Job Vacancy: Programme Director – Neighbourhoods

Salary: £68,376 pa
Location: Taunton
Working Pattern: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed Term Contract

People who are engaged in their community are healthier, happier and live more independently for longer. In Somerset, many organisations are joining forces in an exciting programme of work to support Somerset communities to be strong, vibrant places to live, with lots of opportunities for people to get involved in groups, volunteering or being a good neighbour.

Somerset County Council is looking for an innovative and dynamic person to lead and drive forward work across Somerset to help develop stronger and well-connected communities. The ideal candidate will have experience of leading system-wide transformation programmes, the skills to lead work across many different types of organisations and groups to ensure everyone works towards the same vision, and a really good understanding of how communities work.

This will be a three-year post, employed within the Public Health Team at Somerset County Council but working collaboratively across the Somerset system. The postholder will report to the Director of Public Health and will lead the transformation programme on behalf of the Somerset Health and Wellbeing Board.

Click here for more information, including a job description and details of how to apply. The closing date is 22nd November 2019.

Every Mind Matters

Every Mind Matters, the first national NHS mental health campaign for over 18 year olds, launched this month.

The site is full of useful resources to support people to help themselves and others, and focuses on anxiety, low mood, stress and poor sleep. Users can take a short quiz to receive a personalised action plan to support their mental health and wellbeing.

You can visit the Every Mind Matters website here.

An Update From the Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership

The latest edition of the Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership newsletter is now available.

This edition includes:

  • An overview of recent changes to the Early Help Assessment
  • A brief overview of ongoing work to refresh the Effective Support for Children and Families in Somerset document
  • the development of a new document called Effective Support for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and their Families
  • A training package called “Early help – a quick guide” available to download from the Somerset Safeguarding Children website
  • Precis of support materials to follow soon

You can read the newsletter here.

Feedback from the Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership Forum

Feedback from the Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership Forum which was held on Wednesday 11th September, by Nick Harwood, Chief Executive at Young Somerset:

Julian Wooster (Director of Children’s Services, Somerset County Council) gave an overview of the new safeguarding arrangements and an outline of the forum’s Terms of Reference. He also outlined the context within which the forum would operate – looking at Serious Case Reviews in Somerset.

The bulk of the forum was input from Dez Holmes (Director, Research in Practice) – an inspiring presentation on the safeguarding message from research and current thinking. This was followed a workshop discussion focused on system-wide assurance: what could we, as sector leaders, look to improve: focusing on:

  • What values & characteristics do we want from our staff?
  • What can managers / leaders do to role-model these?
  • What barriers do managers / leaders face that get in the way of this?
  • What does the system need to change to support?

The date of the next meeting is to be confirmed, but we will publish further updates when they become available.

#iwill Youth Social Action Fund Now Open

Somerset Community Foundation is encouraging charities and community groups working across Somerset to apply for funding for projects that encourage young people to take action on issues that matter to them.

Groups that engage young people aged 10-20 in activities such as campaigning, fundraising or volunteering should apply to the #iwill Fund. The Fund is open to applications on Monday 16 September and the closing date is Friday 25 October. Successful applicants should expect their grants to be awarded by the end of the year.

Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re excited to receive applications from groups working with young people who are keen to make a difference in their communities. Young people have enormous potential make a positive change and we’re proud to support local groups working with the next generation of volunteers, campaigners and activists. When making your application we would also like you to consider the Somerset Youth Parliament’s local priority concerns for 2019-21, which are: the environment, youth voice, and youth safety and empowerment.”

Grant funding ranging between £1,000 and £5,000 is available to groups including registered charities, community groups, social enterprises and CICs and are being awarded in partnership with the Somerset Youth Parliament and Somerset County Council, which is providing match funding.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, the County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “Somerset’s Youth Parliament clearly demonstrates how passionate young people are in our County about issues that affect them and the wider community.

“It’s fantastic that children and young people will have the chance to take part in campaigns and projects or volunteer to help improve the lives of others, thanks to this initiative.”

