Food Solutions Grants | Caring and Sharing

Our Rochdale Communities Fund Food Solutions Grants have been fuelling innovative community projects across the borough to address food insecurity and in recent months we have awarded more than £104,000 to 27 community groups and organisations to support their amazing work addressing food insecurity across Rochdale borough.

Here we shine a light on one of our member organisation, and the recipients of this funding, charity organisation Caring and Sharing. Their mission is to empower disadvantaged groups and make a positive difference to the lives of the less privileged in their community. 

The grant they received has been used to continue their provision setting up a pantry to offer culturally appropriate food to refugees, asylum seekers, and other disadvantaged groups is a vital lifeline for many.

Founder and CEO, Nicky Iginla, told us what the Food Solution Grant had meant to them;

The Food Solution Grant has been an active means of lowering hardship in our community, which automatically enhances social cohesion. As an inclusive community, we have been able to maximise our potential of bettering the wellbeing of the people in our community, by provision of healthy cultural appropriate foods, as a way of caring and sharing with one another other. Feedback from the people in the various communities we serve, has shown that the radiance of your generous support goes beyond the smile, happiness and self worth of the people, to building a community of support system.  

Our Food Solution Program supports both low-income earners and unemployed individuals. Thank you greatly for your continuous support in making a positive impact in our community. 

You can learn more about our Rochdale Communities Fund Food Solutions Grants, and the projects that have benefitted from the latest round of funding here:

Food Support Signposting in Rochdale Borough

Rochdale's Food Solution Network are working hard to ensure food security exists so all people, at all times, have physical access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. 

In partnership with current food providers, Rochdale Council and Action Together have developed this signposting resource that will help groups, individuals and families get access to food in the borough.

Should you need any further information and support around food, please contact:

International Men's Day 2023

International Men's Day is an annual event celebrated on 19 November, which aims to raise awareness about men's issues and promote gender equality. It provides an opportunity to highlight the positive contributions that men make to society and to acknowledge the challenges they face in their daily lives. This day is celebrated in more than 80 countries around the world and focuses on issues such as men's health, toxic masculinity, fatherhood, and male role models. The theme for International Men's Day varies every year, with the ultimate goal of creating a safer and more equitable world for all genders.

This year’s theme is Zero Male Suicide - in the UK, men account for around three quarters of all deaths by suicide.

At Action Together, we believe in the strength and impact of our communities. Across Oldham, Rochdale, and Tameside, our members are doing fantastic work to support men’s mental health, and we want to celebrate that. We also want to ensure that men know where they can seek help, guidance, and support.

Support with health, fitness, diet, and mental health:

Support for dads who have lost children:

Support for boys and men who are survivors of sexual abuse, rape, and sexual exploitation (trans and non-binary inclusive):

Support for dads and their children:

Places to talk to other men (both in person and online):

Drop-in session specifically for International Men's Day 2023

Social Prescribing in Tameside | Alan's Story

Action Together’s Social Prescribing Team are deeply rooted within Tameside and its communities; this allows us to build on our knowledge and strengthen our growing networks with the various community provisions Tameside has to offer. Social Prescribing is a non-urgent and non-medical service.

Alan's Social Prescribing Story

Alan was referred to our Tameside Social Prescribing service by Rufia, Complex Care Coordinator at Ashton Primary Care Network (PCN). Rufia was one of 452 referrers from a variety of different services who connected the people they support with our Social Prescribing team in the last year.

Alan had told Rufia he was feeling disconnected from the community. After his referral, we connected Alan with Sue, one of our Social Prescribing Officers. Find out more about Sue.

Sue is our Social Prescribing officer for Denton, Audenshaw and Droylsden. Although Alan lives and is registered with a GP in Ashton, Sue was able to support his referral. Although our Social Prescribing Officers are community-based in areas across Tameside, our team are flexible and able to respond to demand in different areas if there is an increase in referrals. Due to the way our team work closely together across Tameside, our local knowledge is extensive and reaches beyond the boundaries of their working area. Last year, our team connected Tameside residents with 455 groups, activities and services both within their neighbourhood and across the wider borough.

Sue initially spoke to Alan over the phone to find out more about him and what he wanted to achieve. Alan's overall goal was to find out more about what's going on locally.

Alan also shared that his wife had passed away a number of years previously. They had enjoyed cycling together, but Alan had given their bikes away after her passing.

Sue provided Alan with a range of information on local services and activities, including AgeUK – Wellbeing Walks, Tameside Libraries Chess Club (at Ashton Library), The Together Centre, The Shed, and The Community Cycle Circuit in Ashton.

Alan expressed an interest in the Cycle Circuit, so Sue contacted Active Tameside, who deliver the sessions. She found out more about the sign-up process, times and sessions to make attending less daunting. Alan then visited the Cycle Circuit to check it out ahead of a session. It's important that our Social Prescribing clients are ready to engage before they begin a new activity, and we work with all our clients to prepare before they try something new. While we provide connections and information, it's the people we work with who take the next step to make a change in their lives. With the support provided by Sue, Alan was able to do just that.

After attending a session, Alan has become a regular at the Cycle Circuit's Monday sessions. He cycles 10k every week, and has taken up completing laps on a racing bike.

"I'm really benefitting from the sessions. I've lost half a stone and am feeling great!"

He's supported by Gary, Active Tameside's Cycle Circuit coach, with regular contact from Sue to see how he's getting on. Gary commented on the difference he has seen in Alan over the past few weeks, and how he is more confident on the bike seems more healthy. Alan is also socialising more with others attending the sessions, too.

Alan is looking to continue at the session and is making plans to get a bike of his own. He's now looking to attend the additional 60 minute Wednesday coach-led ride that starts from the Cycle Circuit and includes routes to Daisy Nook, followed by a brew at the hut at the circuit.

Rufia, who originally referred Alan to Tameside Social Prescribing, commented on how good it is to see the journey of the clients they refer to our Social Prescribing team. She could see how Alan has benefitted from the referral to our team and the connections he has made. Rufia's team also shared that 30% of the patients they are working with are being referred to our Social Prescribing team.

Get in touch

Read about our Tameside Social Prescribing Offer in more detail and how to get involved or make a referral here:

You can also contact our Tameside Social Prescribing Team;
Phone: 0161 830 6833 (Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm) or email:


UK Disability History Month

UK Disability History Month – 16 Nov – 16 Dec

This month (16 Nov – 16 Dec) is UK Disability History Month, a month which focuses on promoting an understanding of disability issues and the history of disabled people's struggle for equality and human rights. This year, UKDHM is looking at the experiences of disabled children and young people, and encourages us to consider what steps we can all take to ensure that young disabled people grow up in a world which is free from stereotypes, prejudice, and socially-created barriers to inclusion.

History of Disability Activism in Manchester

In 2020, the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People produced a series of short films showcasing examples of disability activism, protest, and celebration in Greater Manchester in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. The series, called From Manchester and Beyond, is available here:

International Day of Disabled People - 2020 - YouTube

What are we doing at Action Together?

At Action Together, our purpose is to enable positive social change and promote social justice. We also know that without disabled employees, we would be a less effective organisation. We have therefore been making tangible improvements to our recruitment process to ensure that we are an inclusive and accessible employer with a highly skilled workforce. Here are just some of our recent actions:

  1. We are reviewing and standardizing the language and formatting used in our job adverts, person specifications, and interview questions. This will ensure that we give all candidates the opportunity to showcase their skills and experience, and that our recruitment materials work with assistive technology.
  2. We have committed to advertising opportunities on recruitment sites which specifically work with disabled candidates. We are currently in the process of deciding which sites we will use to have the greatest possible impact.
  3. We have committed to offering a guaranteed interview to all disabled candidates who meet the essential criteria for a role. We don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to interview excellent candidates, so we clearly signpost the essentials and any additional skills/experience are a bonus.
  4. We have recently achieved the Disability Confident Employer charter mark, and are challenging ourselves to achieve Disability Confident Leader status by this time next year. Disability Confident is a government scheme which aims to support employers in making their workplaces supportive environments for disabled employees. Initiatives which are good for disabled people are good for everybody, and we are proud to now be a Disability Confident Employer.

How can you make sure your organisation is inclusive?

  1. Visit the website for more information about becoming Disability Confident: Disability Confident employer scheme: GOV.UK (
  2. If you are a non-profit which provides services for disabled people, you can apply for VODG membership: VODG | Homepage
  3. For information on how to get started with equality, diversity and inclusion, check out this information from NCVO: Get started with equity, diversity and inclusion | NCVO
  4. If you are one of our member organisations, you can work towards achieving our Quality in Action Award: Quality in Action Award | Action Together
  5. Visit the UK Disability History Month website for more information, ideas and resources: UK Disability History Month – 16 November – 16 December (

Social Prescribing in Tameside | Liset's Story

Action Together’s Social Prescribing Team and Community Development Team are deeply rooted within Tameside and its communities; this allows us to build on our knowledge and strengthen our growing networks with the various community provisions Tameside has to offer. Social Prescribing is a non-urgent and non-medical service. Recognising that Social Prescribing is not right for everyone, the team will attempt to redirect people to the appropriate services to ensure they receive support for their priority needs in a timely manner.

Liset's Social Prescribing Story

In December 2022, Liset* contacted our Social Prescribing service by telephone. Liset was a single mother of three young children and lived in temporary housing in Hyde. Liset spoke to our Social Prescribing Administrator, Natalie, about the pressures her and her family were facing due to the rapid increase in the cost of living. With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, Liset went on to explain how she would not be able to afford Christmas dinner for her family.

Prior to this telephone call, our Social Prescribing Team had learned of Haughton Green’s Christmas Foodbank Referral Scheme for 2022. In 2021, the project had provided more than 200 families Christmas dinner to cook at home. The Christmas dinner parcel included a mix of tinned goods, fresh food and enough food and treats to last families throughout the festive period. The project’s priority was to help the most needy families in Tameside. Natalie offered to make a referral to Haughton Green’s Christmas Foodbank, which Liset consented to.

Taking into consideration Liset’s children aged, 5, 6 and 9, Natalie also informed Liset of Tameside’s Toy Appeal. During November/December 2022, Action Together, in partnership with Tameside Reporter and Tameside Council’s Children Centres. Through hard work and dedication from the volunteers, and the generous donations of toys and gifts from Tameside residents, the Appeal enabled 509 families in need across Tameside to give 1,180 children a gift on Christmas day.

Although, the closing date for the Toy Appeal applications had passed by a few days, Natalie telephoned Joanne, the Children’s Centre Co-ordinator in Hyde. Joanne explained that the centre had enough gifts for a family gift box, and kindly offered to arrange this once a referral was made. With Liset’s consent, Natalie completed a referral to the Toy Appeal project.

Furthermore, Action Together’s Social Prescribing team received a variety of donated Christmas gifts from LEAP, through a collaborative project with Dunelm. Natalie teamed up with Social Prescribing Officer for Ashton, Jyoti Mckellar and Social Prescribing Link Worker for Ashton, Tiffany Schofield, to prepare several gift bags for clients who they felt would benefit from it the most. Understanding that Liset was feeling poorly, they offered to deliver it to her home as a one-off exception, since they were driving through the area.

“This will make a huge difference to our Christmas this year!”

A week later, Natalie made her final telephone call to Liset; Liset was able to arrange a lift to Haughton Green’s Foodbank and collect her food parcel which was plentiful and described it as ‘more than enough.’ Natalie notified Liset that her referral to the Toy Appeal had been accepted and gave her the contact details for the Children’s Centre in Hyde. Liset was extremely thankful to have some of the pressure lifted, now that she had the resources to enjoy Christmas with her family. It was agreed that Liset would be allocated to a Social Prescribing Officer, who would contact her in the new year and find out whether Liset was in a better position to start Social Prescribing.

* Name of client changed

What is Social Prescribing?

In short, Social Prescribing helps people to make new connections in their community. 

Our Tameside Social Prescribing Team work with people to help them make new connections in their community. We listen to people to find out what's important to them, what changes they would like to make in their lives, and help identify the best ways to achieve those changes. Our Team connect people to what’s available in their local community, including groups, activities, and appropriate services that they're able to easily access and attend independently.

Our aim is to encourage the people we work with to improve and manage their own wellbeing and we work together with people on a 1-2-1 basis, creating goals to get that person to where they want to be.

We are not support workers, our work is non-medical and non-urgent. We work with people that are motivated and ready to engage with us to make positive changes. Social Prescribing is free and we work with people over the telephone, in community spaces, or by visiting them in their homes.

Get in touch

Read about our Tameside Social Prescribing Offer in more detail and how to get involved or make a referral here:

You can also contact our Tameside Social Prescribing Team;
Phone: 0161 830 6833 (Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm) or email:

Tameside Toy Appeal 2023

We're pleased to announce that the Tameside Toy Appeal has returned for 2023 and is set to help families in need across Tameside once again.

You can find out more about this year's appeal, how you can help or how families can be referred to receive support here:

Oldham Poverty Action Network Celebration Event

On Thursday 19 October, the Oldham Poverty Action Network (OPAN) celebrated 12 months of life-changing work. Network members gathered at Hack Oldham to reflect on their journey, celebrate their achievements, and set out their aspirations for the future of Oldham.

At the event, findings from the Oldham Poverty Truth Commission Report were shared. The recommendations have helped to shape the priorities of OPAN and have directly influenced the action taken forward by members. 

The celebration event also launched the Uplift Volunteering Programme, creating a pathway of hope for anyone experiencing hardship, providing: 

  • a supportive and flexible volunteering programme built around you
  • opportunity to build on your strengths and develop your skills
  • a wraparound support network 
  • support for you to achieve your aspirations
  • connection to learning and development opportunities

The Uplift Volunteering Programme will be available at two host organisations, SAWN and Local Food First. If you would like to join the Uplift Volunteering Programme, please email

Steve Rawling also joined to give an insightful talk on storytelling, and how to tell an impactful story.

Click here to find out more about the Oldham Poverty Action Network


National Hate Crime Awareness Week

National Hate Crime Awareness Week will take place from 14 – 21 October 2023. This is our opportunity to showcase unity within our communities and combat stigma and hate. #WeStandTogether #NoPlaceForHate

What is a Hate Crime?

Hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. Hate crimes can take many different forms – for example someone may have damaged your property because of the colour of your skin, sent you offensive letters because of what you believe, or behaved violently towards you because of who you love. No hate crime is acceptable. We all have a right to live without fear, hostility and intimidation from others.  -

No hate crime is acceptable, and we all have a right to live without fear, hostility and intimidation. Action Together supports organisations across Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside, and we would like to share the wonderful projects our member organisations have been involved with to help raise awareness.


