Saturday, 19 August 2017

Working with Dogs Trust To Prevent the Heartbreak of a Stolen Pet

Dog theft is on the rise, and as such, Neighbourhood Watch and Dogs Trust are urging the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity. In 2016 alone, nearly 1,800 instances of dog theft were reported to police forces across England and Wales. 

Information obtained by Dogs Trust through a Freedom of Information request also reveals that gardens, closely followed by the home, are the most common areas from which dogs were reported stolen. Lee Paris, Campaigns Officer at Dogs Trust, told Our News : "It is a sad day when we have to issue these types of warnings, but with instances of dog theft becoming more prevalent, we want to ensure that dog owners are aware of the dangers so that they can help keep their beloved pets safe. Theft of any item is distressing, but when a dog is stolen, who many consider a part of the family; the experience can be even more distressing." 

The most common breed of dog reported as stolen was the Staffordshire Bull-terrier, followed then by the Jack Russell, Chihuahua and the Bulldog. But Dogs Trust warns that any dog, whatever the breed, is at risk of theft if left unsupervised. 

Lee continues: "By making small changes to the garden and the home, and by registering to a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, we hope we can help reduce the number of dog theft instances. The message we want to get across when it comes to garden security is that we want to keep the dog in, but keep thieves out!" As such, Dogs Trust advises never to leaving your dog unattended, and has put together the following advice on how to help protect your dog from the risk of theft and what to do should the worst happen. 

Whether you own a dog or not, intruders should not be able to access your garden or property.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Incorrect Use of Blue Badge - Fined £440 + £250 Costs

A man who fraudulently used his daughter’s Blue Badge to park while he was at the gym has ended up more than £700 out of pocket.

Matthew Dorgu, 48, of Ridgeway, Kensworth, was caught as part of a Central Bedfordshire Council operation tackling Blue Badge fraud on 9 December 2016.

When officers checked a car parked in a spot reserved for Blue Badge holders outside Dunstable Leisure Centre that day, they found the permit was for a child.

In an interview under caution on 24 January 2017, Mr Dorgu admitted wrongly using the badge without his daughter present to attend the gym.

At Luton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (1 August) he admitted Blue Badge fraud and was fined £440, ordered to pay £250 costs and a £44 victim surcharge.

Report any concerns

If you suspect someone of illegally using a Blue Badge you can report it the council by calling 0300 300 8035 or emailing

Saturday, 29 July 2017

FireFighters Charity - Virtual Run

Lorraine Moore
Fire Safety Officer
 is proud to inform you that her Grandson, Cameron Moore (Age 12) is in his fourth year of raising money for The Firefighters Charity.

This year he has organised a Virtual Run, a Virtual Run is where you pick the distance that you would like to run during the month of August (you can run, jog, walk or use a treadmill).

The distances are 5km, 10km or 20km.  You complete this at your own pace during the month so you can either do it in one hit or you can do lots of short runs over the month.

Once you have achieved the distance you signed up for, you send evidence via email to Cameron.  This can be screenshots of the treadmill, Strava App, Nike running App, fitness watch, map my run or similar to prove that you have completed your target. Once Cameron receives this he will send you out your medal.

The entrance fee is £10 for adults and £8 for children under the age of 14 (as of 31st August) and all profit goes to the Firefighters Charity.

You can scan the QR code on the attached poster which will take you straight to the application form or you can visit Cameron's Facebook page.

Once you have filled the application form in, Cameron will send you a PayPal request within 48 hours.

If you don't have a PayPal account or you would prefer to fill out a paper application form please email either myself or Stacey

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Improvement Plan Lifts Need For Close Scrutinisation of Bedfordshire's NHS

NHS England has removed special measures on Bedfordshire's health body, after it delivered on an improvement plan to stabilise its finances and put the organisation on a firmer footing.

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group was placed under 'legal directions' in 2015 after it delivered a £42m uncontrolled loss over the previous two years.

The 'legal directions' meant that a new Accountable Officer and Executive team was appointed and the organisation was closely scrutinised to ensure better financial management and corporate governance was put in place.

The organisation also increased its clinical leadership, appointing a number of clinicians, including a new chair to the health body, to ensure that all decisions were made with patients in mind.

