Congratulations to RG Spaces, Parenting Special Children, Citizen’s Advice Reading, and Readibus!

Article date
11 July 2017
Primary interest
Voluntary sector

Adam Koszary, Trustee for RG Spaces

Reading is proud to boast an incredibly active and diverse voluntary and community sector, providing a wealth of activities and services to its residents, and bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together.

Following on from our recent article on the RVA Award Ceremony, we would like to share with you some Safe and Sound highlights. Three charities received an award on the night – RG Spaces, Parenting Special Children, and Citizens Advice Reading – and RVA were delighted to present them with their well-deserved certificates at the awards evening. We also presented Readibus with an award in the Mayors Chambers earlier in the month. Congratulations to all!

Safe and Sound is a completely free local resource for Reading charities of all shapes and sizes, whether you’re a registered charity with employed staff or a smaller unincorporated community group run entirely by volunteers. It offers a quality award system that focuses on charity governance and gives local Reading charities the confidence and reassurance in the way they are managed.

Ruth Pearse CEO and Sarah Bamford, Chair of Trustees for Parenting Special Children

Safe and Sound provides a framework for groups to attain good governance in 8 distinct areas of running a charity :

  • Having solid foundations
  • Having confidence in how you are governed
  • Protecting your money
  • Getting the most from your staff
  • Getting the most from your volunteers
  • Monitoring your activities
  • Protecting your beneficiaries
  • Staying Safe

“The Award has given us the confidence to forge ahead, continuing to provide the much needed services that our charity delivers and looking to develop them further, knowing that behind the scenes our governance is secure and effective. Ruth and I were thrilled to receive this award at the RVA Awards in the sumptuous setting of the Shenai; it was wonderful to be recognised at this event and to meet and mix with others from the powerhouse that is the voluntary sector in Reading!” – Sarah Bamford, Chair of Trustees for Parenting Special Children.

David Harper, CEO for Citizens Advice Reading

The process involves trustees carrying out a self assessment (downloadable here). They then work with the RVA Advice Worker to fill in any necessary gaps. Once most of the gaps are filled, RVA offer an in depth consultation where our Advice Worker meets with the trustees and anyone else who can assist, to scrutinise the policies and procedures, and offering advice and assistance in helping them to work towards the standard. This might include updating procedures to comply with changes in the law, or due to internal changes in the organisation.

“Citizens Advice Reading are delighted to have secured the award. We found the overall procedure to be extremely positive with the assessor  making some really helpful points to further enhance a number of our policies. The process was supportive and undertaken in a highly professional manner throughout”.

How does Safe and Sound benefit your group?

Sophie Bowlby, Chair of Readibus, receiving the RVA Safe and Sound Award in the Mayor’s Chambers

  1. Offers an external, objective view of your charity, a chance to assess how your charity is meeting it’s charitable objects and achieving its aims – are you on track?
  2. Takes the pressure off Trustees by providing them with guidance in achieving good governance.
  3. Preventative approach as opposed to fire-fighting. Trustees can better protect themselves, the charity and its beneficiaries.
  4. Recognised by key funders, such as Reading Borough Council.
  5. Facilitates partnership working – more and more charities are becoming Safe and Sound, you know what you’re getting!
  6. It’s a completely FREE resource for Reading charities and you can work through it at your own pace, depending upon time and resources.

The award process, including the valuable professional advice, helped us enhance our longstanding commitment to good governance and sound management. We are delighted to have been awarded the Safe and Sound award.” – Prof Sophie Bowlby, Chair of Trustees for Readibus.

If you’d like any information about Safe and Sound, feel free to contact the RVA Advice Worker, Herjeet, on on or download the booklet here.