Delivering for a changing North West VSNW Annual Review 2011足2012
Photograph courtesy of alicejohnphotography.wordpress.com
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Our Mission and Values Mission Ensuring that the voluntary and community sector, in all its diversity, takes its full part in shaping the future of the North West.
Accountability At the heart of reliable, trustworthy and effective infrastructure work. We will enhance communication and twoÂway dialogue with the sector and stakeholders, and support sector representatives at the regional level.
Knowledge A key means by which infrastructure organisations add value. We will generate an evidence base for action and demonstrate integrity through informed actions and decisions. We will use our knowledge base to provide leadership, promote the sector and show foresight.
Tackling discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and empowering people to make their voices heard is central to the identity of the voluntary and community sector. We recognise we do not work in isolation and we value what people can do together, whether part of a community of interest, identity or place. We recognise that from diversity comes strength and quality of knowledge. We will challenge prejudice and intolerance wherever we encounter it.
Contents 4 5
Introduction from VSNW Chair Introduction from VSNW Chief Executive 7 Highlights of the year Delivering our objectives for a changing North West 11 Influencing and shaping the agendas and policies of statutory sector partners
12 14 16 18 19
Increasing recognition as a reliable voice for the sector Gathering and making use of information and knowledge Developing, supporting and engaging with networks Staff and trustees Thank you to our members
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Achieving in a context that is only consistent in its constant challenge Introduction from VSNW Chair
Why are you still here? This could be a legitimate question to ask of an organisation that was originally set up to relate to, and provide liaison with, regional statutory bodies on behalf of and with the wider voluntary sector. Well if the North West no longer exists – as the government might well have us believe – then no one has told the groups, organisations, networks and partnerships that still thrive in our region. We are finding it more and more of a challenge to sustain in the current economic environment – who isn’t? This will be a big year for decisions about the organisation’s future and more importantly the services that our sector tell us again and again they value and want to
see continue. The feedback from our recent peer review was not only encouraging but has told us so much about the passion and drive of the sector in the North West. It is ironic that at a time when we face our most austere funding picture since the organisation began, our reputation has never been higher. As you will see from this review, the scope of our remit is as broad now as it has ever been. We continue to shape agendas, influence policy, provide a reliable voice for the sector, gather and make use of information and knowledge and most significantly, in the absence of statutory regional structures, we develop, support and engage with a very diverse range of networks. I would like to thank our superb and highly professional staff team for their continued expertise and inspiration. Once again, Richard has provided exactly the right mix of leadership and encouragement to ensure that people return to us for
support and intelligence in a context that is only consistent in its constant challenge. Also, a big thank you goes to my fellow trustees who have been as ever analytical but supportive, and have scrutinised and celebrated in equal measure. It is a very difficult time but I have unfaltering confidence that we have at VSNW the ability and resources to meet this new future and forge something that can go forward, in partnership with and meeting the needs of, the regional sector.
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Delivering in an increasingly difficult environment Introduction from VSNW Chief Executive The last twelve months have been challenging for VSNW. We have seen the dismantling of the regional structures that we have traditionally engaged with and yet we have found the sector more willing than ever to engage in our work. Once again our evaluation tells us we are doing well on those things that are important to us – the sector believes we live our values, that we influence decision makers and that our policy briefings are valued. This very much marries with the feedback I receive as I travel to various events across the region and I am immensely proud of the VSNW staff team that continue to deliver in an increasingly difficult environment.
The next twelve months will be an even bigger challenge for us – as it will be for the rest of the sector – and we are constantly revisiting our purpose with a view to ensuring we are able to make the voice of the voluntary and community sector heard with decision makers in the most effective way whilst honoring our values. I hope this annual review does justice to the work of the staff team and we commit to maintaining our high standards into the future and working with colleagues across the region to ensure our communities have the services and the opportunities they deserve.
