Chairman

Forward by John Leece-Jones

As Chairman of AVOW, I am delighted to introduce the Annual Review for 2013-14.

Our Silver Jubilee Year went extremely well and I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to ensure its success. The main focus of the year was fundraising for the Make A Difference (M.A.D) grant scheme. The target of £10,000 seemed unachievable in the current economic climate, however, thanks to some generous donations and a lot of hard work, we made it and have now decided to continue fundraising and continue the scheme into future years.

Discussions with the Welsh Government over the shape and funding of the Third Sector in Wales continue including consideration for a Regional approach, with North Wales as the “region”, however Sir Paul Williams’ review recommends three counties for North Wales. We continue to actively engage with the North Wales CVC’s and have undertaken a joint community enterprise project with FLVC funded by BIG lottery.

Cuts in local government spending have resulted in many new community organisations being formed to run community centres, libraries and other local authority provision for the continuance of these services. AVOW has been pleased to offer support, advice and encouragement to these groups, including the most ambitious group – SPLASH, which is seeking to reopen the Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.

AVOW has received a considerable amount of favourable comment in connection with The Land in Plas Madoc, and we are awaiting the premiere of the documentary film!

I am sure you will find the contents of the Annual Review of interest covering the diverse work AVOW conducts for the benefit of Wrexham County Borough.

In conclusion I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and support given by our partners and members, but particularly by our staff and volunteers and my fellow trustees.


Chief Officer

Forward by John Gallanders

2013/14 has been a special year for AVOW celebrating 25 years of supporting the voluntary and community sector in Wrexham County Borough. During this time there have been many changes with organisations expanding or merging to be stronger to meet the ever increasing demands from service users and people in communities to meet a broad range of needs.

AVOW has grown from the early days to a much larger team with paid staff and volunteers operating side by side. We should never underestimate the importance of the voluntary action that amounts to 1,000’s of hours every week in the area, whether by Trustees or front line support, this is truely valued.

During our Silver Jubilee Year we held a number of functions and raised over £10,000 for the Make a Difference (M.A.D) grant scheme that has been distributed to a variety of organisations.

Thanks to the AVOW Trustees, staff and volunteers who have worked so tirelessly for the benefit of others over the year to make sure that they we can all continue to Make a difference.


Who are we?

The Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham (AVOW) is the organisation that connects voluntary and community organisations and activities across Wrexham County Borough.

Taking the lead in promoting citizenship, volunteering and social enterprise, AVOW brings together advice, information, financial and community development support services for voluntary and community groups and individuals. AVOW is one of 19 CVCs (County Voluntary Councils) across Wales.

What we do

In line with our mission and vision, AVOW aims to support and develop the community and voluntary sector within Wrexham County Borough.

Read more about us and what we do on our website, www.avow.org


Trustees at AVOW over the year

Margaret Bryden Joyce M'Caw
Marjorie Dykins Stephen Perkins
Dave Hylands Barbara Roxburgh
John Leece-Jones (Chair) Anne Ryan (Vice-chair)
Moira Jones Michael Williams
Raymond Jones Rosemarie Williams

Staff at AVOW over the year

Audrey Bulcock Terri Brown Luke Sutton
Kate Davies Marie Gibson Victoria Westaway
John Gallanders Craig Hurst Annabel Boyce
Ruth Holstein Christopher Langford Val Connolly
Katherine Jones Roger Moore Lynsey Edwards
Victoria Milner Ceri Ord John Ellis
Janet Radford Ramona Ozolina Joanne Evans
Ken Rowlands Anwen Anthony Vicky Hand
Richard Sciensinski Rafat Arshad-Roberts Lisa Jones
Gavin Thomas Lisa Darlington Tegan Sollis
Darren Tomkins Marie Dingley-Shortt Fran Bunning
Ceris Williams Heather Hicks Sophie Bunning
Aleksandra Zembrzuska David Bullough Sharon Evans
Margaret Clarke Natalie Garratt Lucy Hewitt
Julie Cooper Claire Griffiths Sophie Johnson
Wayne Greenshields Aaron Jones Lisa Jones
Peter Jones Gemma Dee Jones Sharon Jones
Natasha McQueen Gemma Rose Jones Lisa Nicholson
Tony Ormond Gareth Poole Carley Taylor Davies
Chris Roberts Matthew Overson Carolyn Wilkes
Sharon Stocker Maxine Matthews Catherine Williams
Laura Williams Natalie Sear