OPAL Advocacy

Opal Advocacy took a stand against Hate Crime by decorating pebbles with heartfelt messages and trailing them around Oldham Town Centre. Spreading a message of positivity, patience and understanding. 


"At OPAL we are passionate about this project because unfortunately hate crime is something so many people in the LD community have experienced. We look forward to sharing our stories and advice to help raise awareness of this serious issue."

OPAL also created two incredible videos to help raise awareness of the impact of a hate crime and where to find support, click the links below to watch:



Mighty forces at Flowhesion joined together to have open discussions about hate crime and share their experiences. They channeled their emotions into the artwork below.



Future Directions: The Spice Group

The Spice Group have been getting creative and making posters to raise awareness about hate crime, whilst talking about the topic in a safe way.


"Thank you to Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council and Action Together for supporting us with this project. It's been a great day." 


Oldham Play Action Group 

Oldham Play Action Group shared the art work they have created in play sessions with children. They discussed in Child friendly ways the following topics:

What hate crime is:

 Hate crime is all of these sorts of things. Violence, mean graffiti, damaging property, threatening, horrible letters, phone calls, texts, facebook slagging off, insults, name calling, bullying ​
about …​
Gender, sex, race, colour, where you and your family come from your nationality, faith is what you believe and if you worship and have a religion, if you are in an alternative subculture like being a goth or a mosher, sexuality who you fancy, because you have any kind of disability.


What is bullying

When someone bullies or hurts someone because they don’t like what and who they are.
It’s hating the most important bits of what makes you YOU. It is an attack on the real you. It makes people frightened, scared, ill, angry, lonely and upset.

Everyone may look different on the outside but we all experience the same emotions on the inside...
Hate crime leads people to these feelings: stress, anger, upset, sad lonely, helpless, hurt, scared, depressed
But being kind can lead to these feelings: happy, elated, excited, loved, cared for, helpful, relaxed, mindful, hopeful

What can we do about it

Anyone can be a victim of hate crime. Anyone can do a hate crime. Don’t be a hater.
Don’t put up with the hate, report it. Tell others what it is and why they should tell. Stand up, speak out tell someone.
Don’t put up with it. If they can do it to you, they will do the same or even worse to someone else.
Don’t think it’s just name calling I can handle that, you don’t have to put up with any hate. If haters get away with little things they’ll move on to bigger things.

Celebrate all faiths, cultures and beliefs! Celebrate all communities!

How we can spread kindness

We have more in common than that divides us!
We can build bridges between people not walls
We have more in common than that divides us ! we really do
We play, we learn, we eat, we have families, we live in Oldham.
We cry, we love, we laugh, we hope for good things, we dream good dreams about the future, we live in Oldham.

What we promise to do: Be kind, Celebrate everyone, Listen, Never judge anyone.



Find out more about hate crime at Let's End Hate Crime – We Stand Together

If you have been a victim of a hate crime, you can find support at Greater Manchester Victims' Services


Check out these funding opportunities focused on groups/organisations wishing to hold events or activities that work towards raising awareness and challenging the behaviours and perceptions of hate crime:


BHM | Saluting our Sisters | Arike Olwuatosin Sotubo

We are pleased to bring you another wonderfully inspiring and personal insight into one of our Action Together members for Black History Month's theme of 'Saluting our Sisters'.

Today we spoke to Arike Olwuatosin Sotubo, Director of Tameside-based Ark of Hope. Ark of Hope are a non-profit organisation, established for the purpose of empowering the poor and underprivileged in society. Find our more about their work at:

Here's what Tosin told us about herself and the importance of Black History Month...

In response to the 'theme 'Women’s Empowerment' in sixty words or less, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm Arike Olwuatosin Sotubo, a wife, mother, grandmother, and coordinator of Ark of Hope. Having spent a significant portion of my life here, I've witnessed the growth and development of the Black community over the last 30 years.

What have you done for your community which you would like people to know about?

I'd like people to know that since 2016, our dedicated team has been making a positive impact in our community. We host weekly cookery sessions, providing nutritional hot meals every Friday to support vulnerable individuals. Additionally, we organise family events that bring our community closer together.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month, to me, signifies a time to recognise and celebrate the rich history, achievements, and contributions of Black individuals and communities throughout history.

For black history month this year, the theme is ‘Saluting our Sisters' OR 'Matriarchs of Movements' which aims to highlight the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities. Can you tell us about a black woman who has served as inspiration in your life?

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Beatrice Onayemi, have served as incredible sources of inspiration in my life. Their achievements and resilience inspire me to strive for excellence.

What change would you like to see in Oldham that would benefit the Black community?

I believe Tameside could benefit from affordable lock-up shops that offer rental units to its residents. This would encourage local entrepreneurship and investment in the community, as opposed to paying business rates elsewhere. Additionally, a larger African cultural space would be valuable, serving as a hub for various organisations and cultural events.

And finally, what would you say to black people in Greater Manchester to inspire them to make a difference in the community or wider?

To fellow Black individuals in Greater Manchester, I say this: Our collective strength lies in our unity and determination. By actively participating in community initiatives and collaborating with one another, we can make a significant difference in our community and beyond. Together, we can create a brighter future for all.

Oluwatosin Lanlehin Sotubo
Director, Ark of Hope


BHM | Saluting our Sisters | Nicky T. Iginla

This week, as part of the 'Saluting our Sisters' theme for Black History Month, we caught up with Nicky T. Iginla, CEO of Caring and Sharing Rochdale. Caring and Sharing Rochdale was founded back in 2017 and is located in both the United Kingdom and Africa. They seek to empower and support the BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) community, asylum seekers, and those facing deprivation. They provide essential services for community integration while nurturing the artistic and cultural expressions of our community's youth.

Find out more about their wonderful projects here:

We spoke with Nicky and what Black History Month means to her...

About me, my community, and Black History Month

My name is Nicky Tinu Iginla; I am a highly devoted community leader that has dedicated her life to championing racial equality, intersectionality, and the welfare of marginalised communities. As the founder of the Caring and Sharing Charity Organisation situated in Rochdale, I've taken the initiative to address the systemic challenges faced by the BAME community within Rochdale and its surrounding areas. Our organisation, a beacon of hope for many, serves the marginalised - from asylum seekers and refugees to children affected by ill health and abuse, and even victims of human trafficking.

While many see challenges, I see opportunities - opportunities to empower, uplift, and reintegrate. This belief is mirrored in the charity's efforts to help immigrants and asylum seekers assimilate into their new communities. By offering resources like Signposts and ESOL Classes, along with group activities centred around arts and culture, we have sought to bridge the gap between newcomers and locals, fostering mutual respect and understanding. My commitment extends beyond just direct assistance. Mental well-being, especially in marginalised communities, is an area of deep concern for me. Through the charity, I do not only support those undergoing depression in the BAME community but also shed light on significant issues such as domestic violence, equipping individuals with the knowledge and resources to overcome these challenges. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked tirelessly to support young people and empower those in an abusive environment to get much-needed help. I took proactive measures, understanding the unique vulnerabilities faced by the community. From wellbeing sessions to befriending services, the objective was clear - no one should feel alone, isolated, or helpless. But my involvement doesn't stop at the boundaries of my charity organisation. I am the Neighbourhood organiser for Rochdale Borough for Manchester International Festival 2021 and 2023. Also, I am an active participant and member of various organisations, including the Independent Advisory (IAG) GMP-Rochdale, Mama's Health and Poverty Partnership, Greater Manchester VCSE Leadership Group, African Women in Leadership Organisation (AWLO), and Greater Manchester Citizens. Each of these platforms represents another avenue for me to advocate, contribute, and effect change. 

One of my most cherished endeavours is my involvement in the Black History Movement. It's not just about celebrating the past; it's about crafting a future where young black individuals can look back and feel proud, knowing their history is rich, their contributions invaluable, and their potential limitless. In essence, I reflect my community - its challenges, its victories, its aspirations. Every day, I strive to uplift those around me, to bring light to issues often left in the shadows, and to ensure that every individual, irrespective of their race or background, has an equal opportunity to thrive.

My inspiration, the change I would like to see in Rochdale, and a word for the black people in Greater Manchester

Michelle Obama inspires me as a black woman with her grace, intelligence and advocacy. Her trailblazing presence shows the strength, resilience, and excellence inhibited in every woman, and I strongly believe that this self-awareness has made me face life's challenges with a positive attitude. In Rochdale, I would like to see better social cohesion within the community, which will make being vulnerable with ourselves possible, to access thoughtful and functional support from the community and individuals. The word of advice for my fellow black people in Greater Manchester is “let love lead”. 

Nicky T. Iginla
CEO - Caring and Sharing Rochdale


BHM | Saluting our Sisters | Hayley Harewood

Today we're catching up with Hayley Harewood from grassroots organisation Keeping Our Girls Safe (KOGS). Keeping Our Girls Safe (KOGS) is a registered charity, established in 2011, working with children and young people to educate about unhealthy relationships, child sexual exploitation (CSE), grooming and risks; to empower them to have confidence and self-esteem; and inspire them to make positive life choices. They are based in Oldham and work across Greater Manchester.

Here's what Hayley had to tell us...

In response to the 'theme 'Women’s Empowerment' in sixty words or less, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Hayley and my heritage is Black Caribbean and White. I have three children, and I have worked in the voluntary sector for 12 years running a grassroots organisation, working with women and girls. I love travelling to different countries and trying different cuisines, reading and spending time outside in nature. 

What have you done for your community which you would like people to know about?

I have recently taken part in some medical research for people with kidney disorders from black Caribbean heritage – the aim of the research is to screen for a gene which is thought to be more prevalent in those from certain backgrounds to understand if genetics are a contributing factor for kidney disease.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month for me is celebrating those that have paved and continue to pave the way in some shape or form for the next generation to thrive to their fullest potential.

For black history month this year, the theme is ‘Saluting our Sisters' OR 'Matriarchs of Movements' which aims to highlight the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities. Can you tell us about a black woman who has served as inspiration in your life?

An inspiring black woman for me is Baroness Doreen Lawrence, mother of the late Stephen Lawrence. Doreen used her pain from losing her son to campaign tirelessly in order to shine a light on institutional racism in the Met Police. At a time where many mothers would be consumed in their own grief Doreen, a true matriarch, set to work on gaining equality for all. 

What change would you like to see in Oldham that would benefit the Black community?

I would like to see more cultural celebration events and exhibitions in community spaces, allowing other people to enjoy the richness of the community – from the food and music, to the history, the books and the poetry; the black community have so much to offer.

And finally, what would you say to black people in Greater Manchester to inspire them to make a difference in the community or wider?

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Hayley Harewood
CEO - Keeping Our Girls Safe (KOGS)


Saluting our Sisters | Action Together celebrates Black History Month 2023

Join us as we mark Black History Month 2023 by celebrating the amazing achievements of just a few of the wonderful Black women who are members of Action Together.

Black History Month has been celebrated every year for over thirty years, and is an annual commemoration of history, achievements and contribution of Black people (those with African and Caribbean heritage) in the UK.

The theme for this year's Black History Month is 'Saluting our Sisters' and, throughout the month, we are delighted to be bringing you the personal stories of some fabulous women who are championing their organisations and achieving brilliant things in their communities every day. These women are making outstanding contributions, challenging the systems and paving the way for change. We're here to acknowledge them, salute them and amplify their voices.

Each week we'll be speaking to one of our Action Together Members and sharing their inspirational, passionate, and insightful story.

First up, we spoke with Patrice Johnson from Tameside-based Finding My Way CIC. Her organisation is on a mission to engage with prison leavers, like Patrice herself, by providing a helping hand and believes everyone deserves a second chance. They provide unparalleled resources, real world skills and values to help and support prison leavers of all genders to pursue healthy, fulfilling and productive lives once back in society.

Here's our interview with Patrice...

In response to the 'theme 'Women’s Empowerment' in sixty words or less, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm self-confident, productive, optimistic, a go-getter, a fear-tackler, caring, unafraid to stand up for what one believes in, proud, unbothered by what others say or think, and true to one's self that respects people from all backgrounds, religions, race and gender. 

What have you done for your community which you would like people to know about?

It’s a new Community Interest Company. Learn about about our mission and the services we offer:

What does Black History Month mean to you?

To uplift and support the achievements of Black and minority women, and to build understanding and awareness of the contributions of Black women to the world. 

For black history month this year, the theme is ‘Saluting our Sisters' OR 'Matriarchs of Movements' which aims to highlight the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities. Can you tell us about a black woman who has served as inspiration in your life?

Oprah Winfrey is considered a role model to many individuals because of her tough childhood, wonderful charity work, her schools, and the true relationships with her fans. Oprah stands out among many people on her ability to feel others' pain and help those people get through their troubling times.

Viola Davis is a child who grew up in abject poverty, this cause is close to Davis' heart. She has also been active in giving back to Central Falls, Rhode Island, the community where she grew up and to which she contributes her passion for acting. 

What change would you like to see in Tameside that would benefit the Black community?

More businesses or community interest companies ran by black women, men or mixed raced. 

And finally, what would you say to black people in Greater Manchester to inspire them to make a difference in the community or wider?

There is always light. If only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it.

Patrice Johnson,
Founder - Finding My Way CIC


Rochdale Director, Maddy Hubbard, joins Crescent Community Radio

Last week our fabulous Rochdale Director, Maddy Hubbard, was invited along to grace the airwaves of Rochdale’s Crescent Community Radio by their Managing Director, Faheem Chisti.

Crescent Community Radio is a wonderful grassroots, community organisation, first launched back in December 1999. Since then they have gone from strength to strength, not only regularly broadcasting to many communities in English and other languages, but also delivering numerous projects within the community, for example; 

  • Digital Inclusion Project - helping people aged 55 and above access digital technologies
  • Health Awareness Programme - a multitude of health professionals outlining and accessing audiences that often are in the most need
  • Covid Crisis Helpline - one of the first community organisations up and running in March 2020, helping to deliver urgent food and medicines to isolated individuals

On 13 September Maddy joined Community Projects Manager and Presenter, Tasneem Shahzad on her 'Drive Time' show to talk about Action Together, the work we do, and the organisations we support across the borough of Rochdale and its four townships.

Maddy explained how we support, guide and connect grassroots groups and organisations to get their ideas off the ground, and make a positive impact in their community. There are currently over 1,200 community groups operating in Rochdale and around a third of these are members of Action Together who, in turn, benefit from the community-focused knowledge and expertise of our Team.

