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Voscur annual report


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Voscur Annual Report 2013/14

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Voscur annual report

  1. 1. Supporting Voluntary Action Celebrating our support for your achievements Annual review 2013-14 SupportingDevelopingRepresenting
  2. 2. Welcome and Introduction The year April 2013 – March 2014 has been another of significant change for Bristol’s voluntary and community sector. Bristol City Council proposed budget savings of £90m. Welfare reform has impacted our communities and increased demand on frontline organisations. Mental health, hate crime, and home care services have been re-commissioned with greater expectations from commissioners of collaboration and partnership working. Our Local Enterprise Partnership has been developing its plans to secure investment for economic growth. Against this background, Voscur has been changing the way it supports local organisations practically and strategically. On a practical level, our Kick Start course for new groups has helped many of our city’s new communities help themselves and find a voice. A wide range of organisations are now stronger and more sustainable as a result of one-to-one sessions with our Support Hub team. Our training programme has evolved to reflect the changing needs of members and the wider sector. We have supported groups through decommissioning processes, and helped them to identify alternative income streams. Strategically, we continued to use Compact principles to improve local commissioning by influencing key decision-makers. Ex- Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, attended our round table in July, and Bristol’s Mayor addressed our conference ‘Commissioning from the VCS.’ Now we’re following-up these events to ensure public bodies make their procurement processes inclusive for smaller organisations, and prove George Ferguson right when speaking about commissioning from the VCS: “Let’s get rid of the idea that big is safe and small is risky.” Working with the Council’s Equalities team, Voscur designed and delivered a budget consultation event for equalities groups and VCS organisations, and incorporated the results into a constructive response to the Mayor’s initial draft budget. This helped to improve the final budget by reinstating proposed cuts to community investment and community transport grants, deferring As a result of this work, Voscur, Bristol City Council and Bristol Compact were shortlisted for the national Compact Impact Award for working in partnership to resolve commissioning issues.
  3. 3. 1 and better targeting reductions in health and social care, and preserving support for equalities and older people. The impact and achievements of the sector were celebrated at our Annual Conference in November, when the Lord Mayor presented the Voscur awards. Our merger with Volunteer Bristol in December signalled the start of a new chapter in developing and championing voluntary action for the whole city’s benefit. Of course our work would not be possible without the investment and commitment of Bristol City Council. We would like to thank them, and our skilled and resourceful team of staff, volunteers and trustees. Finally, thanks to you, our members, for continuing to support us to support you. We’re stronger together. Wendy Stephenson, Chief Executive Richard Pendlebury, Chair Wendy Stephenson, Chief Executive Richard Pendlebury, Chair @bcfm @voscur Great people doing great work supporting #voluntary and #community action in #Bristol. #OneLove.
  4. 4. Proving our Value 2 How do you prove the value of an infrastructure organisation like Voscur? We worked with the University of Bristol, as part of a South West Forum research project, to answer that question. This year the University completed gathering and analysing independent evidence of the economic and social value and impact of our work. The University’s final report stated: “The research produced strong qualitative evidence of Voscur’s practical and strategic value to both Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations and commissioners/funders. The VCS organisations considered Voscur services were effective and believed that they had made a substantial contribution to the development of their organisations. Respondents cited the importance of Voscur providing a central support for frontline groups, their role in championing the sector, their ability to connect groups with each other and specific agencies, their responsiveness and their independence. All of these were perceived to help groups maintain and increase their impact.” Interviewed as part of the study, VCS organisations commented: “Voscur do seem able to open doors and get in front of people that others are not able to.” “The advocacy and campaigning that Voscur does to show our value is really important.” To estimate the economic impact of Voscur’s activities we carried out a study incorporating social return on investment methodology. This analysis indicates that Voscur’s social return on investment is £1: £11.82, meaning that for every pound invested in the organisation, Voscur creates £11.82 of social value.” The research concluded that: “We need to recognise that an investment in infrastructure saves expenditure later: it saves government spending on a range of services, from health to policing, and it increases the capacity of frontline organisations to do more with less i.e. increasing social impact without increasing resources.” 93% 31% of participants said they thought Voscur had contributed to improvements in their organisation’s impact or performance. of respondents would not know where to go for support services if Voscur did not exist. ?
