CWVA supports Dial West Cheshire to expand its offer

Dial West Cheshire has grown its workforce from four to 22 employed members of staff and 30 to more than 90 volunteers over the last decade – and Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) has been a helping hand every step of the way

Dial West Cheshire offers services for disabled people and older people, including:

  • advice and information, focusing on welfare benefits and disability rights
  • a community café
  • a volunteer scheme with opportunities for training
  • shopmobility (in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich and Winsford), providing daily hire of mobility scooters and wheelchairs for access to shops and facilities
  • an Access Group, giving people a voice to improve access to services and facilities in west Cheshire
  • social activities for older people.

CWVA’s support has been imperative for Dial to develop its current offer for disabled people, according to its Chief Officer Keith Roper, who joined the charity back in 2006.

He said: “When I started, it was a little charity doing some great work, but the expectation on charities and the landscape of our sector has changed over the years.

“Dial has adapted to become more business like, with a focus on delivering high-quality services, but without losing sight of our social value and the involvement of our fantastic volunteers.

“It has become important to be open to working in partnership and achieving more by joining with others.

“Not all charities are open to change, but we have adapted, grown and increased our impact.

“We are the lead organisation for some of our funded work and a delivery partner for other strands.

“We first got involved with CWVA by attending its networking meetings, which bring in speakers on topics of interest to us and other members.

“Through CWVA’s support, we have secured contracts and accessed other funding, recruited and trained volunteers and staff, attended governance-related workshops and benefitted from the SkillShare initiative.

“Along the way, we have had a lot of support from CWVA around how to run our organisation, what it means to work in partnership, how to deliver our work effectively and how to develop our thriving workforce consisting mainly of volunteers.

“We have also attended events where we have been able to meet funders and gather some useful tips for completing a successful grant application.

“I honestly believe our growth and development, as well as some of our other achievements, are a result of being a CWVA member.

“I think some people do not realise how important charities like CWVA are until they are no longer around as it is only then they appreciate how much they had to offer.”

Dial has also increased the number of volunteer opportunities it has available, with around 95 people currently giving up their time every week to support their valuable work.

Keith added: “We are a lot healthier now than we have been in years gone by.

“We have a thriving volunteer workforce and are proud holders of The Queens Award for Voluntary Service (the MBE for volunteer groups). CWVA and its Volunteer Manager Network meetings have been useful sources of support for recruiting and developing volunteers.”

For more information about how Dial West Cheshire improves the lives of disabled people, visit: dialwestcheshire.org.uk.

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