by following this link
We delivered LearningNet – a workforce development project funded by the Learning and Skills Council
The LearningNet Consortium was created by a group of voluntary sector organisations.
The aim was to strengthen the VCSE sector by helping organisations improve their skills base, enabling them to be better prepared for changing and challenging times ahead. LearningNet provided a free service, and developed a standardised methodology to assess both organisational and individual training and developmet needs, and then to signpost participants to training and development activities.
The Learning Net project was completed in 2008. Over 240 organisations benefitted from the services offered by the project, and now have an increased understanding of the need and value of training, training budgets and training plans.
We work with local community groups who would like to deliver homes for themselves!
The village of Curdridge is the latest scheme to be developed with 8 affordable homes being built.
We have facilitated a working group with the Parish Council, the Landowner, Hastoe Housing Association and Winchester City Council and have steered the project towards the submission of a planning application.
We are making a film about the development of the affordable housing project in Curdridge. This is a sneak preview of our interview with Eric Bodger, Chair of Curdridge Parish Council, talking about how and why the Parish Council got involved in delivering rural affordable housing for local people.
We raise awareness and support communities and the VCSE sector to advocate on behalf of people who live and work in rural areas
From the early 2000s, our rural work had a big focus on community-led planning (used to be called village appraisals): working with the parishes to create community plans where they identified their issues through wide consultation and then put together action plans to help take ideas forward.
Community-led planning is about giving everybody a voice about the future of where they live and going out to people, promoting different ways of engagement, not just a survey. The plan is led by a group of local volunteers, known as the steering commitee, who oversee the process and ensure the final action plan is a true relfection of the local community’s needs and aspirations.
Our role was to show people the community-led planning toolkit and to encourage the widest possible consultation. The South East RCCs (of which we are one) put the initial toolkit together. It was then picked up by ACRE and used nationally. We would explain the toolkit and help the parish council to use it, go along to meetings to provide support in the background, reminding them, for example, don’t forget young people or offering ideas for how the council might engage in a creative way.
2003 – Rockbourne Parish Plan
Rory Smith, Chair of the Parish Plan Steering Committee at the time said:
“Your report encapsulates the views of the children and these will certainly be included in the final parish plan. In twenty years time, those children will be the young adults of this and neighbouring communities. Their views should be listened to”
2006 – We worked with 34 parishes across the county
We prepared a “rural proofing” checklist for policy and decision makers to assess how their policies, strategies and practical initiatives address the needs of rurual communities.
You can view the checklist here
2009 – Engaging with young people in the country
Damerham was chosen to be one of the case studies for the toolkit to illustrate how young people can meaningfully engage with their local councils and to build on the ongoing impact of work that had begun in previous years. Through work with the school, the children we involved in designing and planning a Play Trail. Through this practical project, they could see how they were able to influence and effect change.
We were responsible for running the Local Network Fund (LNF)
The LNF was a scheme funded through the Department for Education and Skills. Grants of up to £7,000 were awared to voluntary and community groups working with children and young people in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton.
From April 2006 to March 2007 LNF awarded grants to 169 different groups, with a total of just over £880,000 being distributed. During the period, awards were made to dance groups, advocacy projects for young people with disabilities, parents and toddler groups, sports clubs and many more.
CASE STUDY: Beat the Drum
Beat the Drum, a new community group based in East Hampshire, was awarded a LNF grant of £6,934 in November 2006 to buy drums and percussion instruments and to run a session of drumming each week for a the year. The idea of the sessions was to build the children’s confidence and creativity through drumming and making their own percussive instruments.
The group became well established, running drumming sessions which booked up well in advance. They were also able to do additional workshops on a paid-for-basis, bringing additional income to the group.
We support those that give practical advice to help you stay warm, stay healthy and save money
We started the Warmth Matters project in 2019, delivered jointly with Surrey Community Action, funded by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN). The project currently goes until March 2022 but we are hoping to secure funding to continue.
At end of project’s first year, 55 one-to-one support sessions had been delivered (after adapting project from public events to Zoom).
- 90% had been unaware of priority services register prior to our engagement.
- 75% were unfamiliar with Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Example of one family:
Family (referred by a local foodbank), were supported who had a pre-payment meter and in emergency credit and no immediate way of topping up their meter. They were issued with fuel vouchers which prevented self-disconnection, and also enabled their children to continue to get online for remote school work. They were issued with advice and information on saving energy at home, signposted to local community projects as well as sources of further help including the PSR and Warm Home Discount.
Did you know?
December 3rd is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day!
In the UK, over three million households are estimated to be living in fuel poverty. This is the term used to refer to a situation where a household is unable to afford to heat their home to the temperature needed to stay warm and healthy.
While the exact definition and measurement varies across the UK, the main contributors to fuel poverty are low incomes, rising energy prices, and inadequate heating, poor insulation and ventilation.
It’s a situation that tends to see the poorest people, who live in the least energy efficient homes, pay the most for their energy. And it’s a situation that gets worse in the winter months, when the temperature drops, and householders find themselves struggling to meet basic living expenses like energy bills.
Information on getting support:
In England, visit the UK Government website to find out if you’re eligible for financial support, including the:
There are also advice pages on:
Improving your heating at home
Reducing heat loss through insulation
Financial support available to make your home more energy efficient
We support organisations with trading activities
In November 2007, we employed a social enterprise specialist to offer expert social enterprise support to individuals, groups and organisations in the VCSE sector.
We aimed to develop the capacity of the VCSE sector to support the development of social enterprise. Demand was such that in the remaining few months of the year our specialist (at the time) Chris Jezard advised more than 50 organisations on the development of trading activities.
We also led and coordinated the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Social Enterprise Network, a network of organisations and individuals with an active interest in the development of social enterprise accross our area. Working in partnership with CVSes and infrastructure bodies, Chris Jezard delivered social enterprise clinics across Hampshire.
We support local agencies in their work to promote the safety and well-being of adults at risk and/or in vulnerable situations
In the late 80s, we (formerly known as Hampshire Council of Community Service) noted the need for more coherent counselling services to assist survivors of sexual abuse and suggested that voluntary organisations might best meet the needs of these individuals.
With other council community services, we were invited to establish a forum of interested individuals and agencies to recommend ways of enhancing existing services. At a meeting for the Winchester area, the production of a simple information leaflet was seen as the first step. This group also worked on a framework to provide strategies to help people in distress.
Today we support sector representatives on the Hampshire Adults Safeguarding Board (HASB)
The HSAB was established in 2003 and is a multi-agency partnership providing strategic leadership for adult safeguarding across the local authority area. It has a chair and its remit is to agree objectives, set priorities and co-ordinate the strategic development of adult safeguarding.
The HSAB aims to promote awareness and understanding of abuse and neglect among service users, carers, professionals, care providers and the wider community and works to generate community interest and engagement in safeguarding to ensure “Safeguarding is Everyone’s Business”.
When Action Hampshire was first founded we were known as ‘The Council of Social Service. In our 1961 annual report under our work with village halls it stated:
“The Council of Social service offer to village hall committees a forms of meeting problems common to all. Whether it is the repair or extension of an existing hall, examination of the legal or charitable staus, the purchase of equipment, the problem of re-decoration, the most suitable lighting or heating installation, or the planning and construction of a new building, there is considerable information available to the inquiring committee”
Today we continue to offer information and guidance for people who run community buildings, including village halls, community centres, church halls, social clubs, and other buildings that are available for hire by groups and individuals.