One of our most recent projects has been our work supporting the Rochdale Council of Mosques. Maddy explains how Action Together are often the 'bridge' between community groups and the Public Sector and are able to influence them to work more closely together and build stronger relationships.

For anyone who missed Maddy's appearance, you can catch the recorded interview here:

Can we help you or your group?

Our Rochdale Community Team can help connect you with what’s happening in your area - Rochdale, Heywood, Middleton and Pennines (including Littleborough).

Our Team have a wealth of experience that could help you. Please get in touch with us if you'd like information about...

Contact us on Tel: 0161 339 2345 or email:

Social Prescribing - making a difference across Tameside

Social Prescribing recognises that health is not just about treating symptoms, but also about improving a person's overall quality of life - considering their physical, mental, and social needs. It empowers individuals to take an active role in their own health and wellbeing by providing them with the connections and resources in their community to help them achieve their goals.

Results that are making a difference

Throughout the month of July, our Social Prescribing Team in Tameside have facilitated an amazing 415 client connections to 159 different opportunities. It's really great to hear the wonderful client feedback which is regularly coming back to us about the impact it is having on people's lives. Below are just a few of the inspiring stories we've received in recent weeks.

Jackie's Story - “Don't give up at the first hurdle” 
Jackie's husband is a client of our SP Officer for Denton, Audenshaw and Droylsden, Sue Pomfret. Jackie's husband suffered a brain injury and engaged with Social Prescribing to 'get back on track'. Initially Jackie's husband was reluctant to become involved in the activities and make the connections we linked him to but, she says, he persevered and he really enjoyed it!

He was connected with a bowling session at Victoria Park, Denton. On the first week he went with his wife, the second a friend took him and by the third week the he went independently via Ring ‘n’ Ride (another service that Sue had connected him with. 

Jackie told us "The bowling thing has been brilliant for him. Last week he came back joyous. Basically, if I can pass on any advice it's ‘don’t give up at the first hurdle’.

Nevia's Story - “I lost my partner and felt alone, but Liz made me feel better!” 
Nevia was referred into Social Prescribing by her GP in March 2023 as she was feeling isolated, lonely, and felt disconnected from the community following her 12-month cancer care review.  Nevia’s fiancé had sadly passed away and, in addition, she had experienced physical health problems causing her to become more isolated. 

Nevia explained to our SP Officer, Liz, that she felt that she was ready to get back out into the community and enjoy more activities. She said was a very creative person and was skilled in cake decorating. Nevia was a Christian and her religion and the church community were very important to her. Liz worked with Nevia to identify options for activities to help her achieve her goals, of attending groups to help with her isolation, loneliness and disconnect. Nevia chose to attend Phantasmagoria and drumming classes and has progressed to attending many more sessions on her own. Nevia was also referred to Lisa, our Volunteer Officer in Tameside after she commented that she'd like to get involved in volunteering again and has now chosen to volunteer with the Women’s Centre.

Since working with Liz, Nevia noticed an improvement in her wellbeing and commented that she is feeling better “Until I lost my partner I felt alone, but Liz made me feel better. It was good to get to find out about what is happening and to meet people.  

Yasmin's Story - “Thanks so much. Without your help, I would not have got the advice which I have been struggling to get for months.” 
Yasmin, a 37-year-old new mum was referred to Social Prescribing by her medical professional, Yasmin’s referral noted that she had ‘problems coping’. Yasmin was assigned to our SP Officer Jyoti, who took the time to listen to Yasmin about the challenges she had been experiencing. Alongside adjusting to being a Mum, Yasmin was also adjusting to living in the UK, having recently moved from Romania.

Yasmin confided that she had felt let down with other healthcare professionals, who hadn’t supported her when she had sought advice on where to go for diet and health advice for her baby. Jyoti explained to Yasmin about Healthwatch Tameside. Yasmin appreciated the information and consented to a referral being made to the Healthwatch team. Alongside this, Yasmin also wanted to focus on meeting other parents in her local area. Jyoti provided details of the nearest Baby Clinic and local parenting groups.

Since being referred to Social Prescribing and, additionally, being connected to Healthwatch Tameside Yasmin has received contact from a Paediatric Dietician, connecting her with the support she had been seeking for months. Yasmin commented to Jyoti “I feel very supported and more confident in what I need to do for my daughter and her diet.” 

Yasmin's 'Wellbeing Scores' (questions we ask at the start and end of a person’s time with the Social Prescribing Team to see if a person’s wellbeing has improved) highlighted that she was feeling happier, more worthwhile, and more satisfied with her life since working with Jyoti. At the start, Yasmin scored herself as '10 - feeling very anxious' but at the point of closing she scored herself as '0 - not anxious at all'!

What is Social Prescribing?

In short, Social Prescribing helps people to make new connections in their community. 

Our Tameside Social Prescribing Team work with people to help them make new connections in their community. We listen to people to find out what's important to them, what changes they would like to make in their lives, and help identify the best ways to achieve those changes. Our Team connect people to what’s available in their local community, including groups, activities, and appropriate services that they're able to easily access and attend independently.

Our aim is to encourage the people we work with to improve and manage their own wellbeing and we work together with people on a 1-2-1 basis, creating goals to get that person to where they want to be.

We are not support workers, our work is non-medical and non-urgent. We work with people that are motivated and ready to engage with us to make positive changes. Social Prescribing is free and we work with people over the telephone, in community spaces, or by visiting them in their homes.

Get in touch

Read about our Tameside Social Prescribing Offer in more detail and how to get involved or make a referral here:

You can also contact our Tameside Social Prescribing Team;
Phone: 0161 830 6833 (Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm) or email:

Young people and volunteering

This World Youth Skills Day we're sharing an insight into the benefits of volunteering for young people.

From enhancing your skills and career prospects to taking an active part in your local community, volunteering is rewarding in so many ways...oh, and did we mention it's fun too? You'll develop lots of new networks and friends!

Definition of Volunteering

'Volunteering is an activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or individuals or groups other than (or additional to) close relatives.'

Benefits of volunteering for young people

  • Volunteering gives young people the opportunity to better understand their community and take an active part in shaping what’s happening locally
  • It enhances skills and career prospects
  • It adds depth to Personal Statements and CVs, helping with experience prior to applying for further education or employment. Did you know? '67% of employers report that entry level candidates who have voluntary experience demonstrate more employability skills'
  • Volunteering is helps to develop new networks and friendships
  • It aids personal development, raises aspirations and promotes personal resilience, increasing self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Volunteering enables young people to feel part of their community, more included and with a stake in wider society

Benefits of volunteering for organisations

  • Young people bring enthusiasm, a fresh outlook and innovative solutions
  • Young people can help voluntary organisations do more by increasing the number of volunteers they have available
  • Young people can raise awareness and champion the work of organisations amongst their peers, teachers, parents and the wider community. Diverse young volunteers can help engage effectively with a diverse community across all ages
  • Young volunteers can support meaningful service improvement by improving communication and contributing young people’s voices and experiences
  • Enlisting volunteers from the youth community helps to create a strong future workforce. Opportunities can be linked to apprenticeships, work placements, training and employment
  • It sends out a positive message about your organisation and can bring positive coverage

Meet Abdulrahman

Abdulrahman Mamman, volunteered for Oldham-based charity Making Space which provides health and social care services for adults with mental health conditions, learning disabilities, dementia and their carers.

Abdulrahman, 17 years of age, decided to volunteer because he is hoping to go to university to study medicine. He wanted to volunteer to experience, learn and analyse if the career of his choice was what he wanted as a lifetime career. He attended an open day at college where he made an appointment with one of our Volunteering Team Project Support Officers.

Abdulrahman was referred to Making Space, where he now volunteers three sessions a week, getting involved in quizzes, music and dance. He volunteers to gain experience in a number of life and transferable skills. The activities delivered are for those individuals suffering from mental illness, dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons disease, where the activities stimulate their mind and body. He volunteers to make a positive impact within the community, especially with older people as they are very isolated and in Abdulrahman’s own words he said: “I really enjoy bringing joy to their lives.”

Volunteering has helped him to feel healthier, physically and mentally. He has learnt lots of new skills, gained confidence, improved understanding of different medical issues and barriers which has opened up other doors for him. He is starting volunteering at Oldham Hospital in the Acute Medical Unit. He added:

“It’s about gaining many skills for myself and making other people happy. Volunteering gave me the ability to try new activities, get active and be more informed. The biggest impact was applying for experience in a hospital, getting an interview and taking up the volunteer role at Oldham Hospital. Once again, through Action Together’s Volunteering Team, I am applying for a third volunteer opportunity working with children and young people so that I have experience in working with a wide spectrum of individuals. I love helping and supporting people from all walks of life and have realised a career in medicine could definitely be for me.” 

What are the volunteering roles available for young people?

In some cases there are certain legal and time limitations/commitments faced by prospective young volunteers. There are however, lots of flexible opportunities which may be a good starting point to find your dream volunteering role. You could consider: 

Events and Fundraising  |  After School Clubs  |  Youth Forums and Discussion Groups  |  Micro Volunteering  |  Churches, Mosques and Faith Groups  |  Sports Clubs  |  Foodbanks  |  Care Homes  |  Youth Clubs  |  Arts, Crafts and Creative Groups  |  Conservation and Gardening  |  Charity Shops  |  Music and Drama  |  Cadets  |  Community Centres  |  Health Awareness 

Where, and how, can you get involved?

If you would like some help finding a volunteer role we'd love to help, just get in touch with our Volunteering Team on: 0161 339 2345 or email:

Here are some additional resources from a variety of organisations which you may find useful to get you started on your journey into volunteering too:

You can also contact National Charities which have specifically designed Youth Programmes, take a look at these suggestions: 

You can also join your local Cadets:


Rochdale Communities Fund Micro Grants | A successful first quarter of investment for 2023

At Action Together we are committed to supporting and empowering our communities. We secure investment that supports local action, removing barriers and helping to get funding to where it is needed most. We believe that investment is at the heart of building fairer, stronger communities. By securing funding for community projects, we can create more opportunities for people to thrive and improve social outcomes.

Collectively we have the power to make things better, addressing the impacts and root causes of poverty and inequalities. Our vision of enabling fair and much needed investment is evident across all our localities in Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside, with hundreds of voluntary and community groups and organisations benefitting each year.

A successful first quarter of investment for 2023

Some of our most thriving funding opportunities are our community-focused funds and we are delighted to report just how successful our Rochdale Communities Fund has been so far this year.

During the first quarter of 2023 our Rochdale Communities Fund Micro Grants have provided funding for 19 unique community projects that are really making a difference to the people of Rochdale Borough. This allocated investment totalled more than £19,000 and has enabled our member organisations to deliver a fantastically diverse range of projects and activities.

From wellbeing and mental health sessions to academic support and food parcels we have been inspired by the many amazing things the micro grants have funded. Here are just a few examples;

Become United
Become United is a charity, led by Black Minority Ethnic (BME) people. They used their grant to deliver a series of 'BAME Women's Wellbeing Sessions' focused on different arts and crafts activities and incorporating various wellbeing practices.

Kirkholt Community Church
Kirkholt Community Church opened their building as a Warm Welcome Space to reduce the effects of social isolation, build friendships and boost mental health and wellbeing. They offer free breakfasts each Tuesday morning and have also have just started up a Men’s Space which runs at the same time as their ‘Welcome Space’ each Tuesday morning from 9am-11:30am with darts, table tennis, cards, dominoes and other games.

Lamet Habayeb Association
Lamet Habayeb Association delivered informal mental health and wellbeing sessions to women from their community to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and the need to seek professional advice. The sessions were needed because of the stigma associated around the issue of mental health in Arabic culture, where women find it difficult to discuss, even with close relatives.

Rochdale Dawah Centre
Rochdale Dawah Centre set up a Homework Club, in partnership with local schools and community groups in Rochdale, for BAME Teens, which aims to provide additional academic support to students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds who are preparing for their exams.

Smallbridge Pantry
Smallbridge Pantry is a food members club, established in 2007 to tackle food poverty, where local people can buy food items at subsidised cost. Their grant has enabled them to purchase and maintain the levels of produce available to their community.

Action Together Grants and Membership Administrator Hayley Tomlinson said:

"I'm so thrilled that this round of funding from 2023 Quarter 1 has benefitted so many wonderful causes. It's great to know that the work we do to secure this investment is directly improving quality of the life for members of our Rochdale community."

More about our Rochdale Communities Fund

Thanks to funding from Rochdale Borough Council Public Health team, Action Together offers micro grants of up to £1,000 to help the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector to support individuals, families and communities in the Rochdale Borough.

As there are limited funds, applications from micro and small groups for these micro grants are prioritised.

To be able to apply, the project must fall within one or more of the following priorities:

Challenging poverty and driving equality 

  • Support people and communities to get back on their feet and take more control over their lives i.e. practical support, advice or peer support 
  • Reduce inequalities and help more people reach their potential 
  • Strengthen community voice and action on the things that matter most to them 

Promoting health and wellbeing  

  • Enabling people and communities to support their social, mental and physical wellbeing  
  • Challenging health inequalities through working with marginalised groups whose needs are not being met by existing services 
  • Build strong relationships in and across communities 

Applications for Rochdale Communities Fund Micro Grants

After a temporary period of paused applications, we are delighted to announce that this Fund will re-open on Monday 3 July 2023.

Who can apply 

Applications are welcomed from voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) groups locally rooted or actively working in the borough of Rochdale; and have a turnover of less than £100,000 are a member of Action Together CIO (membership of Action Together is free, register here: and are formally constituted. If groups are still working towards their constitution, Action Together can offer a micro grant of up to £500.

Make your application for 2023 Quarter 2

Grants of up to £1,000 are available.

For more details, guidance notes and an application form, please visit our website:

Should you need more information, please call: Hayley Tomlinson on 0161 339 2345 or email:

Social Prescribing - working to address loneliness in our communities

Connection Matters. It's what makes us human.

We're proud to support Loneliness Awareness Week from 12-18 June 2023, hosted my Marmalade Trust. It's an opportunity to build our sense of community connection and reduce loneliness. By building our moments of connection, we can help ourselves and others feel less lonely.

Our Social Prescribing work in Tameside and Oldham is a positive force in the battle against loneliness. Our Social Prescribing Teams connect people to tailored activities, services and community groups to improve their health, wellbeing and social connections.

