Karen Weaver column: New Year learning can help others

Last week my fellow columnist Debra Forsythe-Conroy recommended the New Year as a good time to start learning and highlighted a variety of new short courses at Harrogate College across a range of interesting and practical topics.

Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 10:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 10:36 am

At HARCVS we also encourage volunteers to make the most of opportunities to develop their skills and expertise, both for their own benefit and to assist the many good causes they are involved in.

We’ve got a range of courses coming up which offer people the chance to learn about various aspects of running a voluntary organisation and the role of the voluntary sector in our area.

For example, the Charity Commission requires all registered charities to include a report as part of their annual accounts. Trusts, grant funders and commissioners will often ask for a copy of your annual accounts to accompany an application letter or a bid, but what are they looking for? In our “How to Write an Effective Annual Report” course on Thursday, January 26 we will take participants through the key steps in producing an effective annual report that will really work for your charity.  

On Wednesday, February 1, 11am-noon, people can join us on one of our regular Introduction Sessions aimed at people in new roles or new to the area, although everyone is welcome. There are presentations by HARCVS staff on how we support charities and groups and how we work with partners; volunteering and our volunteer centre.

We also explain the role of our HARCVS community services and provide information about the local voluntary and community sector and the new Where To Turn Community Information Directory for Harrogate District. There is the opportunity to ask questions, followed by a chance to network, take away publications and meet members of our team.

We love running these sessions as it’s great to raise awareness of the vital role of the local voluntary and community sector. There is always an interesting mix of people attending, from charities, the NHS, local authorities and even businesses, so we see some good connections being made.

Or would you like to raise the profile of your charity or group and connect with more volunteers, supporters and people who need your services? If so then you really need to be considering the opportunities offered by social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like). If this sounds terrifying then why not attend one of our social media surgeries for free, friendly advice with our social media volunteers, for whom no question is too daft.

The next session is on Monda, March 13, 6-8pm with the bonus that you get the chance to learn in the historic surroundings of the Ripon Workhouse Museum on Allhallowgate in Ripon.

As well as formal training courses we know that peer support can be very valuable and we offer a range of opportunities for people to meet to discuss issues, share problems and develop shared solutions to the many challenges that voluntary organisations face. This includes our very popular Chief Officers and Chairs Group, which meets four times per year at member venues around the district, thus also giving the chance to see how different organisations are set up and run.

To book a place or for information, visit: www.harcvs.org.uk, e mail [email protected] or find us on Facebook and Twitter. Happy learning.