  5. 5. 3 Information and Communcation Communication underpins all of Voscur’s activities, and as the way we share information gradually changes, our services have utilised new formats to remain timely and effective: from a quarterly magazine to websites, from weekly bulletins to Tweets. These figures illustrate not only changes in the way we find and use information, but also Voscur reaching out to new groups and communities, and utilising new ways of representing and influencing on behalf of our members. These changes are continuous. For example, following last year’s information survey, we changed the way our e-bulletin looks and, as this year’s survey showed, the changes made it clearer and more usable: Our quarterly magazine Thrive! is circulated widely: to local groups, Bristol City Councillors, public sector partners, all Bristol public libraries, and on our website. Our survey showed us that people appreciate the magazine, and use it as a resource with both colleagues and clients. E-bulletin “Good range of information, lay out easy to follow, links very useful.” “The Voscur jobs area is a fantastic resource for my work. I use it to support all my clients.” Thrive! magazine “I share it with others – hard copies can aid discussions at meetings.” “The quality is excellent and the articles are interesting.” For example: Over 103,000 unique visitors accessed the Voscur website this year. Clocking up over 1.8 million page-views, and subscriptions to our weekly email bulletins have risen to over 2,500. Our Twitter followers reached over 1,800 this year.
  6. 6. Growing your Influence 4 Voscur’s Voice and Influence team works to ensure Voluntary and Community Sector organisations have a strong and influential voice, and strategic involvement in policy-making. Through networks, citywide events, media campaigns and engaging with decision makers, the team has had a productive year. VCS advocates The reach of our Voice and Influence team is significantly extended by our VCS advocates who are elected to provide a voice for the wider sector at strategic partnerships. Our team helps VCS advocates to ensure that they reflect the views, knowledge and expertise of the sector. Find out more about our Voice and Influence work here: Representing Voluntary Action Assembly In July we experimented with the ‘Open Space’ format at our Assembly conference to give participants control over the issues that would be the focus of Voscur’s sector-wide work plan for the following twelve months. Among the priorities that emerged were: • Reducing the Poverty Gap – Vulnerable Communities • Commissioning and procurement • Reclaiming open spaces The first topic led to an exploration of new investment models and further work to increase social investment in the city that will continue in our 2014-15 work programme. The second resulted in a number of radio programmes, using public media to hold decision-makers to account, and February’s major conference, ‘Commissioning and the VCS - One Year On’, designed to make council commissioning more open to smaller VCS providers. The third theme led to Painting the Town Green, an event focused on creating opportunities for the VCS to participate in Bristol’s year as European Green Capital in 2015, and work to influence investment in new volunteering opportunities as part of this. The results of continued work on all three themes will feature in next year’s achievements. Widening our reach: community radio Although networking and consultation events have been effective, we decided that broadcasting discussions and debates would significantly widen our reach. Close to 30,000 people listened to a debate on the Mayor’s budget proposals, and procurement and commissioning was made real for a radio audience when VCS groups debated ‘How the City buys its services’ with Assistant Mayor, Councillor Gus Hoyt. New approaches such as this are crucial, we believe, if local democracy is to engage new generations of citizen. Representing Action
  7. 7. 5 Networks Child and Young People (CYP): our CYP network has informed and represented the VCS in relation to issues including: Extended Services; Children First; Bristol Youth Links; community asset transfer; Young Healthwatch; Raising the Participation Age and the impact of a growing child population on the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. The network continues to work with the Raising the Participation Age strategy group, and gathered VCS intelligence to inform future developments of the First Response and Early Help Services. Health and Social Care (HSC): as public health services continue to change significantly, our network has worked to inform and advocate in relation to the newly formed Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, self-directed support (personalised budgets), quality assurance, Bristol as a dementia friendly city and commissioning intentions in health and social care. It has supported the sector in influencing the Health and Wellbeing Strategy, ensuring the views of equalities groups were heard and acted upon. Concerns raised within the network led Voscur to proactively engage with the planning of Home Care Commissioning to ensure the process was accessible to smaller providers. Neighbourhoods and Communities (NC): priorities for our NC network this year include improving health providers’ engagement with Neighbourhood Partnerships, the City Council’s review of Neighbourhood Partnerships, the Mayor’s Budget and new approaches to neighbourhood funding. Strategic engagement with the Local Enterprise Partnership In 2013 eight West of England VCS infrastructure organisations came together to discuss the importance of Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) investment in social inclusion as well as economic growth. The group garnered support from members and influenced the LEP’s two strategic priorities: a European Union Structural Investment Framework and a Strategic Economic Plan. Local VCS organisations are now recognised as an important part of the delivery of these priorities. Voscur has played a key role by working with partners to combine Big Lottery and European Union Social Inclusion Funding into £6m being made available to tackle the economic consequences of social exclusion in the West of England.