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Highlights of the year
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“Well done and keep up the great work.” Our latest peer review showed that we continued to deliver The findings of this second evaluation, carried out by One East Midlands, confirmed that we continued to meet our purpose and objectives well and that we had adapted our delivery to carry on providing a valuable service to the VCS in increasingly uncertain times. The conclusions were broadly in line with the previous year’s overwhelmingly positive results, which is especially encouraging given the changes to regional and national structures and the reduction in regional organisations to cooperate with and influence. Our regionwide role, meetings and events, policy briefings and communications were particularly valued. This feedback will provide a critical focus for our work in supporting the sector in the future.
“VSNW strives well to deliver, and looks for and creates opportunities to influence.”
We ensured the sector was informed and could influence changes in health services It was a momentous year for government plans for health and social care reform with numerous publications and consultation papers issued by the Department of Health. As the Health and Social Care Bill paused for the Future Forum to consult, VSNW ensured that the sector had the opportunity to have their say with over 35 organisations contributing to the North West VCS responses, on behalf of the communities they support, in our role as a strategic partner of the Department of Health through Regional Voices. In addition, the 22 VSNW health bulletins and briefings kept the VCS informed about the new and evolving health structures, the challenges ahead and the opportunities to influence and build relationships.
“They have the skill not to just disappear into strategy; they understand the sector. That’s why I have so much time for them. It’s real.”
“It is vital to keep your work going, and ideally to build on what you do, as the information and representation are so important in raising the professionalism and voice of the sector as a region.”
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“Well done VSNW – an excellent conference”
“Thanks! Stellar panel at conclusion – well done. Great debate”
Our largest ever conference gave delegates the opportunity to debate issues and share ideas We welcomed over 140 delegates to our Open for All? conference. This event included a keynote speech from shadow civil society minister Roberta BlackmanWoods MP and workshops on the themes of big society, health, economy and employment, and volunteering and infrastructure. There was also a panel discussion on the future of the VCS with high profile guests including the chief executives of NAVCA, ACEVO and Directory of Social Change. Attendees gave very positive feedback and were particularly pleased with their greater understanding of the issues and ability to influence.
“A really well organised, informative, interesting and inspiring day. Thank you”
We launched research showing the impact of government policy on equalities VSNW published a major piece of research, commissioned by the North West Infrastructure Partnership, which explored the impact of government policy on local equalities groups and communities. Open for All? The Changing Nature of Equality under Big Society and Localism found that the policy reforms suggested a weakened commitment to equality by the government and that the implementation of government policy and spending cuts were negatively affecting equalities groups and the communities they serve. Taking forward these findings, we published a recommendations document proposing a “small state equalities” model, as part of the future reform of public services, which draws on the strengths of local equalities groups in order to build resilient and more selfreliant communities. Responsible Reform: Open public services for all was launched in Westminster at an event hosted by Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston.
Panel members at 2011 VSNW conference included Debra Allcock Tyler (Directory of Social Change Chief Executive), Sir Stephen Bubb (ACEVO Chief Executive), Kevin Curley (Navca Chief Executive), and Roberta BlackmanWoods MP (Shadow Civil Society Minister).
Photograph courtesy of alicejohnphotography.wordpress.com
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Delivering our objectives for a changing North West
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Influencing and shaping the agendas and policies of statutory sector partners Responding to consultations With the dismantling of regional structures, our challenge has been to develop new routes to engagement so the North West can play its part in influencing and shaping national and local policy. We continued to respond to government consultations, taking into account the views of North West VCS organisations through written requests for submissions or open forum meetings. Over the last year, VSNW submitted nine responses on a wide range of subjects including the health reforms, the Open Public Services White Paper, youth unemployment and Lottery funding.
Influencing the government’s agenda A range of BME, specialist and generalist voluntary and community organisations, along with several public sector bodies, gathered at the Voice4Change England and One North West Big Society and Equality event. They had the opportunity to discuss the issues with participants from the Office for Civil Society, and the main themes from the day formed part of a report delivered to government on the measures needed to ensure more equality in the big society agenda.
