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The Core FAQs

  1. Wouldn't this money have been better spent on grass roots groups?
  2. What is the aim of the new centre?
  3. Why is the new centre necessary?
  4. Is it a Council building?
  5. What benefit will the centre bring to Barnsley's Third Sector?
  6. This is based in the town centre how will it support other communities?
  7. How will VAB sustain the building and staff?
  8. How environmentally friendly is the building?
  9. Will the car park it's being built on be replaced?
  10. Who has funded this project?
  11. What will happen if a funder pulls out?
  12. Customer testimonial in support of the new centre

1. Wouldn't this money have been better spent on grass roots groups?

Both Yorkshire Forward and the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (delivered through the South Yorkshire Objective 1 Programme) are primarily charged with supporting economic development initiatives. The VAB building business plan therefore needed to demonstrate to both of these funding bodies that the facility and its associated services will make a contribution to the continuing growth of the local economy. The funding was only available to support economic and social infrastructure projects within the Third Sector, and not community based social regeneration initiatives. In addition, had VAB not been able to secure this investment in the borough, the funding would have been reallocated to one of the other three local authority areas in South Yorkshire. The VAB building will however support grass roots organisations by bringing together high quality services under one roof.

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2. What is the aim of the new centre?

The new building will provide a central hub of expertise and support for the sector and provide an enterprise environment which encourages economic growth and sustainability for voluntary and community organisations within Barnsley. The development will increase delivery of public services by professional Third Sector organisations and promote and support volunteering. The new centre will provide affordable, accessible facilities such as office space, hot desks, a resource centre, meeting rooms and small-scale conference facilities for voluntary and community organisations in Barnsley. The building will encourage better partnership working between groups as there are lots of places to stop and chat including break out rooms, the volunteer centre and counselling rooms. The package also provides security, fully covered reception and cleaning services.

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3. Why is the new centre necessary?

Our current office space is not DDA compatible and therefore limits some people's access to our services. The new building is also necessary because of the lack of town centre office space at rents the Third Sector can afford. Many charities are moving out of the town centre because of redevelopment and this building will be, in part, replacing that lost accommodation.

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4. Is it a Council building?

No. The land has been leased from BMBC however the building is owned by Voluntary Action Barnsley and will cater for Barnsley's Third Sector organisations.

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5. What benefit will the centre bring to Barnsley's Third Sector?

  • The offices are ideal to voluntary and community groups wanting immediate, available office space, fully furnished with state of art PC and phone systems, top of the range printers and copiers, full networking and broadband, all included in the rental. Groups will have access to this high quality equipment without having the capital output.
  • Lower risks for groups as they can budget better within the building as they will be paying a fixed rental.
  • Groups can benefit from the strength of VAB's buying power, ensuring groups have state of the art equipment and support services at their fingertips without substantial capital outlay.
  • No hidden extra costs such as cleaning, utilities, rates or insurance
  • Access to a resource library. Groups will able to hire laptops, multi media projectors, video conferencing facilities and range of meeting and training rooms at a reasonable rate.
  • Compliant with Disabilities Discrimination Act including a lift. It is an excellent example of how a modern building should cater for visitors and staff whatever their level of mobility.
  • Uniquely positioned with high visibility in town centre. As a key part of Remaking Barnsley, with high level support from BMBC, it recognises the importance of sector.
  • The centre will provide a more co-ordinated approach to joined up/partnership working between groups.
  • Groups can easily access VAB's support team and services such as training, legal advice, payroll and accountancy services and help with the recruitment of volunteers.
  • It is run by a charity for charities.

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6. This is based in the town centre how will it support other communities?

The Core will provide a central hub of expertise which will support all Third Sector organisations in Barnsley. The services that VAB offer will be available borough wide and we will endeavour to visit groups within their communities if they are not able to get to our centre. VAB regularly attends events and galas in order to promote what we do borough wide. Our teams such as the Young Volunteers Agency and Breastfeeding link conduct outreach work in the communities on an ongoing basis.

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7. How will VAB sustain the building and staff?