  8. 8. Developing Voluntary Action Supporting the Sector 6 Voscur’s Support Hub helps organisations to grow and develop in response to changing need and increased demand for their services. We offer one- to-one support sessions, in-depth capacity building support, practical tools, information and training. Intensive capacity building This year the Support Hub team provided intensive support over several months to 39 organisations. The following examples demonstrate the diversity of the city’s voluntary sector, and their range of support needs, underlining the breadth and depth of Voscur’s impact. Aspiration Creation Elevation (ACE) ACE provides creative educational activities, targeting young people who are socially and economically challenged. ACE completed our Kick Start Your Organisation course, were matched with a marketing volunteer, and helped to develop a three-year business plan. Following our support, ACE adopted CIC status. “The support from Voscur gave us tools and knowledge to really understand our business and ourselves, resulting in ACE being in a strong position to be a successful enterprise for years to come. We hold our work with Voscur in high regard, and hope to see their brilliant work continue.” Women’s Independent Alcohol Support (WIAS) WIAS is a new group set up to offer a women-only environment for women to talk about their alcohol problems and to improve their mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing. As a result of Voscur’s support, WIAS became a registered charity and developed a three-year business plan. “We learnt an awful lot. If you have access to an organisation like Voscur, you are able to gain knowledge about the things you don’t know and need to know, and where to access that information, which is invaluable.” One off support With the right approach and expertise, many problems can be solved effectively and efficiently in one-off sessions, or through telephone consultation. Our Support Hub team provided 560 support sessions in this way. What people said about our Support Hub team: “After a session with a member of staff from the Support Hub I always feel a real sense of achievement.” “It was helpful as it got everyone active and taking on actions. Before the meeting we weren’t facing the reality of the situation.”
  9. 9. 7 Training Voscur offers a comprehensive training and events programme providing training at basic, intermediate and advanced levels, designed in response to sector need, identified through a survey, analysis of course feedback and listening to our members. We offer the Kick Start course for new and emerging groups, bespoke training to groups of staff with common needs and our new Mind the Gap lunchtime sessions as bite-sized introductions to timely topics. Over 750 people took advantage of our training programme this year. Examples of training courses Mind the Gap - Policies and procedures “The information is incredibly relevant and well thought out. The delivery was excellent.” Writing small fundraising bids “A very empowering day that has given me an invaluable set of new tools to support the sustainability of my organisation.” £ Managing an organisation: Leadership skills, Managing for managers, Being a Good Trustee, Recruiting and managing Volunteers, Having difficult conversations, Community Interest Companies Funding and Financial Stability: Sustainable funding, Writing small funding bids, Business Planning, Commercial Skills for Public Service Delivery, Fund It conference Marketing and Communication: Presentation skills, Good Practice in Social Media, Communicate! Conference
  10. 10. 8 Volunteer Bristol and Voscur formally merged on 31 December 2013. Having worked together on numerous projects, day-to-day operations have changed relatively little since our merger, but the integration of volunteer management support with broader organisational development will continue as we grow together. Before our merger, Volunteer Bristol had developed expertise and experience in supporting people too often excluded from volunteering opportunities, such as those in recovery from substance use or managing mental health issues. Two new projects are continuing to develop this organisational expertise: Sustain is part of Bristol Drugs Project’s ROADS initiative and will help people completing recovery into supported volunteering. The Dementia Support Project is an innovative pilot that aims to understand and help people with dementia overcome the barriers they face in terms of volunteering. The results of this pilot will inform future support and targeted services for people with dementia. The Volunteer Centre’s core service of matching volunteers to suitable placements has continued to grow. This year 573 volunteers were matched with volunteer-involving organisations across Bristol. We saw an increase in the number of unemployed people using the service, and many more with an interest in skills development, enhancing their CVs and improving their English. To measure the impact of our work, and understand the benefits of volunteering for volunteers, we have tracked a sample over time. Volunteer Bristol and Voscur 38% 44% reported an increase in motivation to find work 33%expressed an increase in feeling part of something they would call a ‘community’ were more confident attending job interviews @LinkAge Bristol Enjoying the LinkAge Big Thank You event today in Bristol@VolBristol #volunteersweek #v30
