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Supporting voluntary and community action

October / November / December 2013

In this issue: Voscur’s Annual Conference and Social Impact Awards 2013 Black History Month Autumn/Winter training Social value and commissioning Thinking sustainably Bristol Women’s Commission Bristol’s rising child population – a strategic response and more...

A portrait photograph by artist Luke Mitchell from the LinkAge ‘Living Legacies’ exhibition which will feature in Black History Month this October to celebrate the lives, histories and cultures of local BME elders. See p12.


“As always – a professional, friendly Voscur event.” Attendee, Voscur Annual Event 2012

The Voluntary and Community Sector’s Role in a Healthy City Voscur’s Annual Conference and Social Impact Awards Wednesday 6 November 2013, 11am-4pm The Station, Silver Street, Bristol, BS1 2AG

Featuring guest speaker Janet Maxwell – Director of Public Health and The ‘Voscurs’ Categories for this year’s awards include: • • • • •

Longest-Serving Volunteer Community Venue of the Year Best Idea into Action “Thanks for Supporting the Sector” Thriving Bristol

“Very well organised, informative and useful.” Attendee, Voscur Annual Event 2012

See p6-8 for more information.

To book your place, visit: www.voscur.org/annualconference-2013 or call 0117 909 9949.

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October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Contents Voscur

Compact

4 Editorial

20-21 Social value – level the playing field in commissioning and procurement

5

New members

6-8

Voscur’s Annual Conference and Social Impact Awards 2013

9

New futures through volunteering

10-13 Black History Month

Voice and Influence 22-23 What is voice and influence? 24-26 Bristol’s rising child population – a strategic response 28

Prioritising spend – the ‘zero based’ approach

14-15 Upcoming training

29

Bristol Women’s Commission

16

Training that’s right up your street

17

Thinking sustainably

30-31 Open space – a productive VCS Assembly conference

18

It’s good to talk – Communicate! 2013

Support Hub

Keep up to date with Voscur online:

www.facebook.com/voscur

twitter.com/voscur

www.linkedin.com/company/voscur

www.youtube.com/voscur

Thrive! is also available online as a pdf at www.voscur.org/magazine. If you require it in another format, please get in touch on 0117 909 9949. Disclaimer: some of the views expressed in this publication are those of individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Voscur. Publications, events and services mentioned in Thrive! are not necessarily endorsed by Voscur.

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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Dear members and friends when we met him during the

commissioners, and opportunities

summer. Whilst reassuring us

for local organisations – we will

that he understood our anxieties,

provide more information on

the Minister pointed out that as

these changes in the next issue

public funding reduces, the

of Thrive!

sector must look to philanthropy and to relationships with the business sector. Of course, such arrangements are important; many organisations benefit from generous donors, active volunteers and business support, but we know that groups and organisations that have emerged from community responses to local need, and that Wendy Stephenson Chief Executive

provide excellent services, are

Another year… another AGM

Voscur has been part of a small

coming up… we look forward

cross-sector working group that is

to seeing you there.

looking at this issue. Following this

passed since we were talking to the Mayoral candidates at our last AGM. A big issue for members at that time was commissioning. So what’s happened since then?

work, Bristol City Council is due to launch an updated ‘Commissioning Intentions’ interactive website in October 2013. This website will provide information about the Council’s commissioning that will make it easier for groups

groups’ concerns, whilst offering

to find out about commissioning

practical support.

opportunities. The Council will also

hopes for positive outcomes for local voluntary and community sector groups in commissioning processes. We raised concerns about the exclusion of smaller organisations from commissioning processes with the Minister for Civil Society

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incorporated into policy locally – see pages 20 and 21. We will be offering a two-day training course that aims to ‘guide you through the commercial skills required to succeed in a world of subcontracts, competition and payment-by-results’ – see pages 14 and 15 for more details.

of commissioning, Voscur is working on behalf of the sector in many other areas, as I hope that you will see from the pages of the magazine. Best wishes Wendy Stephenson Chief Executive

intentions in a searchable format

Voscur has continued to raise

The Mayor tells us that he

to ensure that Social Value is

As well as addressing the issue

under threat.