Colour key

Business Support Carers Community Development
Volunteer Centre Health and Social Care Play team
Little Sunflowers Child Care

Find out more about our Trustees and Staff at www.avow.org


Helping You

WREXHAM CARERS INFORMATION SERVICE provides information, advice and emotional support to unpaid, informal carers living in Wrexham County Borough.

Over the last twelve months, the service has helped 1,481 carers find out about their rights for both themselves and the person they care for as well as providing opportunities for them to meet others in similar situations to them by means of support groups, outings and activities.

Wrexham Carers Service work in partnership with many statutory and third sector organisations to ensure carers have access to the information and services they need. Regular newsletters promotes services offered by local and national organisations and how Carers can access these.

At major events for carers such as Carers Rights Day and Carers Week, representation is sought from numerous organisations to ensure carers are well informed on the range services available.

The service has also made numerous referrals to statutory and Third Sector organisations across Wrexham and signposted many more.

This year the Local Authority decided to retender the Carers into advice and support service and although Wrexham Carers Service were successful in that tender the service has changed considerably. The focus is now more on individual carer support as opposed to events. The service actually fundraises to enhance the support for carers.


THE VOLUNTEER CENTRE has continued to interview and place volunteers throughout Wrexham County Borough

17764 Volunteer Hours Celebrated through AVOW Awards

384 Placements

644 Potential Volunteers Interviewed

395 Volunteering Wales Online Enquiries


Drug Walk

FOLLOWING REPORTS ON DRUG PARAPHERNALIA SCATTERED AROUND WREXHAM TOWN CENTRE, AVOW IS NOW HOSTING A ‘DRUG WALK’ EVERY OTHER FRIDAY WITH MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY.

THE WALK IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE RISKS, WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY AND OFFERS ADVICE AND AN EXPLANATION OF WHAT THE ITEMS ARE AND WHAT THEY ARE USED FOR AS WELL AS CLEARING UP ANY NEEDLES FOUND.

ALL THE INDIVIDUALS TAKING PART ARE FULLY BRIEFED TO ENSURE THAT EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THE DANGERS INVOLVED AND INJURIES THAT COULD OCCUR IN THE HANDLING AND DISPOSING OF ANY PARAPHERNALIA.

THE CO-ORDINATOR OF THE WALK IS A QUALIFIED FIRST AIDER AND A MEMBER OF THE TIER TWO DRUG AND ALCOHOL SUPPORT TEAM WITH A GREAT DEAL OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE RISKS INVOLVED.


Thriving and Sustainable Third Sector

AVOW exists to help and support the Third Sector throughout Wrexham County Borough. This is through a variety of different means and is largely dependent on the needs of the Third Sector.

Ty Avow, located in Egerton Street in the centre of Wrexham, has provided accommodation to the following organisations throughout the year:

  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • Wrexham Tennant's Association
  • Kindness in Mind (KIM)
  • Powys Young Carers
  • Wrexham Disability Forum
  • Menter Iaith
  • Vision support
  • Wrexham Familty Information Service
  • Novus Project
  • RSVP

In addition to office space, Tŷ Avow has 5 meeting rooms available for hire and provides office services to the sector such as copying, laminating, franking etc.

AVOW believes that for the third sector to rise to the challenges of governance, funding and compliance and sustainability, knowledge is power and information is disseminated through a variety of means. All publications are available on the website www.avow.org and distributed electronically as requested. Publications that AVOW produces:

  • The quarterly newsletter AVOW NEWS.
  • The Funding Bulletin
  • The Carers Service Newsletter
  • The Health and Social Care department bi-monthly electronic bulletin
  • Regular AVOW electronic communications

As social media becomes ever more dominant as an effective means for sharing information, AVOW does this quite successfully with over 500 likes on Facebook and over 1,100 followers on Twitter. Feedback for the newly introduced e-bulletin has been really positive and well received by both voluntary organisations and community groups.

