Chesterfield-based charity celebrates its 30th anniversary

A good cause which supports the work of charities and volunteer organisations in the north Derbyshire area is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:47 pm

Derbyshire Voluntary Action (DVA), which has created a network of more than 300 organisations with the aim of making the voluntary sector stronger and more joined up with each other, has reached the milestone after forming in 1991.

DVA, which is based at Chesterfield Market Hall, specialises in supporting voluntary and community sector organisations in the health and well-being sector – from tiny volunteer-led self-help groups through to local and regional charities delivering projects to the benefit of large numbers of Derbyshire residents.

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Derbyshire Voluntary Action is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Back, Debbie Fennell, Jacqui Willis, Heather Fawbert, front, Julia Cook and Charlotte Repton. Picture by Brian Eyre.
Derbyshire Voluntary Action is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Back, Debbie Fennell, Jacqui Willis, Heather Fawbert, front, Julia Cook and Charlotte Repton. Picture by Brian Eyre.

Charlotte Repton, project manager at DVA, said: “If you were going to sum up what DVA does, I think the simplest version is that we are a charity which supports other charities – but there is much more to it than that.

“Healthy communities really are the key to why we do what we do.

“The voluntary sector is vital to delivering specialised, responsive support in the community, enhancing what is offered by public services such as the council and NHS.

“I think the pandemic has made that more clear than ever.”

Charlotte said DVA had done ‘so much’ to help people over the last year, including putting together a comprehensive online directory of organisations which can offer support.

The charity has also set up a response hub which includes volunteers who make phone calls each week to people who are in need of someone to speak to.

DVA supports the voluntary sector in many ways, including holding regular forum meetings where members can meet, share updates and any issues, and find out about local and national news.

Over the last year, the charity has also offered high-quality online training to more than 100 different groups.

Jacqui Willis, chief executive of DVA, said: “When DVA was formed in 1991 it was a very small operation, but the ambition was always there to provide a voice for the voluntary and community organisations and to look for innovative ways to strengthen the sector, and our local area as a whole. You could say that the forum is where it all started.

“But now we do so much more. On top of communicating through our weekly bulletins and the quarterly Network magazine, I attend lots of meetings, committees and boards with statutory partners where I am able to be the voice for the voluntary sector.

“Campaigning for and championing the voluntary sector is one of the most impactful things we do.”

DVA is funded by the local council and NHS clinical commissioning group, and then distributes grants to groups, allowing them to continue the great work they do.

Charlotte added: “I think we’re quite an innovative charity – and during our 30th anniversary year, we’ll be looking to raise some income by linking with businesses.”

Businesses interested in helping can visit www.dva.org.uk/dva-at-30 for more details.

Jacqui added: “We are going to be using our birthday to celebrate the voluntary sector and we hope that we can encourage people to show some appreciation for local charities and groups which make a big difference.”

For more information about DVA, visit www.dva.org.uk.

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