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Training available in SudburyAbout HiveMeet the TeamMember news & events for VCSEsResources CatalogueProtected: Starter Pack ToolkitProtected: Funding Toolkit

Training available in Sudbury

Free training for VCSEs in and around Sudbury

Hive has been awarded a grant  to provide free training and mentoring sessions to VCSEs in Sudbury and the surrounding villages.  We are pleased to be offering accredited training in First Aid,  Social Media, Being a Trustee and lots more.  Click on a course title below to find out more.

Free 1:1 Mentoring:  To register interest in a FREE 1:1 mentoring session, please contact us.

If your organisation would benefit from mentoring, please get in touch.  We can offer expert guidance on the following issues;

  • How to apply for charitable status or CIO status
  • Writing a business plan
  • Help with writing a funding application
  • Mentoring for managers

Free online Disability Awareness Training is available through London Southbank University 

For further details about the course or just to sign-up  click here

About Hive

Hive aims to help the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) in Sudbury, Suffolk, and the surrounding villages to better support their local communities.

Our aim is to help VCSEs to connect with each other; share their resources, expertise and experience; and provide free mentoring and training.

Become a Hive Member!

Membership of Hive is free, easy to do and includes;

  • Access to quarterly meetings with news … and the chance to network with other organisations
  • Free event listing on the Hive website
  • Access to free advice, mentoring sessions and training for your staff, volunteers and trustees
  • Support in finding the volunteers and resources your organisation needs

To register as a member of Hive please contact Karen Bleay, the Community Engagement Worker for HIVE, on 07818 262113 or email [email protected]

Are you a business in the Sudbury Area and would like to help a community group?

Employer Supported Volunteering links employers, employees and the wider community.  Hive can help you find volunteering opportunities in the area; these may be one-off events such as re-decorating a community room, or regular opportunities such as befriending vulnerable adults.

We can offer free training for your employees, such as disability awareness, enhancing their skills and competencies. For an informal chat about how your business might get involved, please call the HIVE Community Engagement Worker (see above). For information on current Volunteering opportunities in Sudbury please see ‘Volunteering’.

Meet the Team



Shirley Moore

Starting her career as Senior Youth Worker,  Shirley set up the charity The Befriending Scheme in 1989 to provide friendship and fun for adults with learning disabilities. The Befriending Scheme is still going strong, and currently delivers one to one befriending and a range of social groups to hundreds of  vulnerable adults across Suffolk and into Norfolk.

Shirley as instrumental in the setting-up of Hive and is a passionate advocate of the voluntary and community sector.  Shirley is also a BACP counsellor.

Lesley  Ford-Platt 

After a career in secretarial and office management, including Nature Conservancy, NHS and  University of Essex (Departmental Administrator until 1997) Lesley became Development Manager for Green Light Trust and Gainsborough’s House. She is currently the Chairman of Sudbury Market Town Partnership and has delivered several capital projects completed including Talbot Trail, Siam Gardens and Old Market Place refurbishment.  She is known locally as the ‘Queen of funding applications’ having had so many successful applications over the years!

Lesley is very active in Sudbury life, having been a Primary school governor for 40 years, serving as Chairman of Governors at four different schools and was Sudbury Town Councillor from 2003 to 2015, and Town Mayor 2005-06.  She was a member of the Sudbury Project Steering Group from July 2012, Chairman, Sudbury NHS Transition Group from April 2013 until opening of new Health Centre; member of NHS Project Board for the Sudbury Health Centre from June 2013 to end 2014.

In her rare moments off, she enjoys trips abroad with her husband.


Robin Hodgkinson

Robin Hodgkinson has been a trustee of Hive since it became a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). He is a freelance trainer in the voluntary and community sector, working in Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and North London, specialising in delivering a wide range of courses for trustees, volunteer managers and staff. He is also the author of a wide range of online tool-kits, covering subjects as diverse as taking and presenting minutes, stress management, policies and procedures and writing good funding applications. He is also the author of the 12 module non-accredited Trustee e-Learning programme that has been endorsed by the Charity Commission.

Outside work he is chair of The Christopher Centre Trustee Board and a trustee of Sudbury Market Town Partnership. He has helped to run the Quay Theatre’s Summer School of Performing Arts for 10 to 16 year olds for over 25 years and every two years he can be seen treading the boards, scripting and directing the story that accompanies the Quay School of Dance shows.


Robert Benton   

Robert joined the Hive Trustees Board and serves as Treasurer.  He was involved the concept of Hive since it began in 2010 and has watched the development of this important local initiative from his post of CEO of the Quay Theatre , where he served since 2000.

Prior to that, education led him variously into the world of theatre and then into magazine and newspaper publishing where he worked on a range of business development projects. He is now retired, but is still involved with a range of Suffolk based charity activities.  He has lived in East Anglia all his adult life and now lives with his wife in Sudbury, where they sometimes entertain his children and their offspring.

Gareth Cole

Gareth has had a varied career, having been a maths teacher for forty years, an Assistant Head, and a Principal Examiner for GCSE  mathematics. When he and his wife moved to Sudbury in 2010  he became involved with the local community in many roles, including as treasurer of the River Stour Trust for four years, when he raised the £70,000 required to replace the lock gates at Flatford. He has been the treasurer and chair of the Sudbury Choral Society. the local choral society and the Arts Society in Sudbury.

Andy Welsh

Andy has had a varied career as an Entertainment and Banqueting manager in the 1980’s, a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in the 90’s, before taking over as Branch Manager of the local Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society and then managing Crown Post Offices in Haverhill, Cambridge and Sudbury. He can still be found occasionally on the counter in the new re-sited Post Office in Sudbury. He served on Sudbury Town Council for 16 years until 2015 and is still active in local politics.