  11. 11. 9 In order to ensure volunteers reflect the diversity of the city, we promoted opportunities at events such as Action on Disability at Work’s conference and Filwood Opportunities Fair. We also delivered ‘Introduction to Volunteering’ sessions at the City of Bristol College, the Prince’s Trust and the Barton Hill Women’s Group, to give people who don’t normally volunteer the knowledge and confidence they need to do so. Finally, Boost! - our programme placing volunteers with professional skills into organisations in need of particular expertise - recruited 56 new professionals and arranged 30 placements with local groups. One Boost volunteer said: “Boost! was an opportunity to use my skills and professional knowledge and experience in some different settings, and make a difference in areas which really needed my help. It really helped with my self-esteem at a point when I was looking for a permanent job. And it worked, because I now have a permanent job in Cornwall.’ CarersSupportCentre Volunteer Bristol @ Voscur enable people with dementia to lead active lives by launching mentored volunteer scheme
  12. 12. BME Voice and Influence 10 The BME Voice and Influence project aims to support people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities to become involved in decision making in the city. It is guided by an advisory group that meets quarterly and employs a BME Community Connector who has been based within Ujima Radio CIC. Recognising the need to build and cement relationships, the Community Connector visited 46 groups in the first half of the year. The groups were asked what kind of support they would need to get involved in decision making, which led to 21 people attending Leadership and Presentation skills courses and 14 people attending Conflict Resolution and Negotiation skills training. The Journey from Grants to Contracts, a meeting attended by 16 organisations raised awareness of the need to establish dialogue with BME led organisations about how they can influence and benefit from commissioning processes. A special consultation event was organised for BME elders on Bristol City Council’s proposals for residential and day care services and a radio programme discussing transport issues for BME elders led to talks with Community Transport commissioners. Initiated by the advisory group, a working group has been established to develop a Bristol Manifesto for Race Equality. The Manifesto will include recommendations for public bodies and help agencies to review policy and practice. Through the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Diversity group we have pressed for an Equality Impact Assessment to be carried out on the LEP’s plans to help ensure that all communities benefit from resources coming into the city through the LEP. We will also work with the Green Capital Inclusion group to ensure that Bristol’s Green Capital plans are inclusive and reflect Bristol’s diverse communities. In partnership with Bristol City Council and SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality) we planned and organised the BME Fair and inaugural BME community awards, which were presented by the Mayor during Black History Month. The Fair enabled groups to showcase their impact through presentations and stalls, to an audience of 200 people. The year culminated in a conference, ‘Feeling Bristolian and Thriving Together’, held at the Rose Green Centre delivered in partnership with Bristol Multi Faith Forum and Bristol Somali Forum. Themed workshops offered discussions on Neighbourhoods, Education, Health and Employment. Issues and concerns raised at the conference will inform our next year’s work programme.
  13. 13. Making Connections 11 Mutually beneficial collaboration and co-design, both between the voluntary, public and private sectors, and among voluntary organisations themselves, is an important part of the environment in which we work. It is part of Voscur’s strategic purpose to help establish relevant partnerships, and to support VCS organisations to get the most out of them. This has been particularly the case at a time when new bodies, such as the Local Enterprise Partnership (see page 5) and Clinical Commissioning Group, have been grappling with their own roles, and how best to work with voluntary organisations. This year we have started to see the fruits of brokering and nurturing these relationships, and we’ll continue to support their growth into the future. Modernising mental health Voscur supported the commissioning of a new generation of mental health services and helped in the formation of delivery partnerships. Nilaari, SARI, the Somali Resource Centre and Windmill Hill City Farm are now among a range of smaller organisations providing mental health services for Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group. Building health partnerships Voscur’s partnership project; working with NHS England, Navca, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group and Social Enterprise UK, has helped local organisations to work with NHS staff on various initiatives: reducing falls among older people, better managing diabetes among communities that are particularly susceptible to the condition and increasing their ability to bid collaboratively for NHS service contracts. Our many connections and their commitment to Bristol’s voluntary and community sector have strengthened our support offer this year. We thank Avon and Bristol Law Centre, ACTA, Alcohol Recovery Agency, Brewin Dolphin, BBC, BCFM, Big Lottery, Bristol City Council, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, Bristol Health Partners, Bristol Healthwatch, Bristol Together, Business in the Community, Calling the Shots, Chartered Institute of Marketing, Children In Need, Ecomedia Collective, CVS South Gloucestershire, DAC Beachcroft, Ethical Property Foundation, First Born Creatives, Foot Anstey, Fundraising Training Limited, Gerrard Financial Consulting Limited, Hubbub, Knowle West Media Centre, Navca, NCVO, NHS England, One25 Project, Quartet Community Foundation, West of England Rural Network, St Monica’s Trust, Smith And Williamson, Social Enterprise Works, South West Forum, Stephenie Linham, The Care Forum, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Ujima Radio CIC, Unseen, Viper Marketing and Communications Group, Voluntary Action North Somerset, Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal and Wesport.
