Gloucestershire Association for Voluntary and Community Action (GAVCA)

What is GAVCA?

GAVCA is a charity that works within Gloucestershire communities to inspire and enable individuals and groups to make a difference in their local community. They help charities, social enterprises, community and voluntary groups to become more effective and influential and facilitate the local public sector and voluntary and community sector to work together, and also with local companies of all sizes to help them develop socially responsible practices.

Communities in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, the Cotswolds, Stroud and the Forest of Dean are stronger when they include independent and responsive charities and voluntary and community groups. Where the local voluntary and community sector thrives, people feel a greater sense of community and can exercise more control over their own lives.

Why does Cheltenham Borough Council support GAVCA?

GAVCA is one of three VCS organisations supported by Cheltenham Borough Council with a community investment grant; this is a grant awarded to a local organisation that is delivering strategically important outcomes for the council.

Cheltenham Borough Council is a commissioning council which puts a strong focus on our ability to understand the needs and strengths of Cheltenham , its organisations and its people in designing outcomes for our services. We see a thriving voluntary and community sector as a critical component of our commissioning approach and therefore we provide funding to GAVCA as this enables third sector organisations to access a range of support and advice services. GAVCA also deliver strengths-based work to build capacity in the sector, be this new capacity in helping to set up new community groups, or helping existing groups get better at what they do, as well as facilitating a VCS Forum in Cheltenham .

How much funding do they receive?









Provided that the conditions identified within ‘The terms of the Agreement’ are met to the satisfaction of the Council, there shall be awarded a further two year investment grant, defined as:

  1. satisfactory performance by the organisation;
  2. the availability of funding; and
  3. the grant continuing to meet corporate priorities





What do we expect GAVCA to do

  • To support the development of the Voluntary and Community Sector (within the Council’s administrative area)
  • To coordinate the representation of and to advocate on behalf of the voluntary and community sector, including the promotion of the Compact.
  • To facilitate a Voluntary and Community Sector Forum in Cheltenham .
  • To continue to focus on its internal organisational development. 

An excerpt from the current investment grant is here.

GAVCA – Summary of Activity 2012-13

Information is sent out regularly to 259 organisations in Cheltenham . This includes invitations to the bi-monthly VCS Forum and other information relevant to the VCS e.g. funding opportunities

GAVCA worked directly with 46 organisations during the period. The main areas of support to organisations during the year were around:

  • Advice on starting and closing a group;
  • Information services;
  • Income generation/funding advice; and
  • Governance issues.

Specific support was given to develop a collaborative bid to the Advice Services Transition Fund. Confirmation was given in May 2013 that the 270k bid had been successful.

GAVCA’s annual survey took place in December 2012. It gives a snap shot of the sector and the value organisations place on GAVCA’s services. The information we receive feeds into our strategic planning. (Report attached)

GAVCA has been involved in the Big Local project. In particular pulling together the ‘walk about’ for colleagues in other organisations, to get to know the area and begin asset mapping.

GAVCA has been an ABCD learning site and used the opportunity to look at how working in a strengths-based way would impact on our organisation and how we might continue with or change some of the ways in which we work. This learning has influenced the new strategic plan. GAVCA are members of the community of practice.

A number of new and emerging groups have made use of GAVCA’s support during the year: Friends of the Honeybourne Line, Friends of Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve and more recently Friends of Weaver’s Field have all been in contact with GAVCA as a direct result of being referred by CBC staff in the parks department. This shows how having an understanding of where the resources are to support community groups has been a really useful connection for CBC staff to make.

GAVCA has redesigned the weekly bulletin/newsletter and has received positive feedback.

For further information:

Angela Gilbert, Services Manager

Tel: 01242 227737


For more information, visit the GAVCA website.