Loneliness and social isolation is the top reason for people referring to our Social Prescribing services. Whether someone is suffering from loneliness and isolation, loss of confidence, anxiety, low mood or many other factors Social Prescribing can be the first step to getting back on the right track, with support from our team. The benefits are limitless, from improved mental and physical health to increased self esteem and much more.

Our team of Social Prescribers and Link Workers are here to work with their clients, helping them to connect to activities and support services in their community, centred around the things that matter to them. We are there for our clients, as an ally, to help them link to potential opportunities, we are not support workers, we allow our clients to take the lead when they are ready to make changes in their life. We work with individuals aged 18+ on a one-to-one basis who are ready to make changes to their lives. Our Social Prescribing is a completely free service for all residents in Oldham and Tameside to access.

The results that Social Prescribing has had on many of the people who have accessed our service speak for themselves and we are really proud. During 2022/2023 our Social Prescribing Teams received a staggering 4,385 referrals.
The feedback from our clients has been impressive too - 49% of Action Together clients experienced a reduction in anxiety since engaging in Social Prescribing.

Here's what our clients have to say about us and our service;

"Bernie really helped me to keep with it, I was in charge but she worked with me."  Social Prescribing Client, JM

"Jyoti really helped me she was great, she encouraged  me to try new things. I didn't know there was so much going on."  Social Prescribing Client, client remained anonymous

"Liz was so helpful and informative, she sent me some information to look at to get me motivated. I now look to the future."  Social Prescribing Client, EW

"I contacted SP to help with my Mental Health. Sue managed to help me get PIP which is notoriously hard to get. She helped me improve my life despite all the issues I have had. I would highly recommend people using this service if they have had any form of distress in their life."  Social Prescribing Client, MW

"Tiffany was very kind to me and sign posted me on all the services that could help me - thank you."  Social Prescribing Client, MD

"Becky was compassionate and extremely knowledgeable."  Social Prescribing Client SB

If you think we can help you make a change to your life and overcome any of these issues, please contact us:

Here are just a few of the stories from our clients during the last twelve months, defining how Social Prescribing has helped them on their journey:

Dean’s Story

“I wanted more to do with my life”

Dean was referred to Social Prescribing by Adult Social Care, to help connect him with activities to fill his time and engage with others. Tiff adopted the conversational approach utilised by the Social Prescribing team, focusing on Dean’s strengths, and getting to the route of what mattered to him. Tiff and Dean had several telephone calls, followed by emails from Tiff with information on support services and community-led activities that matched with what Dean expressed he would like to access, the emails were well received by Dean. In a follow-up call, Dean and Tiff arranged to visit The Anthony Seddon Arts and Crafts group. Tiff met Dean at the facility, initially Dean thought the session would be a perfect match for him, but upon visiting he said to Tiff “I am feeling really lonely.” Although Tiff and Dean had built trust with one and other, this was the first moment that he had spoken to Tiff about the loneliness he was experiencing. Tiff and Dean continued to speak about his loneliness, including how this was impacting his life and the thoughts he had about how he would like to reduce these feelings. Dean expressed that he would like to meet people socially and be in the company of others that he related to, on thought this is where Dean decided that it wasn’t arts and crafts group that he was looking for. Tiff mentioned the ‘Men’s Room’ another initiative delivered at The Anthony Seddon Centre, a place where its attendees can discuss with others what’s on their mind, an informal opportunity, with social interaction as a focus. Dean voiced to Tiff that he wanted to focus on this session and not the arts and crafts route he was first drawn to. Dean was happy to attend this session and independently attended the next session taking place, he now knew the facility and was starting to feel comfortable here. Dean contacted Tiff after his first visit “I enjoyed it and wanted to let you know that I went, and I didn’t let you down and hope I have done you proud.” Tiff celebrated Dean’s achievements, whilst affirming that Dean wouldn’t have been letting her down, as he was there to lead the way, but that she was still proud of the efforts he’d made to attend.

Dean has since attended the session on a couple of occasions and is continuing to work with Tiff, together working on the wellbeing plan they have devised including the goals he has set. Tiff created a supportive environment for Dean, that enabled him to voice his wish to change the focus of the activity that he wanted to attend. Dean who had spoken earlier in his engagement with Tiff about how he lacks confidence, was in charge of his journey with Social Prescribing, Tiff allowed Dean to have an open forum, to voice what he wanted to focus on and the activities that he wanted to take part in.

Tiff reflected on Dean’s progression “I am proud of Dean; he sounds much more upbeat. He was only going out and getting his prescription and now he has made steps to engage with The Anthony Seddon Centre, I am looking forward to seeing him continue to progress and make new connections.”

The Anthony Seddon Centre have since offered additional support to Dean, to help him understand letters he receives, that can be overwhelming for Dean

Mary's Story

“I like the sound of that, it’s lovely to sing with others”

Mary, a 74-year-old, Audenshaw resident was referred into Action Together’ Social Prescribing team, after a visit to Tameside Hospital, for treatment of a fractured wrist. Whilst under their supervision, the team at Tameside Hospital, spoke to Mary about her home life asking her how she coped and what support she had available. Mary told the team that she lived alone and although was very well supported by her daughter who lives nearby, she does get lonely and feels isolated. The team at Tameside Hospital are setup to refer into Action Together’s Social Prescribing offer and recognise the impact that Social Prescribing can have on an individual’s wellbeing, including reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, achieved by the connections it enables people to make. Mary was informed by the team at Tameside Hospital about Social Prescribing and welcomed a referral.

Mary was assigned to Sue, Social Prescribing Officer for Denton, Audenshaw and Droylsden. Sue works with clients that live in specific areas in Tameside, but as with the wider Social Prescribing team has knowledge of community groups and services across the borough. Sue made an initial call to Mary in November 2022, introducing herself and providing detail of the referral that had been made at the hospital, to help Mary connect the referral made by the hospital team and the call that Sue was making. Sue outlined what Social Prescribing was, how she was there to work with Mary, and to find out about what Mary wanted to get from engaging with Social Prescribing. Sue used a conversational approach to gain an understanding of Mary’s life, discovering that Mary did attend local exercise groups previously, but had disengaged over the past couple of years and this had impacted her mobility as she wasn’t as active. In the first telephone call with Sue, Mary said that she had changed her mind about engaging in Social Prescribing and that she is ‘happy with her own company’; Sue respected Mary’s change in thought and asked if it would be okay to send her some information in the post about things happening locally, with Sue offering to call in a few weeks’ time, to see if Mary still felt the same. Mary liked the sound of Sue’s offer and welcomed the letter and follow-up call. Sue identified that Mary travelled around on the tram and sourced information on groups and activities that were on the tram route that Mary used.

As agreed, Sue called Mary to discuss the information sent to her and to see if Mary would like to continue engaging in Social Prescribing. Sue called back the following month and recognised the excitement in Mary’s voice when she spoke about the information she had received. Mary was most enthusiastic about the singing group at The Anthony Seddon Centre, in Ashton ‘I love music, I like the sound of that, it’s lovely to sing with other people.’ Mary wasn’t sure on the location of the centre, recognising this Sue offered to visit the session with Mary, and they are planning a visit in the New Year to help connect Mary with the singing group. Sue gave Mary time, space, and information of local opportunities, which in time enabled Mary to go from being reluctant to engage with Social Prescribing to very motivated and keen to engage in the activities that Sue had provided the information for. Mary and Sue will continue to work together in the coming weeks, to assist Mary in making connections in her community that will help her to alleviate the feelings of isolation and loneliness that she has been experiencing.

Volunteer Celebration Fund | Our success stories from 2022

As part of this years’ Volunteers’ Week celebrations, we launched our ever popular Action Together Volunteer Celebration Fund for 2023. 

The fund invites VCFSE groups from Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside to apply for a grant of up to £500 to host an event or activity to celebrate and say thanks to their volunteers. It really is the perfect opportunity for your organisation to honour every one of your volunteers, celebrate their achievements and their fantastic contributions that make a difference within our communities.

We’re sure you have heaps of wonderful ideas and plans already but if you needed any inspiration, just take a look at these amazing activities that our members were able to deliver using grants from our Volunteer Celebration Fund during 2022.

Cycling Imaam Club

The Oldham-based Cycling Imaam Club encourages members of the local community to be healthy by cycling and hiking and promotes good physical and mental health to its members. 

In September 2022 they hosted a ‘Chaii and Chat’ Volunteer Recognition Evening which was a huge success, with their volunteers saying they were delighted that their efforts had been appreciated and noticed.

Leader, Atiq Rahman, said,

“The event increased our bond and also gave us the motivation to continue with our aims. The winter season is a challenging period for communities to stay active. We hope to motivate and inspire people to continue to stay fit.”


The Oldham Band Lees

The Oldham Band Lees used their grant to celebrate all their volunteers by presenting them with a cup and a certificate, thanking them for their support during their impressive journey to The National Finals at The Royal Albert Hall in 2022.

Outta Skool

Outta Skool is a community organisation based in Oldham which has been providing sports and health programmes for adults and children for more than 10 years.

Thanking their volunteers in December 2022 the group held, what they described as, their ‘biggest annual celebration yet’. We caught up with Founder, Moinul Islam, and he told us;

“We usually celebrate just 2-3 volunteers each year but with this funding we were able to dedicate a segment of our Awards Evening to the importance of volunteers and award every single volunteer, regardless of how much contribution they made. The funding put a smile on 18 people’s faces and we have no doubt that they will continue to volunteer. Since the event we have had more young people and adults approach us for volunteering opportunities.

This project highlighted the important roles that volunteers play within our organisation. By the end of the event the audience of 220 people understood exactly how we manage to offer our services for free, or a nominal fee. We were able to make every single volunteer feel special.”


Fatima Women’s Association

Back in September 2022 and partly thanks to the grant they received from our Volunteer Celebration Fund, Fatima Women’s Association honoured their volunteers with a Celebration Meal at a local restaurant.

During the evening, they conducted a presentation and talked about the remarkable success of Fatima Women’s Association for over 31 years, sharing past and present stories. Twenty-four volunteers benefitted from the celebrations and shared their feedback with us. Here are just a few of the volunteer comments…

“Our celebration events are always very special. FWA values every individual.”

“In our centre we understand the value of living in a multi-cultural, diverse society where every individual is valued and respected.”

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice

Action Together member Dr Kershaw’s Hospice used their grant to hold a wonderful Volunteer Celebration Evening in December 2022 at North Chadderton Bowling and Social Club.

Their volunteers had a great time and commented;

“The Christmas volunteer social was so thoughtful and very much appreciated. The volunteers support such a range of areas at Dr Kershaw’s and this was my first opportunity to meet with other volunteers - it was amazing to see so many people having such a lovely time. Everyone I met and had opportunity to talk with thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the event. Thanks to Leanne and Nicky for the wonderful organisation and looking after the volunteer team so well.”

Reel CIC

Reel CIC (REAL EDUCATION EMPOWERING LIVES) hosted a Volunteer’s Tea Party to thank and celebrate their volunteers and received glowing feedback which confirmed their event had been hugely successful, not only in honouring their contributions but making them feel valued and giving them the chance to meet other volunteers and share experiences.

“A couple of hours just dedicated to recognising the work that we do was lovely. The food was delicious but then to be handed a bag of gifts was surprising and greatly received! I’m very proud to be part of the team.”

Volunteer Celebration Fund 2023 Information

For more information on this years’ Volunteer Celebration Fund see our website: or contact our Funding Team on: 0161 339 2345 or email:

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 31 July 2023. However, applications to this fund may be closed before that date if all available funds have been allocated. Any funds awarded must be spent by 31 December 2023.

Volunteer Voices, Meet Ben

Volunteer, Ben

Ben was referred to our Volunteer Service via our Social Prescribing service. Ben is Autistic so we wanted to ensure that he would be placed in a supportive environment where he would be encouraged to do well.

Ben often struggles with fear of the unknown and would often talk himself out of doing things if he had too much time to think about it. He depended heavily on his parents and consequently became isolated, rarely leaving the house without them. We worked with Ben’s social prescriber and his family to find roles that suited his interests.

“I want to thank you for getting in touch with us about volunteering opportunities. On Saturday he volunteered at Ashton United - he absolutely loved it. I’ve never seen him so happy before about anything. He came back soaking wet, but he didn't even bother and Ben hates getting wet! He can't wait for Tuesday night when he is helping again. Ben has always wanted to do something worthwhile and now he is, he is very happy”

(Ben’s Mum)

Volunteer Voices, Meet Ron

Action Together Ambassador, Ron Smith

Ron began volunteering with Action Together during the coronavirus pandemic in May 2021, saying “I want to just help out and have something to do”.

Ron was willing to get involved to help the community get vaccinated and decided to help out at local Vaccination Clinics across Oldham as a Vaccination Guidance and Support Volunteer.

Ron was that friendly face when people dropped in for their vaccines. He kept the queue in order, checked people were eligible for a vaccination and referred any medical queries to the Clinical Team. Ron volunteered very closely with the Clinical Team, always checking for procedure changes, how many vaccines they could give that day and always followed the Government guidance at all times.  

He was always there to reassure people and share his experience and stories. This helped people feel more comfortable and welcome at the clinic. One member of the public said, “You are all true heroes, thank you!”

During his time with Action Together Ron has now been promoted to Volunteer Ambassador. He chose to take on more responsibility and had gone on to manage the volunteers, including welcoming and training new volunteers.

If you are considering volunteering Ron says;

"Give it a go! You are always supported and you're never left on your own. Through volunteering I’ve enjoyed meeting new people, getting out and about and learning more about Coronavirus and the procedures around it.”

Since volunteering Ron is more aware of what is available to do in his local community. He recently volunteered at a local fun day to promote the benefits of volunteering.

Ron has now joined the team at a local Volunteer Hub. He is there to share his knowledge and skills within the local community of Oldham. Why not visit to speak to Ron and the team about volunteering opportunities available to you?

Volunteer Voices, Meet Precious

Community Hub Host Volunteer, Tania Miguel (Precious)

Precious began volunteering with Action Together in 2022 as a Community Hub Host. Precious commits to three hours each Tuesday at Oldham Library.

Here’s what Precious had to say about her experience as a volunteer...

“I help in setting up the stall to elevate the visual appearance to the general public about Action Together and Volunteering. I support customers' needs and attempt to achieve their requests and carry it out to my best ability. My biggest achievement during my volunteering is knowing the value of the organisation and knowing what to prioritise. In Action Together, it’s listening to the customers’ story and providing them with the correct service and signposting. Furthermore, helping various people from different backgrounds makes me glad to know I have contributed to meeting their needs."