  14. 14. Acknowledgements 12 Thank You Trustees: Richard Pendlebury Chair Steph Mustoe Treasurer Paul Hazelden Vice-Chair until 06 November 2013 Anna Smith Vice-Chair until 16 July 2014 Joanna Holmes Frances Fox Abdullahi Farah Poku Osei Philip Parry Mike Zeidler Steve Sayers from 06 November 2013 Marissa Eliss from 15 January 2014 Jonathan Cruthchlow from 15 January 2014 Heather Pugh from 06 November 2013 Nura Aabe from 06 November 2013 Rita Gupta from 06 November 2013 Funders: Bristol City Council Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group Bristol Drugs Project Digital Outreach Navca – Building Health Partnerships Sporting Memories Network Avon Fire & Rescue Service University of Bristol Other donors/contributions: Charity Commission Cornhill HR NCVO Quartet Community Foundation South West Forum The Care Forum University of the West of England Volunteers: Carol Walker Louise Wender Helen Price Abigail Haidenmenos Chris Maddix Andy Waitt Yasmin Jennings Lauren Gatting Margaret Maine
  15. 15. Barbara Chamberlain Jess Wheeler Evelyn Hutchon Jon Boulton Kurda Yar-Ahmad Sharon Hughes Phil Timmins John Green Darren Park Jack Munia Julia Vallejo Lisa Dunkley Debbie Grosvenor Alero Ojiemen Staff employed during the year: Asma Ahmad Subitha Baghirathan Frances Bainbridge Emily Bonney Catherine Bowen Sue Brazendale Yasmine Brien Paula Cannings Elena D’Orso Grace Deathridge (maternity cover) Eva Fielding Jackson to 30 April 2013 Lucy Fletcher Elizabeth Gorman Paul Hassan Mark Hubbard Jennifer Idle to 21 February 2014 Sean Kenny Jessica Langton Charlene Lawrence Jessica Lewin Denise Martin to 15 November 2013 Rebecca McDougall Ruth Pitter Wendy Stephenson Emuobosan Timi-Bui to 31 March 2013 Steve Watters David Whittaker Voluntary and Community Sector Advocates: Alex Raikes - SARI Cheri Wilkins - WECIL Graham England - Addiction Recovery Agency Jackie Boyce - Rethink Judith Davis - Princes Trust Katie-Jane MacVean - Shelter Katherine Piper - Shelter Poku Pipim Osei - Babbasa Youth Empowerment Projects Sarah Renshaw - Easton Learning Centre Simon Hankins - Southville Community Development Association Steve Sayers - Windmill Hill City Farm Tim Lloyd Yates - Alive! Zehra Haq - Dhek Bhal Alistair Dale - Youth Moves Dom Wood - 1625 Independent People Fiona Castle - Imayla Fuad Mahamed - Ashley Housing Paul Hale - 1625 Independent People Peter Walker - Addiction Recovery Agency Vicki Morris - Knowle West Health Park Karen MacVean - Shelter BME Voice and Influence Advisory Group: Zaheer Shabir Shelagh Hetreed Rosa Hui Roger Griffith Patsy Newton Marvin Rees
  16. 16. Voscur Royal Oak House Royal Oak Avenue Bristol BS1 4GB t: 0117 909 9949 St George West Stockwood Stoke Bishop Westbury- on-Trym Whitchurch Park Windmill Hill Avonmouth Bedminster Bishopston Bishopsworth Brislington East Brislington West Cabot Clifton Clifton East Cotham Easton Eastville Filwood Frome Vale Hartcliffe Henbury Henleaze Hillfields Horfield Kingsweston Knowle Lawrence Hill Lockleaze Redland Southmead Southville St George East Ashley Voscur’s Area of Impact 51 - 60+ 41 - 50 31 - 40 21 - 30 11 - 20 6 - 10 1 - 5 Number of Members