Dr Alvin Low, Chairman of Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said, "We are delighted that NHS England has lifted 'legal directions'. It is a resounding endorsement of the hard work and commitment shown by the Executive team and our staff over the last two years.

Much work has been done to steady the ship and strengthen the organisation, while ensuring that we continue to deliver quality health care services to residents in Bedfordshire."

In 2017, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group delivered a surplus for the first time since it was created in 2013, whilst also paying back some of the deficit it accrued in the previous two years.

Dr Low said, "While this is terrific news, we need to be mindful of challenges ahead, especially in terms of managing our finances when our population is growing in size and need. However, this process has made us a stronger and more resilient organisation than we were before and we will continue to work hard to make a difference to the health of the communities we serve in Bedfordshire."

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for the 441,000 people who live in Bedfordshire. This includes hospital, community health and mental health services.

·         BCCG is run by GPs, nurses, hospital doctors and other clinicians – the people you see whenever you come into contact with the NHS. All 53 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members of the CCG which is divided into five areas, which we call localities. These are: Bedford, Chiltern Vale, Leighton Buzzard, Ivel Valley and West Mid Bedfordshire and all of the 53 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Voluntary Service News Update June 2017

 Events and Courses
Summer Unconference - Tuesday 11 July, 10am – 4pm. Bunyan Meeting Rooms, Bedford.

Organised by Bedford Community Network, this is a free, delegate-led event for voluntary organisations in Bedford Borough.
An unconference is an unconventional conference which is organised, structured and led by the people attending it. There is no fixed agenda, no-one has selected the speakers before the event, no-one has decided for you what an 'Important Topic' is, and there will be no 'death by powerpoint' keynote speech!
If you have an idea for a session or a burning issue you'd like to raise then come to the event and pitch it, but you don't need to have all the answers!  If you don't have any ideas for a session, come to the event anyway, see what other people are suggesting and get involved!
The venue has multiple rooms so we can cater for several workshops and discussions. Once we've filled the timetable with all the interesting topics, you can choose what sessions you want to take part in and you'll get the chance to interact with others who share the same interests and to learn from each other.  The topics will be relevant to you (the delegates) because you suggested them.
Interested? Click here.
Running Effective Meetings - Tuesday 27 June, 9:30am – 1pm, Bedford - A half-day course designed to help those who chair or participate in meetings to understand how to run effective meetings that are constructive, concise and actually achieve something. Just £20 per delegate! For more information click here.
Tender Opportunity - Child & Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS), Bedfordshire. An 'Industry Event' is being held on 23 June, 11am - 12.30pm, in Flitwick. Commissioners will be looking for 'innovative proposals to provide consistent access to evidence based interventions delivering demonstrable outcomes for Children, young people and their families as part of an integrated offer. The scope will include schools and early help activities, with a strong emphasis on service user and stakeholder engagement.' Click here.
Whitbread Plc Chairman's Fund – Awards of between £250 and £3,000 on projects fitting the three themes of the fund:
  • Skills and inclusion
  • The reduction of rural social isolation
  • Community cohesion
The fund has been created to support charities and community groups whose beneficiaries are from the South Bedfordshire communities of Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Leighton Buzzard and the outlying villages to the County boundary. Click here.
Merry Christmas! – Now is the time to start planning for Christmas! The closing date to register for The Big Give Christmas Challenge is 7 July. This scheme offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donation doubled when the campaign goes live in November. Click here.
 Other Information
Deaf drop-in service in Bedford – Deafconnect are running sessions every Wednesday, 10am-4pm, at CVS Offices. Deaf staff with an interpreter are offering help and support on a range of issues, including form filling, booking interpreters, benefits, housing and health. Click here.
Bedford Borough Council has produced a Draft Mental Health Accommodation Strategy, which is now out for consultation until 11 September. Click here.
Access2Books is a charity based in Bedfordshire whose mission it is to ensure that everyone has access to books. They take the most popular children's books in the UK and turn them into accessible books for people who have print disabilities. For more information click here.
Small Charity Week is 19-24 June – check out the website, which includes information on fundraising opportunities. Click here.
Changes to Data Protection law - Do you know what the GDPR is? The General Data Protection Regulation will apply from May 2018, setting out the main responsibilities for organisations and their use of personal data, including a new accountability requirement. Click here.
Mencap's 'Employ Me' program aims to develop peoples' employability skills through either weekly 1 to 1 meetings with an Employment Coordinator, or as part of a group session – whichever the individual prefers. Sessions cover everything from C.V. writing to health and safety, and anything else relating to work and the workplace. Whilst the ultimate aim is to find someone a paid job, they also aim to provide people with the skills they need to find paid work in the future, so even if you just need help finding the right training course, volunteering role or work experience, then Mencap can support you. More information on the Mencap website, but to make a local referral email
The NSPCC has published updated editions of two safeguarding publications:
  • Standards and guidance for the voluntary and community sector in England designed to help non-statutory organisations put in place clear safeguarding arrangements for children, young people and young adults up to the age of 25. click here.
  • Are they safe?: a safeguarding guide for group leaders in the voluntary and community sector, which provides a range of activities, support or services, from arts activities and hobbies to faith-based education or community work. Click here.