"Since volunteering my confidence has really been boosted. Confidence was something that I, as an individual, struggled with. During my volunteering with Action Together my confidence has increased, for example, when customers approach our stall, I’m able to reveal to them what we do and I’m not afraid to speak up or contribute in certain conversations. Even having a conversation with a staff member from Action Together supported me to be more outspoken. I need to begin believing in myself so that I can start carrying out certain tasks without always being fearful. You need commitment and dedication in getting the work done and having a positive appearance. I am happy, content and feel sentimental when we manage to accomplish our goals and help a customer. This may advance them, and me, to wider opportunities in the future. As far as volunteering is concerned, if I can do it so can you...”

Precious is attending college and studying Business Studies. She hopes to go to University and finally onto her long term goal of starting her own business.

Volunteer Voices, Meet Helen

Community Response Volunteer, Helen Hopkins

Helen Hopkins was a Community Response Volunteer (CRV) for Action Together. A Community Response Volunteer supports the local community when facing crisis or in need of emergency support.

"I volunteered with the purpose of gaining work experience. I was hungry to be out of the house and doing something in my community. The Food Bank and the volunteers had to cope with me whilst I was studying through exams and assessments. They helped me to keep calm prior to an exam or an assessment, as I find exams and assessments that are timed a little stressful. Volunteering helped to distract me from my studies which, with doing a Medical Administration Diploma, was at times stressful. One of the volunteers, who was a teacher, gave me tasks I could practice in preparation for a proofreading task I had to do as part of one of the assessments. The other volunteers at the Food Bank also helped me through the challenges I was facing, during the pandemic and especially throughout the third lockdown. It was wonderful to be able to help people and be out of the house. It was a good feeling to be described as a Social Care Worker when it felt like all I was doing was doing was packing bags of food for people in need."

"Volunteering with Action Together at the Vaccination Clinics, especially at the OBA Vaccination Clinic, second-dose Pfizer in April, has indirectly got me a job. It enabled me to be accepted at the interview stage for the NHS work-based academy, that was in partnership with The Manchester College. I know for the intake of the NHS work based academy that I was part of over 100 who attended interview. Out of the 100 who were accepted and had passed the Maths and English assessments, 27-28 people got to the stage of doing the Health and Social Care course which was classroom based and the qualification attached to the NHS work based academy programme, which was also in preparation for the work placement. At interview I was able to give real exapmles from my time at the Vaccination Clinic, last April. This led to the pre-employment coordinator at MFT Manchester Foundation Trust, allocating me a work placement in the Eye Hospital of Manchester Royal Infirmary. After just 20 days of placement at the Eye Hospital they decided they liked me and are willing to train me up more, but this time on the bank and in a paid capacity."

"My desire is that people should view volunteering, especially those that are not working, to see volunteering as part of looking for work. Volunteering is more than work preparation. It gives people examples that they can use in application forms and most importantly at interview. Just job searching and looking for work does not give those examples. The value of volunteering is very much and sadly underrated. Every hour doing volunteering will, for that alone, have been worthwhile! Thank you for the experiences.

Volunteer Voices, Meet Connor

Community Response Volunteer, Connor Ross

Connor volunteered with Action Together back in 2017 as an Admin Assistant and he completed over 270 hours of volunteering! Since then, he has been to Oldham College and then University to study accountancy.

Connor was a committed volunteer with Dr Kershaw’s Hospice supporting their finance team. He recently  reconnected with Action Together and found out that the vaccination clinic was in need of volunteers to cover a shift so Connor decided to volunteer his time to gain a different experience. He committed to a seven hour shift on a Sunday!

Here’s what Connor had to say about his experience as a volunteer... 

"I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at the Vaccination Clinic for Action Together as it gave me the chance to increase my confidence when talking to people and helped me to improve on my communication skills. It also allowed me to experience a different cultural side to Oldham as I had never been to a mosque previously. The free food was a bonus!"
In September 2022 Connor sent us an update to say he had recently graduated from University and left with a degree! Since leaving University Connor has carried on volunteering with Dr Kershaw’s Hospice once a week and went on to receive support from the Job Centre to help him find work relating to his experience and skills. A few weeks into his search and filling in applications Connor was successful!

Connor had never had a formal interview before and volunteering gave him the experience that he needed. During his interviews, he could share his recent experience and the impact volunteering has made to his life. Not only has it filled his time, he has gained so much from it including helping him to become 'work ready'. He has obtained experience within an office environment and experienced what its like to be in a team. It has helped him gain a routine, improve his confidence and much, much more.

Connor’s experience with Dr Kershaw’s Hospice was great. Unfortunately, Connor had to leave due to his successful full time employment however, he is still in touch with the team and when he has a little time he may even consider volunteering again. All the best from the team at Action Together Connor, you are a true inspiration!




Volunteer Voices, Meet Sarinah

Administration and Event Volunteer, Sarinah Khaliq

Sarinah took on a volunteer role, volunteering from home to support Action Together with their administration tasks during hybrid working. 

"I volunteered with the purpose of gaining work experience and helping Action Together with their administration tasks. I was able to step forward and do my bit. I was amazed about all the different aspects of a volunteer support officer’s job role. I felt volunteering would be good to gain experience, confidence and self esteem. I started helping out by entering details on CiviCRM and then moved onto researching Action Together website so that I could pass on the knowledge I had gained to my fellow sixth formers and the wider community. The impact the Volunteer Centre makes to people’s lives is truly inspirational. It’s so meaningful and they do change people’s lives."

"My experience of being a volunteer with Action Together has been a positive one. It has provided me with some structure, kept my administration skills up to date and allowed me to maintain connections with people. The thought that I am hopefully giving back and being useful in a small way. I am truly impressed with how inclusive the team is through engaging with volunteers, supporting them and promoting volunteer opportunities.

Currently I am an Event Volunteer and am called upon when the Oldham Volunteer Centre at Action Together takes part in open days, fun days, presentations and general outreach in the community. This works perfect around my current sixth form priorities and I can be flexible with the event volunteering.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to volunteer."

Quiser's Social Prescribing Story

In the past year our Tameside Social Prescribing team have connected 190 people with activities at The Anthony Seddon Centre in Ashton, from mental health support to guitar lessons and mindfulness meditation.

Jyoti is our Social Prescribing Officer for Ashton, and met Quiser at The Anthony Seddon Centre. This is Quiser's Social Prescribing story.

Quiser found Action Together’s Social Prescribing service through information provided at The Anthony Seddon Centre in Ashton.

Jyoti is the Social Prescribing Officer for Ashton and runs a drop-in session every week at The Anthony Seddon Centre. The drop-ins are a chance to ask questions about Social Prescribing, find out more about what activities are happening in the community, and make a referral into Social Prescribing.

Quiser met Jyoti at a drop-in session and was able to ask about the connections he could make, and how engaging with the service could help support his health and wellbeing.

Jyoti completed a referral with Quiser, with a follow-up face-to-face appointment scheduled for the following week and a texted reminder of the date.

Meeting Social Prescribing clients and people interested in the service in community venues means people can be in familiar and comfortable surroundings to discuss their health, and Jyoti spoke privately with Quiser about what he would like to get from Social Prescribing. 

Quiser was looking for cooking groups in his area, and find out about ways to improve his health and wellbeing.

Following the discussion, Quiser and Jyoti set goals together. Firstly, for Quiser to contact his GP for medical advice on his health. Jyoti worked with Quiser to help him prepare for this telephone call, noting questions that he could ask that would help him get the information he needs.

"In the past I have not felt confident talking to my GP, buy Jyoti helped me to prepare. I made a note of the questions to ask, and this really helped."

Secondly, Jyoti provided Quiser with the detail of local groups across Tameside that deliver cooking sessions. Quiser loved the sound of the cooking course at New Life Church in Ashton. Jyoti contacted New Life Church with Quiser’s consent and found out more about the course, passing this on to Quiser who then signed up for the course.

"Jyoti gave me the details for local cooking sessions near where I live, and she gave me the confidence to sign up right away."

Action Together’s Social Prescribing team centre their work on what matters to their clients. Jyoti introduced Quiser to activities not only in Ashton, but across the borough too, including Café Pop in Hyde.

"Since working with the Social Prescribing team, I have achieved both of the goals I set with Jyoti.

I have been able to speak to my GP more confidently and I am looking forward to starting the cooking sessions at New Life Church.

I am glad that I attended the drop-in and got to work with Jyoti, as it's helped me to open up my world."

Jyoti is based at The Anthony Seddon Centre, OL6 6AQ, every Friday from 10am to 12pm. Drop in to speak to Jyoti about what's happening in Tameside and how to access Social Prescribing. Action Together's Community Team are also there to discuss volunteering, funding for your ideas and making connections in the community.

“I have had positive feedback from our members who have said that Jyoti has provided them with really good support from the drop-ins and one to one casework.

I am now actively promoting Jyoti’s drop-ins here.” - Ann, The Anthony Seddon Centre

You can make a referral to Social Prescribing:

Find out more at

Sally's Social Prescribing Story

Thursday 9 March is Social Prescribing Day, an annual celebration of Social Prescribing, recognising link workers, local community groups and regional and national organisations which support people’s health and wellbeing.

Action Together hosts Social Prescribing services in Oldham and Tameside. We support residents in both boroughs to improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them with community activities, voluntary groups, and support services. Sally* was referred to our service because of health challenges linked to her housing situation. This is her story.


Sally is 65 years old and lived alone. She was referred to Social Prescribing by her Housing Officer as she was feeling very lonely and isolated. She was suffering with low mood and suicidal thoughts, and had been put in touch with Social Prescribing for social activities in Oldham.

Sally’s only daughter lived in Rossendale, and she wanted to move closer to be nearer to her family. However, she had been told she didn’t have a housing need and would be on the waiting list for approximately five years.

Social Prescribing Link Workers work with people to find out more about their challenges, interests and what they want to achieve. They offer practical, social and emotional support to people, listening to their needs before connecting them with local community and voluntary groups offering a range of activities and services.

 A Social Prescribing Link Worker chatted with Sally to find out more about her. Sally said she was feeling really low and felt like there was no solution for her. Although she had been referred for social activities, through discussion with her Link Worker Sally shared that what really mattered to her was to be near her daughter. Sally also shared that her dog had passed away six weeks earlier, and she felt like she couldn’t face day-to-day life anymore on her own.

Despite the circumstances being different to the original referral, her Link Worker adapted to what Sally needed and helped Sally address the root cause of her health challenges.

The Link Worker agreed a course of action with Sally, and spoke with her housing provider to find out if they had any vacant properties in the Rossendale area.

Sally and the provider found accommodation in Rossendale and the Link Worker supported Sally to apply for property. The application was successful, and the Link Worker then helped Sally find a removal company.

Within a few months Sally had moved into her new property near to her daughter. The new accommodation also has on-site social activities - the original prompt for the Social Prescribing referral - through which Sally made new friends.

Sally said,

"You saved my life! When I was told it would be five years on the waiting list to move near my daughter I had given up.

"I cant thank you enough, you don’t know how much you have helped me. I’ve already met my new neighbour who is lovely! 

"My new property is less than a mile from my daughter and it's changed my life and given me a reason to live.

"It’s the best thing that has happened to me and I would never look back - thank you."

There are a number of ways to access Social Prescribing in Oldham:

*Name changed

Ben's Social Prescribing Story

Action Together's Volunteering and Social Prescribing services work closely together, meaning we can support people to quickly find community groups and voluntary organisations that match their interests.

Ben was referred to our Social Prescribing service through his GP, which led to him embarking on a volunteer journey. This is Ben's story:

Ben is a young man with autism who had become very isolated. As this isolation was having a negative impact on his mental health, Ben and his mum had spoken to a nurse in the GP practice who had recommended Social Prescribing.

After Ben and his family moved to Tameside, the referral was sent to Action Together and Ben began working with Sue, one of our Social Prescribing Officers.

As Ben struggles to communicate with strangers, he had given permission for his mum, Karen, to speak on his behalf. Ben spent most of his time in the family home. He liked to go out walking alone but only when the weather was nice.

Karen identified that Ben would like:

  • Primarily to build up his self-esteem and confidence
  • To volunteer. He had volunteered in the past, but in roles that did not hold his interest
  • Ben enjoys watching sport and would like to be involved in football of some kind
  • Prior to the pandemic, Ben had attended the Gateway social club and would be interested in anything similar

Sue reflected on what Ben would like to achieve, so her aims were to give Ben some purposeful activity, some structure to his week, and to increase his social contacts, confidence levels and self-esteem.

Sue had to make sure that whatever she did was absolutely right for Ben from the start so that we did not risk further reducing his self confidence and thereby his willingness to engage with Social Prescribing. That meant doing research and liaising closely with mum Karen and any relevant organisations.

Sue went through a number of steps:

  • A referral to Lisa, Action Together's Volunteering Support Officer for Tameside, who discussed options for volunteering opportunities that matched Ben’s interests. Lisa then contacted the organisations identified, to make the initial introductions and to arrange for Ben and his mum to visit
  • Contacting all the local disability football teams to find out if they were operating after the covid restrictions and ascertain if they were suitable for Ben’s needs. We passed this information onto mum Karen
  • Researching local disability social groups. After contacting Karen with the information, we identified a new group that Ben was interested in and contacted the organiser

Ben loved the opportunities presented to him and started to volunteer almost immediately. This success has helped build confidence not only for Ben, but also in the process, so that he is more likely to engage in further opportunities.

Our Volunteer Officer Lisa told us about Ben's journey with volunteering and Social Prescribing:

Ben was referred to me via Social Prescribing. I was told that he was a very capable young man that has Autism. He wanted to get involved in some volunteering so that he could build his confidence and to gain some independence. I worked with Social Prescriber Sue and Ben’s mum to think about volunteer opportunities that would suit Ben’s interests. We discussed his options so that we wouldn’t overwhelm him with choice. Ben struggles with fear of the unknown and would likely talk himself out of doing things. We decided on a variety of opportunities that would give Ben something to look forward to each week and would also get him outdoors, active, meeting people and building his confidence.

The first volunteer role was with Ashton United in the Community. Andy from AUITC contacted Ben’s mum the same day I referred him and he started volunteering the very next day. This was a great outcome! I checked in with Ben to see how his first day of volunteering went. He was supporting AUITC with grounds maintenance and gardening, and his first day ended up being a wet one. It rained heavily that day but that didn’t stop Ben. He came away soaked to the bone but very happy with what he had achieved. Moving forward Ben will be part of the Ashton United in the Community gardening club. He has also recently started volunteering at their community pantry, putting together food parcels.

