Latest News

SAVS is celebrating after receiving funding from the Big Lottery to support people with mental health issues.  The award of £234,537 from the Reaching Communities programme will enable SAVS to continue to support people recovering from mental ill-health into volunteering for the next five years.

“The service we provide to help people to volunteer as they recover from mental ill health can be a real lifeline and makes a huge difference to their lives,” says Alison Semmence, Chief Executive of SAVS.

“We have been providing the service for five years and have a constant stream of people coming through to use the service.  In these difficult times when support for people with mental health problems is hard to find, our service can really make a difference to improve the quality of life for people.”

The funding will enable SAVS to provide the additional support that is needed to help people identify the skills and interests they have and find the right volunteering opportunity for them.  Volunteering is a great way to get back into the routine of daily living, providing structure to the day, learning new skills, meeting new people and creating social opportunities.

With Spring in the air, daffodils and tulips in bloom and the sun making a few more appearances lately, you may be thinking about getting out and about more. About being more active, getting fit maybe. But what can you do locally that combines enjoying the great outdoors with something worthwhile and rewarding. Where you will meet new people in a friendly, relaxed way and have a lot of fun too.

Try Volunteering. The Volunteer Centre Southend (at SAVS) offers a wide range of different volunteer opportunities across the Southend area. If you have green fingers why not think about sharing your talents with school children, people with learning difficulties or mental ill health. We have voluntary roles ranging from beach cleans to helping out at local events and music festivals,  to conservation work. Whether you have a few hours a month, one day a week or are looking for a one off opportunity on a Sunday – if you are aged 18+ ,there are charities and community groups who would love to hear from you. No qualifications are needed, just enthusiasm, oh and a pair of wellies maybe!

The Volunteer Centre (SAVS), in Alexandra Street, is here to help you find the right volunteer role to suit you, no matter what your interest. You can visit  where you can search all the different roles available, alternatively please contact Emily on 01702 356000 and arrange a time for an informal chat to find out more.

SAVS have recently received funding from BBC Children in Need to the total of £88,331. Over the next three years, the grant will fund the salary of two part-time team leaders, travel, materials, volunteer and other project costs to continue supporting our youth project Triple T’s for children aged between eight and -12 years old through it’s the Turning Tides Team.

The project will also be introducing two new initiatives, including, the start of a club buddies scheme, which offers young people turning 13 years old who have successfully passed through the clubs the opportunity to support new joiners as they settle into the clubs’ activities. Club buddies will also act as role models for existing club members. The second initiative will take the club to a new area in central Southend to establish regular activities and make the clubs accessible to a new community.  

Triple T’s Youth Project (Turning Tides Team) established 2011

Children aged between eight and 12 years of age from central Southend can access Triple T’s clubs right in their neighbourhood. The clubs help to inspire them and raise their aspirations through weekly sessions run by a Turning Tides Team Leader and Assistant, along with a team of local volunteers, where youngsters are given the chance to try out new activities such as first aid, swimming, internet safety and more. Day trips to the local fire station, coastguards and police station also allow club-goers to learn more about where they live, the club’s young participant’s benefit from activities aimed at broadening their horizons and achieving their fullest potential. Currently, we run weekly clubs on the Woodgrange Drive Estate and nearby the Queensway Estate.

Anthony Quinn, Turning Tides Manager said:

This is wonderful news; the Triple T clubs will continue to make a big difference in the Southend community for the next three years. We now have the opportunity to run activities in a new area of the town and continue the existing clubs. The result will be more confident, safe and connected young people with raised aspirations”

Kerry Luker, Regional Head of London and the South East said:

“We are delighted to support the work of Southend Association of Voluntary Services, and know it will make a real difference to young people in the area. In the months ahead the group will work closely with some of the hardest to reach children and young people, helping them to develop practical skills and positively engage with their local community. To all of our supporters who help make this possible, a huge thank you!”

Alison Semmence SAVS Chief Executive Officer said,

“We are delighted to have the support from Children in Need for this amazing project which changes the lives of young people in Southend”.

People who have made a major contribution to community safety and crime prevention in Essex have been given well-deserved recognition and thanks at the prestigious High Sheriffs’ Awards ceremony.

The team at South East Essex Advocacy for Older People (SEEAFOP) is nominated by Jim Clinkscales to receive recognition for the inclusive manner in which they support, value and generously acknowledge the valuable contribution of their volunteers.   SEEAFOP acts as an advocate for people aged 60 and over who experience financial and/or social difficulties in their lives.  Many of the volunteers are now in their 80’s and Jim states “the quality of service and support at SEEAFOP becomes evident when many of these long-serving volunteers are still going strong and still feel rewarded after so many years”.  WINNER OF THE VOLUNTEER CENTRE ESSEX AWARD

Volunteer Scam Buster Team of SAVS was set up to provide a local solution to the growing national problem of older people being targeted by criminal gangs and organisations. The Team is receiving a High Sheriffs’ Certificate to acknowledge their success in supporting older people at risk from such activities in Southend.  WINNER OF ESSEX POLICE CUP

Southend Association of Voluntary Services £777:  To support a home visiting safety scheme for vulnerable older people in Southend-on Sea

More than 40 voluntary and community organisations were represented at this year’s ceremony held at Hylands House in Chelmsford and trophies, certificates and grants totalling £23,541, were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Vincent Thompson.

