Council boosts support for voluntary organisations in the Winchester District

Press Release: 07/05/2014

Community and Voluntary Groups benefiting from boost

A new contract awarded by Winchester City Council to boost support for voluntary and community organisations across the District starts this month.

Community First HEH won the contract in a competitive bidding process, following an extensive period of research and consultation with the sector. The evaluation panel included representatives of local charities to ensure a clear ‘customer focus’ throughout.

The service will offer intensive help for smaller groups – particularly those representing minority groups – as well as more ‘local’ help for those in the rural areas of the District. There will also be increased access to general support for groups of all sizes and backgrounds through smarter use of IT and themed ‘toolkits’ which provide easy-to-follow guidance.

Community First HEH already works across East Hampshire and Havant – bringing them closer to organisations based in the east and south of the District - but the team is keen to make the service a genuinely local one for the Winchester District. Chief Executive, Tim Houghton, commented:

The staff and trustees of Community First HEH are delighted to have won this important contract. We will be securing a small office base in Winchester very shortly, but our aim is to provide the service wherever it is needed. In addition to allocating experienced staff to the contract, we will be recruiting volunteers across the District to improve networking, information-sharing and support. We are keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in becoming one of these Community Mobilisers.

All voluntary organisations will have the chance to meet the Community First HEH staff at the Council’s open meeting for the sector on Thursday 5 June at Winchester Science Centre.

The City Council’s Assistant Director (Economy and Communities), Eloise Appleby, commented:

The City Council recognises the critical role played by voluntary organisations in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities, but also in providing new experiences, pathways to work, entertainment and companionship which all go to improve the quality of our lives. This is our chance to refine and improve the support provided to those organisations at a time when the financial climate is tough and demands on the sector just keep growing. New groups come into being on an almost daily basis, reflecting the latest needs and aspirations of the community: we want to ensure that they have a helping hand from the outset, but that they are also able to grow and become truly resilient over time.

Winchester Area Community Action continues to be the Community and Voluntary Sector Council for the area, and to run Dial a Ride, Shopmobility and a range of other much-valued services. The two organisations will work in partnership to ensure that voluntary groups receive the best possible support with the funding available.

Community First HEH can be reached on tel: 0300 500 8085 or email: Mandy Harris or Anstey Brierley or check the website

To book up to two free places per voluntary organisation at the open meeting on 5 June, email Rosanna Clayton at or telephone 01962 848 269.