What else do AVOW do to sustain a thriving and sustainable Third Sector?

  • THE AVOW COMMUNITY BUILDINGS FORUM brings together a range of volunteers who act on building committees. The group share a wide range of skills and form a mutual support group to develop their overall capacity.
  • AVOW PROVIDES SUPPORT to organisations with HR policies, recruitment, and DBS checks
  • CHARITIES ARE SUPPORTED to access funding. One charity recently obtained £800k of lottery funding with help from AVOW
  • AVOW SUPPORTS TRUSTEE BOARDS AVOW intervention can assist with internal issues such as employment, volunteer management and delegated powers.
  • OVER 25,000 INFORMATION SHEETS were downloaded from the website. Most popular were local funding, volunteer strategy and a template for a model constitution.

History of Volunteering

In 2013, AVOW ran a project called the ‘History of Volunteering’ which culminated in an exhibition. The lead for the project, John Ellis, gathered information about volunteering and its origins within Wrexham over the past 5 centuries and displayed various artifacts at the exhibition.

The exhibition was launched on Monday 4th November 2013 at Priory Street in Wrexham, and stayed there until Saturday 16th November, after which it toured various communities.

Marjorie Dykins, Trustee and a founder member of AVOW, launched the exhibition and spoke about the value of volunteering and of her own extensive volunteering life.

The exhibition is available for display at other events/venues if desired.


TRAINING COURSES AVOW HAS RUN OVER THE PAST YEAR

JEWELLERY MAKING ALL WALES BASIC SAFEGUARDING AWARENESS
FAMILY HISTORY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF TRUSTEES
GRANTS FIT FOR FUNDING FINANCE FOR COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS
IPAD & BLOGGING DATA PROTECTION
HEALTH AND SAFETY LEVEL 2 INTRODUCTION TO THE INTERNET
EMERGENCY FIRST AID AT WORK CHILD PROTECTION
CHAIRING SKILLS FIRE SAFETY & WARDEN TRAINING
MINUTE TAKING COMMUNITY AND CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
FUNDRAISING STANDARDS BOARD WORKSHOP RESULTS BASED ACCOUNTABILITY

Meeting Funders Direct

AVOW recognises the importance of meeting with funders directly to gather information and advice on their various grant schemes and to strengthen applications ready for submission.

A number or Funder Surgeries have taken place this year, as well as the Funders Fair which was held jointly with FLVC (Flintshire Local Voluntary Council). These events are always well attended and included representation from:

  • WREN
  • Children in Need
  • Lloyds TSB Foundation
  • Big Lottery Fund

In September 2013, the North East Wales Funders Fair was held in Wrexham. This successful event was attended by 29 funders who provide grants and practical support for community projects.

AVOW will continue to arrange funding events with the aim of attracting grants for local groups and increasing the amount of funding for the local sector.


Making a Difference

2013 WAS AVOW’S SILVER JUBILEE YEAR IN WHICH WE CELEBRATED 25 YEARS SUPPORTING THE VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR WITHIN WREXHAM COUNTY BOROUGH. IN RECOGNITION OF THIS, AND TO SAY THANK YOU TO THE SECTOR FOR THEIR LOYALTY AND COMMITMENT, AVOW RAISED OVER £10,000 FOR THE SILVER JUBILEE “MAKING A DIFFERENCE” GRANT SCHEME. THIS WAS RAISED BY THE STAFF, VOLUNTEERS AND TRUSTEES OF AVOW AS WELL AS SOME GENEROUS DONATIONS FROM BUSINESSES AND OTHER GROUPS WHO RECOGNISE THE VALUE OF THE SECTOR. NEARLY £8,000 HAS BEEN DISTRIBUTED TO 19 GROUPS. PROJECTS THAT WERE SUCCESSFUL RANGED FROM FEEDING THE HOMELESS TO PROVIDING A BENCH AT THE CEMETERY IN MEMORY OF THOSE AFFECTED BY STILLBIRTH AND NEONATAL DEATH. THE FUND CONTINUES TO GROW AND MORE GRANTS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED IN THE FORTHCOMING YEAR.