Education and Learning Manager, Relate Bedfordshire and Luton. The post will be based in Bedford and on a 12 months fixed term contract. Deadline, 5pm, 30 June. Click here.

CLOSING SOON! - Young Carer Peer Mentor Coordinator (maternity cover), Carers in Bedfordshire. Part-time. 28 hours a week. Grade 3: £20,065 FTE (starting salary); pro-rata for part-time hours. Evening and weekend working will be required. Deadline 12pm, 16 June. Click here.

Families United Network are recruiting to the following posts:

  • Support Workers for the Saturday Club in Luton
  • Cleaner for 6 hours a week

For more information click here.

Youth Inspired C.I.C have two vacancies. They are looking to recruit a Tutor and a Support Worker.  Closing date for applications for either of these roles is 30 June. Click here.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Those Magnificent Men In Their Dunstable Sheds

Dunstable Men-In-Sheds put on a display at the Cheering Volunteers event organised by Central Bedfordshire Council and held at Grove Theatre on Tuesday evening.

The group fosters the health and wellbeing of men and is open to those aged 55+. It provides facilities so that men can meet, share common hobbies and interests, learn and share skills, as well as developing new ideas and helping with community based projects.

The men come from all walks of life and enjoy good company, a cup of tea, chatting while having fun. Woodworking, metalworking and craft working are among the things catered for.

The 20+ strong group meet at the Meadway Allotment site in Dunstable, and typically opens Monday Wednesday and Friday mornings, as well as Thursday evenings. All members have an equal say, and it runs on a voluntary basis. The group aspires to do a lot to help Dunstable community.

Dunstable Men-In-Sheds are affiliated to UK Men's Sheds Association, who provide practical support. If you'd like to find out more about the local group contact Martin on 01582 668598 or Terry on 01582 604476.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Volunteer News | 5 June 2017



CVS Update  |  5 June 2017



Happy Volunteers' Week!

Volunteers' Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place from 1-7 June every year.  Why not take the opportunity to say 'thank you' to your existing volunteers? Go to for more information.

CVS Volunteering has a new online volunteering recruitment system. Potential volunteers are now able to browse and register for local opportunities 24/7. If your organisation has volunteering roles you want us to promote, then email Paul Atkin today ( to get set up. To look at the current list of opportunities online click here.


Safeguarding our Communities from Harm, Saturday 10 June (1pm-4pm) - This 'Train the Trainer' session is being run by Bedfordshire Police at the Police Headquarters in Kempston for staff from voluntary organisations in Bedford who may come across or work with victims in their local community. Click here.

Refugee Week starts on 15 June with an extensive programme of events across Bedford. Click here.

Free CVS Workshop - Fit for Funding, 20 June (6.30pm -9pm), Bedford - The workshop will cover all the basics you will need to get 'Fit for Funding', including your governing document, policies, budgeting, and a brief introduction to outcomes and demonstrating need. Click here.

PREVENT Training Session, 23 June, 11am-12.30pm, TOKKO, Luton. This free training is run by Bedfordshire Police and will cover and explain the PREVENT duty and what it means to you. It will also explain how to ensure compliance and raising awareness within your job role and organisation. To reserve your place please e-mail

Benefits Update 2017 - Thursday 29 June (10am - 1pm) - Bunyan Meeting Rooms, Bedford. This half-day course from Bedfordshire Advice Forum is aimed at people who give advice on benefits to clients, and who want an update on the wide-ranging, 2017 benefit changes. A good knowledge of current benefits is required. Click here for more details and prices.