Maintaining links with government departments We continued to be a strategic partner of the Department of Health through Regional Voices and as such, retained a route to influence health policy. This was particularly important given the continuing changes in this area. We also have had regular contact with the Office for Civil Society through their local intelligence team North West policy manager. VSNW hosted a roundtable meeting with a senior official from the Department for Communities and Local Government with responsibility for decentralisation and big society, to discuss how these initiatives could be developed in the North West. We continued to have regular contact with officials from the Cabinet Office and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Working with Parliament We have also continued to work directly with MPs and parliament. The launch of the Responsible Reform: Open public services for all took place in parliament with several MPs present. One North West worked with the Migrant Rights Network and the AllParty Parliamentary Group on Migration to hold a debate about migration and how it can be used to build a dynamic North West society and economy. Over 40 voluntary and public sector delegates took part and this APPG visit, followed by a written paper and series of talks, was part of a process that was important for the future of public conversation on migration. VSNW held more Influencing Parliament events to continue our previous work of increasing the sector’s knowledge of how parliament works and how to influence. VSNW also arranged a visit by the Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza, to Manchester Alliance for Community Care to meet a number of Manchester VCS organisations which enabled all parties to exchange information about how the voluntary sector could influence the work of the House of Lords.
Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley and Deputy Speaker, at the launch of Responsible Reform: Open public services for all
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Increasing recognition as a reliable voice for the sector Working as a strategic partner As a strategic partner of the Department of Health, VSNW sent a number of consultation submissions this year in response to government health policy reviews. This enabled the sector to have a voice at a critical time of change for health services. We responded to the Healthy Lives, Healthy People public health consultation after gathering the views of North West voluntary and community organisations and a response was also sent to Caring for Our Future: shared ambitions for care and support, which was compiled from contributions at a Big Society & Health Roundtable event, a Future Forum event and the VSNW conference. Following a meeting of the ‘NHS Future Forum’ involving the sector and the Department of Health, VSNW sent a submission based on discussions about the NHS reforms
by North West organisations working with patients and service users. We continued to provide a way for local and regional organisations to bring the benefit of their knowledge and experiences to inform future policy reviews.
Bringing VCS knowledge to the development of policy Margaret McLeod, health & social care policy and network officer at VSNW, started a secondment with the Transition Alliance NW supporting local authorities and the Department of Health in the transition from LINks to Healthwatch. This work involves bringing voluntary sector knowledge and expertise to help local authorities in their development of Healthwatch’s plans as well as facilitating discussions on the future organisation, representation, engagement, partnership working and the sharing of good practice.
Campaigning on the Localism Bill Our campaign on the form of the bill, notably via the shadow localism minister Barbara Keeley MP, successfully encouraged North West MPs to hold conversations with local VCS groups to understand their vision of localism. VSNW also ran training sessions on the bill and a Big Society Policy Resource website was launched providing resources for the sector alongside a dedicated localism resource on the main VSNW website.
We ran a series of ‘Community Rights: Made Real’ events in partnership with NAVCA, Urban Forum, Locality, Planning Aid and a number of key local partners. Over 170 local groups from across the region attended these events and were able to talk to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s head of legal at a crucial stage in the shaping of the new community rights.
Giving a voice about open public services One North West worked with members to identify the Open Public Services White Paper as a major policy area to influence. To enable discussion, a briefing was produced for their 400 members which highlighted some of the key points and held a NW BME policy forum with 40 BME VCS organisations. As a result of this work, One North West made a substantial consultation submission and some of the major issues were discussed with the race equality minister. Several local workshops were delivered to explore the key challenges of open public services.
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Supporting the voice of infrastructure VSNW responded to two Cabinet Office consultations, on behalf of the North West VCS, on the Open Public Services White Paper and proposed Lottery policy directions. VSNW’s OPSWP submission sought a model of public services that could provide effective and innovative answers for communities and considered how the VCS could play its part in supporting diverse market development. Our nationally acclaimed briefing (picked up by NAVCA, NCVO and Directory of Social Change), in response to the Cabinet Office’s proposed new Big Lottery Fund policy directions, detailed the ways that funding should be focused on the VCS and distributed on the basis of evidenced need. VSNW also responded to the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Building Capabilities for Impact and Legacy’ consultation which outlined its plans for the future funding of support to local voluntary sector organisations. In order to understand in detail how significant reductions in public spending along with public service reform and decentralisation of power had impacted the sector, we ran a survey of VCS groups in the region. 91 North West organisations responded and the key findings were used to evidence the real issues being faced by the sector.