The second charity Ben chose to volunteer with is The Bread and Butter Thing. This role involves working with a team of people to unload The Bread and Butter Thing Van. All of the food is sorted in to categories in a big room and then it is divided in to carrier bags for local people to come and collect. Ben has done really well in this role. He got stuck right in and has been a valuable member of the team at St Martin’s Church. I went along one week to see how he was getting involved. The beaming smile on his face told me everything I needed to know. He was loving it!

Ben's mum Karen shared this feedback:

Firstly Action Together are wonderful, it is such a good organisation. You have helped Ben enormously, as without this Ben would still be struggling. As you know we moved house and area recently and where we lived before did nothing for Ben. Since moving Ben has come on with his social skills and meeting new people, which he struggled with before. Sue you have been brilliant, without you and Lisa Ben would be doing nothing with his life. There are so many opportunities for him within Action Together. He really enjoys working at The Bread and Butter Thing and helping the people who use this service.

Thank you once again for everything you have done for Ben and myself.

Well done Ben and thank you for volunteering!

Action Together host Social Prescribing services in Oldham and Tameside. Visit these pages to find out more:

To find out more about volunteering in your area visit our Volunteering page.

What Matters To Me - Audrey's Social Prescribing Story

Social Prescribing connects people to opportunities and support in the local community. We work with our clients on a 1-2-1 basis for a period up to 24-weeks, and we provide people with time and space to work on ‘what matters to me’.

The people who use the Social Prescribing service often face various challenges, and our Social Prescribing teams aim to help people address these challenges to improve their health and wellbeing. This is Audrey's story.

Audrey was referred into Social Prescribing for bereavement support, and for the isolation and loneliness she was experiencing. Audrey was assigned to Becky, one of our Tameside Social Prescribing Officers.

In a telephone call Audrey and Becky discussed accessing social groups, but Audrey declined due to her health conditions. She told Becky that she has regular calls from family and neighbours, and she was very grateful about staying connected with the people she was closest to.

Becky spent time speaking to and getting to know Audrey, who revealed that her main challenges were transport and finances. Audrey was unable to use public transport and relied on taxis to visit her family, but she was struggling to manage the cost. In a telephone call Becky asked Audrey what matters to her and what she felt would help her wellbeing. Audrey replied, "I know that just being able to see my family will improve my wellbeing". However, Audrey had recently had to cut down on visiting her family due to the cost of transport, and had to make the choice to spend money on food and bills instead.

Audrey had lots of support from her granddaughter, but her granddaughter is also a carer for her mum, and Audrey shared that she didn't want to be a burden to her family.

Our approach to Social Prescribing is to work with people on 'what matters to me', and Becky embodied this principle while working with Audrey.

After assessing the importance of Audrey staying connected to her family, and the barrier to doing this in the cost of transport, Becky connected Audrey to Transport for Greater Manchester’s taxi voucher scheme. She also put Audrey in touch with Action Together’s Miles of Smiles community transport service, which helps people who have difficulty using public transport to attend health appointments. The scheme is unique in Tameside as it provides a door-to-door service, ensuring that passengers arrive on time with minimum difficulty.

Becky sourced information on support available in Audrey’s community that would help to reduce the cost of travel, allowing Audrey to see her family more, which meant so much to Audrey. Audrey thanked Becky and shared this about her Social Prescribing experience:

"You have honestly been so helpful! This is going to help me so much and I know I’ll feel better if I get to see my family and not have to worry about the cost of transport."

Audrey only needed one telephone appointment with Becky, but following this single appointment was connected to Transport for Greater Manchester and Miles of Smiles. Becky also provided the information to Audrey in a letter with further detail on the two schemes, alongside a variety of social activities and Becky’s contact details should Audrey wish to receive additional information in the future.

Action Together deliver free Social Prescribing services in Oldham and Tameside. From a one-off appointment to a 24-week programme of support, our teams aim to help people to improve their health and wellbeing by focusing on 'what matters to me'. Find out more:

Oldham Social Prescribing


Phone: 0161 339 2345, then Option 1 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm)


Tameside Social Prescribing


Phone: 0161 830 6833 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm)


Emmett's Social Prescribing Story

Action Together deliver Social Prescribing services in Oldham and Tameside. Not everyone referred to Social Prescribing is suitable for the service, but our teams' connections and knowledge mean we can still help in getting people support. This is Emmet's story.

Emmett made a self-referral into Social Prescribing in June 2022, having found out about Action Together’s service at his accommodation, and referring himself to get help with a housing issue. Prior to assigning Emmett to a member of the Social Prescribing team, Social Prescribing Administrator Natalie contacted Emmett for further information on his circumstances, to identify if Social Prescribing was best suited to work with him.

Natalie identified that Emmett was already under Tameside Housing Services, who we work alongside for housing issues in Tameside, and that he had a case worker. Emmett informed Natalie that he had been threatened by another resident, which he had reported to the police and his case worker at Tameside Housing. In line with Tameside Housing's policies, the perpetrator was banned from the accommodation and Emmett was supported by his case worker who provided him with a range of support options. However due to the distress caused by the experience Emmett made the difficult decision to sleep on the streets.

Recognising the difficulty that Emmett was in, Natalie contacted a range of services and voluntary and community groups to help Emmett make connections for further support. We made contact with The Salvation Army, Greystones, and New Life Church (Ashton).

Natalie also utilised the wider Action Together team including our Ashton Primary Care Network Link Worker Tiff, who provided detail of a range of safe places for food and support. Chris, our Community Development Officer for Denton, provided guidance on local homelessness projects, and Sue, our Partnerships Officer, signposted Natalie to Emmaus Mossley. Natalie maintained regular contact with Emmett, updating him with new information by telephone and email.

Throughout, Emmett was listened to and kept at the centre of the conversation. Natalie recommended that Emmett speak to his duty worker at Tameside Housing again, which he did. Natalie followed up with Emmett after he spoke to his duty worker and he said he was "feeling more positive" about his situation. After putting Emmett in contact with local support to help him with his housing issue and providing information on a range of other services and community opportunities alongside support from Tameside Housing, with Emmett's agreement his Social Prescribing case was closed as he felt he had the right support in place.

Natalie assured Emmett that he was welcome to connect with the Social Prescribing team in the future, and Emmett was appreciative of Natalie’s time and the information she provided on the various lines of support in his area.

Natalie contacted several services and community groups, who were all very helpful and quick to respond to any questions we had. Although Emmett’s referral was not assigned to one of our Social Prescribers, he was provided with time and space to share his circumstances and an understanding of his situation. With the compassion and support provided by Natalie he was encouraged to utilise the support on offer from Tameside Housing along with local services and charities, and was left feeling much better about his situation.

Natalie spent over ten hours in contact with Emmett and the identified services and groups, in one example of how our Social Prescribing team will work with people to connect them to the right support, even when Social Prescribing may not be the most suitable avenue for that person.

You can make a referral to our Oldham Social Prescribing service and Tameside Social Prescribing service on our website.

Advice on homelessness and housing can be found on Tameside Council's website.

"Go on, give volunteering a go!"

Craig was an Emergency Response Volunteer, or ERV, in Oldham. An Emergency Response Volunteer supports the local community when facing crisis or in need of emergency support.

Craig volunteered each Sunday at the European Islamic Centre as a Vaccination Volunteer. He spoke to us about his experiences volunteering:

"Before the pandemic I had never heard of Action Together or ever thought of becoming a volunteer. In the pandemic I needed to get out of the house to help with my mental health and give something back to the community. The NHS was struggling which spurred me on to volunteer. As long as I was following all the Government Covid-19 guidelines I would be fine. I would say Covid-19 had a positive impact in my volunteer journey as it empowered me to become a volunteer.

"My duties were supervising the front desk, making sure people had sanitised their hands and replaced their face masks.

"Volunteering has given my self esteem a boost and built my confidence. A member of the public, during my shift, told me I was "a hidden hero" for using my own time to give back to the Oldham community. I am proud and happy that I was able to make a positive contribution during a very tough time.

"As a result of volunteering I have developed new interests, as I now enjoy meeting new people and assisting them. I would say to anyone who has got time on their hands to stay positive and give it a go. The worst that can happen is that you don’t like it, but there are always opportunities to move onto other volunteer roles through the Volunteering team at Action Together. It was a brilliant experience. I was very well looked after, in touch with very friendly staff and never felt pressured. Go on, give volunteering a go!"

Find volunteering roles near you on our online Volunteer Directory.

“You are all true heroes, thank you!”

 If you've had your Covid-19 vaccination, you might have come into contact with the volunteers performing important duties supporting vaccination centres. Action Together worked with vaccination centres throughout the pandemic, and Ron is one of our volunteers who worked at a centre in Oldham.

Ron "wanted to just help out and have something to do”, so started volunteering with Action Together during the Covid pandemic in May 2021.

Ron wanted to get involved to help members of the community get vaccinated. He decided to help out at local vaccination clinics across Oldham as a Vaccination Guidance and Support Volunteer.

Ron was that friendly face when people dropped in for their vaccines. He kept the queue in order, checked people were eligible for a vaccination, and referred any medical queries to the clinical team. Ron volunteered very closely with the clinic team - he always checked for procedure changes, how many vaccines they could give that day, and always followed the Goverment's guidance at all times.  

He was always there to reassure people, and share his experience and stories. This helped people feel more comfortable and welcome at the clinic. One person shared the sentiment of many when they said, “you are all true heroes, thank you!”

His first volunteer role led Ron to became an Action Together Volunteer Ambassador. He chose to take on more responsibilty, and went on to manage other volunteers, including welcoming and training new volunteers.

If you're considering volunteering, Ron says, “Give it a go! You are always supported and you're never left on your own. Through volunteering I’ve enjoyed meeting new people, getting out and about and learning more about the coronavirus and the procedures.”

Since volunteering he is more aware of what is available to do in his local community. He recently volunteered with Action Together at a local fun day to promote the benefits of volunteering.

Ron will be joining our Volunteering team at a local Volunteer Hub, where you can drop in and speak to us about volunteering opportunities. He will be there to share his knowledge and skills with the local community of Oldham.

Speak to the team to meet Ron and get some inspiration to follow his journey to become a volunteer: email or call 0161 339 2345.

Volunteering with Oldham Children’s Centres

At Action Together we support voluntary organisations, community groups, and local services in recruiting and retaining volunteers. We spoke to Alison Pywell, Volunteer Coordinator for Oldham Children's Centres, to find out more about what volunteering with them involves. Find opportunities for Oldham Children's Centres here on our website.

“We have a variety of volunteering opportunities available across all 16 of our Children Centres, such as Receptionist, Stay and Play, Right Start and School Nursing Service, Oral Health, Healthy Walks / Pram Walks, Community events volunteer, and so on.

"Volunteers play an integral part of the service and are involved in a wide range of important and rewarding roles. There is no better feeling than to watch a volunteer gain confidence, self-esteem, learn new skills, increase their personal development or see a volunteer move on to paid employment or back into education.

"Our experience with the Volunteering team at Action Together has been excellent. They are always on hand to support or answer questions if needed, and can’t be more helpful to the organisations and individuals they support. They're 100% professional, a friendly and very knowledgeable organisation and staff.

"Volunteers are a great asset to our teams and enhance the fantastic work the practitioners are delivering. We regularly reflect and evaluate the role of a volunteer and will change to meet the needs of the volunteer / service if required.

“Volunteering - do it, it can change your life!”

Of their recent volunteers, 18 have gone into employment and five have secured places at university, including four volunteers who built on their experience to study nursing and midwifery.

There are a number of roles available with Right Start, School Nursing Service and Oldham Children’s Centres:

  • Welcoming parents, children and visitors to the centre.
  • Answering phone, making calls, responding sensitively and professionally to enquires and providing information, e.g. times of activities, such as groups and baby weigh clinics.
  • Undertaking general office tasks e.g. Talk To Us Forms.
  • Collect red health books and placing in time order to support the Health Visitors to run their clinics smoothly.
  • Data inputting (dependant on role).
  • Assisting in creating leaflets/posters and updating display boards.
  • Assisting the team in the planning, preparation and delivery of Right Start interventions and universal groups. (Babbling Babies, Stay & Play and Baby Weigh & Play).
  • Actively encouraging parents/carers to participate in play activities with their children.
  • Our experience with the volunteer centre based at Action Together, Oldham has been excellent, always on hand to support or answer questions if needed, can’t be more helpful to the organisations / individuals they support.  100% professional, friendly and very knowledgeable organisation and staff.
  • Assisting the team to evaluate sessions.
  • Building positive relationships with families.
  • Assisting parents to attend Right Start services and other relevant appointments.
  • Assist volunteer coordinator in attending community events across Oldham.
  • Assisting the Right Start team in the completion of questionnaires with families/clients.
  • Face to face contact with families/clients to discuss change to services and collect and record feedback.
  • Making phone calls/sending text messages to families/clients about proposed changes to services and record feedback.
  • Support the SEND Team to contact families who have accessed their service.
  • Assisting the School Nursing team in the planning, preparation and delivery of school based activities such as the National Child Measurement Programme or school based immunisation programme.
  • Assist the School Nursing team with administrative duties including: preparing NCMP packs and photocopying.

Visit Action Together's Volunteering page to find local volunteering roles that match your interest, skills, or area you'd like to develop.

Celebrating 200 applications to the Rochdale Respond, Repair and Recover Fund

We're delighted to announce we have now received 200 applications for our Rochdale Respond Repair and Recover fund since launching in March 2021! That includes a massive 29 applications in March 2022 alone.

The fund aims to support voluntary and community organisations to build back from the impacts of the Covid pandemic. We've been lucky to see so much great work happening across the Borough, and to be part of making it possible is absolutely brilliant.

The majority of applications we have received have been heavily focused around food support, which is unfortunately no surprise. This may be partly as a result of the increased cost of living, increases in fuel prices, and cutbacks to universal credit. Applications for food projects have been closely followed by projects to support healthy activity, practical support and help in the community, and emotional wellbeing, support and therapeutic projects.

The fund is open for applications, and we want to work with even more organisations across Rochdale Borough! Grants of up to £200 are available for individuals with a great community idea, or up to £5,000 for groups and organisations from the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise sector. We aim to make funding decisions within four weeks of your application.

Some of the groups we've funded

Army of Kindness have provided a lot of support around food, with weekly hot meals to the homeless and vulnerable. They have relied on volunteers and donations to provide dry and cooked meals to up to 100 people per week.