Langport and Huish Episcopi Youth Group were awarded an #iwill grant in 2018. Their project delivered cooking and baking sessions for young people, many of whom were from lower income households and unable to cook.

Senior youth worker Annie Shillabeer explained: “Not only did the young people learn valuable new cookery skills, the project also broke down barriers between generations: A local baker taught them how to bake bread, and they also learnt how to make simple soups. The group then cooked and shared their food with a group of younger children and also the local lunch club for older people in the village. Seven of our young people have since taken their Basic Food Hygiene Certificate and are progressing to Level 2. The project really was a great success and I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome. We have been able to make plans for the future and are now running regular cookery lessons.  It’s a real pleasure to see our young people learning and using new skills.”

The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £20 million seed funding over four years to create the #iwill Fund.

If you would like to find out more about grant funding for projects that encourage young people to take social action in their communities, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit

Funding: Active Living Programme Grants

Active Living Programme grants of up to £2,000 for groups supporting people in later life to stay physically and mentally active are now available.

Applications are encouraged from community groups which are providing and promoting opportunities for older people in Somerset to be:

  • more physically active
  • less isolated and lonely
  • more independent
  • better informed of health and wellbeing information and advice

In addition, innovative project proposals which work towards these aims are welcomed. We are particularly keen to support Somerset based grassroots voluntary groups, local charities and social enterprises.

The programme is made available through Somerset County Council Public Health, and administered by Somerset Community Foundation.

More information can be found here. The Deadline for applications is Monday 21 October 2019.

Conclusions of the Joint VCSE Review

The Joint VCSE Review was initiated in November 2014 by the Department of Health, Public Health England, and NHS England to describe the role of the VCSE sector in contributing to improving health, well-being and care outcomes; to identify and describe challenges and opportunities, and make recommendations for national government, local government and the NHS.

The conclusions of the review have now been published. The key message from the report is that a fundamental shift is needed is towards codesigning a new health and care system with the people who use it most, and those who miss out most often. Statutory organisations have not consistently shifted resources and power from their own bureaucracies towards citizens: effective community organisations are essential partners in this

You can read the full report here.

An Update from the Safer Somerset Partnership

The latest edition of the Somerset Domestic Abuse Newsletter, which contains updates on local and national domestic abuse related matters, is now available to download here.

Somerset Community Connect Website now Live

Connecting you… A new way to plug-in to Somerset’s growing Community Connect movement is now available!

The Somerset Community Connect website is full of information and advice that can help you and the individuals you work with, to make local links that will help make life better. Whether you’re supporting someone who is looking for groups and activities or community transport; struggling with loneliness, financial issues or arthritis; the site provides information that could make all the difference.

It’s a new way to be part of Community Connect, which is all about promoting independence and improving people’s lives by working with our communities – harnessing the skills and expertise of a huge range of organisations and volunteers.

A ‘What’s relevant to me?’ search feature helps individuals to find what they are after, whether it’s for themselves or someone they might know.

Some of the key things you’ll find on the site include:

  • A directory of Micro-Providers – the growing network of small-scale, often single-person, care providers who can help with care at  home.
  • A list of drop-in events being run by a huge range of community and voluntary organisations in your local area
  • A directory of registered home care and care home providers
  • Information about support for carers
  • Help to access equipment through the county’s two Independence and Advice Centres

The team behind the site are keen to further enhance what is available and continuously improve the quality of information they are providing to our communities. Therefore if you have any feedback and ideas for development, please get in touch!

Somerset VCSE Community Safety Forum

On Tuesday 2nd July members of the VCSE community and the public sector in Somerset came together for a Community Safety Forum at Long Sutton Golf Course. More than 50 people attended and heard updates from:

  • Lucy Macready, Somerset County Council – Safer Communities Partnership and Referral Pathways
  • Amy Hurst, Sedgemoor District Council – Serious and Organised Crime including County Lines
  • Any Lloyd, Somerset County Council – One Teams
  • Simon Billington, Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) – Rough Sleepers Project

Attendees also had the chance to input into how the VCSE community can engage with the Community Safety agenda across Somerset.

A copy of the presentation slides from the event can be found here.