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Gathering and making use of information and knowledge Commissioning valuable research
Delivering a busy calendar of events and training
VSNW involved a wide range of voluntary sector partners in discussions with NHS North West commissioning staff and the Department of Health to examine the commissioning support needs of the ‘new’ health system, and to understand what role the sector should play. We then commissioned Mark Gamsu, visiting professor at Leeds Metropolitan University to carry out research to better understand the current VCS commissioning picture and potential future gaps. His report set out a wide range of learning and an accompanying series of case studies showed how North West organisations were already key to tackling health needs in their areas. The Tameside Race Equality Framework was developed by One North West, working with Tameside Third Sector Coalition and local BME VCS organisations to consult on local priorities around race equality. This developed into a framework for local action, understanding and partnership between the public and voluntary sector. It also provided a starting point for discussing social value and has led to a stronger and more collaborative local VCS.
As well as the consultation forums and our conference, VSNW also organised a range of events including training on the Open Public Services White Paper with Parliamentary Outreach and a TUPE information event. We also supported an ACEVO Youth Unemployment Commission roundtable in Manchester, a series of Urban Forum localism events in St Helens, Tameside and Burnley, and a Clinks sustainable funding roadshow. This extremely successful joint VSNW/5 Counties Partnership/Clinks roadshow gave delegates important knowledge about commissioning arrangements for provision of services in the North West.
“In trying to keep up with the huge flow of health and social care information, Macc’s Health and Wellbeing Forum members agreed that VSNW’s Health Bulletins were extremely helpful in communicating key regional and national health & social care issues for the sector. Macc will continue to forward VSNW’s bulletins which enables us to focus on bringing together local information about developments and changes to the health and social care system.” Manchester Alliance for Community Care
Continuing to deliver our important communications function It was another busy year for VSNW’s communications which continued to increase the profile of VSNW, our work and networks. The VSNW website is well used by those looking for the latest North West VCS news, events and publications, and we were regularly contacted to promote the work and events of local, regional and national organisations. Our profile on Twitter grew significantly with a more than 300 per cent increase in the number of followers which has further widened our reach, and enabled us to respond quicker and have more regular dialogue with other organisations in the region and nationally. Over 1,000 contacts receive the threeweekly VSNW Bulletin and this has stayed relatively steady, which is especially positive considering the reduction in numbers of VCS staff and organisations over the last year. We increased the number of bulletins produced this year with more editions of the VSNW Bulletin, the Health Bulletin and the North West Environment Link Green Bullet. We’ve also issued 22 policy briefings produced on a range of topics including the Cabinet Office’s Lottery draft policy directive, homelessness and equalities.
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Developing, supporting and engaging with networks Employment, Learning & Skills This network continued to meet regularly and grew in membership. The Work Programme was the main focus and the network’s work on this issue, in partnership with groups in the region, has again been at the heart of the sector’s national efforts to influence government. We have worked with NCVO, ACEVO and Volunteering England as well as a strong consortium of Tier 2 providers in London. Meetings were held with DWP and OCS ministers, senior DWP civil servants, and North West prime contractors. Work Programme issues were raised in the media and we will continue to monitor and highlight relevant issues to government. The network also further developed its relationships with the Skills Funding Agency, the National Apprenticeship Service, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and the JobCentre Plus Northwest Stakeholder Forum with the aim of seeking to influence future policy.
North West Infrastructure Partnership NWIP had another successful year, discussing current issues affecting the VCS in the North West via quarterly meetings and and regular communications. The partnership remains a major way by which VSNW is able to engage with key infrastructure organisations in the region. There were presentations at NWIP meetings this year from
Susanna McGibbon (DCLG localities lead for Lancashire and Cumbria), Neil McInroy (CLES), Joe Irvin (NAVCA) and Tessa Wiley, Regional Manager (Development) for Big Lottery Fund. Nick Hurd MP, minister for civil society was guest speaker at a NWIP organised roundtable event for frontline VCS organisations.