In recent years we have been working to empower organisations and groups to become sustainable. and facilitate peer support through networking events and an information bulletin.
We have also provided an online discussion forum on Basecamp for members to ask each other questions and share ideas, challenges and experiences. In 2020-21 we had:
- 174 users
- 195 discussions
- 2823 total comments
The discussions were mainly pandemic-related, but many other issues were discussed including fire extinguisher servicing, IT issues, Air Source Heat Pumps, accounting / book-keeping, insurance.
Are you interested in joining our Community Buildings Basecamp forum?
Email Kevin Sawers, our Community Buildings and Enterprise Officer, for more information – email@example.com
Our extensive networks mean we can engage with people that others often struggle to reach
In early 2011, we led on research showing that vulnerable adults do not always feel safe when they are out in the community. The research was based on two focus groups. The first looked into the needs of older people, linking into the Hampshire Older People’s Association and Hampshire County Council. Individuals were empowered to express concerns about barriers to service provision and put forward positive suggestions for change. The second focus group looked at hate crime and its effects on individuals with learning disabilities.
The report highlighted the importance of feeling, as well as being, safe – fear of hate crime was reported to impact greatly on individuals’ confidence. As a result, a Safer Places Scheme pilot was developed by the County Council with service users and pioneered in Basingstoke.
Following the success of the pilot, the county’s Adult Services department has awarded grants to various voluntary and community organisations to establish Safer Places Schemes in their areas.
We carry out Housing Need Surveys when Parish Councils and community groups want to find out information about the housing situation in their area, and to understand the types of accommodation needed.
In 2015, we carried out a housing need survey in Kingsley identifying a housing need from local residents and 81% local support for an affordable housing scheme. A site was identified and 13 affordable homes were built, allowing local people to remain in or return to their Parish.
The scheme provided 8 affordable rented homes and 4 shared ownership homes. The shared ownership homes were all reserved within 2 weeks of promotion, demonstrating the high need for this type of housing in this area.
Housing need surveys are used to identify those in need of affordable, and in some cases other types of housing, in a particular area.
We support residents to tackle issues in their community
In 1988-89, Action Hampshire (formerly known as Hampshire Council of Community Services) supported a group of residents in Hordle to establish Hordle Community Association and construct a new sports and community pavilion in their village.
Community Advisor Penny Velander met with the committee and advised them about establishing as a charity, which they did in 1989, and how to seek funding. The pavilion was funded by national lottery.
We support community groups to work together and collaborate
Action Hampshire uses its networks and local knowledge to introduce and connect people so everyone can deliver more. We endeavour to inspire the VCSE sector to develop their own solutions to the challenges they face.
Testimonials from organisations we have supported:
“Thanks for the introduction. I am now in contact with them. I am planning to visit them in next few weeks to see their facilities and discuss future collaboration next year” Portsmouth community member
“Thank you for the introductions – you are doing such great work by introducing everyone” Southampton community organisation
We provided guidance to Hampshire community buildings throughout the pandemic
We published 35 bulletins between April 2020 to September 2021. This included 371 contacts at 265 different organisations. The bulletin included information about Covid-19 regulations and guidance, pandemic support grants, and many other issues.
“We would like to thank you for your invaluable support over lockdown. We would have really struggled without your hard work &advice over the last couple of years.”
Miranda Thompson-Webb, Alton CA Operations Manager
We also provide specialist resources for community buildings
Would you like guidance on managing a major extension or refurbishment? Do you need to review your health and safety procedures? Or are you keen to ensure your committee members know exactly what their roles and responsibilities are?
We provide information sheets and model documents for village halls, community centres, and other community buildings covering these issues.
We support communities to identify their housing needs in their area
In 2020, we set up Hampshire Homes Hub to help communities identify the homes they need and support the delivery of community-led housing and rural affordable housing.
We are working with over 30 parish councils and community-led groups to achieve their housing aspirations.
We are able to support parish councils and communities to the deliver the homes needed in their community and can provide information and support for a range of community led housing models.
View the differnt types of community-led housing here
Building your own home
We recently held an event to promote group self and custom build, including affordable group self and custom build.
You can view a recording of the event here
We support the VCSE sector through sharing policy information and resources to help the smooth running of organisations
We publish regular information on a range of subjects, through our newsletter and social media channels, to help organisations keep up to date with news and information relevant to Hampshire’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Our newsletter, ‘Important stuff you need to know’, covers: policy information, resources, training courses, events, freebies, digital tips and local job and volunteering vacancies.
Since the start of the pandemic we have promoted over 1000 funding opportunities to support the VCSE sector through a difficult time.
Are you interested in subscribing for FREE to our newsletter? Please follow the link below.
View funding opportunities that we have published in previous newsletter editions here
We started working with South Warnborough Parish in 2002 and this became the first scheme to be developed through the HARAH partnership
In June 2002, one of the Action Hampshire Rural Housing Enablers started to assist South Warnborough Parish council to develop a rural affordable housing scheme. The Enabler carried out a housing needs survey to identify the need of local people. The survey in October 2002 concluded that there was a high level of need for affordable social housing and that 22 households would qualify in terms of local connection and affordability.
The parish council then proceeded to identify a site and negotiations commenced with landowners. Land at Gaston Lane was purchased and planning permission granted. Finally in July 2006 work started on the first exception site to be developed through the HARAH partnership.
The development consists of 8 affordable 2 and 3 bedroomed homes with 1 unit adapted for disability. There are 6 units for rent and 2 for shared ownership.
The scheme was a partnership between Hyde Housing Association, the Housing Corporation, Hart District Council, the Rural Housing Trust and South Warnborough Parish Council.
We support community building grant applications
We helped 6 village halls apply to Defra’s Village Hall Improvement Grant fund from 2019 to 2021.
4 were successful, receiving £10,000-£37,000 towards major refurbishment / extension works. This means more activities and events to bring people together, improving people’s well-being and sense of connection.
For more information about community buildings and village hall expertise, please visit our webpage here or you can email Kevin Sawers, our Community Buildings and Enterprise Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
We promote job and volunteering opportunities from Hampshire VCSE organisations
In 2013, we started a jobs bulletin. Feedback we received at the time included the following:
- “Just wanted to pass my thanks on to you and the team for this. It’s very helpful for someone looking for a trusteeship at the moment!”
- “Fantastic idea. Many thanks for the info.”
- “What a great idea, we have two jobs coming up.”
- “Thank you for this a really useful resource.”
Since our first bulletin we’ve advertised hundreds of jobs!
Today, we include job ads on our website here and promote these in our newsletter.
We’ve got big plans…
In January, we’ll be launching a new job board for VCSE organisations in Hampshire to advertise jobs and trustee roles. The job board will be interactive, allowing job hunters to search and filter jobs, and employers able to post directly to the job board and to see the sort of candidates who are visiting the ad in real time.
We can’t wait to share this new resource with you soon!
In the meantime, if you have a role you would like to us to advertise please visit our webpage here
We provided key support to community buildings and village halls throughout the pandemic
Our support, together with ACRE’s excellent guidance information, has helped community buildings through the pandemic.
