Help at hand if you want to volunteer

WE want Comet readers to give a little of their time to help others - and the CVS is there to help you both set up a group or find someone who needs your expertise. One organisation that had help from Stevenage CVS is the Phoenix Group for Deaf Children,

WE want Comet readers to give a little of their time to help others - and the CVS is there to help you both set up a group or find someone who needs your expertise.

One organisation that had help from Stevenage CVS is the Phoenix Group for Deaf Children, which achieved charitable status in 2008.

The charity, which was set up by Ashwell resident Jane Shann, runs workshops to help young people with a hearing impairment become more independent.

Jane says the support provided by Stevenage CVS has been vital to the organisation from the start.


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''When we began as a voluntary group, Stevenage CVS became our bedrock, giving us the confidence to set up and apply for funding,'' says Jane. ''When we decided to apply for charitable status last year, Stevenage CVS were fantastic, helping us set up our constitution and giving us advice on our application.''

Jane, who was born deaf, was inspired to set up the organisation by the difficulties she faced as a child.

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''For much of the time, it was a very lonely experience growing up in a hearing world,'' says Jane. ''I felt a sense of isolation because I couldn't hear conversations going on around me and didn't feel part of my peer group. Socialising was difficult - I went to clubs like Brownies and just nodded and smiled my way through.''

The Phoenix Group for Deaf Children runs workshops around Hertfordshire to teach a range of life skills to young people with a hearing impairment, such as how to make a 999 call. These courses teach deaf and hearing impaired young people vital skills, as well as boosting their confidence.

''The workshops increase the self-esteem of the children and help them feel more independent,'' says Jane. ''I get a huge amount of satisfaction seeing the look on children's faces when they realise they can do something that they thought too difficult for them.''

To find out more about the Phoenix Group for Deaf Children, contact info@phoenixgroup.org.uk

Bedwell Rangers Football Club has provided football to players of all ages in Stevenage since 1959 and this year the club celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Club chairman Gary Dempsey explained that as a club it has been lucky to have dedicated parents through the years enabling the club to go from strength to strength. The club has also had fantastic support from sponsors and well wishers, many of whom have supported the club for a number of years.

Gary says: "It was evident that as a community based club we were providing much more than a football club and in 2008 we decided to apply for charitable status. We realised that the process was quite complicated and we looked for assistance in our application and we were lucky to receive some fantastic assistance from Stevenage CVS and especially their chief executive Ann Jansz who checked our club constitution and advised how we should proceed. The club is now in the process of completing their application and early indications show that the application has been successful and we hope to complete our registration in September.

"Bedwell Rangers did not realise the services that are offered by Stevenage CVS and we will be seeking training from the officers in the coming months on the responsibilities of our new trustees and the club is lucky to have such a valuable resource on our doorstep and we hope that we can work together in the years to come".

For more information about Bedwell Rangers Football Club contact: Football@bedwellrangersfc.co.uk Mobile: 07960 100630

Sakhi Milap Hertfordshire is a women's group that enables like-minded women to meet and take part in activities that empower a woman's health and spiritual well-being. It also holds events and workshops around cultural festivities. Hansa Borisania explains how getting support from CVS was crucial in taking the organisation forward.

"Stevenage CVS are very open and approachable, they help take the workload off you such as with the constitution, they helped me set-up and helped me put my funding proposal together which was successful!"

Sakhi Milap events this autumn include:

Workshop on the significance of Navrati September 13.

Creative Crafts for that Special Gift 10th October.

For more information about Sakhi Milap and its events contact Gabriele Willoughby on 07894 274625.

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