Encourage Volunteering


To develop and strengthen the infrastructure that supports employee volunteering, both within Essex County Council and across other organisations, in both the public and private sectors.

We will re-launch and reinvigorate ECC’s own employee volunteering scheme whilst also identifying ways to engage with business, emphasising opportunities for business to promote volunteering and demonstrate their corporate social responsibility.


  • ECC relaunched our internal volunteering scheme in June 2014, new internal publicity continues to be promoted through a range of channels.  In December, we will survey workforce using the original questions to assess changes in awareness and measure take up of the scheme.
  • Plans to assess and strengthen Business engagement with volunteering across Essex are now in development. This will be supported by funding for 15/16 secured through the Transformation Challenge Award.

Networking and Events


To further support mobilisation of communities based on feedback from 4th April WWC event. Activities would include:

  • Initiate & support networking opportunities (e.g. swap shop) & sharing ideas , best practice & lessons learned for community groups across Essex
  • Use these to communicate key messages about eg work under way to review procurement practice
  • Use of WWC portal to share messages


  • The first ‘Swap Shop’ events have been booked for January/February 2015. These will be held at 4 venues across Essex giving good geographical coverage across the county. We have collaborated closely with Voluntary Sector & CCG leaders regarding theme and format. See the events page for further details.
  • External speakers have been booked to deliver at these sessions

Training & Toolkit

Proposal; To support mobilisation of communities by providing training and toolkits to set up and run community-led activities but also to bid for funding.

Example of proposed schemes:

- Business incubator training, available to voluntary groups & partners to build skills around bidding for funding.

- Toolkit, to replicate countywide & large scale roll-out approaches & learn from experience


  • Business incubator training has been offered and delivered to the 3 scheme leads (Rainbow in action, My social prescription & Men’s sheds).
  • The ‘Toolkit’ will be developed further in conjunction with these scheme leads in the new year when the early lessons learned are captured and shared.

Evaluation Framework


To develop a common evaluation framework which can be used both to assess:

  1. the effectiveness of individual projects (micro-level evaluation); and
  2. broader shifts across communities (macro – level evaluation).


  • Specification developed for an overarching evaluation framework. Invitation To Tender (ITT) opportunity released to the market beginning of December and due to be awarded in January 2015
  • Opportunity listed on Ariba, will close 16th January

Directory of services/referral tool


Building on existing platforms, to enhance information sharing across a wider range of community organisations across Essex. Also, to provide additional information including a schedule of events for residents.

The proposal is to ensure all CVS have access & update the on-line information. There may be further opportunities to enhance these portals by developing an app to support mobile access to information around community & volunteer groups


  • Through TCA funding secured for delivery of social prescription, there is money allocated to each locality to support their chosen vehicle for making referrals (this is expected to be split between Essex Connects and Frontline).
  • Mid and North East have selected Essex Connects, West have selected Frontline with the CCG’s in the South currently undecided.

Civic Innovation


Working with a range of partners, we will convene a ‘civic innovation event’ focusing on community information and approaches to care.

For the council, supporting community approaches to care addresses one of the authority’s key cost drivers whilst supporting citizen-led action.

Civic innovation sessions promote creative innovation in public services.  They are predicated on a commitment to openness and participation, and a trust in the uncertainty of the process. Civic innovation sessions bring together participants from the public and private sectors and members of the public to generate practical solutions to social policy challenges.

They are entrepreneurial in spirit, and are opportunities to problem-solve. Built around “coalitions of the willing” that include residents, academics, entrepreneurs, charities and public agencies a civic innovation session will look to develop new technologies, and to locate new areas for innovation and funding.


  • Civic Innovation weekend held at ARU 22nd November themed around ‘How can we use technology and information to help people with Learning Disabilities live life to the full?’ Real life solutions generated for those with learning disabilities – including a live Keep Safe app & website; a patient passport; and a marketing strategy to help students with LD’s get into work.
  • Over £50,000 of cost free resources were mobilised during the course of the event

Three schemes


Mens Sheds

The community “Shed” is an updated version of a man’s garden shed. The target population for this initative is men who may find themselves vulnerable , lonely or in difficult circumstances. The shed is a place where a man feels at home and pursues practical interests with a high degree of autonomy. A community shed offers this to a group of such men where members share the tools and resources they need to work on projects of their own choosing at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. They are places of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. A place of leisure where men come together to work.

Funding has been secured for delivery of this scheme to July 2015.

Rainbow in action

The aim of this scheme is to enable a solution based and practical approach to meeting community needs that the community itself has identified as local priorities.  The pilot in Harlow has been very successful tackling issues to support older and potentially isolated people living in the Nettleswell Ward of Harlow. 

Solutions delivered so far in Nettleswell have included the setting up of a successful social club for older people - to network and support each other and the local community. Also a successful Dial a Neighbour scheme which is part of the wider project.  The club is based on a walk in idea so that it is easy to access locally, is welcoming and becomes self-sustaining over time.

Projects and ideas in Harlow stemmed from the core social club. These include Snow Visits, coffee afternoons and the production of information cards and tailored signposting for specific needs

By providing these social activities the benefits have been reduced loneliness and isolation for the attendees and something to look forward to each week.

Most existing attendees do not attend any other clubs or activities, so for them it is the only group they will go to.  It is on their doorstep therefore there is no need to rely on public or community transport so it costs them nothing to attend.

Funding has been secured for delivery of this scheme to July 2015.

My Social Prescription

Trialled in North East Essex throughout 2013, 'My Social Prescription' (MSP) is a project providing patients, GP's and clinicians with access to information about voluntary services, volunteers and volunteering opportunities. 

The intention of the scheme is to address the social issues that people approach medical staff with, seeking solutions or that affect people affected by a number of health conditions.  This is achieved by identifying the most appropriate referral, utilising community assets (i.e. people, services, community resources) to address the social need, ultimately improving the quality of life of the patient and family and reducing demand on public services.


  • Maldon Men’s Shed project established and operating in Maldon with further sheds planned for Southminster and Chelmsford
  • Rainbow scheme roll out imminent in Uttlesford and Epping with further localities being developed
  • 15 locations have been identified wishing to host ‘My Social Prescription’ outreach across North East Essex including GP surgeries, clinics and palliative care sites.