Organisations we've helped

Rosetta Life, with a little help from BVSC...

Rosetta Life is a company of filmmakers and artists working within health and social care with specialist experience in end of life and palliative care.  We are in the process of establishing our film making work – Rosetta Pictures, as a separate offer for third sector organisations wishing to use creative media and film to inspire their stakeholders, advocate and fundraise.

As a small charity facing new challenges – socially and economically, we needed a starting point in the delivery of our ambitious new plans so my first port of call was BVSC.

Reflecting on my preconceptions and cynicism that genuine and affordable and even free advice is not something you encounter often, I didn’t hold great expectations. I was however extremely impressed by the level of support we received.

First of all we completed a health check.  This was a fantastic opportunity for us as an organisation to reflect on our operations and strategy, management and planning.  The exercise is invaluable.  Following the health check I attended a meeting at BVSC with their Business and Enterprise Development Worker. The in-depth advice around finance, fundraising and our particular queries around establishing a community interest company was so helpful that it has informed our development plans for the coming year.

The meeting has, on a more practical note opened doors to access many of BVSC’s services.  We have since used their accountancy service and marketing function and have an ongoing relationship and access to the wider community of charities in the city.

My preconceived notion that we wouldn’t really gain from the health check process has been truly overturned and we go on to consult with BVSC as we take our first steps towards developing a social enterprise. To sum it up, it feels very much like we are not alone, something extremely valuable in these turbulent economic times.

Access to networks and support that is affordable and genuine in every respect alongside a health check process that has allowed our team to take a step back and gain a new perspective on our day to day management has been refreshing and rewarding.

Jennifer Sweeney, projects and development manager – Rosetta Life,

Rosetta Life's projects can be viewed on YouTube Channel -  (check out the Media Advocacy playlist) and at  If you would like to find out about training packages we offer or talk to us about a project please contact us at

To complete the health check please click here.

This article was originally published in September 2011 edition of Update Magazine


Rosetta Life was also our Spotlight feature for October 2011 edition of Update Magazine, page 12-13, read it here

Lauren Lovatt, Tailored support for your organisation

Lauren Lovatt is a Service Manager at Welcome Solihull, a charity providing support services for people affected by substance misuse. A while ago Lauren was given a new responsibility around HR responsibilities within her organisation and was looking for training to help her when she spotted an advert for BVSC’s employment law courses.

“Unfortunately I was unable to attend the scheduled date so I approached BVSC who told me that the training could be provided on a one-to-one basis at a time to suit me" Lauren says "The session was delivered to me over two days by an experienced employment law consultant. It was very comprehensive and covered disciplinary matters, staff absences, transfers of employment, cutting costs and downsizing, Equality Act and Pensions Reform.

“The one-to-one sessions were delivered at an appropriate pace and the supporting material was really useful. Initially I was apprehensive about attending training on this basis but I found it to be a really positive experience, especially as all the material that was covered was contextualised and tailored to my organisation. Following the course I was able to return to work and make necessary changes to policies and procedures.  I would recommend one-to-one training as it really enables you to contextualize and focus on specific issues that affect your particular organisation.”

Tailor-made training courses for one or more delegates are available as part of our Consultancy Services. For more information email

Welcome Solihull: /


This article was originally published in November 2011 edition of Update Magazine

Doug Jewell, Counting the cost of your year end audit

Doug Jewell is a Manager at Asbestos Support West Midlands. Doug recently approached BVSC to carry out an independent examination for his charity.  Under new legislation introduced in 2008, charities with an income of not more than £500,000 (and not less than £25,000) may choose this less formal method of external scrutiny which is simpler and cheaper than an audit.

Doug said “The service I received was very helpful and flexible and completely attuned to the needs of the sector”.

If you’re not sure whether your organisation is eligible for Independent Examination and you would like to discuss this further, contact us on

To find out more about independent examination, visit the Charities Commission website


This article was originally published in October 2011 edition of Update Magazine

James, 'Step Up' participant

It’s given me the push I needed; I’ve now got a much more positive attitude to work.

James [not his real name] was referred to the Step Up Programme in February 2012 by his Offender Manager. At the time of his referral James was not engaged in any form of education, training or employment, and having never worked wanted to gain some experience to improve his employability.

Through an initial assessment and subsequent one to one support sessions an interest and aptitude for ICT (Information Communication Technology) was disclosed and James identified office administration as a career choice that he felt skilled and interested in. Further sessions exploring the recruitment process and interview techniques were done in preparation for a interview that had been secured. Following on from a successful interview James began a two day a week voluntary placement as an Office Administrator in April.

Following his interview the coordinator at the volunteer placement reported “We were really impressed by his mature approach”. Since then James has made excellent progress, adapting well to the work environment and developing a range of work ready and interpersonal communication skills. In the process of his day to day work he makes and receives telephone calls and updates and confirms appointments using appointment scheduling software packages.

The placement opportunity has also been a catalyst for James to re-engage in education and training and he has since enrolled on two courses; Business Administration Level 1 and Maths Vocational Level 1. James said “It’s given me the push I needed; I’ve now got a much more positive attitude to work”.

“All my family relationships are better; I’m being treated like an adult. Mom’s proud, she’s always boasting about me to her friends. I’ve made her proud and I’m happy”.

In Autumn 2011 BVSC was awarded a two year grant from The Horner Foundation, a small family foundation established in 2005 to promote learning and health, to deliver a new stream of delivery for BVSC in the form of the Step Up Programme.