The grants came from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Vincent Thompson, who is the 835th High Sheriff of Essex, paid tribute to the people of Essex as he came to the end of his busy and successful year of office, during which he has visited the Courts, spent time with Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue and the Ambulance Service. 

He said: “Without exception I have been hugely impressed by the dedication, expertise, care and attention shown by all the people I have met who look after our wellbeing.”

Vincent also praised the hundreds of volunteers from across the county who he met during his year.  He said, “It is estimated that nearly 400,000 people undertake some form of charity or voluntary work in Essex.  They are the representatives of this crucial part of our society without which we could not function. 

“An important part of the role of the High Sheriff is to recognise and promote the voluntary sector, with particular emphasis on those organisations which support law and order and tackle crime and social problems.

“The voluntary sector plays an essential role in the wellbeing of the county and one of the most rewarding aspects of the High Sheriffs’ year is to see them in action.  I have seen, first-hand, the wonderful work carried out by these organisations, often by people who seek no reward for themselves and whose sole motivation is to support others.  It is a pleasure and a privilege to help give them the recognition they so richly deserve.

“ECF has been of great value to me during my year of office and the High Sheriffs’ Fund gives much needed support to the organisations helping to prevent crime and promoting community safety.

“During my travels around the county I have realised that the role of High Sheriff is still much respected and although it is an ancient role it is still very relevant today.”

Since it came under ECF’s management in 1997 the High Sheriffs’ Fund has distributed nearly 560 grants totalling almost £460,000 to voluntary and community organisations.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “The High Sheriffs’ Fund is a valuable financial resource for the voluntary sector in Essex.  We are delighted to manage the fund and work with the successive High Sheriffs so that greater support can be given to people in the county who are tackling important issues at a local level.”

The High Sheriffs’ Award Scheme recognises community initiatives which address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour. The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The High Sheriff receives no expenses and the role comes at no cost to the public purse.

For more information about Essex Community Foundation and the High Sheriffs’ Fund, the Awards presented this year and to view photographs of the event visit

SAVS delivers a variety of courses each year for the voluntary sector; our brochure has lots of information here on the NEW offering for 2016, which includes;

·         Crowdfunding 29 February

·         Recruiting Volunteers 10 March

·         Retaining Volunteers 24 March

·         Getting the most out of Facebook & Twitter 14 April

·         Fire Safety 21 April

·         Event Fundraising in the Local Community 19 May

·         Dealing with Aggressive Behaviour 9 June

·         Child Safeguarding 23 June

·          Working with Partners 7 July

           Mental Health Awareness July (tbc)

·         Evidencing the Need 21 July

·         Writing a Successful Grant Application 8 Sept

·         First Aid 22 Sept

·         Adult Safeguarding 6 Oct

·         Equality and Diversity 20 Oct

·         Health and Safety 10 Nov

For more information see our brochure, and to book send this form to

New Start, New Year, Why Not Volunteer! Why not make it your New Year's resolution to volunteer in your community. The Team at the Volunteer Centre Southend invite you to join them and his worshipful the Mayor of Southend, to cut the ribbon and launch this exciting new website - the first place to go to find out about volunteering in Essex.

Volunteer has hundreds of exciting and rewarding volunteer opportunities for you to browse by postcode or area of interest. With a click of a button, you can express an interest in a role you like the look of on-line and contact that Charity direct. It really is as easy as that.  Whatever your interests, there will be a volunteer role for you.  Just come along to the Forum in Southend on Thursday 14th January between 10am-12pm where Staff will be on hand to demonstrate the new website. You can enjoy a slice of celebration cake whilst finding out how easy it is to get into volunteering.

 Volunteering is a great way to gain some experience in a new area of work, provides opportunities for training,  looks great on your CV,  boosts your confidence and you will even get a reference. But above all, it is so rewarding to be doing something worthwhile with your time

Make 2016 the year you make a difference to your life and the lives of others. Take the first step into volunteering. The team at the Volunteer Centre Southend are looking forward to seeing you at the Forum on Thursday 14th January at 10am. For further details please call Emily on 01702 356000.




Southend Association of Voluntary Services is a registered charity and council for voluntary service. We promote, encourage and develop voluntary and community action by empowering and providing excellent support and representation to frontline organisations throughout the Southend-on-Sea area and Essex.

Could you add to the strength of our Board of Trustees?

Our Trustees serve for set periods of time which means we need to refresh and revitalise the Board from time to time.  We are looking to select a small number of trustees with experience in the following fields:

·        Voluntary and Community Sector

·        Marketing/PR

·        Law

·        Finance and Investment

·        Human Resources

All new trustees will receive an induction and further regular training and support to enable them to make the best possible contribution to the work of the charity and to gain the maximum personal satisfaction from their experience.

