A Snapshot of CAN's Community Development Work in West Norfolk

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CAN (Community Action Norfolk) serves as a vital support network for various Village Halls, Parish Councils, and VCSE (Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise) organisations across Norfolk. These groups come to us for guidance on matters such as governance structures, funding opportunities, and strategic planning to enhance their community impact.  

We are fortunate to receive funding from the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk (BCKLWN) and Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB) to support our work in the West. Over the past six months, our dedicated Community Development Team have achieved significant milestones in supporting local organisations across West Norfolk. Comprising of two part-time and one full-time staff members, our team has successfully delivered 81 new support cases, each representing a unique challenge and opportunity for community enhancement. 

Case 1: Resolving Complex Employment Issues 

One of our notable cases in this period involved advising a local Village Hall on employment processes, including investigations, appeals, and contract terminations. Our team provided comprehensive guidance aligned with best practices, to ensure fair procedures were constructed, thereby safeguarding both the organisation's integrity and employee rights. 

Case 2: Transitioning to Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Status 

Another impactful case centred on assisting a community-based VCSE organisation in the complexities of transitioning to CIO status. We carried out the process of registering them with the Charity Commission, offering detailed advice on governance structures and compliance requirements. This transition has enhanced the group's resilience, allowing them to reach more people and funding opportunities.    

Case 3: Supporting Governance and Policy Development 

In a number of cases, we delivered a range of template policies to multiple VCSE groups, including policies on Conflict of Interest, Health and Safety, and Data Protection. This support ensured compliance with best practice standards and equipped organisations with essential frameworks to promote operational efficiency. 

Impact and Feedback 

The impacts of these cases have been significant, with groups reporting better governance practices, smoother operations, and stronger community involvement. Feedback from clients highlights the importance of our personalised support: 

“*** has been friendly, helpful and knowledgeable in offering to develop a plan of action to get us on an even footing. Your ongoing support will be invaluable. The model templates, membership benefits etc will I'm sure prove vital.” 

West Norfolk Group. 

As we continue to champion the growth and resilience of West Norfolk's VCSE sector, we remain committed to providing accessible, high-quality support that empowers organisations to thrive. Through collaborative partnerships and targeted interventions, we are dedicated to ensuring that local groups can achieve their fullest potential and continue to positively impact the communities they serve.