About Us

Our speciality is looking after charities 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.

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.

Our History

Meet the Team

Daryl Martin

Daryl Martin 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!

Email me for Direct Charity Enquiries

Jo Ashment

Jo has experience with working in accounts, IT, administration and education. Jo has also been an active participant, organiser on committees and a volunteer for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Jo is an Associate of CILEX, having achieved a Level 3 Certificate & Professional Diploma in Law and Practice, and is currently in the last year of studying part-time towards the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB) Degree with the Open University. Jo has also raised four children with her husband, two of which she home-schooled. Jo welcomes challenges, is dedicated to her work and always maintains a positive attitude.

Email me for Staff Handbook & GDPR Enquiries

Tony Ashment

Tony has more than 20 years’ experience in the IT industry overseeing information technology for a wide variety of global organisations, where he gained extensive expertise developing and implementing policies and best practice for IT departments, with the focus of his work analysing the business requirements and applying cost-effective and efficient solutions. Currently working with Independent Examiners Ltd as IT Director, Tony has been assisting organisations in the charity sector to leverage the numerous benefits of migrating services to the cloud. Tony is known for his personable approach to clients and co-workers and is delighted to be involved with AFVS. He is always happy to discuss your IT initiatives and questions.

Email me for IT and Website Enquiries

Becky Benford-Blows

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.


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.”

Louise Beaton – Community Halls Advice & Fundraising Support

“Louise has over 30 years’ experience of supporting those running community buildings, at both local and national level and has 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, Louise is familiar with many of the difficulties facing those running multipurpose premises. She supported capital projects worth around £1 million p.a.e.”

Gemma Kingsman – Fundraising Mentor

Gemma’s fifteen year career started at 4Sight a Charity for the blind. Here she gained experience in: governance, lotteries, raffles, street collections, events and set up the organisation’s first charity shop. In 2010 Gemma founded a social enterprise to provide specialist fundraising support tailored to the needs of small charities. Gemma inspires, supports and encourage those who are passionate and committed to ‘Making a Difference’. Helping not for profits to understand fundraising so that they can secure funding to make a difference in their community.

 She shares her skills, experience and top tips for fundraising success through:

  • One-to-one weekly Funding Mentor support sessions
  • Fundraising Consultancy support
  • A series of fundraising books designed for small not for profits
  • Fundraising articles

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 was specifically established as a resource for charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations which need access to specialist legal advice at reasonable fees.  We have a strong affinity to this sector and a firm belief in the importance of its work and its value to our society .  We aim to support you by providing a service you can trust and rely on whenever a legal issue arises.  We offer complete transparency on fees and aim to be affordable for all.”

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.


“Daryl certainly knows his stuff. He is immersed in the charity world and knows all the angles. He is also a very impressive speaker. He did not follow the timetable for the day, but rather followed the thoughts and questions of the attendees. This was fine for me, but probably less so for the potential and very new Trustees. I found the whole day both interesting and beneficial.”

David Wood, Arundel & Downland Community Leisure Trust

“Daryl Martin’s wealth of experience was truly impressive. He had an example of good and bad practice to back up everything he said.”

Joe Smith, Nuevas Esperanzas

“I recently attended an AFVS Trustee Development Workshop lead by Daryl Martin. As Tubakunde Trust and therefore my role as a Trustee are both very new, I had a lot to learn. I really benefited from Daryl’s wise counsel on the day. Although the topic might be considered as heavy, Daryl’s relaxed presentation with many examples made the event an enjoyable learning experience. I came away understanding my role in a much clearer way. The end result – Highly Commended.”

Malcolm Claridge, Tubakunde Trust

“Daryl’s wealth of real-life stories, some shocking, and others humorous provided an abundance of practical teaching and answered many of the questions we had. This made it easier to absorb potentially ‘Boring’ detail as well as giving some sobering thoughts and ideas for things we need to take action on. A very worthwhile day & money well spent. The Take home manual is also an invaluable and comprehensive resource for future reference and should be required reading for all trustees.”

Bob Mullins, The Lighthouse Church, New Malden

“I found the day very worthwhile, it gave a good overview of the roles and responsibilities of trustees and I came away much better”

Chris Hawker, Chichester Baptist Church

“The day was stimulating and helpful. The information given alerted me to several issues, especially concerning interactions with the Charity Commission, where our charity needs to make some changes to reflect current requirements as things have changed considerably since our charity was established 12 years ago. And the written information we took away will be a valuable resource in the future.”

David Powlson, New Life Home Trust

“Very worthwhile day gaining insights into the tasks and risks that trustees need to be prepared for and to enjoy using their experience to tackle.”

Mike Tyler, Aid for Trade