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Turning Tides Team
SAVS is an independent charity known as a CVS. That means we work behind the scenes to help local charities and community groups achieve their full potential.
This website provides information about support services for the Southend-on-Sea community, running your own community group,ways to get involved. Office Hours: Mon-Fri 9am- 5pm


Southend Volunteer Centre is proud to have achieved an award! As part of Volunteer Essex, the 14 volunteer Centres have been successful in gaining the internationally recognised BS EN ISO 9001 Quality Management Award, for its work 

in providing support to people interested in volunteering whilst also supporting organisations that involve volunteers.

Volunteer Essex colleagues worked collaboratively to develop this specialist standard of quality accreditation. The Award recognises Volunteer Essex commitment to exceptional quality of service and customer focus. It is generally accepted that organisations who achieve certification to BS EN ISO 9001 are at the forefront of their respective industries.

Emily Middlemast, Volunteer Centre Co-ordinator for Southend, commented: “We are proud to have the high level of service we offer at our Volunteer Centres recognised and confirmed external experts. We are delighted this has been recognised with a formal award.”

Over the coming months local families will have the opportunity to have a say in how the services their children use should be run. And to make sure everyone gets a say, there will be training on offer to help people develop the skills or confidence they need to get involved.

SAVS has teamed up with The Better Start Southend programme (ABSS) to involve the local community in creating better services for Southend’s children and families.

As part of this project SAVS will introduce a range of ways that parents from the ABSS wards (Westborough, Victoria, Milton, Kursaal, West Shoebury and Shoeburyness) can get involved including :

  • Parent led meetings (starting in Kursaal and Victoria wards) enabling parents to work together to identify their issues and priorities.
  • Recruiting and training parent champions to help and support other parents to participate in the Better Start Southend programme.
  • Developing a volunteer training programme aimed at building parents’ confidence to take part. 

ABSS is a 10-year research and development programme aiming to make Southend the best place in the country to be a child – and a parent. All the evidence shows that involving people in designing the services they use makes those services more efficient and effective.  “We want parents to be involved every step of the way: raising the problems that need solving, coming up with some answers, and working alongside staff and volunteers to help us test good ideas” says ABSS programme manager Gary May. 

SAVS Chief Executive Officer, Alison Semmence, adds: “Our member organisations are at the heart of Southend’s local communities.  We are very excited to be able to use our local knowledge to help Southend’s families have a say in the kind of services they want to see for their children.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about what SAVS is planning please contact the team by calling 01702 356069 or emailing

85 year old Grace contacted the Southend Timebank at SAVS in Southend and told them how she had spent last Christmas in hospital and would really like a proper Christmas Dinner this year. Due to a broken hip, Grace has not been out of the house (apart from in hospital transport) for a long time and she explained that making Christmas dinner was difficult.

The Southend Timebank registered Grace’s request and within days they had found a mother and daughter team (Diane and Yasmin) who were happy to make Grace’s wish come true.

Diane and Yasmin took Grace the full works! Turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire pudding, bread sauce, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots and Brussels sprouts!!  They went back an hour later with Christmas pudding and cream with a cracker.  Grace told the Southend Timebank that she was very pleased and enjoyed her dinner very much. Grace also went on to say that Diane even did the washing up afterwards which impressed her further! Diane and Grace are now firm friends and she will be continuing to visit Grace on a regular basis.

Emily Middlemast (Southend Timebank Co-ordinator, SAVS) said:

“Time Banking is about people helping people, for every hour you help someone, you earn a credit which you can either use to ask someone to do something for you (exchanging skills), or you can donate into a community pot for people like Grace.  It’s a lovely way to help out in your community at a time to suit you. To join the Southend Time Bank just go to or call 01702 356060 to find out more”

SAVS carried out a survey earlier this year to ask our members how things were for them. We asked about their income, demand, issues they were facing and what they had achieved. The full survey can be found at default/files/files/State_of_sector_2016.pdf or downloaded below.

Here are some of the highlights...

The survey was sent to 360 members and 41 completed responses were received. The data is based on the 2014/15 financial year.

Total income for the 41 was £15.8 million of which £5.6 million was raised from outside Southend; Southend Council grants and contracts accounted for one third of income.

The CCG accounted for just 2% of income. Income fell by 8% from the previous year. 35% reported falling income and one third had insufficient income to cover their costs.

All but one met the funding gap from reserves.

One third reported an increase in demand for services of approximately 30%.

A key cause for concern is the rise in the complexity of people seeking help.

This has a major impact on staff, volunteers, training, supervision and time that needed to be spent with clients.

If the current trend continues the sector will not be able to meet additional demand for services.

The 41 respondents employed 657 full time equivalent paid staff.

Volunteers contributed 205,000 hours of volunteering – an economic value of £2.5 million.

Commissioners are reducing funding and expecting more collaboration which in itself incurs a mangement cost.

Funding for key work is being cut.

The Sector would welcome a co-proction apporach to planning new services or changing existing services.

This report has been shared with the Southend Health & Wellbeing Board and senior leaders in Southend.

Four local charities are celebrating after being awarded the Quality for Health Award which demonstrates they are delivering good quality services and health benefits to people who use their services.

SAVS, Relate South Essex, Active Life and Headway Essex all provide services and support to people that benefit their physical or mental health.

The Quality for Health Award which is externally assessed, formed part of the Social Prescribing programme delivered by SAVS which linked GP patients with the voluntary and community sector. 

“The voluntary and community sector can help people in so many ways and Social Prescribing helps GPs help their patients.  GPs can refer patients to us and in turn we link them up with local charities and voluntary groups,” says Alison Semmence, CEO of SAVS. 

“The award meant we could demonstrate to GPs that we provide excellent services at a high quality to their patients.”

Sarah Potts from Active life is delighted to have achieved the Award,

“We are proud to receive the Award as we are committed to providing excellent services for Southend people and this external validation confirms we are getting it right,” says Sarah.