The building running costs will be covered by the rental received from tenants and projects run by VAB plus revenue from the meeting rooms. VAB staff costs are covered by grant funding predominantly for specific project commissioned to support the sector.

VAB will also examine rigorously how it provides advice and training services, the extent to which we can charge for these, and whether it needs to introduce new services like community accountancy. As grants for the type of services we provide diminish, we must take a more enterprising approach to income generation.

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8. How environmentally friendly is the building?

VAB strives to be environmentally friendly and the first step is incorporating a bio mass boiler into the building. Biomass energy describes heat and power produced from wood, forest and agricultural residues and wastes, and a wide range of organic wastes such as animal slurry and kitchen waste. Wood and other biomass is a significant resource which, as long as re-growth or replanting takes place, emits no net carbon into the atmosphere as growing biomass absorbs carbon.

The building is designed to be a vibrant, exiting and friendly place to work. To reduce noise, communal spaces are carpeted and key walls have high levels of soundproofing.

The aim is to bring as much natural light as possible with real plants to add fresh oxygen and even a roof garden with seating to relax on. All the furniture and equipment is designed to meet ergonomic guidelines.

VAB encourage staff to car share and provide secure storage for cycles and a shower room to encourage staff to walk or cycle to work. The building will also have a full recycling service.

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9. Will the County Way car park be replaced?

As part of the lease with BMBC an alternative car park is due to be built and part financed by VAB. The location is yet to be decided by BMBC. As well as this a multi storey car park will be built in due course at the bottom of County Way.

The Core is accessible by public transport and within close proximity of the new transport interchange. There will be a “drop off” point at the front of the building so it is accessible to all regardless of mobility.

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10. Who has funded this project?

VAB VAB has invested £1.5 million of its own money into this project. This money was partly raised by the sale of our existing buildings on Queens Rd and a mortgage from Unity bank (see below).

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council This development is part of Remaking Barnsley, a major programme of urban renaissance in Barnsley Town Centre. BMBC assisted in providing a beneficial lease, in finding funding and in solving various construction challenges.

Unity Bank Mortgage provided by Unity Bank, a socially responsible and innovative bank, committed to working in partnership with all our stakeholders, delivering high quality services and reinvesting in the wider community.

Objective 1 This project is part-financed by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund delivered through the South Yorkshire Objective 1 Programme.

Yorkshire Forward This project is part financed by Yorkshire Forward. Yorkshire Forward is the Regional Development Agency behind the economic regeneration of Yorkshire and Humber. It aims to make a positive difference by investing in jobs, improving towns and cities, and in supporting businesses throughout the region. Over the past year, Yorkshire Forward has created and safeguarded more than 27,000 new jobs; helped create and attract more than 1,100 new businesses, provided nearly 66,000 learning opportunities and attracted more than £333 million private sector finance - achieving or exceeding all of the targets it was set. Yorkshire Forward's investment across the region is maximised by attracting European Regional Development Funding from the Objective One and Two programmes.

Coalfields Regeneration Trust This project is part financed by The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) is an independent charity dedicated to social and economic regeneration of coalfield communities throughout the UK. It is dedicated to the social and economic regeneration of coalfield communities. Since it was established in 1999 the CRT has awarded grants of over £119m to over 2,000 projects that have improved the quality of life in England's coalfields regions. However, The CRT is not just a grant -making body. It also provides advice and support to community and voluntary groups to help them confirm their eligibility for funding, define their needs, create practical solutions, and seek funding from a variety of different sources.

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11. What will happen if a funder pulls out?

Unless we renege on our part of the contract that we have with funders then they are tied into the contracts and cannot withdraw.

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12. Customer Testimonial in support of the new centre

Lynne Elliott from voluntary organisation Barnsley Arena supports the work of VAB "We applaud the work VAB have done in drawing down some of this national money to fund such a building for voluntary and community groups in Barnsley. Over the last year we have used the services of VAB to support our organisation through some difficult patches and through some growth and development. Without this support our organisation may not have been able to continue to successfully deliver the work we are contracted for."

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