Using evidence based learning from our portfolio of supported volunteering programmes for vulnerable groups, such as Open door and Change together, we have developed a bespoke model of delivery for young people.

The aim of the Step Up Programme is to offer targeted delivery to young offenders, and those young people identified as being at risk of offending, aged 16 – 18, who are experiencing barriers to learning and development. Using volunteering opportunities as a framework for soft skills development we will support young people into education, training or volunteering opportunities that are sustainable. We aim to provide skills for life, that will support transition into adulthood and reduce re-offending.

Young people are referred to the programme through a variety of routes including Youth Offending Teams, Connexions Personal Advisors West Midlands Police Service, BVSC’s Volunteer Centre, or as a self referral.

An initial assessment is undertaken with each client to identify interests, goals and needs and any potential barriers to engagement which informs the development of an action plan.

The Step Up delivery model allows flexibility to tailor support to the varied and complex needs presented by young people, enabling clients to choose a support package that best fits their needs. Clients can access voluntary taster placements with Birmingham based voluntary organisations to enhance employability and one-to-one support on the issues impacting on their lives including referral to specialist agencies for support as required.

Placement opportunities cover a range of potential careers including play and youth work, environmental conservation, warehousing, business administration, DIY and practical work, retail and catering to name just a few. Clients are guaranteed a reference after the successful completion of a minimum 28 hour placement (1 day per week over 4 weeks).

If you would like to know more about the Step Up Programme, would like to discuss making a referral or feel your organisation could offer a placement opportunity for a young person on the programme please contact Jason Wright at BVSC on 0121 678 8884 or alternatively who will be happy to provide further information.

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Mukith Miah, Birmingham Back-to-Backs

The National Trust is Europe’s biggest conservation organisation and looks after special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland for ever, for everyone.

People and places are at the heart of everything it does. Over 4 million members, over 50, 000 volunteers, over 500,000 school children, and millions of visitors, donors and supporters help the Trust look after its 300 historic houses and gardens, 700 miles of coastline and 250,000 hectares of open countryside.

Mukith Miah, the Project Manager Community Engagement & Learning is based at one of the only city centre based properties run by the National Trust.

“The Birmingham Back-to-Backs enable visitors to learn about Birmingham’s fascinating history from the perspective of the ordinary people who lived and worked in Court 15, the last surviving courtyard of back-to-back housing in the West Midlands”.

With over 100,000 visitors flocking to see the Birmingham Back-to-Backs since it opened in 2004. It is crucial that the visitor experience maintains high standards.

200 regular volunteers and 25 volunteers working each day help run the property which could not open its doors to the public without volunteers.

In the challenging and changing times the National Trust is keen to increase volunteers from BME groups as well as increasing its local presence.

Advice and support received by BVSC has enabled the Birmingham Back to Backs to continue with a consistent recruitment and flow of volunteers. This support has further extended to advertising events and promoting the wider work of the National Trust amongst local community groups.

For more information please contact Mukith on 0121 622 2442 or email

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Mrs Khera, Women’s Help Centre in Handsworth

The Women’s Help Centre in Handsworth was established 25 years ago. Offering advice, practical help and training to women whatever their need, the Centre buzzes with women of all ages and nationalities helping them in any way they can.

The Centre runs an allotment locally where a team of women can grow organic vegetables, learning about cultivation and healthy eating. These new skills increase their confidence while spending time in the fresh air and eating fresh food improves their health and wellbeing.

However, the poor health of the Centre Coordinator as well as unfortunate weather conditions this summer meant the allotment had become severely overgrown; an unmanageable tasks for the Help Centre users.

BVSC organised a team of 12 volunteers from Deutsche Bank Birmingham who gave up a day in the office to help sort out the plot. The team donned their wellies and set to work – transforming an overgrown space into a useable, clear and manageable plot for women with little gardening experience to learn new skills and enjoy the fresh air and home grown produce.

Four volunteers constructed a barked path to improve access to the plot while others created a compost bin structure to reuse all the waste that more volunteers toiled all day to clear. Final touches to repair the greenhouse and install a runner bean frame met all of the Women’s Help Centre’s expectations and hopes of the day.

Mrs Khera, the Centre Coordinator, was really pleased with the work completed, “The team had a positive attitude towards the task. It was an excellent team effort. The team was well equipped and made some vegetable beds and path, which was something we did not have the resources to do without their help.”

Photos from the day are available on our Flickr Photostream:

If you are interested in receiving a Team Challenge group of volunteers to carry out practical tasks that will benefit the community, please complete an expression of interest form and email it to

For more information, see the Team Challenge page

Novelette Williams, Go Wisely CIC

As a Community Interest Company (CIC) we have found it difficult to find financial advice and support from organisations that understand the nature of our business. We have consulted with 5 accountants across our 4 years in business, but BVSC are the first that have truly appreciated our needs.

BVSC took time to understand what we were trying to achieve and were patient with us in explaining the steps we needed to put in place to have efficient and effective accounting processes. This meaningful advice has finally enabled us to have full control of our finance management.

Jasbir Rai, our account manager has always been prompt and dealt with our queries thoroughly. BVSC have gone the extra mile this year supporting us through our latest challenges. We would like to thank Jas and her team for all her hard work in supporting us to take control and be responsive in these challenging times.

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