The Respond, Repair, and Recover funding is supporting Army of Kindness in buying food, ingredients, and managing food delivery across the borough. They are tackling food poverty and mental health challenges, and have developed their volunteers to identify any safeguarding issues with the people they support. As well as the food, it's an opportunity to spend quality time with people who may be isolated, listen to how their week has been, and offer a sense of belonging and connection. Army of Kindness also often support the carers of their beneficiaries with hot meals.

All applicants to the Respond, Repair, Recover fund are connected with Action Together's local thematic networks, such as our Food Solutions Network which brings together voluntary organisations, community groups and local services working in food support to share knowledge and work together to address the root causes of food inequality.

"Action Together have been instrumental in their support for our Soup Kitchen by enabling these hot food meals to be provided in Rochdale and beyond. We have supported homeless and refugee families and mainstream provisions within Rochdale too. We are grateful for your support, you have been a lifeline to many this past year."

Along with supporting adult carers throughout the pandemic, Carers Hub Rochdale have provided vital support to young carers aged 5-17. These young people have such big responsibilities and being able to meet and share their experiences is really important for their wellbeing.

During lockdown, the young carers could only meet online and missed in-person meet ups. Carers Hub have now restarted their face-to-face activities, but many of the young carers were unable to attend - often due to access to or cost of transport. Carers Hub applied for a grant from the Respond, Repair, Recover fund, and their successfuly application means they have funding to help the young carers come together and meet in-person again.

HMR Circle applied to the fund to enhance and diversify their food offer. They wanted to increase their Dinner Drivers (Meals-on-Wheels) service, as well as their Lunch Club-Clubs and Full Circle (meals and other food events in independent living).

The funding has also helped them engage more people in learning food preparation and in volunteering, either through acquiring new skills or assisting in other ways such as with the distribution of meals through the Dinner Drivers project.

One of their volunteers, Anna, began volunteering with Dinner Drivers after losing her job during the pandemic. From having no prior experience working in a kitchen before joining HMR Circle, Anna is now working at local restaurant Bombay Brew. This is a brilliant example of how voluntary organisations can benefit both the people they support and the people who volunteer with them. Find out more about Anna in In Your Area.

The Respond, Repair and Recover fund has enabled voluntary organisations across Rochdale Borough to provide services and projects for people who would otherwise be missed. The fund aims to help residents feel they have the support available that they need and they're not just a number on paper. By supporting voluntary groups, local people can look to them with confidence and trust, knowing they can get the help and support they need without restrictions.

We can help you find the funding you need. Speak to one of our team to find out about Respond, Repair and Recover and other funding sources available:

Can I CIC It?

We've recently received a number of enquiries from people interested in setting up a Community Interest Company, or CIC. There are lots of benefits to setting up as a CIC, as well as some challenges to think through.

We've written a guide to CICs below, and we've also recorded this video discussion between an experienced CIC and an organisation thinking of becoming a CIC, which has lots of great insights and advice. 

For advice on the best structure for your organisation, contact Action Together's Development team on 0161 339 2345 or

What is a CIC?

A CIC is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders.

How is a CIC different from a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)?

A CIC is a profit-making organisation that uses its profits for public good. That means a CIC is registered with Companies House rather than the Charity Commission. A CIC is taxed like a normal company, whereas a CIO can benefit from a wide range of charity tax concessions.

You can read a factsheet here for more information on the difference between the two.

What are the advantages of setting up a CIC?

  • Quick process: online applications can be processed in less than a week
  • Cost effective: currently costs £27 to register online
  • Simple registration: Registration only requires submission of Articles of Association and one other form:
  • Directors: A CIC can have paid Directors, whereas charitable organisations are run by unpaid trustees

What are the disadvantages of setting up a CIC?

How do I set up a CIC?

Step by step guidance including a webinar and example documents can be found on the Office of the Regulator of CICs website.

Visit our YouTube page to watch a conversation between Marcus Abraham, who wanted to find out more about the pros and cons of setting up a CIC, and Dani Gaines, who runs a CIC.

Contact us to discuss what the right structure is for you! Call 0161 339 2345 or email

Working with Reach Church

Tameside Social Prescribing team with Reach Church

Reach Church are a modern, lively church based in Millbrook, Stalybridge. The church host activities for all ages, and we've worked with them on a number of projects recently:

Social Prescribing

Pictured above, Action Together's Tameside Social Prescribing team visited Reach recently to find out more about their activities, including Tiger Tots baby and toddler group and their Community Garden sessions. The team met with Andy and Jackie from the church to learn about the sessions, see the facility and hear about the impact the church is having in the community.

Social Prescribing connects people with local groups, activities and services to help improve their health and wellbeing. The Social Prescribing team will signpost clients from across Tameside to Reach Church's sessions, as there are good transport links and a bus stop right outside the church.

If you'd like to link up your group or activities with Social Prescribing, contact our team on 0161 830 6833 or email

Visit our Social Prescribing page if you think you or someone you know would benefit from Social Prescribing. You can also make a self-referral to Social Prescribing online.

Community Team

Jon from our Community Team helped Reach Church secure funding to develop their outdoor space. By adding new decking they can now host outdoor activities like planting, growing food, drawing, and movie screenings.

Jackie from the church spoke to us about the impact the funding has made in this video.

Jon is based at Reach Church on Wednesdays from 9.30am - 11.30am. You can drop in to speak to him about local volunteering, funding for your ideas, Social Prescribing, and what's going on in the area.

Our teams are available across Tameside every week so you can speak to us about how Action Together can support your ideas. Visit our Tameside Community Team page to find out when we'll be at a venue near you.


Action Together supported Reach Church in applying for funding for their Tiger Tots project. They told us about the project and how the funding has helped:

"Tiger Tots is a baby and toddler group which is run on a term-time basis at Reach Church. Following the pandemic we have seen that many parents who attended now have children in primary school, and many new parents have been unable to attend classes due to them not running. Many parents who have attended have been so glad just to get out to socialise with their babies and toddlers and to watch their little ones interacting around other people.

"We wanted to attract more parents and carers by providing a service which caters well for babies and the early stages of development, to appeal to new mothers and to encourage them to come and enjoy the service. Getting to know other parents and carers can help to reduce social isolation, which has been heightened through lockdowns. Previously we simply had a couple of playmats and some small toys in our baby section, so we wanted to develop this further.

"We gratefully received funding from Action Together which allowed us to purchase several new items for our baby section, specifically aimed at encouraging development in babies including; a sensory tent, a jumparoo, a tummy time aid, a ball pool and a sensory table. These have now been made available for attendees for the last three weeks.

"We have had lots of positive feedback from parents who have attended in recent weeks, specifically that the new toys have enhanced the baby corner and have provided an easier space for their babies to develop skills such as sitting, tummy time, and sensory skills. One parent commented on how much their five month old was enjoying the sensory tent. We are hoping that the well-equipped baby area will continue to attract new parents who can enjoy socialising together whilst their babies enjoy use of the new toys."

Visit our Find Funding page to discover what funds are available for your project, or contact our team on 0161 339 2345 or

Find out more about Reach Church on their Facebook page:

Or visit:

Reach Church                  

Kelvin Works

Huddersfield road



SK15 3JL

I'm an Oldham Community Response Volunteer

A Community Response Volunteer supports the local community when facing crisis or in need of emergency support. Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic Community Response Volunteers have performed a variety of roles, including knocking on doors to check on residents, volunteering at food banks, and supporting the test and trace and vaccination programmes. We are currently looking for Vaccination Guidance and Support Volunteers.

Helen is a Community Response Volunteer in Oldham. She told us about her experience as a volunteer, and how this experience led to an NHS job role.

"I volunteered with the purpose of gaining work experience. I was hungry to be out of the house and doing something in my community. The food bank and the volunteers had to cope with me whilst I was studying through exams and assessments! They helped me to keep calm prior to an exam or an assessment, as I find timed exams and assessments a little stressful. Volunteering helped me to be distracted from my studies, which with doing the medical administration diploma, was at times stressful.

"One of the volunteers, who was a teacher, gave me tasks I could practice in preparation for a proofreading task I had to do as part of one of the assessments. The other volunteers at the food bank also helped me through the challenges I was facing during the pandemic, and especially during the third lockdown. It was wonderful to be able to help people and be out of the house. It was a good feeling to be described as a social care worker, when all I was doing was packing bags of food for people in need. 

"The volunteering with Action Together at the vaccination clinics, especially at the OBA Vaccination clinic in April, has indirectly got me a job. It helped me to be accepted at the interview stage for the NHS work-based academy, in partnership with the Manchester College. I used an example from the vaccination clinic in my interview, and this led to the pre-employment coordinator at Manchester Foundation Trust placing me in the Eye Hospital of the Manchester Royal Infirmary for my work placement. After 20 days of work placement the Eye Hospital decided they liked me and are willing to train me up more, but this time on the bank and in a paid capacity. At the time of writing I have done two days of paid work.

"Thank you for the experiences."

From Action Together, thank you Helen and all our Community Response Volunteers for your time, effort and energy in supporting the community response to the pandemic.

Find community response and other volunteering roles on our volunteering page.

Leanne's Social Prescribing Story

Action Together deliver the Tameside Social Prescribing service and Oldham Social Prescribing service. Social Prescribing is a way to help people improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them with local community groups and activities. It can be really effective for people experiencing anxiety, low mood, loneliness, or who have recently experienced life changing circumstances. In Tameside referalls can be made through a GP or direct to us on our online self-referral.

Leanne* was referred to our service through her local medical practice. One of our social prescribers told us Leanne's story:

Leanne was referred by the Doctor at her local practice as she was experiencing a lot of physical pain and psychological issues due to some anti-social behaviour from a neighbour. Leanne also wanted help managing her debts more effectively - she found herself ‘broke’ most of the time and was fed up.

Leanne’s family were supportive, but she was affected by her own mental health decline due to the circumstances she found herself in. Leanne was also increasingly worrying about her children’s busy lives. She thought that this was affecting their mental health, and this resulted in her not always being able to see her grandchildren, whom she missed.

Through person-centred conversations with Leanne, I discovered that she had tried to resolve her debt with Step Change. I reflected to Leanne that she has been motivated and determined to change this on her own, which was great!

Leanne said that she did find them very helpful and that she still had their contact details, and she agreed that she would ring them herself. Leanne also said that she had tried to get an appointment with Welfare Rights but was not able to book one due to the pandemic restrictions, as she wanted to appeal a PIP decision which resulted in her having this benefit stopped.

I discussed the support that Welfare Rights could offer, and acknowledged to her that it shows her resilience in being driven to want to appeal, as it meant going through the process again. Leanne consented to a referral to Welfare Rights for the PIP appeal and other debts that she wanted to address.

Leanne talked about her anxiety, and I discussed the support that she could gain through the MIND Peer Support Project, where a peer volunteer would support her to develop strategies to manage her anxiety and support her to access activities in the community. Leanne wanted to consider this option, so I sent her further information to read.

After this, I carried out a review call with Leanne to see if she wanted to be referred to MIND. She said that she liked the sound of this type of support and said that she needed to make a change. so she consented to this referra and I contacted Welfare Rights and MIND to refer Leanne.

At the review call Leanne told me that she had her PIP reinstated and this was helping greatly with her finances. Feedback from MIND said that Leanne was engaging well with her volunteer, and they do a mix of phone and face to face contact. Through this new trusting relationship further discussions had taken place where a referral was also made to Motiv8, which was accepted.

“I enjoy the company of the Peer Support Volunteer, we meet up for brews or a walk.”

In our closing appointment Leanne told me that she was working with Motiv8, who are supporting her with her finances and will be working with her in greater depth. Leanne also told me that she been doing pot painting with her Peer Support Volunteer at 4CT in Ashton and really enjoyed this. She plans to return there with grandchildren in the New Year, giving them both something lovely to do.

I learnt from Leanne to always empower someone to do the things that they are capable of and not erode their own skills or confidence in themselves. Leanne rang Step Change herself so I just had to direct her to the right channels for support. 

With the space to discuss her concerns in a face-to-face way that suits her, Leanne has been supported to access more specialist support. Also having a local person as a Peer Support Volunteer has meant that Leanne has had exposure to activities in her local area that she was unaware of, but now really enjoys and plans to continue accessing.

Find out more about Tameside Social Prescribing and make a self-referall online.

* Name changed

Student volunteering opportunities for Student Volunteering Week

It's Student Volunteering Week! #SVW2022 

Volunteering can be a great way to gain employability skills, meet people, and make a positive difference in communities. Roles are often flexible and can fit around your studies. There are also regular roles for people who'd like to volunteer somewhere longer term, and micro or one-off volunteering opportunities if you're short on time.

Action Together is the recognised volunteer centre for Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside boroughs of Greater Manchester. We connect people who want to volunteer with organisations looking for volunteers. Students in Manchester can register to volunteer with us and gain experience working in a nearby borough.

We've picked out some current volunteering roles below to showcase the opportunities out there for students, but there are lots more roles available.

You can use our volunteering portal to search for roles near you or linked to your areas of interest:



To view all of Tameside’s volunteer opportunities visit


Corrie Primary School
Volunteer Gardeners

Corrie Primary school is looking to develop and transform a large section of their outdoor area into a scientific area so that the children can learn more about the natural world. For example, a sensory garden and pond.

Volunteers are needed to support with the maintenance of the school’s grounds. Tasks will include weeding, mowing the paths, planting seeds, bulbs and watering flowers.

There will also be an opportunity to work with the children whilst they get involved in some gardening, growing and wildlife related activities

The maintenance of the grounds will also take place over the school holidays when there are no staff in to look after the plants and local wildlife.

For more information:


Bee-Amazed Musical Theatre Volunteer
Bee-Amazed Musical Theatre Group

Bee-Amazed is a Musical Theatre Group. They teach singing, dancing and drama to children aged 3-18 years. Each year they do a small Halloween and Christmas show plus a big yearly show at Hyde Festival Theatre. Volunteers will have an interest in Musical Theatre and preferably some experience and skills in the area. They may be asked to help individuals who may be struggling learning with script work, their lines. They may also be asked to help and encourage children who find it hard to concentrate, supporting them to keep focused. They may also be asked to stand in for people who are missing so that the script work can carry on with absent children.
Volunteers will be needed at any of the following venues and times:

  • Monday 4pm - 6pm at Heyrod Village Hall
  • Wednesday 4pm -7pm at Ridge Hill Baptist Church
  • Thursday 4.30pm - 8pm at Dukinfield Baptist Church

For more information:


Stalybridge Celtic Junior Football Club

Join our team of volunteer coaches. Groups go from reception age up to year 6. Work alongside experienced coaches and progress to complete your FA level 1 award and eventually take your own group, funding will be available through the network to achieve the level one qualification.