‘”We couldn’t have tackled this pandemic as we have without your support.’”
“The ACRE documents have been outstanding and your support has been amazing.”
“I cannot praise more highly the advice and help we have received from you that has allowed us to safely reopen.’”
We support FBL as a locally trusted organisation
Fratton Big Local (FBL) was established between 2012-13. It is one of 150 schemes whereby local committees are given £1.15 million to create lasting change in communities across England, supported by Local Trust and locally trusted organisations like Action Hampshire.
Action Hampshire came on board as locally trusted org for FBL in 2014. you can view a timeline of FBL’s activities and events here
To support projects and initiatives that improve the environment and enhance community life for the residents of Fratton.
They look to deliver this mission by working towards the below strategic aims:
- Arrange and support events that bring the community together to celebrate life in Fratton
- Seek projects that aspire to enhancecommunity life, andimprove theenvironment in Fratton
- Nurture opportunities for the community tocome together and take decisive action
Action Hampshire support in a number of ways, including financial management, line management of FBL’s two staff members, facilitation support, cheerleading and all sorts of other things over the years.
It’s impossible to quantify all the wide ranging impacts FBL has had on Fratton so far but one particularly notable impact is the Fratton Family Festival, which is visited by over 10,000 attendees each year. The redeveloped Kingston Recreation ground is also a physical legacy impact.
FBL has approximately 2 years of funding left and are now working on a plan for these final 2 years, supported by Action Hampshire.
We are an integral part of supporting the development of rural affordable homes in Hampshire
Between 2005 and 2020 Action Hampshire was an integral part of the Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing.
We worked with local authorities and housing associations and delivered over 520 homes for local people.
Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable housing was set up to increase the supply of affordable housing in the rural villages of Hampshire, to ensure local people are able to afford to live in the places where they were brought up, work, or have family connections, and in doing so to help strengthen rural communities.
We continue this work as Hampshire Homes Hub, see more information and our work here
Action Hampshire provides a link between the VCSE sector and the NHS.
Through our Communities Against Cancer project we have enabled community groups to meet with NHS professionals and learn about services and ask questions.
In 2021, we brought together a group of Muslim women and a local breast cancer surgeon to discuss breast awareness and reducing risk of breast cancer. They were able to do this in their own setting and learn together as a group of women in a safe and friendly atmosphere.
You might also be interested in:
Information session: VCSE sector & Hampshire & IoW Integrated Care System, Wednesday 15 December, 13:00 – 14:00
A webinar to explore VCSE engagement with the new NHS Integrated Care System (ICS). This event will introduce the concept of a VCSE alliance/engagement group, share examples from ICS areas elsewhere in the country, and explain how VCSE organisations can get involved in this work going forward. There will also be opportunities to share your ideas and thoughts.
All VCSE organisations with an interest in health and care across Hampshire & Isle of Wight are welcome to attend.
In the 1950s we suported the new wave of organisations and clubs specialising in support to older people
In 1951, we (then known as Hampshire Council of Social Services – HCSS) set up a countywide old people’s welfare committee in response to a growing number of older people without family support, due to the impact of WWII.
With the development of the welfare state, more funds became available to support work with older people.
HCSS’s countywide work provided support to many local committees
- by 1955, 20 committees;
- by 1958 40 committees
It also supported a new wave of organisations and clubs specialising in support to older people (only a few in 1951, up to over 100 in 1955, 206 in 1958, 220 by 1961) by acting as a “channel of information”, gathering these clubs quarterly.
The committee helped to coordinate organisations supporting older people, and also sought to identify innovative ways to support the growing number of older people including supporting ‘adopt a grandparent’ type campaigns, our innovative chiropody service SEE IMPACT 7) – and various other innovations. We also helped to organise an annual low cost holiday for older people to Swanage. 120 went on the trip in 1955, which grew to 450 by 1961 and was of such interest it had to be restricted “to people from rural areas and individuals who did not belong to a club”.
In 1956, Portsmouth Evening News reported, that were now organising a “friendly visiting service” which “made contact with old people who, through illness or disability, were prevented from enjoying the activities of club programme”
We continued to develop local committees, and transformed from supporting older people directly into coordinating a growing number of specialise community organisations.
In 1959 we established an “old people’s welfare committee” to coordinate organisations supporting older people in Gosport, with the support of Gosport Community Association. Quoted in the Portsmouth Evening News, a rep from HCSS at the time said there was a need for more coordination because “There is too much overlapping, when we come down to studying the number of people served and the ways in which they are served”. HCSS would help the organisations identified “when necessary and to advise when asked to advise”. 16 joined the initial scoping activity, which then also sought to actively identify the “many old people in Gosport not in touch with any voluntary organisations” Gosport was one of the last parts of the country to get one.
In 1959, we also established the first training course for VCSEs wanting to support older people, to “improve the standard”. Recognising the value of this approach, HCC recommended the course be replicated in 16 locations across the county.
Over the 70s and 80s, many local older people’s welfare committees transformed into independent charities, using the name Age Concern (following the National Old People’s Welfare Committee). In Hampshire, the committee took this name in the 70s and by 1985 had established as its own charity, Age Concern Hampshire, having been nurtured to independence by HSCC.
Today, Age Concern Hampshire continue to support older people across Hampshire.
Last year they responded to over 1,500 calls, provided 1,676 day care sessions and provided 3,170 hours of service to older people in rural villages through the Village Agents service set up by Action Hampshire many years ago.
We support the delivery of affordable homes in local communities
Action Hampshire provided vital evidence for the Odiham Neighbourhood Plan and supported the Parish Council to consult with the community. This has resulted in 12 new affordable homes being developed for local people in Odiham.
More information about the ongoing Odiham development can be found here
Are you interested in building affordable homes in you local area?
Please get in touch, we would love to hear from you – email@example.com
We have supported over 300 social entrepreneurs since 2009
Through all our various social enterprise training programmes, Action Hampshire has supported over 300 people to set up a social enterprise since 2009.
Ashlene Boyer-Millard had the idea of setting up a social enterprise called Angels & the Architect, producing candles and eventually employing others who have come through addiction.
‘I want to thank you all at Action Hampshire for your support, guidance, time and energy. Without you all, I would not be doing what I’m doing today with Angels And The Architect.’
View Ashlene’s full testimonial here
We established the Hampshire Independent Equality Forum
In 2009, we receievd Big Lottery funding for a 3 year Diversity Support Project, which built on work we had been doing since 2005. As part of this project, we established the Hampshire Independent Equality Forum (HIEF). The Big Lottery funding ended in June 2012, but Action Hampshire kept the HIEF going until 2015. Unfortunately the Forum lost steam at that point and stopped meeting, but Action Hampshire are hoping to re-establish it – please get in touch if you were involved in the HIEF back in the day, or want to get in touch now!
The Forum’s impact over its first 3 years…
The Forum united organisations, individuals and networks from a range of communities and special interest groups – including those relating to race, disability, gender, transgender, age, sexual orientation, religion and belief. Marginalised communities had an increased voice and influence at a strategic level, e.g. relevant partnerships and local policies and practice. This was been achieved through Forum events, but also with Forum members being referenced more often by statutory bodies through consultation and community engagement activities.
