Crawley Community Action (CCA) has been making a positive contribution to our community for over 60 years, providing support and services to people and organisations working and volunteering within the charitable and community sector.
CCA is the eyes, ears, voice, and critical friend of the sector. We are an important signposting organisation, supporting external partners to engage with our communities whilst keeping our beneficiaries informed about funding and other engagement opportunities locally and across the county and region. Our intention is to continue in this role with a refocused model that meets current need and resources.
We put our communities first, working particularly closely with marginalised community groups, including those who been hardest hit by Covid-19, with a focus on tackling inequalities. CCA understands our local community and we work with our ‘Key Partners’ to respond to new and emerging needs. We are proud to work with a broad range of Partners from the voluntary, statutory, and commercial sectors.
Some of our Key Partners
CCA is part of a vibrant voluntary and community sector in Crawley. We are a representative and diverse membership organisation, in terms of our governance structure and in terms of supporting our longstanding member organisations. In our role as an infrastructure organisation, we see ourselves as an integral part of the voluntary sector, not as an organisation one step removed from it. The individuals and organisations that make up the local sector are our ‘Partners’ and we work alongside them to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to bring about positive change.
We are very proud of our history as Crawley Community & Voluntary Service, which for many years provided support that enabled the emergence of organisations that now independently serve the community.
Examples of organisations CCA have helped to establish, develop, or grow:
We will continue this legacy in the work that we do. Nationally and locally there has been a natural shift in emphasis away from infrastructure support per se, and CCA has been increasingly involved in direct service delivery, such as the award-winning ‘Young Crawley’ and our Social Prescribing Service.
We are in the process of diversifying our funding and developing a new business model, one which focuses primarily on project specific funded work. We are also exploring other income generating ideas including chargeable services such as training and consultancy, enabling continuation of group support, the demand for which exceeds fifty per year.
Our commitment to our Partners is set out below as our “Service Offer”, which contains five key areas of focus:
1. Training and Development
We provide Partners with access to training and development opportunities to support their voluntary and community action and impact, for example sector specific learning events and support to develop trustee boards.
We understand and respond to local needs and national trends that influence the voluntary and community sector. This includes work on agendas such as the National Academy of Social Prescribing Thriving Communities Programme, which brings together voluntary and community sector organisations to inspire innovation and shared learning.
CCA support research that informs key decisions for the voluntary and community sector. This includes our work with National Association Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) Emergency Partnership Forums as well as research into the NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme.
Our highly skilled and experienced team maintain their knowledgebase, so we can advise and guide our Partners and support them to achieve their potential.
2. Volunteering Support
Volunteers are a vital part of our community and CCA support people to become more active in their community by volunteering for local groups and organizations.
We provide a volunteer-matching service via our database of local volunteering opportunities that we actively promote to potential volunteers, helping groups and individuals to find suitable and rewarding volunteering opportunities.
We work with and support our Partners to raise the standards of volunteer management by providing advice and guidance on issues such as best practice, safeguarding and recruitment.
We celebrate volunteering and volunteers and the contribution they make to the local community. We work to support emerging and future leaders of the voluntary and community sector.
We develop and lead projects that use volunteering to support to involve and benefit diverse groups, such as young people, people seeking employment, or people with mental health issues.
We are working closely with the RPD Foundation and their ‘Back on Track’ Initiative, supporting those whose employment has been impacted by C-19 who may be looking to pivot their careers by Volunteering and or developing their own social enterprise or not-for-profit group.
3. Voluntary and Community Group Development
We specialise in meeting the specific needs of smaller and emerging groups, acting as an ‘incubator’ and helping people turn their ideas into action.
We provide current guidance to our Partners on best practice, ensuring they have the appropriate policies and procedures in place to support their work.
We support groups to reflect on their work and help them to access the resources they need to achieve their ambitions.
We promote excellence in social entrepreneurial development by supporting organisations individually and collectively to become more effective in responding to current social needs across Crawley.
We support organisations to maximise their corporate social responsibility, by developing relationships that enable them to apply their professional expertise via skills-based volunteering to support our Partners.
4. Social Prescribing
We run a successful social prescribing service on behalf of local Primary Care Networks (PCNs). We work with clients from across Crawley, supporting people with a range of issues and complex needs.
We receive referrals from GP surgeries, self-referrals and through promotion and community events. We take a person-centred approach, supporting our clients to co-produce a support plan that empowers them to make decisions about their future.
Our social prescribing service is integrated with PCNs to maximise accessibility and reduce the number of non-medical GP appointments.
We work in partnership with local health services to support the Covid-19 vaccination program and continue to attend vaccination sessions to promote the benefits of social prescribing.
Through our knowledge of local groups and services, we are able to ensure that people can access the support they need.
We are the Regional Lead for the Thriving Communities program for the National Academy of Social Prescribing (NASP). This project is creating a network of relationships between voluntary sector organisations and social prescribers, providing opportunities for shared learning, and funding for community activities.
5. The Orchard Community Hub
We manage The Orchard Community Hub – our spacious premises in central Crawley – generously provided by our partner Crawley Borough Council.
We manage the building responsibly, maximising its use, focusing on creating a hospitable and welcoming base, meeting the needs of the voluntary and community sector.
We provide a gathering space which is available to our 250+ members and the wider voluntary and community organisations where they can meet, learn, and work together.
We are a key enabler in our community, hosting forums and networking events that bring people to together, actively enabling partnerships to form and to grow.
We provide high quality accommodation for the charities and groups that are based in The Orchard.
Voluntary and Community Organisations based in The Orchard:
CCA is responding to changes to our core funding model, whilst maintaining the role we play in Crawley’s voluntary sector. As part of our plans to grow and develop as an organisation, we want to be sure of our understanding of the needs of the local sector, so we can tailor our services to meet those needs accordingly for maximum impact. During Summer 2021 we are running a consultation that we will use to inform our development as an organisation, as well as exploring new opportunities for services and partnerships.
We are working with Funding People CIC as we actively seek the resources, required to deliver our work. CCA through a new business model and funding strategy will continue to search and apply for other suitable funding, income streams, sponsors and importantly partners to support our work and ultimately the beneficiaries of our collective activity.
We are planning to “Re-Launch” CCA, marking a belated 60th anniversary, in Autumn 2021, recognising that like the world around us, as an organisation we have changed and evolved, and we want to take time to mark this change. As the current restrictions on social distancing lift, we look forward to welcoming our Partners at the Orchard to share with them our vision for Crawley Community Action.