AVOW Extravaganza Concert

MANY ARTISTES CAME TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE VOLUNTEERING AT AVOW’S SILVER JUBILEE EXTRAVAGANZA CONCERT. PERFORMANCES BY BITESIZE THEATRE, BRYMBO MALE VOICE CHOIR, DANCING SHOES, SOLOIST KATE PARKES, LIMELIGHT PRODUCTIONS, SUMMILAN, WREXHAM COMMUNITY CHOIR, WREXHAM SCOUTS AND WREXHAM SINGING HANDS, WITH STEVE GARDNER COMPARING MADE FOR A MOST ENJOYABLE EVENT OF ENTERTAINMENT

IT WAS TRULY AN ENTERTAINING AND MEMORABLE EVENING WHICH WE ENJOYED, AND MADE US AWARE OF THE TALENT WE HAVE IN WREXHAM

Joan Williams - Wrexham Maelor Lions Club


Make a Difference Day

Make a Difference (M.A.D) Day took place on Saturday 1st June 2013 on Queen’s Square and Llwyn Isaf in Wrexham town centre. Bitesize Youth Theatre performed twice during the day showcasing some very talented young people; there was also a variety of singers and musicians as well as a performance from Tom Hughes-Lloyd who was a runner up in Sky 1’s ‘Got to Dance’.

Plas Madoc play team brought along a bouncy castle and lots of different activities for children and young people to enjoy, including scraps from ‘The Land’ such as tubes, pallets, tools, chalks, cardboard etc. Over 40 stalls, Voluntary organisations and community groups were represented on the day promoting their work and recruiting volunteers.


Awards and Recognitions

AVOW STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS SUCCESSFULLY ACHIEVED THE FOLLOWING:

AVOW WAS SUCCESSFULLY REASSESSED for Investors in People and for Levels 1&2 Green Dragon Environmental Award

AVOW RECEIVED COMMENDATION from High Sheriff, Celia Jenkins, for assisting with the arrangements for the High Sheriff Awards

THE LAND’S innovative approach to play has received worldwide recognition with articles in the Netherlands, Australia, Italy and America as well as the UK

OLLIE’S CAFE again received a Level 5 for Hygiene

ANNABEL BOYCE achieved Level 3 Health and Social Care Diploma

14 Staff and Volunteers attended an Emergency First Aid at Work course

18 Staff and Volunteers achieved Food Safety Level 2

11 Staff and Volunteers attended a Safeguarding and Basic Awareness course


We're STILL Making a Difference

The Land

‘THE LAND’ IS AN OPEN ACCESS ‘JUNK’ PLAYGROUND, A HUB WITHIN A COMMUNITY PROVIDING SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT, POSSIBILITIES AND AT TIMES VALUABLE RESPITE. ALTHOUGH RELATIVELY NEW, THE VISION IS A FAR CRY FROM YOUR TRADITIONAL PLAYGROUND - THE ONLY SWINGS OR SLIDES ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE BEEN SHAPED BY THE CHILDREN WHO ATTEND AND MAY LAST A DAY OR WEEK, NOTHING IS PERMANENT ON THE LAND.

THROUGHOUT 2013 AND 2014, ‘THE LAND’ HAS BEEN GAINING RECOGNITION ON A GLOBAL SCALE, WITH NEWS ARTICLES COMING OUT OF AUSTRALIA AND THE UNITED STATES. AMERICAN FILM MAKER ‘ERIN DAVIS’ VISITED THE LAND IN 2013 TO RECORD FOOTAGE FOR AN UPCOMING DOCUMENTARY WHICH IS SET FOR RELEASE LATE IN 2014.