Importantly HIEF has:
Influenced service providers; raised awareness of and highlighted issues facing diverse communities such as hate crime and barriers to employment; became the first ‘first port of call’ for equality and diversity matters across Hampshire.
More information about the impact HIEF had can be found here
We bring the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector together!
Case study: What’s it Like & Awaaz FM
The Communities Against Cancer (CAC) project brought together two very different organisations – Awaaz FM – A Southampton based radio station for the Asian Community, and What’s it Like? – a project from Enable Ability creating virtual videos of health settings to help reduce anxiety for those autism and/or learning difficulties. Ali from Awaaz FM and Steve from What’s it like? had both successfully received a CAC grant to do their planned work: Ali to deliver radio programmes about cancer awareness and try to get people talking about cancer to raise awareness, and Steve’s project involved the making of a virtual video of a breast screening unit at a local hospital.
Ali & Steve’s paths crossed on the private Facebook group established recently by the CAC team. The group is designed to be a space where people in the CAC project (grant holders, supporters, health professionals) can share ideas, resources, requests for help. It is about enabling communication, partnership working and increasing the reach of the CAC project. Both Ali and Steve have been active on this group, and arranged to meet up to discuss their projects and see if they could collaborate. From this emerged a new CAC application idea! Steve would create a version of the breast screening unit video in Urdu & Hindi with the support from Ali. This project would improve reach to the South Asian community, who have a lower take up rate of screening. The CAC team have supported and encouraged this application and partnership.
The additional CAC application was approved by the grants panel and so work is now underway preparing the project. This has begun with Steve appearing on Ali’s radio programme talking about his initial video for people with learning difficulties. They also discussed some of the taboos and challenges facing the South Asian community in having conversations about cancer. This is a great start to their newly formed partnership which is sure to benefit lots of people in raising awareness of cancer and facilitating access to health services.
Action Hampshire has a 7-decade history supporting VCSE organisations
A countless number of Hampshire’s VCSE organisations, particularly village halls and community centres, though many other organisatons as well, will find Action Hampshire was part of their origin story.
A lot of this is thanks to Peter Martin, who was Director of Action Hampshire (back then called Hampshire Council of Social Services and Hampshire Council of Community Services) from 1955-1986. Peter used the organisation to pilot new ideas, with his longstanding motto “promote and float”. Try something new, and then help it establish itself. It was this approach which led to the setting up of Age Concern and the district CVSes, profiled in other impacts.
Peter earned an OBE in recognition of his work at Action Hampshire in 1979. When he retired in 1986, his retirement cake was in the shape of Hampshire and covered in flags. Each flag represented a different organisation Peter had helped establish.
A former colleague who was there said:
“For every flag on Peter’s retirement cake, which were all over the county, there must be at least half a dozen more local organisations in existence, the users of village halls and community centres, the sites HVHS developed, and so on. And that process has continued. If it hadn’t been for HCCS one wonders what voluntary sector there would be in Hampshire, what social problems there would be today. It’s well worth celebrating.”
Peter Martin passed away in 2012. His obituary is here
We are proud of our partnerships at Action Hampshire
Since 2019 we have been working with Incuhive. Our Winchester site sits in the heart of the city and offers a huge range of spaces and services under the IncuHive model of co-working. We have welcomed over 150 people to our Winchester community since opening 3 years ago.
ImpactSE – a social enterprise incubation hub
We need your support to build a thriving incubation hub to nurture the ideas and work of dedicated Social Entrepreneurs that support communities most valued causes.
In partnership with Incuhive we have created ImpactSE based in Winchester. This facility provides a flexible, collaborative and convenient space, creating a healthier atmosphere to give social entrepreneurs a break from the repetition of home working so that they can focus on what matters, growing their business.
To find out more about our campaign, how you can support it and the rewards we are offering please watch our short video and visit our Crowdfunder page here
We support those who run halls and community buildings to have the knowledge and confidence to provide a safe environment for all
In March 2021 we shared information for village halls about safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. 45 people attended an online briefing session which covered safe recruitment of staff, trustees, and other volunteers; the hiring agreement; reporting concerns.
ACRE, our national partner charity, revised their safeguarding guidance booklet and model policy back in the summer, as part of a project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. This booklet is part of a library of resources available to community buildings in Hampshire.
We helped to establish HIWCF – the largest grant maker to specialise in awarding grants across Hampshire
Between 2002-2006, we supported the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) to establish itself . Over the years we have continued to work closely together and provide insight and advice.
Recently we completed a grant review of HIWCF’s Covid-19 funding to inform their future funding priorities and strategy. Also, until they recently decided to work completely remotely, we hosted them at our Winchester offices.
Up to March 2020, they had awarded over £11 milion in grants to over 4,000 projects in the region.
During the pandemic, they distributed over £2 million for Covid-19 specific programming, reaching 350,000 people across Hampshire & IoW, supporting over 400 community groups and charities to keep going through the pandemic.
We work with Community Land Trusts to deliver homes needed in the community
‘Lovell Gardens’ in Wickham was the first time we worked with a Community Land Trust (CLT). 20 affordable homes were completed in 2012, 8 of which are owned and managed by the Wickham CLT!
Wickham CLT have also recently increased the number of homes they provide for their community.
They are a great example of local people coming together to deliver the homes needed in their community. They continue to work with us by being part of our Hampshire Homes Hub steering group.
You can read the full case study here
We provide guidance and information to the VCSE sector in Hampshire
In 2007, we produced a Fitter Finance toolkit to help VCSE organisations get to grips with financial terminology and processes.
This simple and practical guide explores the basic principles needed to manage financial aspects of a VCSE organisation, and was accompanied by a glossary and appendix of templates.
Should we update and re-release this guide?
Please let us know if you’d find that useful by emailing us:
We promote VCSE organisations that provide advice and support for communities
In the early 1960s, we helped to establish 15 local Citizen’s Advice Bureaus (CABs), which have been a vital source of advice and support for communities across Hampshire for nearly 60 years since.
In 1961-63, we supported the development of New Milton CAB, having also supported the development of New Milton Community Association in 1960. By 1968, the CAB was receiving over 100 support requests a month! New Milton is now one of the five offices which form New Forest CAB. It supported 2,173 clients in the 2nd quarter of 2021 (up by +583 from the same period in 2020!).
We appreciate the continued support and partnership with New Forest CAB and the Hampshire CAB Network.
Check out the birthday message from Jo Hillier, CEO, Citizens Advice Hampshire
Action Hampshire have been proudly running SSE Hampshire for 12 years
- Over this time we have supported nearly 200 social enterprise start-ups.
- These will have created approx. 370 jobs and brought money and resources to the area.
- This work is carried out primarily within Hampshire, but 40-45% of our students come from neighbouring areas.
The pandemic has brought existing social and environmental challenges into sharp relief – those of the climate emergency and the vast inequalities of health, wealth and opportunity.
Our newest Fellows that graduated this year in October are addressing some of these most urgent social needs of the day including:
- Connecting communities through the outdoors to improve mental and physical
- health challenges to people of all ages
- Providing low cost zero carbon delivery services
- Tackling food waste
- Supporting older people
- Empowering survivors of trauma
- Creating employment pathways and jobs
In 2018, according to figures from the government, the social enterprise sector employed 1.44 million people and was worth £60 billion, 3 times the size of the agricultural sector.