If you feel you could be the person then please contact Julie Newman via email for an application pack.  

Closing Date for applications: Thursday 8 October 2015


Turning Tides (SAVS) have joined with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and

Olympus Key Med to create the next edition of the popular Mo Book series. The book is designed to encourage people to take up recycling and minimise food waste.

The storyline sees Mo encouraging his friend Molly and her mother to change the way they dispose of their waste and implement a better system.

Local primary schools were invited to enter a competition for children in years 4, 5 to come up with a winning name for the blue food waste bin that features in the new book.

Two pupils Eleanor Slayford and Chloe Odina (both aged 9) from Bournes Green Junior School were joint winners with the name ‘Buddy the Blue Food Waste Bin.’

Participating schools will receive free copies of the new book. Over 1000 have been distributed to local schools already.

The book will be launched at the Queensway Triple T Club delivered by Turning Tides, as the children have been learning about improving the environment. The book is illustrated by local artist John Bulley.

Executive Councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Transport, Cllr Martin Terry said: “This is a fantastic project.  The  council is committed to doing all it can to boost recycling rates throughout the Borough and educating children and consequently their parents is just one way we can help to do that.”

Tricia Holmes, Corporate Support Assistant from Olympus KeyMed said: Supporting initiatives surrounding social issues is embedded within the company's Corporate Responsibility "Social IN" philosophy.  Olympus develops environmentally conscious products and encourages employees to reduce waste and re-use materials wherever possible.  We believe that environmental education and awareness activities are paramount to building a sustainable society, which is why we are proud to support the Turning Tides Mo Book project.”

Anthony Quinn, Turning Tides Manager/Author said: “This is a great example of a strong  partnership achieving common goals together; we have had a great response from previous books and felt the recycling message was important to get across to our target community. We hope the children will enjoy the book and it will provoke discussion and positive change in their attitudes towards recycling and the environment”

Turning Tides and Southend Association of Voluntary Services are launching a new project called Folk like Us. ‘Folk like Us’ will provide support and information to isolated and loneliness elderly residents living in Southend was  launched on Friday 7th August 2015 at SAVS Centre.

This new initiative will be delivered through Turning Tides; a project managed by Southend Association of Voluntary Services and has been funded through The Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund. The project is funded for 3 years ending March 2018.

The aim of the “Folk like Us” project is to reduce isolation and disadvantage that many older people in Southend experience because of a lack of access to and knowledge about social activities and information to improve their quality of life. 

We want to ensure that older people in Southend are able to access information and assistance to attend and participate in social activities with others, because we believe that this will help to reduce isolation.  Support for older people to access information is provided, including help with IT and one-to-one advice and support, as we believe that through the provision of information they can improve their quality of life. 

HUB Service

The HUB located on the ground floor of the SAVS Centre is open for visits Monday-Friday 10am to 2pm  and delivered by Turning Tides Team Leaders who have a vast knowledge of services and organisations in Southend and years of experience working with the community to improve quality of life. Home visits will be made to those with restricted mobility that can not access the HUB.

To find out more or make a visit to the team or to join as a volunteer please call the Turning Tides Team on 01702 356070 or alternatively email

Alison Semmence, SAVS Chief Executive said: We are very excited to be launching this new service as we believe it will change the lives of older people in our town for the better.  There are too many isolated and lonely people – our aim is to stop this.”

Anthony Quinn, Turning Tides Manager said: “ We have already had over 80 older people register with us in one month alone so we know this is a service that is much needed.  We now have dedicated resources to carryout the important work that can make a difference”

William Webb Guest of Honour aged 104 said: “I am delighted to have been asked to officially open the project. I believe it will make a great difference to many people” “I enjoy getting out and meeting people and this project will give social opportunities to others”

Southend Time Bank recently initiated its first exchange when Dan Brent accompanied Dawn Carter on one of her regular check-ups at the eye clinic.  Dawn recently became a member of the new Time Bank, and at her interview, asked if it would be possible for someone to accompany her to her appointment, as this is one of the many services available from members of the Time Bank.

Dawn sometimes has to spend up to three hours at the clinic, undergoing treatment, and hoped somebody could be found to keep her company.

Dawn said “It’s a very good idea as you get to meet new people. It was much better than going on my own!” Dan volunteers for Turning Tides, and was one of the first members of the Time Bank.

The Time Bank currently has 25 members and is looking for new recruits of all ages who would like to share their skills and spare time to help others, particularly the older and more vulnerable members of the community. Timebanking is based on flexible, reciprocal volunteering, using time as a currency for exchanges.

SAVS is keen to hear from people living in Central Southend, Westcliff, Chalkwell and Leigh who are eager to sign up to the scheme, as individuals or as part of a group, perhaps through work, or where they currently volunteer.

If you would like to get involved, either as a full member or to provide some opportunities, please contact SAVS on 01702 356000 or by email to