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Advice for voluntary organisations

There is a wide range of support available for voluntary and community organisations in Islington.

This support includes advice and guidance on setting up or developing your organisation, recruiting skilled volunteers to support your work, training and development opportunities for you and your staff, and peer support networks.

There are also lots of ways in which you can communicate your work to residents and partners, details of this are outlined below.

Advice and support

Our Communities team

Our Communities Team works directly with a portfolio of organisations and provides assistance in areas such as fundraising, governance, organisational strategy and development, business planning, monitoring and evaluation.

The team are available to offer advice and support to all Islington-based VCS organisations, irrespective of whether they receive council funding. If you would like to work with us, please contact us at

The Community Development section supports estate based community centre committees and estate based resident community groups. The team can also give advice to residents who are interested in either becoming involved in their local area or want to set up community based groups. For further information please email

Voluntary Action Islington

VAI provides a range of services to support small and emerging organisations with their developmental needs as well as individuals who wish to set up a voluntary or community group. This includes support with governance, funding advice, training, volunteering and partnership working.

Octopus Communities

Octopus Communities provides a community of practice and developmental support to Islington’s community hubs and community centres, enabling people involved in community development work to share best practice, take collective action, collaborate and work in partnership.


Voluntary Action Islington

VAI supports Islington-based VCS organisations to recruit, manage and develop volunteers. VAI offers a range of support including training and one-to-one advice sessions. Read more about joining VAI and signing up for e-news.

Register to advertise volunteer opportunities on VAI’s volunteering portal.

The BIG Alliance

The BIG Alliance recruits corporate volunteers to provide support for Islington-based VCS organisations. Their volunteers can support in key areas of organisational development such as business planning, recruiting board members, mentoring, financial and accountancy advice, marketing and legal advice.

Council Staff Volunteering Programme

If you are a VCS organisation looking to host volunteers, we run our own corporate volunteering program and work with partners who can help you find a volunteer with the right skills and experience to support your work.

If you are an Islington based VCS organisation that is interested in hosting council staff as volunteers, please complete the Volunteer form and get in touch with our Volunteering Coordinator


Voluntary Action Islington

Voluntary Action Islington (VAI) runs a range of training courses and surgeries for Islington-based VCS organisations. Find details of upcoming events.

Council Training Programme

The council is committed to supporting VCS organisations access high quality training relevant to their service delivery and organisational development needs. The training providers listed below offer free training to staff and volunteers of Islington based organisations. Please contact providers directly to book onto courses

Safeguarding Children and Adults

Promoting the welfare of children and adults whilst ensuring that they are protected from harm is an essential duty of every voluntary and community organisation. The council provides relevant training and support which can be accessed by local organisations. To check availability of courses visit Islington Safeguarding Children Partnership.

Islington Make Every Count Contact –is about finding opportunities in everyday conversations to help service users think about addressing the wider issues that may be negatively affecting their quality of life including: money worries, finding a job, concerns about housing, health issues.

There is also an E-Learning module designed to support learners in developing an understanding of public health and the factors that impact on a person’s health and wellbeing, emphasising how asking questions and listening effectively to people is a vital role for everyone.

Resident and Community Centre Committee Training

The Communities Team runs a range of training courses for residents, community centre committees and estate based community groups in areas such as life skills, community development, community organising, committee governance, health and safety and safeguarding, and well-being If you’re interested in finding out more, contact the Community Development Team on

Independent Training Providers

The Foundation for Social Improvement provides a range of free and affordable services for small charities, including fundraising, governance, impact measurement and project management.

The Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School (Cass CCE) is the leading nonprofit and philanthropy centre in the UK, their works supports the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to develop knowledge drive performance excellence. They offer charity training, seminars, events, courses and online resources.

NCVO champions the voluntary sector and volunteering, offering a range of training courses, including e-learning, one-day events and annual conferences.

Directory of social change offer a variety of training opportunities such as; marketing and communications, governance, and fundraising. 

Local networks

Islington has an extensive range of second tier organisations and networks organised around thematic priorities or demographic interest groups. These organisations can support your work and ensure you are kept informed of key initiatives in the borough.

Octopus Communities provides a community of practice and developmental skills for Islington’s community hubs to promote community work and community development.

Manor Gardens works with organisations to support them to help people change their lives for the better. They promote mental and physical health and well-being services and increase social inclusion.

Disability Action Islington assists and enables local disabled people to increase their access to services and entitlements and challenge exclusion and discrimination.

Forum + ensures that the rights and interests of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people living or working in Islington and Camden are represented. They tackle discrimination and promote equality and diversity. 

Children and Young People Forum bring together organisations working with children and young people. They aim to make life better for children and young people in Islington so that they are safe, happy and have fun.

Islington Pensioners Forum champion the rights and dignity of pensioners locally with the aim of to reducing isolation and loneliness, and affiliated to the National Pensioners Convention which campaigns for the rights of older people nationally.

Islington Faiths Forum a community partnership of faith-based organisations and projects working together to assist the local community. They work to support inter faith and community initiatives and dialogue throughout Islington.

Islington Refugee Forum aims to improve the well-being of Islington’s refugee communities. They work with refugees and refugee community organisations to ensure integration by promoting dialogue, strong partnership, advocacy and empowerment.

Locality Wellbeing Networks - As part of Islington Council’s ‘Fairer Together’ initiative, Voluntary Action Islington and Octopus Community Networks have come together to establish Local Wellbeing Networks (LWN) throughout the borough. This is born out of the council’s ambition to increase collaboration between services and to provide a platform for community voice.

The networks consists of statutory service providers, charities, community groups and residents, all of whom have committed to taking a more active role in their local community, sharing best practice and collaborating for positive social change.

This is developed in each locality (North, Central & South) and takes the form of monthly meetings, hosted by a rotating network member. This meeting is open to anyone working or living in the area and provides a platform to discuss concerns or share ideas on how we as citizens can work together and achieve positive social change


Promoting and communicating your work

There are a number of different ways that you can communicate your work to Islington residents, voluntary and community sector organisations or to council officers.


IslingtonLife is the council’s brand for community news, events, local businesses and people. It is made up of a quarterly printed magazine, website, eNewsletter and social media channels. Please send your request to

Electronic notice boards

Islington Council manages a number of electronic notice boards (ENBs) located in housing estates and community centres across the borough. The ENBs are an excellent way to communicate your services or any events that you are running directly to local residents.

You can communicate your events of activities across the whole borough or to specific wards. If you would like to display information about your services or an event, please use our online form. After you submit your request, please email a jpeg or PDF electronic version of your flyer or notice to, using your unique reference number in the subject heading

Voluntary Action Islington (VAI)

Voluntary Action Islington e-news is a newsgroup open to voluntary and community organisations, small not for profit groups, and volunteers in Islington. Voluntary sector news, information, queries, training courses, and events can be shared via the group with the information delivered direct to your email inbox.

You can also promote your services and post news items to the group direct from your email account. More than 600 professionals from the sector in Islington comprise the group. Please send your request online.


Izzy is Islington’s online directory of advice, information and services for young people. To advertise a service, please contact