This can only grow. In fact the very latest 2021 State of the Sector report shows the proportion of social enterprises established within the last three years has steadily increased since 2017 from 25% to 34%. There are proportionally far more social enterprise start-ups than start-ups in the rest of the business community: 47% of social enterprises are under five years old compared to 10% of SMEs.
Are you interested in setting up a social enterprise?
We provided an opportunity to shape the future through consultation and engagement
Between 2018 and 2020, we supported 35 community business through the SSE partnership with Power to Change community business trade up programme.
- Estimated 9000 community businesses in England
- 69% work within the 30% most deprived areas
- 85% aim to reduce social isolation
- 82% promote community cohesion
Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives.
Examples of community businesses we’ve supported include those in our 2019-20 yearbook here
We inspire business and the social entrepreneurs of tomorrow
Between 2017 and 2020, we delivered the Inspiring Enterprise project. This was a free training programme that helped unemployed people develop the ideas, confidence and skills they needed to become self-employed, create a social enterprise, or move into training or employment.
The Inspiring Enterprise project was part of the Building Better Opportunities programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund. The project aimed to bring together skills, expertise and experience to make sure that everyone received help that was right for them.
Action Hampshire worked in partnership with WSX Enterprise, Surrey Community Action, the University of Winchester and Fredericks Foundation.
During the project:
- 300 training sessions were delivered
- 96 participants attended the programme
- 74% of participants successfully completed the programme with a positive result
- 63% of participants became employed
- 11% of participants moved into education or training
We supported young people to develop their own ideas for setting up a business
The SSE Young Entrepreneurs Programmes enabled young people to develop their confidence, resilience and business skills necessary to be a successful social entrepreneur and the vision, values and ethics needed to set up a social enterprise.
Modules included: business planning; leadership and people management; finance; mission, vision and goal setting; marketing, branding and advertising; pitching your idea. The programme finished with an awards ceremony to which local businesses, parents, press and others were invited. Young people presented their enterprise ideas and celebrated their achievements on the course.
We provided the programme to schools, colleges and universities.
In 2014, we delivered the programme to 7 students at Warblington School. Here are some of the feedback we recieved from students about the programme:
“I learnt how to set up a business and get one going. I feel more confident now that I know what to do…”
“I am not great at presenting stuff or going for ideas but this has given me the confidence to do all that.”
“This programme gave me a lot more ideas on how to start and has inspired me to see that it doesn’t matter how small things start because it could grow big.”
“This course has taught me how to work in steps to create the foundations of my enterprise and how to plan it all out when I start working on it from home.”
“The programme has taught me lots of skills and I would recommend it to other people.”
We are a beacon for social enterprise across Europe
As a long-standing champion for social enterprise, and Action Hampshire was a partner in an EU project called MESSE, aimed at sharing good practice in social enterprise across Europe.
Early in July 2013 we welcomed a group of twenty delegates from MESSE partners in eight European countries, to visit some of Hampshire’s flourishing social enterprises. Eight inspiring examples of social enterprise around the county demonstrated how effective their models can be in answering the needs of communities.
This visit was a great success and the European delegates were very impressed with the variety of social enterprises they saw and the passion of the people involved with them. As one of the delegates said, “It was so inspirational. You must feel very proud of Hampshire”.
We also were able to fund 9 social entrepreneurs from Hampshire to visit social enterprises in Greece, Sweden and Italy to share ideas.
We are proud to support and promote social enterprise!
From 2012 to 2017, in the first 5-year phase of The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and funded by the Big Lottery Fund (The National Lottery Community Fund):
- 89 start-up social entrepreneurs supported
- 193 jobs created
- £315,000 invested in local social enterprises
- 2,618 beneficiaries reached
Have you got an idea? Are you thinking about becoming a social entrepreneur or would you like to know more about what is involved to start up a social enterprise?
Please get in touch, we would love to hear from you:
We carry out research to support the work of local organisations
In 2017 we carried out reasearch and wrote two reports to improve local healthcare in Mid Hampshire.
Social isolation and its impact on health and wellbeing in Mid Hampshire
Well before Covid-10 brought it into the spotlight, social isolation was receiving increased attention from public health professionals, GPs, social care agencies and the not-for-profit sector. A wealth of data now exists indicating that social isolation has a negative impact on an individual’s health and wellbeing, resulting in increased pressure on health and social care resources and budgets.
In 2017, Action Hampshire undertook research commissioned by the Mid Hampshire locality of the South Hampshire MCP (Multispecialty Community Provider) vanguard who wanted to better understand the nature of social isolation in the Mid Hampshire area and its impact on local residents.
The study is focused on providing a real life picture from organisations and individuals working with, or having knowledge of, groups of people who may be at risk of social isolation.
Social isolation is often associated with older people. One aim of this study was to try and show the diversity of groups and individuals that are considered at risk. Given the rural nature of much of Mid Hampshire another aim was to investigate whether there is a rural dimension to social isolation in this locality.
Full report can be downloded here
In their own words: older people’s experiences of healthcare in Mid Hampshire
Action Hampshire was also commissioned by Mid Hampshire Better Local Care to carry out qualitative interviews with older patients in Mid Hampshire.
The overall aim was to help Better Local Care understand patients’ experiences and perceptions of their healthcare – the good, the bad and the ugly. The report gives a thematic overview of what patients told us.
Full report can be downloded here
We supported the delivery of over 500 affordable homes for local people!
2019 marked the 500th affordable home delivered by the Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing (HARAH) partnership to which Action Hampshire was a founding partner.
CASE STUDY: Housing development in Wonston
- 15 new rural affordable homes were built for local people
- The scheme provided 11 rented homes and 4 shared ownership homes for local people in Wonston, allowing those connected to the parish to remain or return to their local area.
Today we are delighted to be continuing to work with parish councils and communities to deliver rural affordable housing as Hampshire Homes Hub.
For more information about our work and how we can help you please visit our Hampshire Homes Hub webpage here
Supporting health and social care services in Hampshire
In 2013, we helped to set up Healthwatch Hampshire, the new independent consumer champion for patients, carers and all those using health and social care services, gives people a powerful voice locally and nationally. At a local level, it works to help people get the best out of their local health and social care services – whether it’s improving them today or helping to shape them for tomorrow.
Three organisations came together to deliver Healthwatch Hampshire – Help & Care (the lead partner), Action Hampshire and Citizens Advice Hampshire.
Healthwatch Hampshire CIC was set up as a separate organisation. Its first office was in Westgate Chambers and an Action Hampshire former Trustee, Colin Brown, is one of the Healthwatch non-executive directors.
A Healthwatch VCS and Diverse Communities Officer was employed by Action Hampshire, supporting local voluntary and community organisations and people from among the county’s diverse communities to understand and engage with Healthwatch and its work.
Healthwatch continues to be a key actor in the Hampshire Leadership Forum and there is a close and collaborative relationship.
View some of their highlights from the last year here
We support Hampshire VCSEs who support those who have experienced abuse
Between 1987-89, Action Hampshire, then known as Hampshire’s Social Services Committee, identified a lack of clarity about where adults who had been sexually abused could go for support and advice.