It doesn’t feel like a year has

Voscur is working with partners

publish new consortium guidance, which should help to address some of the issues that groups have experienced when bidding

Key to symbols Equalities Article Training

as part of consortia. European Union procurement regulations are due to change next year; we hope that this will create new freedoms for

Information & Resources Event

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


New Voscur members Awareness and Community Bridging

Future Prospects Social Research

0117 968 7029 devonport@btinternet.com

07732 337 802 ada25@cam.ac.uk

Borderlands (South West) Ltd

The Golden Hill Community Garden

0117 983 3920 j.flannery@btinternet.com www.borderlands.uk.com Bristol Black Carers 0117 314 4666 sam.lane@bristolblackcarers.org.uk www.bristolblackcarers.org.uk Bristol Charities 0117 930 0304 sarah@bristolcharities.org.uk www.bristolcharities.org.uk Bristol Parent Carers 0117 939 6645 ex 204 info@bristolparentcarers.org.uk www.bristolparentcarers.org.uk Dame Emily Gateway Club 0117 977 5090 Dua Women’s Support Group 07735 272 797 imanasghar@hotmail.com

07506 905 394 ghcgarden@gmail.com www. thegoldenhillcommunitygarden.com Growing Support 07966 525 697 growingsupport@hotmail.co.uk www.growingsupport.co.uk

Odyssey Charity 07500 352 158 brian.bingham@odysseycharity .org.uk Playing Out 0117 953 7167 alice@playingout.net www.playingout.net Salvation Army – Logos House 0117 955 2821 matthew.morgan@salvationarmy .org.uk www.salvationarmy.org.uk Send a Cow

IC-Visual Lab 07949 795 829 info@icvl.co.uk www.icvl.co.uk John Dillon Foundation 0117 938 1980 midford25@yahoo.com LinkAge

01225 874 222 teresa.barnett@sendacow.org.uk www.sendacow.org.uk Women’s Independent Alcohol Support 0117 942 3634 wiaswomen@gmail.com www.wiaswomen.org.uk

0117 353 3042 clairemiller@ linkagewestofengland.org.uk www.LinkAgeBristol.org.uk

Have you got what it takes to be a Voscur Trustee? Good governance is at the heart of Voscur. This is your opportunity to join or nominate someone to join Voscur’s Board of Trustees. To find out more, read the enclosed flyer, contact Voscur on (0117) 909 9949 or email: info@voscur.org An online nomination form can be found at: www.voscur.org/voscur-trusteenomination-2013 Deadline for nominations: 5pm on Wednesday 23 October 2013

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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Voscur’s Annual Conference and Social Impact Awards 2013 We are looking forward to our 2013 Annual Conference on the 6 November, and hope that you will be able to join us. Our theme this year is ‘A Healthy City’, and we are pleased that Janet Maxwell, Bristol’s Director of Public Health is our guest speaker. Voscur members play a huge role in the health and wellbeing of Bristol – providing volunteering opportunities, neighbourhood facilities, arts activities, older people’s clubs, learning and skills, work with families and young

Voscur’s Annual Conference and Social Impact Awards Sponsor 2013

people…as you know, the list is endless.

for an organisation or group that you would like to celebrate.

You also know that the environment that we are working in is getting more and more challenging. That’s why we think that the time is right to revive the ‘Voscurs’ – our way of celebrating the work done by local voluntary and community sector organisations.

Neil Cleevely from NAVCA will be coming along to present Voscur with its own NAVCA Quality Award this year – so we will have something to celebrate too.

We would love to be able to present everyone with an award – especially in these times. As that’s not possible, we hope that you will join in anyway, and nominate and vote

As usual, there will be lots of opportunities for networking and catching up with colleagues from across the city, so do book your place (details on the inside cover) and we’ll see you on 6 November.

