Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum has been working hard throughout the lockdown to support and equip the sector, and we are now pivoting our focus to look to the future. Our vision is a strong, resilient sector, which works together to help itself and each other, and we are working hard to achieve this.
We have been pioneering new approaches to collaboration, as an umbrella organisation for the VCSE sector in Cornwall, helping to mobilise efforts, facilitate collaboration, and coordinate the VCSE contribution to the Covid-19 emergency and recovery response. The VCSE has really welcomed this way of collaborative working through forging VCSE alliances, because organisations have been more able to help one another, and work more effectively with our public and private sector partners to meet the needs of the residents of Cornwall.
The Alliance structure
We have three different types of Alliance being created now:
VERA, the VCSE Emergency Response Alliance is becoming the Strategic Alliance for the VCSE. This Strategic Alliance comprises of CEOs of charitable organisations, Faith-based organisations and the Social Enterprise Sector. These organisations provide a wide range of services to residents and visitors to CIoS.
Currently three Thematic Alliances are up and running: Mental Health Alliance, Disability Alliance, and the Carers Alliance, and we plan to establish a further 13 alliances in total, as a way of bringing together the VCSE to focus on what is important to them, e.g. the needs of specific beneficiary groups or addressing single issue causes. Alliances are helping to build trust, strengthen relationships, collate intelligence, identify gaps and combine resources.
We also want to re-purpose the 19 Community Response Hubs that we created to respond to local needs in communities during the pandemic. By building on these local relationships, we hope to create Local Alliances across the 19 Community Network Areas in Cornwall. We aim to do this in 3 phases, and start the work at the end of September 2020. Local Alliances will help more local organisations to get involved, and collaborate to improve their local offer to residents and visitors in Cornwall. Local Alliances will be led by the VCSE but open to all stakeholders e.g. public, private sector and local citizens. We hope that Local Alliances will help to create even more social capital in local communities, so that communities are more integrated, cohesive, safe, strong, and prosperous.
How can you get involved?
We believe we are stronger by working more collaboratively together. Organisations can belong to more than one alliance (local or thematic), and any VCSE organisation interested in being part of this new Alliance Network is invited to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, and discuss which alliance they want to be part of.
We do require any Alliance members to both sign the Agreement and become a Member of Cornwall VSF (which is free), so we can better coordinate the alliances and provide our Members-only resources on the VSF website and other shared areas. Organisations are invited also to join here on our website.
We will keep you updated with the plans as these Alliances progress, and ensure that you have access to speak to the relevant one(s) for your area of operations (both geographical and thematic).
View and sign up to the Alliance Agreement
Here are the two versions of the Alliance Agreement – they are the original version, and the Plain English version.
If you are interested, please download these, and discuss them with your Board. Completed, signed versions can be returned to email@example.com and processed.