At the time the New Milton Advisor reported:
“Unlike agencies and legislation to protect children, there is little that adults can do to seek advice or support”. A working party was set up, and HCCS conducted 18 months of consultation with organisations. HCCS published “Sexual Assault, Rape. A Directory of Helping Agencies” which listed information about voluntary and statutory organisations able to provide support. The consultation also revealed that, despite thinking that there may only be “a few people in need of help”, in fact up to 12,000 adults in Hampshire may have experienced sexual abuse at the time.
Today, Action Hampshire sits on the Hampshire Domestic Abuse Partnership Board and continues to support Hampshire VCSEs who support those who have experienced abuse
Source: Advertiser and Times, 1989
We promote and support communities with rural affordable housing
By 2014, the average rural home cost 14 times the average income. Our booklet ‘A Home for Where the Heart Is’ shares stories from residents for whom an affordable home transformed their life, and it continues to encourage other communities to support rural affordable housing.
‘A Home for Where the Heart Is’ applauds parish councils and communities who have worked with us to deliver rural affordable housing schemes which have made a lasting difference to hundreds of local families…
“We are thrilled to be able to continue living here”
“I feel less isolated, I have my friends and family here.”
“It is such a lovely community, everyone knows everyone”
Action Hampshire is an integral part of the Hampshire Homes Hub, which was born out of the HARAH partnership. We work to deliver community led and rural homes across Hampshire. More information about the community housing expertise that we can provide can be found here
We delivered a series of workshops to support VCSE organisations with commissioning & tendering
Between 2017-19, Lloyds Bank Foundation published a report: “Commissioning in Crisis. How current contracting and procurement processes threaten the survival of small charities”.
They carried out research with a range of smaller charities across the UK and found that:
“All of the evidence shared in this report unequivocally demonstrates that the current approach to commissioning is in crisis. … It is seen most prominently in the marginalisation of small and medium-sized charities. … Small and medium-sized charities losing out on the opportunity to provide services should be a concern for us all because it reflects the loss of the local expertise and an understanding of which is critical in making sure that Government does not leave any individuals or communities behind. … it is essential that commissioning works for small and medium-sized charities. They are the beating heart of a thriving society and are the only way to make sure that everyone can access the services they need and deserve.”
The report made alarming reading, so Action Hampshire carried out its own survey to see if findings were replicated at a local level in Hampshire. This report is the result of the survey.
An on-line survey was circulated through our voluntary sector networks in October and November 2017 and was followed with a findngs workshop. A report was published of findings.
Based on these findings, AH delivered a series of workshops in 2019 jointly with HCC to support VCSE organisations with commissioning and tendering.
You can view the full details of our research, ‘Local commissioning the experiences of Hampshire’s voluntary sector’ by downloading the report and/or summary below:
Championing the experience and needs of rural communities and using evidence to inform policy
In 1973, we started a two year research project to understand the impact of major housing expansion in 4 villages surrounding Basingstoke (Oakley, Overton, Kingsclere, Basing).
This took the form of a social survey, to understand what life is like, whether newcomers had integrated, and what community assets were required to manage the development well.
Margaret Livingston described at the time:
“As far as I can see, a check on the effect of the southern expansion on rural communities like Oakley is one part of the scheme of things which seems to have been somewhat neglected. After all, one can’t see a rural area like Oakley expand as fast as it has done- and I think it has been too fast- without spill-offs of a complex character. If we can put our finger on some of these then it will be an important step forward in establishing a guide pattern for future similar developments” Publication called “Rapidly Expanding Rural Villages”
Source: Evening Post, 1973
We acted as a key source of information for village halls and community buildings over the last several decades, and been especially supportive over the last two years.
Throughout the pandemic we provided key information and signposted village halls and community buildings to guidance about closing, diversifying and safely reopening.
The pandemic was an excellent tutor in running online seminars! We ran 3 briefing sessions for community buildings trustees and managers in 2020-21, with attendance totaling 269 people. One participant said ‘Thank you so much for yesterday’s meeting, so well organised – which can’t have been easy – and extremely informative.’
We are dedicated to working with parish councils to deliver affordable homes for local people
In 2002, we established the Rural Housing Enabler service in Hampshire and we continue to support the provision of rural affordable housing for local people. This service has enabled over 1700 local people to remain in or return to their local area.
Rural Housing Enablers support rural parish councils and communties to identify the affordable housing needed in their community. They also help look for suitable sites, consult with the community and work with local authorties and housing associations to deliver the homes needed.
Hampshire Homes Hub
As Hampshire Homes Hub we continue to offer this service. More information about the community housing expertise that we can provide can be found here
Building your own home
We recently hosted a webinar on ‘Building your own home – Self and custom build in Hampshire’.
Collaborative self or custom build is where a group of people join forces to build their homes together on a larger site. By building together the group can share costs and support each other. Collaborative self and custom build projects can deliver market sale homes, affordable sale homes or homes for affordable rent and offer a broad range of options for designing and/or building your home as part of a group.
You can view a recording of the event here
- Working with others to achieve your self-build dream
- Finance for self and custom build projects
- How Local Authorities can support self and custom build projects
We produce a State of the VCSE Sector report every two years, on behalf of Hampshire CVS Network.
Whether you’ve been volunteering, shielding, furloughed, struggling with work-life balance, grieving, had work paused or cut short, been part of new projects and collaborations, seen funding and support pour in, had funding cut and supporters fade away, been pulled in 500 directions, been left behind: each person, each organisation that makes up the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Hampshire has been impacted by the pandemic.
Every couple of years, we take a snapshot of the sector:
- How big is it? How are organisations coping with the world around them?
- What does the sector need to thrive?
- What insights does the sector have to share?
The ‘State of the Sector’ reports act as a point of reference and make recommendations about what the sector needs to thrive in the future. This year we ask: What impact has pandemic had on VCSE organisations in Hampshire? On their staff, volunteers, funding, services, users, and future outlook?
Please find the links to the report and the recording from our launch webinar here
We supported and promote the services of diverse communities
As part of Community Action Portsmouth (CAP), we supported the Guinea Community of Portsmouth (GCP), which was set up in January 2013.
It aimed to support people originating from Guinea (West Africa), particularly women, children and families in the city of Portsmouth and surrounding districts in order to promote the education, social development and well-being of the members of the Guinea community.
CAP supported GCP with:
Setting up all the paper work for the community including: the constitution; bank account; funding application
The place and address where all our meetings take place
Networking and training
As a result GCP were able to:
- Help the community to have somewhere to meet, socialise and support the people in need
- Raise over £9000 funding for a 12 month project
- Connect with other communities and organisation
We founded Hampshire’s CVS organisations
Having operated for 15+ years. in the 1960s we started to establish local committees, which were initially part of Action Hampshire (fomerly known as HCSS) but eventually became their own independent organisations.
These organisations have since evolved into the district CVSes we now work together with in the Hampshire CVS Network.
Basingstoke Voluntary Action
Basingstoke Council of Social Services (now Basingtoke Voluntary Action (BVA))
In 1965, we supported the development of Basingstoke Council of Social Services, which had its first meeting Friday 30 October 1965 and at the time represented 30 organisations. At the inaugural meeting, HCSS leader Peter Martin explained the importance of welcoming newcomers to the area (which was going through significant growth at the time), and encouraged the establishment of community gathering places.
