Voices and Choices is a local voluntary organisation which focuses on helping people remain in their own homes while receiving the help and services they require.
Barbara Poole, the Chair, describes how the services offered by Community Impact Bucks helped the organisation get off the ground and continues to be a key source of information and advice.
How it all started
Barbara had been working with another organisation working in a similar area focusing on statutory needs. This lost its funding and closed down. Barbara could see that there was a pressing need for some kind of organisation which could offer support to older and vulnerable individuals and her vision was for an organisation that was a source of comprehensive support to help adults retain their independence in their own homes.
Barbara knew that the organisation she wanted to set up would be volunteer-led and volunteer-run but she needed to sort out what type of organisation that should be. Community Impact Bucks was able to help with that, and in 2014 provided one-to-one advice on how to set up Voices and Choices as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
Voices and Choices also needed to obtain funding, and recruit trustees and volunteers – once again Barbara turned to Community Impact Bucks, attending their advice sessions and workshops on those topics. Quite simply, Barbara says that “Voices and Choices would not exist without the advice and support received from CIB”.
Whenever Voices and Choices has needed help in a particular area, whether large or small, Barbara’s first call out has been to Community Impact Bucks. For example, in 2016/17, as part of a programme it was offering at the time, CIB found volunteer experts to help draw up the Strategic Plan for Voices and Choices and to help with the organisation’s internet site. But CIB has been equally helpful on small more practical one-off questions, like how to sort out identity cards for volunteers and trustees.
But there’s more than that – there are regular conferences and workshops run by CIB. In 2018, following on from a workshop on social media, Voices and Choices was able to improve its website and Facebook pages hugely, triggering lots of positive feedback.
Voices and Choices sends all new trustees to CIB’s trustees’ workshops and Barbara reports that each one has come back with much more confidence in their role. Barbara herself attends CIB’s annual Trustees’ Conference, where she always learns something useful to bring back and benefit Voices and Choices.
Barbara has also participated in CIB-run campaigns. For Trustees’ Week 2018, CIB partnered with Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils to showcase some exciting new Buckinghamshire Trustee opportunities including a video of Barbara talking about her search for a new Chair for Voices and Choices.
Summing it all up: Barbara says “CIB is my safety belt in running Voices and Choices”.
For more information on Voices and Choices, including details of current volunteer roles available please see https://voicesandchoices.org.uk/.