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October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


The following awards/‘Voscurs’ will be presented:

Photo by ashleymdeason

1. Longest-Serving Volunteer Award* Award for an individual who has made a difference in their community or across the city, through volunteering, campaigning or otherwise making an excellent contribution to community activity in Bristol. This must be someone who is a volunteer, or on a Board of Directors.

2. Community Venue of the Year Award* Photo by SITC Detroit

Award for the best community-run, publicly accessible space in Bristol.

Photo by EcoVirtual

3. Best Idea into Action Award* Award for the voluntary or community project that has had a great idea and put it into practice. This could be new and different ways of involving people in volunteering, new ways of communicating, different ways of delivering services, or money-saving ideas, for example.

Photo by Carlsphotography

4. “Thanks for Supporting the Sector” Award This award recognises the exceptional support given to a voluntary and community sector group or organisation by an individual, a statutory sector (local authority, NHS, police, fire service, etc.) officer or department, or a private company. This will be someone who has gone out of their way to help, and/or who has demonstrated a degree of flexibility in their work.

Photo by James F Clay

5. Thriving Bristol Award* This award is to celebrate an organisation or group that, by its actions, has improved the health and wellbeing of [a group of] people in the city. This could be through any one of a range of activities such as arts, play, sports or advice.

A shortlist of nominees will be published on our website on Monday 7 October: categories marked * will be decided by a public vote between 7 October and 1 November. To cast your vote, visit: goo.gl/3VW9YO

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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Two previous ‘Voscur’ winners Redcatch Community Centre Winner of Voscur’s Community Venue of the Year in 2009. A figure-drawing workshop at Redcatch

Since 2009 we have continued refurbishment of the building and facilities on offer to the local community. We now have an AstroTurf, all-weather play space for children’s groups, and a new noticeboard to keep local people informed about activities at the centre, as well as a range of other improvements to the main space and kitchen to make it a safe and welcoming Centre for all.

In 2012 an event team was formed, bringing in six new volunteers interested in this aspect of community involvement. ‘Entertaining Local Knowle’ is bringing professional arts to Knowle; plays, shows, entertainment, art days and events have been hugely successful in engaging a wide range of people and have made good use of the newly refurbished Centre. These events include two productions from the Ministry of Entertainment, two plays and a free show for children from Chris Harris, and a figure-drawing workshop. A magic evening and

family puppet show are planned, plus ‘Arts in the Park’ in Redcatch, with artists, sculptors, music, dance, drama, workshops and demonstrations in 2014. All in all it has been a very busy and exciting time for the Centre since winning the Voscur Community Venue of the Year Award back in 2009 and we hope to remain a hub for our local community for many years to come. For more information about Redcatch Community Centre, visit: www.redcatchcc.com

Studio Upstairs Winner of Voscur’s ‘I Will Survive’ Award in 2009. Photo by Jon Craig

Studio Upstairs is a charity that provides artistic resources and therapeutic support to people experiencing mental and emotional distress. Since winning the ‘I Will Survive’ Award in ‘09, Studio Upstairs has continued to build on its core mission of supporting

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recovery through creativity. The community of artists has taken part in numerous exhibitions and workshops in Bristol, the South West and London and held annual open studios. The range of work has included drawing workshops at the Bristol Museum; participation in Southbank and Easton Art Trails; showing work at Chapel Arts in Bath; a group show at London’s Together Gallery; and working with the Media Trust to create a film about the Studio. Since 2011, the organisation has

acted to meet the challenge of achieving long-term sustainability and succeeded in attracting new funders. The Studio gained the support of Arts Council England for its ‘Drawing Through’ project, which culminated in exhibitions across Bristol. Another highlight was the exhibition ‘One In Four’ at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

