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New support for Waltham Forest's community organisations

A new support service for charities, community groups, social enterprises and volunteers has launched in Waltham Forest.

In 2015, the Council carried out a review of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, and found that many local organisations were struggling to develop and grow in the current financial climate.

In response, the Council has commissioned Community Waltham Forest to provide support to the VCSE sector so it can continue making a vital contribution to the lives of people in the borough.

The organisation’s early priorities will be to focus on developing the funding coming in to the borough, increasing volunteering, and enhancing collaboration between organisations. It will also strengthen the link between the Council and the VCSE sector, which will be increasingly important as local services reshape and opportunities are created for the sector to further support and strengthen local communities. 

Community Waltham Forest offers a free training programme for voluntary and community sector organisations in Waltham Forest, as well as support for people who want to volunteer and advice for organisations that want to involve more volunteers.

Alongside this, funding workshops will be organised as well as 1:1 support sessions to help individuals, organisations and community groups be more sustainable and access funding that best meets their needs.

Community Waltham Forest’s website will provide online resources and links to useful support and guidance on governance, fundraising, starting up and volunteering. It will also provide regular updates about available funding opportunities and advice on how best to secure funding.

The website has been designed to become a central point for the local VCSE sector and a platform for the borough’s voluntary and community groups to share and publicise the great work they do, promote volunteering opportunities and connect with other organisations. Community Waltham Forest is inviting people to visit the website and feedback their ideas and thoughts on how it can develop.

Leesa Herbert, Director of Community Waltham Forest, said “We are really looking forward to working in the borough. We plan to take some new approaches to help strengthen local voluntary groups and communities in Waltham Forest. We are really keen to build on and help develop strong collaboration and partnerships locally.”

Cllr Liaquat Ali MBE JP, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Cohesion, said: “Commissioning Community Waltham Forest to support the VCSE sector’s development is a new approach for us at a time when we’re having to make multimillion pound savings, and are therefore unable to offer VCSE organisations as much direct funding as we once were.

“The aim is to help the sector to become more sustainable and to continue to develop for the benefit of thousands of local residents.

“The move demonstrates our commitment to doing all we can to find different ways to keep supporting our hugely important and much relied upon VCSE sector.”

For more information, visit, email or phone 020 3893 9790. Alternatively, follow @comwforest on Twitter.

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