Summer Unconference - Tuesday 11 July (10am - 4:00pm). Bunyan Meeting Rooms, Bedford. Bedford Community Network are holding a Summer Unconference for voluntary organisations in Bedford Borough. An Unconference has no agenda until the delegates propose and agree the topics to be discussed. Click here.

Free CVS Workshop - Outcomes and Impact, 13 July (10am-12.30pm), Bedford - This free workshop will help you to clearly link your aims, outcomes and activities in your funding applications. Click here.

Training from just £20 per delegate! - CVS has organised a new season of training courses for staff and volunteers of voluntary and community sector organisations in Bedfordshire.

  • Running Effective Meetings - Tuesday 27 June, 9:30am - 1pm
  • Taking and Presenting Minutes - Tuesday 18 July, 9:30am - 1pm
  • Recruiting and Selecting Staff - Thursday 20 July, 9:30am - 1pm
  • Finance Made Easy - Friday 21 July, 9:30am - 1pm

For more information click here.


National Churches Trust offers funds for Christian church projects which help maintain the UK's heritage of church buildings and enhance their ability to serve local communities. The next deadline for the following grants programmes is 3 July:

  • Community Grants of £10,000 to £25,000 to enable increased community use of places of worship
  • Repair Grants of £10,000 to £40,000 are available towards the cost of urgent and essential structural repair projects
  • Project Viability and Project Development Grants up to £10,000

For more information click here.

Help The Homeless's main funding remit is the regular allocation of grants (generally up to £5,000) for capital costs to small and medium-sized registered charities only (those with a turnover of under £1m per annum). All applications must relate to projects that assist individuals to return to mainstream society, rather than simply offer shelter or other forms of sustenance. The next two deadlines are 15 June and 15 September. Click here.

Tender Opportunity - The Bedfordshire Employment & Skills Service (BESS) wishes to commission a number of adult training courses to be delivered in the academic year 2017-18 and the funding available is £500,000.  The courses will support unemployed residents of Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough local authority areas into further learning or employment. Deadline is 19 June. Click here.

Old Possum's Practical Trust makes a number of small grants (within the range of £500 - £5,000) each year for literary, artistic, musical and theatrical projects. Grants are more likely to be given for projects which fall within artistic, aesthetic, literary, musical and theatrical criteria. All applications must demonstrate a high level of sustainability and contextual impact. Priority will be given to those which have an impact on future literary work and display enterprise in their artistic endeavour. Click here.

Greggs offer grants of up to £2,000 to smaller not-for-profit organisations in areas where there is a Greggs store. There are two types of grant available:

  • Local Community Projects Fund is for projects which improve resilience within communities of interest, such as people who are disabled or suffering chronic illness, living in poverty, voluntary carers, homeless, isolated older people, or other demonstrable significant need. For more information click here.
  • Environmental Grants are for projects that improve the physical environment in a way that will improve people's lives. Click here.

The next deadline is 24 June.


The Luton and Bedfordshire Community Awards welcome nominations about individuals, who either live or work in organisations within the boundaries of Luton and Central Bedfordshire. There are a number of awards, including Volunteer of the Year. The closing date for nominations is 14 August. Click here.

Bedford and Luton Community Foundation is actively seeking new trustees for the Board, to help with the management and governance of the Charity. The role requires hands-on professionals who understand the financial, regulatory or voluntary sector background within which the Foundation operates. Deadline 30 June. Click here.

Relate Bedfordshire and Luton is able to deliver a 'Customer Care' 2-day workshop at your venue, which will provide tailored strategies for your Customer Service staff.  This new bespoke support for employers, starting this month, aims to help improve handling of customer queries and complaints over the phone or face-to-face, in areas like Community Centres, Children Centres, Call Centres and Receptions. For more information and costs, contact email

Can you offer volunteering opportunities to people who are unemployed? A local organisation is looking to run a 'Progressing into Work' course, which is a mixture of classroom-based activity and volunteering, but they need to pair-up with supportive organisations which can offer suitable volunteering opportunities. If you want to find out more an informal meeting is being organised at CVS at end of June, so email for more information.


Sales Apprentice, ReUse Centre, 35-hour week over 5 days that will include regular Saturday working. Deadline, 12pm, 8 June. Click here.