For more information about Studio Upstairs, visit: www.studioupstairs.org.uk

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


New futures through volunteering Naomi Salisbury, Project Co-ordinator at Volunteer Bristol, shares a local success story from their Volunteer Support Programme, and talks in more detail about the future of local volunteering services. We know from experience that some people need a bit more help with finding the right volunteer placement for them. Increasing the opportunities for marginalised people to improve their wellbeing and employability through volunteering, along with improving the quality of volunteer management in the city, are two of the key drivers for Voscur and Volunteer Bristol’s plans to merge. Fiona’s story demonstrates the impact of this work. Fiona came to Volunteer Bristol after significant challenges in her life, including periods of depression and substance misuse. Wanting to build up her confidence and regain a sense of purpose, she joined our Volunteer Support Programme early in 2012. Funded by the Big Lottery and designed to strengthen individual and organisational support for volunteering across England, the programme was part of a study investigating the impact of volunteering on health, wellbeing and employability. Evidence shows the value of volunteering for improved wellbeing, but also that people most at risk of poor wellbeing may experience the most barriers to volunteering*.

Mentors and mentees meet regularly to plan goals and discuss challenges

Our programme therefore supported people who had experienced mental health, substance misuse or insecure housing issues to move into volunteering through mentoring, one-to-one support and outreach workshops. It also provided volunteer management support to organisations. Fiona worked with a mentor and they explored volunteering opportunities, applications, references, disclosure and accessibility issues. At the end of the programme, Fiona had secured one volunteering opportunity and had an interview for another. “I won’t stop even if I don’t get the particular position I’ve applied for,” said Fiona. “I feel like I’ve got the confidence now – it’s opened up the future and it’s turned me around.” It’s not just Fiona who has benefitted; after two years, the positive impact is clear. Almost 40% of participants have secured a volunteering role and most

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

report increased confidence and wellbeing. Many enrolled on courses, improved their CVs and got into paid employment. Resources are being developed which draw on the learning of the project, and a good practice matrix for working with volunteers with extra support needs will be launched in late 2013. Building on the achievements of this work, Volunteer Bristol and Voscur are planning to support more people who, like Fiona, are recovering from substance misuse issues as part of a new service led by Bristol Drugs Project from November. * goo.gl/zO4ZA3

For more information about the project, Volunteer Bristol or good practice resources, contact Volunteer Bristol on 0117 989 7733 or email vsp@volunteerbristol.org.uk

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Black History Month – fundamental or flawed? Well-known actor Morgan Freeman has publicly condemned Black History Month, asking, “Why would you relegate my history to a single month? I don’t want a Black History Month.”

Here in the UK, Black History

just from one perspective.” Mr

Month (BHM) was launched in

Osman works in schools to raise

1987 and takes place across the

cultural awareness and feels it is

country every October. However,

important to broaden people’s

it is argued by some that BHM is

perceptions away from what they

a ready-made excuse to ignore

see on the street. His teaching

African history for the other

explains why Somalis came to the

11 months of the year and

UK, and what the UK means to

perpetuates the idea that Black

Somalis and the wider population.

history is somehow separate from British history.

Hilary Banks, Director of Signpost & Rite Direkshon, takes this

Keen to explore this issue

argument further: “the attempt

further, we spoke to some local

to obliterate cultures is an

groups about what BHM means

attempt to wipe out humanity,”

to them and the communities

she says, arguing that history

they support.

is an overly holistic practice, so

Mr Dalmar Osman, Director of the Somali Development Group, shares a similar view to Morgan Freeman: “People need to learn about the history,” he said; while BHM celebrates the history of different Black communities and this is important, he stressed that this should be part of the everyday school curriculum, not only celebrated during October. “History needs to be taught from different angles,” he added, “not

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condensing it to one month does not capture the diversity within cultures. She does acknowledge however that the original concept, ‘Negro month’, had been started with good intentions, as the stories of Black people were not told, or what was out there was being ‘mistold’. Hilary’s charity

“History needs to be taught from different angles, not just from one perspective.” Dalmar Osman, Somali Development Group

In distilling ‘Black history’ into one month, there is also some discomfort about the overly simplistic ‘hero worshipping’ of complex historical figures*. Significant people, and indeed events, need more longevity and meaning if they are to be truly understood. In contrast, Signpost, along with many other groups in Bristol, tells the story of the people it works with every single day, to build understanding amongst and between changing communities.

