Village SOS


Do you have a have a community project that just needs a little help to get it moving? Perhaps it already is moving but needs some extra support to get to the next stage? Village SOS is a Big Lottery funded programmes that aims to help communities survive and thrive through enterprising ideas.  It might be a village shop or a playgroup that needs some help or a completely new enterprise that might benefit your local area.

What can it do for me?

This programme is about providing the right support to help you move your ideas on to the next stage.   The scheme can provide local expertise and advice on next steps, help to identify funding, develop a business plan, find others who have developed something similar, arrange to visit similar projects even help to find a suitable mentor if needed. Village SOS has a large network of mentors from across the UK and encourages projects to help each other by developing this network further.

Who can apply?

Any project (or potential project) that is located within a rural community. (Population of less than 10,000 people).  

How does it work?

All projects that want support from Village SOS must first become members of the campaign. This is free and easy and can be done online – just go to the Village SOS website and click on the How it Works tab. (Or click here: http://villagesos.org.uk/sign-up/)

Once you have registered your interest for support via the sign up or on the telephone, they will arrange an initial chat with you over the telephone to find out what help you need.

They will be looking to find out who you’ve spoken to and engaged with in your community about your idea, and how many people are already committed to helping you.

Once accepted you will be passed to your local support team to arrange a visit to complete your support plan and begin to develop your idea further.  In Norfolk this will be Community Action Norfolk

I think I could be a mentor

Mentors are individuals with skills and experience that can benefit rural community projects. You could be involved with other successful community projects and now want to share their experience, or you might be an expert or specialist who is happy to offer your skills as part of the support available through Village SOS.

Mentors are volunteers (although travel costs are covered). Typically you will guide a project through an action plan which will have been developed by the community with a local support organisation.

A Village SOS mentor can be involved with a project for anything between 3 to 6 days of structured support. This support can be delivered in a range of ways, including face-to-face, telephone and email contact. It could span a few weeks or 12 to 18 months, depending on the nature of the project.

Your involvement will be tailored to suit your time, capacity and availability.

A free one-day training course is available to provide you with all the information you need and you will receive a pack containing tools and materials to help you inspire enterprising rural community action.

If you wish to sign up as a mentor visit the Village SOS website and click on the How it Works tab (or click Here:  http://villagesos.org.uk/how-it-works/become-a-mentor)

Village SOS is Led by ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), supported by its Network of 38 rural community councils; Wales Council for Voluntary Action; Rocket Science, Senscot and Forth Sector in Scotland, and the Rural Community Network in Northern Ireland.

Useful Links

Village SOS website:http://villagesos.org.uk/

A useful blog from the Village SOS manager Chris Cowcher can be found here: http://bigblog.org.uk/2015/02/03/village-sos-a-beginners-guide/

There is a YouTube channel dedicated to Villages SOS here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpWJhbi0ObZPt0P5TDUR4vA/feed

ACRE’s website can be found here: http://acre.org.uk/