Fundraising advice, training support and communications services will be offered to the voluntary sector by the Ark Trust as part of a new commission with Wokingham Borough Council and NHS Berkshire West.
The Ark Trust, a local charity, successfully bid to provide the voluntary sector support services for one year and is developing a new website to help reach as many community and voluntary groups as possible.
Andrea McCombie-Parker, from the Ark Trust said: "Over the coming year the Ark will provide an innovative approach to supporting the community and voluntary sector to ensure that local organisations have the skills and are best placed to take advantage of funding opportunities in these challenging times."
The Ark has employed a training coordinator to help voluntary and community organisations find appropriate training for staff and volunteers and a fundraising advice worker who will be able to support with funding applications and help groups find new funding sources.
The Ark Trust is a charity that provides independent information, advice, guidance and champions inclusion and citizenship through education, the arts and new media with a focus on disability.
Josie Wragg, Wokingham Borough Council’s Head of Strategic Partnerships, said: "We consulted with the voluntary and community sector to find out what sort of support they most valued and help with training, fundraising and communications were the areas that came out strongly, so we are delighted to have The Ark onboard to provide these highly-valued services. The Ark has a track record of providing quality services to vulnerable adults and I am sure it will maintain its high standards in this new role."
The Ark was commissioned by Wokingham Borough Council inline with the authority’s principle of inviting tenders from across the voluntary and community sector that can meet the outcomes it wants to achieve for residents. Commissioning in this way is becoming increasingly important to Wokingham Borough Council as it allows the council to target its limited resources directly to achieving what residents need and want.
Josie Wragg added: "Commissioning community and voluntary groups to meet the needs and aspirations of our residents will ensure public money is properly targeted in the Wokingham borough. The council’s community care and children’s services already make extensive use of such commissioning and we will be building on this across other areas."