Communities Can

‘Communities Can’ and They Certainly Do…with a little 5 star help from VCAS!

This Big Lottery funded pilot aimed to provide capacity building support to 5 areas across the country, with Sunderland being one of the beneficiary Cities! This innovative  pilot programme was designed to help small community groups access the support they need to grow and thrive.

The programme has now concluded and many of the Community groups/organisations based in Sunderland have benefited from the excellent building capabilities programme. The programme has enabled organisations to develop their group and organisations in order to make it better, stronger…even more amazing! 

Some of VCAS services that were delivered over the two year period to almost 75 VCSE included the following:

  • Being a first point of contact for any Voluntary and Community sector organisation
  • Identifying Funding avenues beyond the normal funding avenues relevant to their own organsiations / project need                            
  • Funding research to support and identify appropriate funders   
  • Designing a Funding Strategy
  • Impact Assessments
  • Logic Models
  • Crisis Management                                                        
  • Feasibility study                                                               
  • Mentoring for various Funding applications / bids                                        
  • Consultation / feasibility studies                                 
  • Business Plans                  
  •  Management Skills Assessments                                               
  • Volunteer Recruitment Plans                                      
  • Advising on the Appropriate legal Structure for your Organisations
  • Guidance to Charitable / Company / CIC / CIO Status                                         
  • Bespoke Training Packages Designed for your own Organisation               
  • Reviewing policy and procedures for organisations  
  • Good Governance and practice       

By utilising the ‘Communities Can’ programme VCAS have supported many organisations through these tough times for the Voluntary Sector, providing a wide range of services in order to strengthen capacity and influence in the area.  This pilot will support them to do the things they do so brilliantly now, but for longer and on a firmer, more secure footing, including:


These are just a few of our reviews from Sunderland's VCSE organisations that we worked with, of all our ratings we received,only one was rated 4* throughout the period of monitoring. All monitoring was undertaken independently of VCAS and without our knowledge. 

5 stars from Jackie Kent – Access Counselling and Mediation Services CIC. – Support

We are very impressed with VCAS professionalism and extensive knowledge, all of our questions were answered fully and clarified in a way we, non-business business people understand perfectly ....... we are looking forward to working closely with them during the support time we have with them. A big thank you from us all.

5 stars  from Elizabeth Sunduzwayo New Hope North East.

I gave VCAS five stars because VCAS helped us from the very beginning to applying for a grant which was successful. It was through VCAS advice and taking us through the whole process step by step that was very helpful. We look forward to continue working with VCAS in the future and would not hesitate to refer others to them. Elizabeth Sunduzwayo Chair, NHNE

5 stars from Tony Kinnair- Sunderland Prostate Oncology Group (SPOG)

VCAS provided us with absolutely brilliant support, were easy to with and extremely helpful. Thoroughly recommend them and their service.

5 stars from Lee Branney – Culture for Hetton.

The information and help was excellent.

5 stars from Jason Mark Fletcher – Disability Entertainment for Young People.

We have found that our organisation has gone from strength to strength since working with VCAS, the business advice & help with collating bids also many other things like helping to prepare up to date policies & procedures for the CIC so we can deliver our services successfully, VCAS is invaluable as I am dyslexic.