About Us

Our speciality is looking after Charities, Churches, CICs and the people who are involved with them whether they be trustees, paid staff or volunteers. With our long experience of charity work, we understand the increasing pressures on charities to comply with charity regulations and where applicable company law. We take the stress away from you and keep you safe and compliant.

Our History

Daryl started out by setting up Independent Examiners over 20 years ago now. He’s still involved but there’s a great team of specialists providing an extensive range of charity services and they don’t need him quite so much.

In 2010, Daryl set up Advice For the Voluntary Sector (AFVS) a support and advice organisation to provide ongoing charity advice, training, and general support to both charities and churches, bringing together a group of partners that can handle pretty much all the requirements of a typical charity.

AFVS is a membership organisation, here to benefit both larger and smaller charities & churches that need an outside resource, and support to draw from.  The membership fees support our ongoing research into what you require and need from us, along with an online members area within our website that has a wealth of documents, briefings, policies and templates. We “Provide practical solutions to your problems”; and we measure our success by how well we achieve that, not by the size of our profits.

We created AFVS to help charities stay safe and compliant, and in 2014 we changed to a Community Interest Company (CIC), therefore carrying out activities which fulfil a community purpose.  We work locally with other CIC’s in the community to see how we can help each other to benefit the community.

Meet the Team

Daryl Martin- Founder & Charity Specialist

Daryl has spent most of his life working in the voluntary sector one way or another. Daryl is the walking talking charity specialist of AFVS. After a successful career in a building society he took early retirement and moved across into the voluntary sector where he’s been ever since.  He still gets great pleasure advising and helping charities across the UK.   Daryl is married to Anita; between them they have 9 children and 19 grandchildren to try to keep tabs on.  As you can imagine birthdays and Christmas can be rather expensive so I still try to earn a crust to help pay my way!

Andy Strajnic – Lead Trainer & Charity Specialist

Andy has recently joined us to work alongside Daryl in training and consulting. After spending the last 20 years leading a church in Oxfordshire and also being involved in a variety other charity work he has many stories and much experience in helping boards and leaders be effective and run healthy organisations. He is married to Louise and have two boys who keep him busy with sports and music.

Becky Benford-Blows- Director of Customer Experience

Becky is a wife and a mum of two teenage children. Following a long career in marketing, then going on to have her two children and become a stay at home mum, Becky joined AFVS in 2012. She has developed and grown her role and now manages the day to day running of AFVS CIC, looking after our members, working with new charities, making sure that all runs smoothly and is the first port of call for both members and non-members. Becky loves a challenge, be it in marketing, sales or events and activities.

Rachel Garnett – Charity Setup Specialist
Rachel has worked for over 18 years in the voluntary sector, helping to set up new charities by taking them through the registration process and assisting existing registered charities to incorporate and generally advising on governance issues.  Rachel has built up considerable experience liaising with the Charity Commission. She is patient and nothing is too much trouble when working with her clients. Rachel is married to Mark, they have 3 daughters and 2 grandchildren.  When they are not busy with the family, they love to be outside walking on the South Downs.
Janice Pollock- Gift Aid Specialist
Janice has been working in the Charity Sector for over 17 years, specialising in Gift Aid.  She is able to help with setting up Charities for registration with the Inland Revenue and making claims direct for the Charity.  She is always ready to help and advise regarding any Gift Aid Queries.
Laura Irma – Governance Co-ordinator in partnership with the Trussell Trust

Laura’s background is in operations management and she has worked in the charity sector for over ten years, as well as a brief stint in parliament. Laura has a calm nature and loves to connect with people. As the Governance Co-ordinator, Laura runs the Governance Helpline for The Trussell Trust and provides advice and support to food banks across the country.

Laura can be found drinking coffee or exploring the countryside when she’s not in the office.

Brian Benford – Volunteer

I am Brian and the father of Becky and good friend of Daryl. I am now retired and have supported the business for a number of years drawing from business experience. This has ranged from pursuing phone enquiries, membership renewals, part of the team at exhibitions to specific management projects. I would like to feel that I bring some wisdom inspiration and fun and direction where needed

Partner with AFVS

David Farndale – Charity Retail & Trading Partner

“I can offer a comprehensive range of very experienced charity retail services, whether considering a first shop, adding more to your group or needing to improve existing stores. I can help either in an advisory role or on sub-contracted tasks.

During my employed time in the charity sector, I have opened 21 charity shops, gift shops, warehouses, offices and a coffee shop.”

Simon Shefford – Church Mortgages Partner

“I am an independent mortgage broker with over 30 years experience, I have helped churches and charities to obtain competitive mortgages for property purchase and development.

There are a number of lenders who are looking to lend in this sector at very competitive rates, it is just a case of sourcing them, negotiating terms and conditions with lenders and presenting an application in the correct way.

There is a big gap between most churches and lenders that I help to bridge, with my experience in the loans market and also from having been a pastor of a church, a trustee and a treasurer.”