The strangest playground on earth

Beth Greenfield - Shine


Inclusion Project

Emily is 11 and has Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD which had previously prevented her from accessing playscheme or any other projects, however, with the support of the Inclusion Playworker, Emily has attended AVOW’s play provision for approximately 8 months. Already there has been a significant change in her independence, confidence and more friendships have been made. Emily’s communication skills have also improved. This has made a difference at home and had a positive impact on family relationships.

SHE LOVES ATTENDING PLAYSCHEME, SHE HAS IDENTIFIED A NUMBER OF FRIENDS BY SAYING THEIR NAMES AT HOME. PLAYSCHEME IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR HER AS SHE IS A VERY ACTIVE CHILD, BY ATTENDING SHE IS ABLE TO LET OFF STEAM.

Emily's Mother


AVOW in Numbers

Media

  • 30,568 Visits to the website
  • 12,172 Newsletters Distributed
  • 2,743 Receive Regular Newsletters

Impact

  • 7,398 Visits to 'The Land'
  • 49,082 Enquiries Received and Responded to
  • 379 Volunteering Opportunities

Funding

  • £1.5million Total amount being sought through grant enquiries
  • 19 Successful applicants for the 'MAD' Grant Scheme
  • 178 Funding Enquiries received and responded to

Community

  • 216 Beneficiaries on training courses
  • 21 Training courses held at AVOW
  • 1,383 Carers Enquiries Dealt with

Financials

Assocation of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham (AVOW) Statement of Financial Activities for the year ended 31st March 2014 (Incorporating the income and expenditure account)

Unrestricted Funds £ Restricted Funds £ Total Funds 2014 £ Total Funds 2013 £
Incoming Resources
Incoming Resources from Generated Funds
Voluntary Income 139,885 17,358 157,243 232,574
Investment Income-interest receivable 4,085 - 4,085 6,077
Incoming resoures from charitable activities 131,576 710,358 841,934 1,390,011
Total incoming resources 275,546 727,716 1,003,262 1,628,662
Resources Expended
Charitable Activities 443,076 730,518 1,173,594 1,644,378
Governance Costs 22,793 1,444 24,237 22,471
Total resources expended 465,869 731,862 1,197,831 1,666,849
Net incoming/(outgoing) resources for the year before transfers (190,323) (4,246) (194,569) (38,187)
Gross transfers between funds 158,957 (158,957) - -
Net movements in funds (31,366) (163,203) (194,569) (38,187)
Reconciliation of funds:
Total funds brought forward 186,954 268,411 455,365 493,552
Total funds carried forward 155,588 105,208 260,796 455,365

Assocation of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham (AVOW) Balance Sheet as of 31st March 2014

2014 £ £ 2013 £ £
Fixed Assets
Tangible Assets 222,718 244,818
Current Assets
Debtors 58,914 125,807
Cash at Bank and In Hand 311,364
370,278
519,720
645,527
Creditors: Amounts falling due within one year (156,700) (254,280)
Net Current Assets 213,578 636,065
Total Assets Less Current Liabilities 436,269 636,065
Creditors: Amounts falling due after more than one year (175,500) (180,700)
Net Assets 260,796 455,365
The Funds of the Charity:
Restricted Funds 105,208 268,411
Unrestricted Funds
General Reserves 87,274 118,640
Designated Funds 68,314 68,314
Total Charity Funds 260,796 455,365

The statement of Financial Activities includes all gains and losses in the year. All incoming resources and resources expended derive from continuing activities.

The financial details shown above are extracts from the annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 March 2014. These financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the provisions for companies subject to the small companies’ regime, and with the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities (effective April 2008).

The financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on 25th June 2014 and signed on its behalf by John Leece Jones (Chair)

A copy of the full annual report and accounts can be obtained from: John Leece Jones, Secretary, Tŷ Avow, 21 Egerton Street, Wrexham, LL11 1ND. Telephone: 01978 312556, Email: info@avow.org