Saturday mornings
For more information:


Stalybridge Celtic Junior Football Club


We would like someone with the appropriate skills to film and edit a series of video shorts. Interviewing people at the club, parents/carers of players, and players about what Stalybridge Celtic Juniors means to them.
For more information:


Stalybridge Celtic Junior Football Club

Tuck Shop Assistant

The Soccer School has a thriving tuck shop selling, toast, hot drinks, snacks and sweets. We need tuck shop assistants to work in a small team serving children and adults.
For more information:


Pack Assistant (Cub Scouts)
2nd Dukinfield Scouts

Cubs start small but think big, making the very most of what they have and seeking out adventures wherever they go. Throughout their journey, you’ll help them work towards a range of skill-boosting badges and awards. From athletics and astronomy to photography and pioneering, there’s something for everyone to get stuck into.
Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

  • Running games and activities as part of weekly section meetings and other section events.
  • Assisting young people to achieve badges and awards.
  • Assisting with residential experiences for the section.
  • Assisting the section with taking part in a varied, exciting, and safe programme of activities.
  • For more information:



Digital Champion - The Digital Wellbeing Project

The charity PCrefurb are looking for volunteers to assist in the delivery of a major new digital literacy project supporting community members to get online and grow their digital skills. This project is being delivered by PCrefurb in partnership with the NHS. The aim of the Digital Wellbeing Project is to train up a network of Digital Champions who will help people to develop their digital skills and confidence in using devices to access online services. Clients will be taught how to use services in order to help with day-to-day activities and improve their health and wellbeing.

A lack of digital skills and access can have a huge negative impact on a person’s life causing:

  • poorer health outcomes and a lower life expectancy
  • increased loneliness and social isolation
  • less access to jobs and education It can mean:
  • paying more for essentials
  • an increased risk of falling into poverty
  • lack of a voice and visibility in the modern world
  • For more information:


Ashton United in the Community
Match Day Steward

Match stewards play a vital role in ensuring the safety of spectators and visitors to the club on a match day. As a match steward, you are the public face of the club. You will often be the first point of contact with supporters.
Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons
For more information:


Ashton United in the Community
Ground Maintenance Volunteer

Grounds Maintenance Volunteers are needed help to prepare the Ashton United Football Club grounds ahead of the next football season. Volunteers are needed to help with the ongoing maintenance of the grounds and the area around the club.
Tasks include grounds maintenance, general DIY, painting, cleaning, tidying, litter picking, gardening, general repairs, up keep of the pitch and stands
For more information:


Ashton United in the Community
Grounds Preparation & Clearance Team Member

The club requires individuals to help with the preparation of the ground for a matchday and assistance with the clear up after a game.
Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons
Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

  • To assist with the preparation of the ground for a match.
  • To ensure that the ground and its environs are tidy and presentable.
  • To assist the ground staff as required.
  • To assist with any deliveries.
  • To help clear the ground of litter and assist with making the ground secure post-match.

For more information:


Ashton United in the Community
Ball boy/girl

The club requires assistance to recover balls kicked from the field of play and out of the stadium at Hurst Cross, in the lead up to, during, and at half time of matches.
Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

  • Recovering balls that leave the field of play and returning them.
  • Engaging with home and visiting supporters presenting a warm and friendly atmosphere at home games

For more information:


Feedo Needo
Feedo Needo Food Parcel Distribution Volunteer - Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester

Volunteers are need on Thursday evenings to help Feedo Needo to distribute food parcels to homeless people and people in need in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester
Thursdays 5pm – 7pm
For more information:



To view all of Oldham’s volunteer opportunities visit


Church Army

Football Coach Volunteer
Currently there are 3 volunteer positions available – football coaches for Under 7s, Under 9s, and Under 11s. Time: Every Wednesday 3:20 to 5:30pm term time. If you have experience in coaching football, or even with other sports; or you have experience with children’s activities, and basic knowledge of football, then we want you!
For more information:


Mahdlo Youth Zone

Volunteer Mentors
The mentoring scheme is designed to offer one to one support to young people aged 8-19 (or 25 if they have additional needs). Mentors come from all walks of life and share a willingness to help young people through providing guidance and assistance with any difficulties they may be experiencing. To be a Mentor, you do not need a youth work background, you just need to be a positive role model and are available to give one to two hours a week (which is flexible depending on the young person’s availability and needs, as well as your own). Mentors can make a huge difference to a young person’s life by quite simply being there. They must be able to give 1-2 hours per week and able to commit to supporting their young person over a 12 month period.
For more information:


Oldham Libraries
Storytelling/Children’s Events Volunteer

To prepare and lead a children’s Storytime session, singing session or assist with story walks.
Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

  1. Assist customer experience assistants with planning and preparation of story times
  2. Select new themes
  3. Help set up children’s area
  4. Take part in or lead story time
  5. Assist with Bounce & Rhyme and Baby days sessions
  6. Learn and sing nursery rhymes
  7. Help tidy up following session

For more information:


Oldham Libraries

Code Club Volunteer
To support children, aged 9-11, during Code Club sessions. Help children use Code Club projects to make games, animations and websites. Teach a group of 10-15 children simple coding using laptops, tablets and BBC micro: bits. Confirm your own coding knowledge by teaching others.
Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

  • Helping with a Code Club session in a local library
  • Setting up Coding Club sessions.
  • Helping to prepare sessions each week
  • Supporting Children with ICT throughout the term time period.
  • Getting children familiar with laptops, computers and micro:bits use in coding.
  • Help children make computer games, animations and websites using Scratch, HTML & CSS and Python.

For more information:


Oldham Libraries
Front of House - Live@thelibrary Volunteer

  • To help alongside staff to welcome and support audience members during live@thelibrary events, ensuring productions run smoothly whilst looking after the audience.
  • Welcome audience members to events, guiding them to seats in the performance space or other parts of the Centre.
  • To check customer tickets on entry to the performance space.
  • Being the first point of contact for any audience enquiries or requests for information.
  • To assist, if required, with serving refreshments.
  • To sit within the performance space at show times and be on hand to offer assistance.
  • To assist with issuing and collecting event evaluations.
  • To assist the Duty Manager, a member of staff, with fire and health & safety procedure in order to minimize the risk of injury and accident.
  • To attend show and event briefings led by the Duty Manager at the start of every volunteering shift.
  • To be an active ambassador for the library service and an advocate for live@thelibrary in general.

For more information:


Oldham Libraries

Reading Friends
Reading Friends volunteers meet with Reading Friends participants, either one-to-one or in a group, to use reading (in any format) as a way of sparking conversations.
Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

For reading in a group setting:

  • Lead group reading activities and facilitate conversation using reading materials as a basis for discussion.
  • Make practical arrangements to identify and select suitable materials (books, newspapers, handling objects etc.) which focus on the groups’ interests.
  • Prepare other resources as necessary (chairs, tea, coffee etc.) in advance of each session.
  • Be aware of and sensitive to the needs of those in the group.
  • Ensure everyone is able to contribute to the session and feels welcomed and involved.
  • Lead on various themed activities (e.g. memory boxes, etc.).
  • Help to clean and tidy up following sessions.

For one-to-one home visiting:

  • Make practical arrangements to identify and select suitable materials which focus on the Reading Friend’s interests (books, newspapers etc.).
  • Visit the Reading Friend in their own home, on a regular basis.
  • Provide companionship and conversation using the reading materials as a basis for discussion.

For more information:


Oldham Libraries

Digital Champion
To guide customers through basic IT courses hosted on the Learn My Way website and assist customers with their basic IT enquiries and support their use of digital devices.
Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

  • Running LearnMyWay classes in a local library
  • Providing general IT assistance to customers.
  • Promoting membership of Oldham Library and Information Service.
  • Encouraging reading and the use of other facilities within their local library.
  • Training complete beginners to help them get started with computers, including keyboard and mouse skills, e-mail and the Internet.
  • Promoting lifelong learning and signpost to further programs available.

For more information:



To view all of Rochdale’s volunteer opportunities visit


Action Together. Community Warehouse – Rochdale
Community Warehouse Volunteer

The Community Warehouse Volunteer role is vital in helping us to deliver support to the people and communities that we serve. You will be responsible for the picking and packing, of food and care supplies, to enable the VCFSE sector in Rochdale to provide emergency supplies to the homes of people in crisis as a result of Covid-19. The warehouse is open on Mondays, 10am – 3pm you can join us just for a morning or afternoon – or both!
For more information:


Get up and Grow Community Interest Company
Social Media Manager and Content Creator

Creation of content for social media accounts. Schedule content on social media. Engagement with basic enquiries and discussions via social media. Explore YouTube / video sharing platforms. Opportunity to do live social content creation at events.
Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

  • Creation of content for social media accounts
  • Schedule content on social media
  • Engagement with basic enquiries and discussions via social media
  • Explore YouTube / video sharing platforms
  • Opportunity to do live social content creation at events

For more information:

Get up and Grow Community Interest Company
Fundraising and Event support

Tasks the volunteer will be required to do:

  • Look out for fundraising opportunities
  • Help co-ordinate and promote fundraising events
  • Handling general enquiries
  • Opportunity to support at events

For more information:


Link4life (Your Trust)

Inclusion and Disability Sports Volunteer
To enable people with moderate to complex learning disabilities to engage and enjoy the sport sessions. The need for high level support means that we would really benefit from support from volunteers in helping these individuals engage with and enjoy the session. This may include things like passing them a beanbag or ball to throw, retrieving balls or beanbags, standing a meter or so away to very gently throw a sponge ball to land on a racket that the carer is helping the individual to hold, or providing prompts and reminders on the activity (example “Anne, see if you can drop the beanbag onto the giraffe picture”) for those who struggle to understand. We rotate weekly between sports, so one week we might play Boccia (but with sponge balls and beanbags as well as Boccia balls), another week we might play rounders using a short tennis racket as a bat, and a sponge ball, and another week we might do football with a giant inflatable stability ball. The volunteer would need a reasonable physical health to be able to pick balls up from the floor and join in with the games.
For more information:


1st Milnrow Scouts
Squirrel Scout Leader

To enable the Squirrel Scouts to enjoy new adventures; to experience the outdoors, interact with others, gain confidence and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
For more information:


1st Milnrow Scouts
Assistant Cub Scout Leader

To assist the Cub Scout Leader to enable the Scouts to enjoy new adventures, to experience the outdoors, interact with others, gain confidence and have the opportunity to reach their full potential
For more information:


1st Milnrow Scouts
Assistant Beaver Scout Leader

To assist the Scout Leader with activities
For more information:


Carers Hub - Rochdale
PenPal scheme - writing to Carers

To help combat loneliness and isolation for unpaid Carers. To write to Carers to give them something to look forward to each month. Some carers prefer the written word to emails, texts and video-calls. Would you like to be matched to a carer who would then exchange hand-written letters with you once a month… using good old-fashioned pen, paper and The Post Office?! This service might provide support at a time of loneliness, or it could simply provide a much-needed wellbeing boost (to both carer and volunteer!) Each PenPal Volunteer is provided with a stationery pack (including pen, writing paper and freepost envelopes) upon completion of training, so your involvement will cost you nothing but your time. The Volunteer Hub administer the freepost re-direction, so that the addresses for both you and the carer are kept confidential and un-shared.
For more information:

Sharing Cooperative Engagement

By Kerry Bertram (she/her)
Strategic Locality Lead, Action Together in Rochdale

Co-operative Engagement is Rochdale’s approach to giving information, involving and collaborating with local people, communities and stakeholders. I presented the process of developing and facilitating this approach at the national Government Events, Community Engagement conference and the role of Action Together as facilitator and convenor.

The delegates, mainly local government employees, were asked, “why is community engagement important?” 21% said that engagement enables us to transform the way we organise ourselves and interact around public problems. 50% said engagement empowers communities to address the issues they face.

My experience speaks to both of these answers, but I’d go a step further and state that engagement can address societal problems and solutions to these will only be found when we all (residents, communities, charities, faith-based groups, volunteers, public sector workers, health partners) cooperate.

Action Together is an infrastructure organisation for the voluntary sector. What that means is that we connect charities, community groups, volunteers, social enterprises and faith-based organisations, adding strength through training, investment and relationships. But we are also convenors, working in the space between systems, communities and power. We are good at bringing together, gathering perspectives around problems, facilitating solutions, collaborating and building momentum. We spend our energy with people, contributing to change that feels meaningful. And we get it wrong sometimes, so many lessons were taught through the pandemic – we tried to tell and learnt to listen; aimed to please and learnt to set boundaries; got defensive then walked in others shoes; started to blame then chose to contribute.

Partners in the development of the cooperative engagement approach are vital, varied and many. Rochdale CouncilHealthwatch Rochdale and multiple VCFSE colleagues worked with us to develop the approach and generously engaged as we tested early versions.

I shared some of the challenges, of engagement. We often have a conversation about what to do if you ask people what they want and then can’t deliver – is it better not to ask? We try to help partners understand the far reaching effects of scarcity and disadvantage, that often disengages communities from working with public sectors. We have seen in practice that work to align what communities want with what decision makers want through shared language can influence the biggest changes. With interest I heard how Brent Council have worked with communities that the council finds hard to reach, and I was encouraged by questions seeking guidance on methods to engage.

I shared the wins, like the Rochdale Community Warehouse and our borough's financial support offer bolstered by communities. These new infrastructure offers that benefit communities could not have been created without collective efforts, pooled budgets, shared data and honest multi-partner conversations.

Discussing spaces and places for engagement, the Inclusive Messaging Group, Equalities Assemblies, Women’s Services Network, Grassroots Gatherings and many more, I could picture the variety of people we've worked alongside. I remembered emotions, moments and experiences we had shared together through the pandemic and how connections between frontline workers, charities, decision makers and volunteers now felt so much more natural and equal – though we are always being challenged and learning.

Returning to the question of why we should engage, I’d like to share a final point. We are engaging, communicating all the time, if we like it or not, or if it’s the time in the commissioning cycle or not. If we are not holding a space for conversation between the people that our services are there to support, and the people delivering that support, then we are sending a powerful message. In answer to the delegate's question “how can we find out what people need?”, the answer is both simple and complex – talk to them.