One North West As the regional BME network, One North West works with black and minority ethnic voluntary and community sector organisations across the region to achieve greater race equality and improved social justice. One of their main projects was The Voice of the North which brought together a partnership of organisations working for and with young people in the north of England. The majority of the young people involved were from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and their views formed the basis for a report written on the major challenges for young people in the North. This report was sent to the secretary of state for work and pensions and it was also presented to three leading universities to consider the impacts of current reforms on these challenges.
Children & Young People This network not only strengthened its direct links to local representative leads across the region but it also increased the number of groups engaged. The network lead worked closely with a strong steering group whose members have again and again demonstrated overwhelming commitment to supporting the sector through their own resources, expertise and strategic work. The network held regular meetings with attendance from representatives from almost every lead local authority area in the North West. It also linked groups with national programmes, and provided intelligence and perspectives on issues such as the new health structures, influencing health and wellbeing boards, workforce, safeguarding, outcomes and quality. The network held four further policy and networking events in partnership with the North West Regional Youth Work Unit. These events explored a range of areas including the future of services to children and young people, and effective commissioning for young people’s services.
Volunteering The volunteering network activity over the past year focused on supporting joinedup work by the two regional volunteering networks – Volunteering North West and the English Volunteering Development Council. Network attendance remained steady and a highly successful joint event was held to
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celebrate the European Year of Volunteering 2011. Policy successes included work with Volunteering England to gain commitment from DWP that Work Programme providers should pay for VCS services that help people into work. Discussions were also initiated with trade unions to develop a regional understanding of the uses of volunteering in local public service reforms.
North West Equality and Diversity Group This network continued to provide a space to communicate and highlight the changes happening in the equality framework, build links with local authority equalities leads, highlight key equalities issues, promote good practice and build good relationships with organisations such as the General
Medical Council, the British Council and the EHRC. There are now over 300 individuals involved in the work of this network and regular network meetings have helped to maintain conversations between regional and subregional VCS equalities groups. Representatives from the network have attended the English Regional Equalities Network for Human Rights and built links with other national partners such as the Equality and Diversity Forum, Government Equalities Office, and the British Institute for Human Rights to increase the influence of the North West. The network partnered a wellattended North West Poverty and Human Rights Roadshow.
Environment Support for the North West Environment Link network remained healthy and the number of groups involved now exceeds 120. The Green Bullet ebulletin has been an important tool in growing the networks links to community groups by providing opportunities to respond on consultations and a space for groups to promote their work and events. The network lobbied on a number of significant environmental and social issues including a large campaign to influence the National Planning Policy Framework. It also provided information on the new local nature partnerships and supported VCS engagement in the development of bids. They built a strong relationship with the Environment Agency and engaged with the emerging local enterprise partnerships’ growth agendas.
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Staff and trustees VSNW Staff
VSNW Trustee Board
Chief Executive Richard Caulfield Finance and Administration Manager Anna Sevink Policy and Research Manager Warren Escadale Regional VCS Workforce and Skills Coordinator Karen Rigg (left November 2011) Policy & Network Officer (Health & Social Care) Margaret McLeod Communications & Information Officer Helen Walker Hannah Horton (left September 2011) Representation Project Manager Martin Preston Laura Tweddle (left September 2011) PROMiSE Network Coordinator Andrew Harrison (left July 2011) Administrator Chantel Braithwaite Supported Housing & Homelessness Coordinator Martin Morton One North West Coordinator Daniel Silver