Louise Beaton – Community Halls Advice & Fundraising Support

“I have over 30 years’ experience of supporting those running community buildings, at both local and national level and have contributed to changes in policy and legislation which have helped volunteers to maintain financially viable community buildings. 

Community Buildings Adviser for Action in rural Sussex for 14 years, I am familiar with many of the difficulties facing those running multipurpose premises. I supported capital projects worth around £1 million p.a.e.”

Ben Ansell – Managing Director

Ben has 15 years experience working in various fundraising, leadership and consultancy roles for small, medium and national organisations including Oxfam, The British Heart Foundation. His last in-house role was Director of Fundraising (2016-2020) for Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham, London.

He has a degree in business and a certificate in marketing qualification from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Ben has partnered with AFVS to offer our members support with their Fundraising activities and funding applications.

Tracy Jones – HR Consultant

Professional HR consultant with over 19 years’ experience in handling complex or sensitive HR issues.

Tracy Jones is able to provide a wealth of corporate knowledge and apply it to small and medium sized businesses around their everyday people challenges.

Her broad skill set includes writing and delivering leadership training, performance management and delivering organisational change.

She is professional and knowledgeable and will provide a bespoke service, helping you to manage your people matters, giving you the time to deliver your business objectives.

Tracy has agreed to offer AFVS members a 15 minute free telephone or zoom consultation with an hourly rate charged thereafter.

Independent Examiners Ltd – Financial Service Partner

“We have been completing independent examinations of charity accounts since 1996. Our fees are related to turnover, and usually significantly lower than most of our competitors.

Charity Set up – let us help you set up your new Charity, Charitable Company or CIO.

Charity Bookkeeping Service – we offer a monthly or weekly bookkeeping service to any size charity.

We can also help with payroll and Gift aid.”

Tim Wiltshire Cert CII  – Senior Insurance Broker

“As a specialist charity insurance broker, assisting charities of all sizes, we have strong relationships with charity insurance companies. This means we can arrange a wide range of covers, designed specifically to meet your organisation’s needs.

Access Insurance has agreed to guarantee AFVS members insurance savings of 15% off the current charity insurance premium in the first year, with our selected panel of specialist charity insurers. Please let Access know you are an AFVS CIC member when contacting them to receive the discounts.”

David Kirby – Legal Partner

“DK Legal is owned and managed by David Kirby, a qualified solicitor specialising in charity law. He has built up considerable expertise in the charity sector and understands the challenges facing charities and the need for clear and cost-effective solutions to legal issues which arise.

David also has served on the boards of charities and is currently part of the executive leadership team of a micro-finance social enterprise. This focus on the charity and social enterprise sector both professionally and personally reflects David’s passionate support for the vital work of these organisations.“

Les Howard – VAT Partner

“I have been pleased to partner with AFVS CIC since it started, I help churches and other organisations to navigate the VAT maze.

Frequently that involves working with other professionals (Accountants, Solicitors, Architects) to ensure a uniform approach. And, frequently a lower VAT cost releases money for other programs.”

We are delighted that Les is a part of our team of partners. He brings over 30 years’ experience in VAT, and has worked as a freelance VAT Consultant for more than 20 years. He has supported a wide range of charities and can provide telephone and email advice to you, as well as engaging in more substantial project work. He also delivers VAT training for a major national training provider and sits on the Tax Tribunal.

Andrew Ali – Xero Migration Partner

“I have been a strategic partner with AFVS since its inception and my focus has always been supporting Churches and Charities to transform their financial management and bookkeeping process into a simpler, cost effective and efficient solution”

Andrew is our XERO and QuickBooks Online specialist. An Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants UK with over 12 years’ experience in accounting, tax and consulting. Andrew offers more than standard accounting practice by providing simple solutions to sometimes very complex problems.

Network with AFVS

CNI Network 

“Christian Nightlife Initiatives (CNI) Network is the umbrella organisation for around 130 local projects working predominantly within the night-time economy across the UK.  CNI Network seeks to equip and resource the local church and communities to bring change to the wider community by connecting with others and offering projects and ideas that work. Our heart, vision and aim is  #MakingCityStreetsLikeNewAgain.”


Global Connections

With over 300 members Global Connections is a growing, vibrant network of UK agencies, churches, colleges and support services. Together, we seek to serve, equip and develop churches in their mission.”


Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester  (VAAC)

Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester’s vision is to see a strong, vibrant voluntary and community sector that supports, inspires and empowers individuals and communities.  We are an infrastructure charity that offers to our members 1-1 support and advice, training and networking events.  Our expert team helps organisations to start-up, grow  and develop their work.  We also offer through our website an online platform for organisations to advertise volunteering opportunities to local people.


If you are interested in Networking opportunities with AFVS, we would be more than happy to hear from you.  Please feel free to contact us: support@afvs.org.uk