Karen Bleay

Karen works one day a week as Community Engagement Worker for Hive and also part-time as Project Manager for The Befriending Scheme.  She has started her career as a science teacher, moving to primary after several years.  After time off to have children, she set up a small business providing science workshops and parties for children.

Karen is the main contact for Hive, keeps the website up to date, arranges training courses and events,  and sends out regular news emails, which some have reportedly enjoyed reading.


Member news & events for VCSEs

Urgent plea for help from local Charity April 2018 Poster 

Frenchs Care Haven and Care Farm urgently needs a new space for its rescued horses and donkeys.  Please click on the link above for more details.

*Update August 2018* Jann is still looking for a new site.  If you know someone who might be able to help, please contact Hive urgently*



Come and meet people from other voluntary and community organisations in your neighbourhood!

The next Steering Meeting for Sudbury Hive members is in May 2018, date to be confirmed,  at The Befriending Scheme. If you are interested in joining, do come along to meet us and find out more.



Sudbury Connect ‘Lunch & Learn’ is open to any interested professionals or volunteers.  An Informal presentation is followed by a time to ask questions and share information with colleagues; all welcome & bring your lunch! They run 12pm to 1.30pm in Rooms F12 and F13 at Sudbury Health Centre, Church Field Road, Sudbury CO10 2DZ.

Look at the wonderful things our members offer the local community;

Dementia Friendly Cinema Quay 2018 (1)

Who are the members?

  • Activlives
  • Age UK Chilton
  • Age UK Suffolk
  • Alzheimers Trust (side by Side project)
  • BaberghMidsuffolk Council
  • Bridge Project -The
  • Chit Chat
  • Christopher Centre
  • Citizens advice Bureau
  • Compassion
  • Greener Sudbury
  • Gryphon First Aid Unit
  • Healthwatch Suffolk
  • HIVE
  • Kernos Centre (Counselling 5+)
  • Kettle & Fish (Churches Together in Sudbury & District)
  • Localities & Partner ships Team, Public Health & Protection Directorate, Suffolk County Council
  • Mid Suffolk Council
  • Offshoot Foundation
  • Parkinsons Support Group
  • Phoenix Community Marchers
  • SAVO training
  • St John Ambulance
  • Sudbury Area Cancer Support Group
  • Sudbury Bowls Club
  • Sudbury Festival of Performing Arts
  • Sudbury Market Town Partnership
  • Sudbury WATCH
  • Suffolk County Council
  • The Befriending Scheme

Join Us!

If you are part of a Voluntary group, a charity or not-for-profit organisation in or around Sudbury and would like to join us, please get in touch.


Resources Catalogue

Voluntary, charitable and social enterprises in and around Sudbury have access to a whole  host of resources, both online and through Sudbury Hive.  Below are links to resources on the Hive website for memebrs,  links to other websites that you might find useful, as well as a list of ways we can help each other.

  1.  Setting Up a New Group, Organisation or Charity? The red tape can feel overwhelming!

New groups setting up in Sudbury or the surrounding villages have access to a free Start-Up Pack.  The pack gives you templates for key documents, checklists and guidelines for making sure your group follows national guidance and rules.  The pack has been purchased by Hive from funding awarded by ‘Awards for All’, designed by SAVO and the password to access the Start-Up Pack is available from [email protected]

2.   Applying for Funding?

Community and voluntary groups in Sudbury can access a free Funding Toolkit 

This takes you through the necessary preparation you will need to do if you want to write a successful funding application.  It also contains lots of advice and top tips.  The pack has been purchased by Hive from funding awarded by ‘Awards for All’, designed by SAVO and the password to access the Start-Up Pack is available from [email protected]

       3.  Does your group satisfy the Governance Code?

According to the Charity Governance Website;

“Good governance in charities is fundamental to their success. It enables and supports a charity’s compliance with the law and relevant regulations. It also promotes a culture where everything works towards fulfilling the charity’s vision.”

To help you understand the requirements of your organisation, read the THE GOVERNANCE CODE document, which explains what each of the seven areas is about.  There is also a document here with a chart to help you review how your organisation meets the principles of good governance by going through the seven areas and breaking them down into bite-size chunks:  Complete Code small Organisations

4.  Does your organisation need a Health-check?

Hive are offering all organisations who work within the Sudbury and District area a health-check. So if you want your policies checked to ensure that they are fit for purpose or need policies written, we can help. If you want to have advise on running efficient and effective committees or meetings, we can help. If you need simple forms for managing staff or volunteers, we can help. If you want a business plan or a funding application checked before you send it off, we can help.

Don’t delay, contact Hive today!



5.  Low-cost Rooms for Hire in Sudbury

Hive members have access to a range of resources locally. Below is a summary of what is available, but if you need something that is not listed, please contact us and we will do our best to help.

Christopher Centre

  • Low-cost rooms to hire, such as counselling rooms from just £5/hr!
  • IT equipment
  • Office ‘hot-desk’
  • The Christopher Centre currently has offices to let at very reasonable rates.  For more information please call Teresa on 07462 108708 or drop in for a ‘guided tour’ during office hours.

The Befriending Scheme has a training room in central Sudbury available for hire at very reasonable rates.  The room can accommodate 15 to 25 people.  For availability please contact Tash Young on 01787 371 333.

If you have a resources that you can share with other VCSE’s in and around Sudbury, please contact Sudbury Hive on 07818 262 113.

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