Drop-in event aims to help community groups

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Community groups are being invited to find out more on the support available.

VODA (Voluntary Organisations Development Agency) provides free support and advice to community groups, voluntary organisations and charities across the borough.

It also runs a programme of low-cost training courses and North Tyneside’s Volunteer Centre, which helps people find volunteer placements, supports organisations that involve volunteers and runs a number of exciting projects in the community.

One local group that VODA has worked closely with over the past several years is Collingwood Bowling Club, helping support its move from a public park to running its own facilities at Heaton Terrace in North Shields.

VODA also worked with the club’s members on several funding applications, which have helped them to pay for bowling and lawn maintenance equipment, and recently the club has been successful in gaining registered charity status.

Alan Hall, chair of Collingwood Bowling Club, said: “This is an extremely positive step for the club.

“We want people to realise that we’re not just a bowls facility; we play an important role in the community too and are open to members of all ages without discrimination on sex, religion or disabilities.

“By coming along to sessions, people can improve their physical health and also combat loneliness and isolation – we offer a way to meet people and socialise on a regular basis.

“We hold a free open session every Saturday morning during the season to welcome any new players and would encourage anyone who wants to have a try to come along.”

Elizabeth Grace, VODA’s volunteer manager, said: “Collingwood are a great example of how a sporting club can start from having a few enthusiastic members to becoming a fully registered charity.

“The members have been really proactive in developing as a club and there are lots of benefits to doing so – registering with the Charity Commission enables groups to access a wider range of funding sources and be eligible for tax reliefs, including gift aid.

“The process of registering is something that VODA would be most happy to help with.

“We’re looking forward to meeting some new groups and offering our support at our drop-in event.”

There is no need to book a place at this event.

For more information you can contact VODA on 0191 643 2626 or visit www.voda.org.uk