Eastleigh Council of Community Services (now One Community)
In 1970, we set up a sub-office of HCCS in Eastleigh, which we financed for an initial period to prove concept. After 8 years, this sub-office had the support of the Borough Council to establish itself independently, and became Eastleigh Council of Community Services. Read more about One Community’s history here
We support and promote the work of environmental organisations
As part of our work in Bordon, East Hampshire in the early 1980s, our first ever Environmental Officer/Ranger worked with local schools and the wider community to establish a wildlife area, starting with creating a wildflower meadow.
Despite a mixed reception from some residents at the time, the area (Deadwater Valley) is now a thriving local nature reserve, with 12 different habitat types and 38 hectares of green space.
We promote community empowerment!
In 2010, Action Hampshire administered the Hampshire & IoW portion of the South East Community Empowerment Awards, which was an initiative of the former South East Regional Empowerment Partnership.
After difficult review, four organisations won the top prize of £5,000. One of these was Buriton Village Voice Group.
At the time the judges said:
The Buriton Village Voice Group is a team of volunteers who have produced a very successful parish plan for the rural parish of Buriton. They started from the maxim that ‘life is never perfect’ and there are some things that people would like to improve or change, and other things that they would like to stay just as they are.
The project is a summary of all the main issues (social, environmental and economic) that concern people in the parish, and how they’d like things to be in the future. The Village Voice Group spent over a year using all kinds of creative techniques to make sure that their consultative work and ‘problem identification’ reaching all parts of the community – not just the usual suspects or a vocal minority.
Armed with solid evidence, they then developed a series of action plans to address all the important issues.
Virtually all the action plans have led to valuable changes on the ground and improvements in peoples’ lives. The vast majority of these achievements have been undertaken by the people of Buriton acting together ‘with each other, for each other’. Judges felt this project was a model of fantastic community led planning. Excellent community action and influence over decision making. Sustainable, empowering and learning can be shared. Wide range of outcomes.
Having won the award, the group decided to invest their winnings in creating a time capsule book, ensuring that the whole community would benefit from their winnings. They commemorated village life in the landmark Diamond Jubilee and Olympics year of 2012.
We support services that provide art, community, environmental and heritage activities
From 1979-1983, Action Hampshire started a project in Bordon, a community based around an army base in East Hampshire, supporting the development of an old primary school into a new multi-purpose community hub with arts, community, environmental and heritage activities.
What was then the Community Arts Centre is now Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre.
Our work on Bordon was documented in a 1993 publication: Rural Action: A collection of community work case studies. In 2012, a former staff member who had been involved in this project was back in East Hampshire as an evaluation consultant and found lasting impact of the work done 20 years prior.
Today, the Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre is a lively community arts space, running over 100 shows year and leading community arts projects in schools and community groups.
Source: Wye Heritage
Our extensive networks mean we can engage with people that others often struggle to reach
In 2016, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) had a challenge. They were publicly consulting about a significant restructure to the Fire Service, but were concerned they were not hearing the voices of everyone they serve. They were keen to hear from people whose voices are less often heard. Would the restructure have any additional or different impacts on these communities? And how could insights help to inform the implementation process? HFRS wanted to find out if a proposed restructure would have any additional, or different, impacts on the communities or groups.
Action Hampshire was commissioned by HFRS to carry out a series of focus groups with priority communities eg. Sign Language Users, transgender people, people struggling with their mental health, parents of disabled children, informal carers … We provided a small amount of funding to enable our specialist partners across the HFRS patch to pull together a group of their beneficiaries that could be consulted on HFRS proposed changes.
We chose communities that we felt were less often heard, and approached our member organisations (working within these communities) to ask for their help.
We gave each organisation a small sum of money, and they brought some beneficiaries together in a room. Our Research & Engagement Team facilitated focus groups to discuss the proposed restructure, together with a uniformed Fire Office.
We carried out 11 focus groups in different parts of Hampshire with:
- people with chronic lung conditions
- carers (providing unpaid care to adult family/friends)
- Nepali residents, many of whom were recent arrivals
- people with visual impairments and their families
- parents of children and young people with special needs
- transgender or transitioning people
- people living with mental health conditions
- people with learning difficulties
- older people
- British Sign Language users
- people with physical disabilities
“The insights gained from the focus groups were vital to ensuring our plans were fit for purpose and ready to keep everyone in our community safe not leaving anyone behind. The relationships Action Hampshire has with so many different groups allowed us to hear things we would not otherwise have heard, shaping our way of thinking about the future of our Service”.
The project also had unintended impacts…
Focus group participants learnt a great deal about how to reduce their fire risk, and feeling reassured about what they should do in case of fire “thank you. I feel much happier now I know what to do”. Participants also really appreciated the chance to express their views to Hampshire Fire & Rescue personnel “we feel listened to now”.
We help services that provide essential support to those that most need it in our communities
Empowering 2 Change is a cooperative (not for profit) which aims to support people seeking recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Here’s what Empowering 2 Change had to say about the project…
As part of Community Action Portsmouth (CAP), we suported the set up of a “Recovery Cafe” in Portsmouth to provide a place where people in recovery and those seeking help can come for support, advice, support groups such as ACT, Life Coaching, and other projects which we hope will provide opportunities for people to access training and work experience which will help them enter the job market and move away from benefit dependency.
The team at CAP have been incredibly supportive in helping us make a vision into reality. They are knowledgeable, supportive and accessible. They have helped us by giving advice on many of the practical issues which arise when you are trying to set up a new enterprise. e.g. structure, governance, admin and financial record keeping etc etc.
They have also provided a number of training courses and workshops which are relevant to a range of different types of enterprises. The monthly Action News (now called ‘Things you really need to know’) is also extremely useful in helping to raise awareness of training, funding opportunities and other community issues. We have received invaluable support from all the CAP team and I particularly value the 1:1 support we recieved.
The support from CAP has given us the confidence to do the groundwork on some of the projects we want to set up which will (we hope) provide training and work experience for our clients and ultimately provide a revenue stream which will empower us and our clients by helping to fund services and activities. We have also been given the opportunity through CAP to be part of a consortium which is bidding for £500,000 for recovery activities.
I am particularly impressed by the fact that the CAP team have hands on experience of setting up enterprises and they have a real understanding of what is needed to get an enterprise off the ground.
We supported the promotion of local history in the community
In 1953, Action Hampshire (previously called HCSS) formed the Hampshire Local History Council, with Bishop of Winchester as Chairman. This group was to “act as a clearing house for the activities of the numerous local societies“. Pointing out the danger of becoming too highbrow, he said that they wanted all kinds of people to be concerned about the history of their own village and towns.
First meeting on Saturday 10 October, 1953 with 20 county organisations joining and various other individuals. The intention of the council was to “do everything possible to help local history societies, become a clearing house for their activities and to stimulate interest in the subject in all parts of the county”. They were particularly keen that folklore and oral history be documented.
In 1959 the Council organised a ‘Finds and Treasures’ exhibition at East Meon Institute which displayed “ancient family souvenirs, finds made by children and other objects with historical value”.
See articles from that time by clicking on the links below.