Debbie Dalby (Chair) The Church of England Diocese of Manchester Charles Shaw (Vice Chair) Oldham CVYS & NW VYS Mick Warner (Treasurer) Coopted (resigned October 2011) Juan Shimmin Action for Blind People (resigned September 2011) John Devine OBE Churches Officer for the North West Karen Bowen Cumbria CVS Jeff Scales Locality Alex Whinnom GMCVO Matt Harby Lesbian and Gay Foundation Simon Thorrington Charity Bank Kirit Patel Oxfam (appointed September 2011)
Design: Smith+Bell (www.smithplusbell.com) Print: The Russell Press (www.russellpress.com)
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Thank you to our members Full members ACT – Action with Communities in Cumbria Action for Blind People Action for Children (North West) Age Concern in the North West Alzheimer’s Society Back on Track Barnardo’s North West Blackburn with Darwen CVS Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Society for the Blind Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde CVS Bolton CVS British Trust for Conservation Volunteers Burnley, Pendle & Rossendale CVS Bury 3rd Sector Development Agency Carlisle Diocesan Board for Social Responsibility Cartwheel Arts Ltd Cheshire Community Action Cheshire Community Voice Chester Voluntary Action Children England NW Children’s Society Citizens Advice – North West Region Community Futures Community Matters Community North West Contact A Family CONTACT Cheshire Support Group CPRE NW Regional Group Creative Support Crewe YMCA Crossroads Association Cumbria CVS CVS Rochdale CVS West Lancashire Deafway Diocese of Liverpool, Church & Society East Lancashire County Scout Council Ellesmere Port & Neston Ass of Voluntary and Communty Orgs EMERGE Recycling Federation of Cityfarms and Community Gardens Friends of the Earth NW George House Trust Girlguiding North West England GM Centre for Voluntary Organisation Greater Manchester Pay and Employment Rights Advice Service Greater Manchester Play Resource Unit
Groundwork Pennine Lancashire Halton & St Helens VCA HBHG Development Trust Ltd Heart of Mersey Henshaw’s Society for Blind People Hibbert Community Regeneration Agency Ltd Home Start North Regional Office Hyndburn & RibbleValley CVS Impact Housing Association Ltd Keep Britain Tidy Kings Cross Project Lancashire Council for Voluntary Youth Services Lancashire Disability Information Federation (Access Lancashire) Lancashire Learning Consortium CIC Lancashire MIND Lancashire Wide Network for Minority Ethnic Women Lancaster District CVS Liverpool Charity & Voluntary Services Local Solutions Locality Manchester Alliance for Community Care Manchester Diocesan Board for Ministry and Society Merci Merseyside Disability Federation National Childminding Association North West Regional Youth Work Unit (NWRYWU) North West Rural Community Councils North West Waste Forum NW Regional CVYS NW TAR NW Tenants & Residents Assembly Our Life Pendle Pakistan Welfare Association Preston & Western Lancs Racial Equality Council Preston Community Network Preston YMCA Relate Lancashire and Cumbria RSPB North West Regional Office Rural Stress Helpline Sahara in Preston Salford CVS Sefton CVS St Loye’s Foundation St. Ann’s Hospice Tameside Association of Community Organisations The Lesbian & Gay Foundation
The Liverpool Coaching Company The Prince’s Trust North West Regional Office The Stroke Association NW Region The Together Trust The Wildlife Trust (Lancashire, Manchester & N Merseyside) Together (for Mental Wellbeing) Trafford CVS Voluntary and Community Action Wirral Wai Yin Chinese Women Society West Pennine Housing Association Wigan & Leigh CVS Youth Action
Associate members Adrian Ashton Age Concern Lancashire Andrew McGuirk BASSAC Bolton Society for Blind People Charity Bank (North West Region) COMPASS CPRE Lancashire Cumbria Rural Citizens Advice Bureau CVS Cheshire East CX Limited trading as The Via Partnership Disability Equality (NW) Ltd DISC Federation of Irish Societies Firmstart (Manchester) CIC First Asian Support Trust Halton YMCA Ltd Independence For You Knowsley Advocacy Hub KUC Lancashire Global Education Centre Lancaster Citizens Advice Bureau Motor Neurone Disease Association New Era Enterprises (E Lancs) Ltd NHS Western Cheshire PCT People’s Voice Media Refugee Action RNID Ruth Willis Associates Shelter Speke Training & Education Centre Standguide SW Burnley Community Enterprise Ltd Swanswell Charitable Trust Synergy Development Training The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (NW) The Place2Be Train 2000 Ltd Trapeze Consulting Tree Frog Enterprises Volunteer Reading Help
This year we received funding from and/or worked in partnership with the following organisations:
Contact us Voluntary Sector North West St Thomas Centre Ardwick Green North Manchester M12 6FZ 0161 276 9300 email@example.com www.vsnw.org.uk ÂŠ VSNW 2012 Company limited by guarantee registered in England no. 3988903 Registered charity no. 1081654