- Hampshire Telegraph and Post, 1953
- West Sussex Gazette and South England Advertiser, 1953
- Evening News, 1953
- Hampshire Telegraph and Post, 1953
- The Evening News and Southern Daily Mail
In 2021 provided support to the community with the digital switchover
In 2012 were commissioned to run two Digital Switchover programmes: the ‘Communities Programme’ and the ‘Community Outreach Programme’ in the Meridian West area (Berkshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Bournemouth, Poole, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Portsmouth and Sussex). We worked with partner organisations across the area, and together trained 194 community volunteers who engaged with 6,405 Community Supporters.
Quotation from external evaluation of Digital Outreach programme:
“The performance of Action Hampshire stood out for delivering the most relatively productive programme in the region… Action Hampshire also stood out very clearly from the other areas, because of the energised way in which they highlighted the impact of their Community Outreach Programme – very visibly – through their monthly reports, stories and photographs. Additionally, importantly and without fuss or fanfare, CAH administration was very effective and reassuringly well maintained… Organisational attitude/culture played a large part”.
Peter Hellawell, former Project Coordinator at Action Hampshire, talks about what the Digital Switchover Community Outreach project involved in this short film here
We provide all you need to know about running a voluntary or community organisation or group
Re:minds started over 6 years ago when a small support group was set up by one parent, supporting families of children with autism, ADHD or with poor mental health. This very quickly grew and today they have over 1500 members!
After securing funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, they felt they needed to change to a more formal structure and this is where Action Hampshire came in.
“The support we got was invaluable, we signed up for membership and had a very important and practical conversation with the CEO about some of the intricacies of being a community interest company with advice on further actions and support. Moving on from that we wanted some HR support and help with identifying and measuring impact, again Action Hampshire stepped in and ran a bespoke training course for us and put us in touch with Peas in a Pod for a free HR consultation.
We really value the newsletters Action Hampshire send out as they keep us in touch with the community, tell us about valuable training and funding streams and many more opportunities.
Happy 70th birthday Action Hampshire, here’s to another 70 years.”
We support essential services in the community!
In 1981, Action Hampshire (then Hampshire Council of Community Service) undertook a voluntary transport survey which recommended that the county council appoint a broker to act as a contact between community transport services and users. As a result of this, HCC appointed a voluntary transport officer in 1982 – the first role of this nature in the county!
This new and “progressive” model was promoted as a national recommendation in a 1985 report which said, “If greater use is to be made of minibuses within the community, then more resources will have to be made available for advice and coordination on a local basis. The development of such resources and expertise within county councils’ public transport coordination sections is essential and we would encourage the establishment of more posts similar to the Voluntary Transport Officer in Hampshire”.
One of the early successes of this role was to bring 220 minibuses owned by parent-teacher associations for school use under the Council’s insurance scheme, which made these resources available to the wider community. HCCS’s report laid the foundation of all of the community transport offerings in the county today.
We ran a Chiropody service for 40 years!
As part of the work of the Hampshire old people’s welfare committee, Action Hampshire (known as Hampshire Council of Social Services at the time) set up a countywide chiropodist service in 1954, which by 1955 had 26 clinics.
At the time, we were “rather proud that we have been the very first county in the country to develop this service on a countrywide basis”. Chiropody was an innovative service which gave mobility and independence back to older people. We ran that service for over 40 years, supporting countless thousands of older people to remain independent and mobile.
Today, Age Concern Hampshire continues to operate a footcare service, continuing this vital support service first established in Hampshire by HCSS.
See Evening News article here, May 1954
We support social enterprises – changing the future, one business at a time!
Fiona Ollerhead, fellow and associate of AH, founded The Pantry Partnerships (TPP). Fiona talks about the impact Action Hampshire has had on her work over the last several years, particularly the support we have provided during the pandemic…
“As a fellow of the first SSE Hampshire programme I have been associated with Action Hampshire for many years, in various capacities. Most recently and currently as the Learning Manager for that programme alongside which I run TPP CIC in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
I have always known that AH is there to support me whatever I do and the biggest impact for me is knowing this and knowing that I am then able to impact our work in Wiltshire and support our students and fellows at the school.
The most recent impact of course has been through Covid where we at TPP, in 6 months created over 2000 meals, from 8 tonnes of surplus, donating the rest to local community groups across our community. Without AH’s support I would never have even got started, let alone be able to organise 50 odd volunteers and a half dilapidated building sufficiently well to make this happen.”
We support the promotion of equality and diversity in Hampshire
This Toolkit began as a Hampshire Leadership Forum (previously known as Hampshire Voluntary Sector) Consortium initiative and was developed as part of the Diversity Network Project during 2006-2008 and updated during a further project in 2012.
This Toolkit aims to serve as a good practice resource that will help voluntary and community organisations in Hampshire improve the way we promote equality and diversity, and to reach out and engage with people and groups from all communities across the county.
You can view the toolkit 2012 Equality and Diversity Toolkit
What are you doing to promote equality and diversity in your organisation?
We would love to hear from you, please email us here and we will include your tips and resources in our newsletter.
We support others to raise awareness of cancer in their communities
70 participants have attended Communities Against Cancer Zoom workshops!
The Communities Against Cancer (CAC) workshops are friendly, informal, interactive sessions to help people feel more confident in the messages of the CAC project.
We discuss how to reduce risk of cancer, awareness of possible symptoms, importance of cancer screening and the barriers some people face to accessing help and a healthy lifestyle. This is all in the context of trying to improve early diagnosis and highlighting the health inequalities some people experience. The Zoom sessions allow for conversations, questions and discussions around raising awareness of cancer with communities and some of the challenges and opportunities in this.
More information on our training sessions and grant opportunities can be found here
We championed rural craft traders
In 1956, our annual report highlighted the economic contribution rural craftsmen make nationally, noting that there were 613 master craftmen’s shops in Hampshire, with each providing work for 3 men on average and an output of £1.5 million
From 18-21 June 1958, HCSS organised a large exhibition of village craftsmen, who would show off how to make “boats, saddles, bricks, pottery, hurdles, wrought ironwork, sails and furniture” as well as “stone masonry, weaving, bowl turning, thatching and water engineering”, the emphasis of the show being on all of the trades still needed in communities.
Source: Reading Standard, May 1959
In 1959, leader of HCSS described one of its most important tasks was supporting rural industries. At this time, HCSS employed a full-time advisor who “travelled around the county helping craftsmen to improve their methods and their buildings.” HCSS had pioneered the introduction of oil-fired kilns for brickmaking, for example.
Source: Hampshire Telegraph and Post, May 1959
Throughout our 70 years, Action Hampshire has supported community enterprise.
From our support to rural craftsmakers in the 1950s to supporting community shops through the Community Business Trade Up programme (see here) and now our work facilitating Peer to Peer Networks for Solent LEP (find out more here).
We support people who want to build homes in their community
Action Hampshire was part of the team that developed an affordable housing scheme in Twyford, and Anne and Peter were absolutely delighted to be offered one of the properties to rent.
“We are so thrilled and excited to be back where we belong. I am 67 and my husband is 68 and this has meant that we can end our days in the place we love best in the world.” Anne Blake (Twyford resident)
We provide valuable information to the VCSE sector
We provide a weekly policy and information newsletter including local and national news, policy snippets, digital tips, events & funding opportunities. Each week, our newsletter reaches 1,700 people, helping them to make a difference everyday!