aims to improve the lives of

Meanwhile across the UK, councils

Afrikan/Caribbean and dual-

and community organisations

heritage people in Bristol and

continue to set aside resources

build social capital in communities.

for BHM every year; in some

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Commemorating 50 years on from the Bristol bus boycott: important local figures who have campaigned for race equality in Bristol with the Bristol Mayor.

instances there has been uproar

exists to provide support to

when funding has not been

families and young people, to

forthcoming. Many feel that a

enhance life opportunities and

specific period focusing on Black

to raise aspirations.

history can be an open door to deeper awareness-raising.

Despite the varying criticisms, in Bristol, BHM is widely

Delroy Hibbert, project manager

celebrated, and used as a

at Full Circle in Bristol, believes

vehicle to explore the culture

BHM is a good educational tool

and history of Britain’s African

for young people to learn about

and Caribbean communities.

their culture, history and role

People and groups come together

models, which are sometimes

to organise a programme of

portrayed negatively in the

events that includes social and

mainstream media. But he is

political debate, arts, exhibitions

also keen for BHM to be better

and workshops.

integrated with education, especially British history. “People remember from history the World Wars for example,” he said, “but many people do not hear about the African, Caribbean and Asian people who fought on behalf of the British army.” Full Circle

Perhaps there is scope for those who are not 100% behind BHM as a concept to use it as a springboard to wider discussions about how it can be improved? * Guardian UK, ‘Black History Month has to be more than hero worship’ 1 October 2010

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

You can find out about Bristol’s 2013 BHM programme on: www.bristolbmevoice.org.uk and national activity: www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk

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Living Legacies One event taking place during Black History Month is LinkAge’s ‘Living Legacies’ exhibition. Taking the theme of ‘Brilliant in Bristol – many neighbourhoods, many cultures, one city’, LinkAge worked in collaboration with local artist Luke Mitchell to put together an exhibition of portraits of local Black and minority ethnic (BME) elders that portray an insight into their lives, histories and cultures.

Photos by Luke Mitchell

All the portraits are of members of the LinkAge BME Elders Groups Consortium. This bi-monthly forum was created to enable groups to come together and share knowledge, skills and best practice to support their continuation. LinkAge is helping to build their sustainability, promote and develop activities, source training and share resources. By supporting these groups, Linkage is helping to keep older people engaged in their community and subsequently preventing isolation and loneliness. The groups include Golden Agers, Malcolm X Elders, Dhek Bhal,

“It is impossible not to admire the

The ‘Living Legacies’ exhibition

Evergreens, Somali Elders, Bristol

ambition, energy and enthusiasm

will be in the foyer at City Hall

Older People’s Forum, Bristol

of these groups, all run by older

(formerly the Council House)

Indian Association and Bristol and

people and some run totally by

from 28 October to 1 November.

Avon Chinese Women’s Group.

volunteers. It is a privilege to get

It is open to the public and free

Almost all of these groups have

to know these older Bristolians

of charge.

been running for upwards of 20

who arrived from other continents

years, developed out of the need

over 50 years ago, with hopes and

to support minority community

dreams and whose stories weave

older people, and have continued

a rich tapestry of all our local

ever since.

history,” says Shelagh Hetreed from LinkAge.

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For more information about Linkage call 0117 353 3042 or visit www.linkagebristol.org.uk

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Bristol’s BME Community Fair and Awards Ceremony 30 October 2013, 2-5pm, City Hall

Babassa Youth Empowerment Project talk to local people at the recent BME Fair

The 4th annual Bristol BME Community Fair will offer fantastic opportunities for BME-led groups to showcase their work and services delivered in the city, and provide networking with other providers from both voluntary and public agencies. This year’s fair will also feature an awards ceremony, celebrating excellence in the BME sector. Nominations close on the 7 October and the following awards will be presented: • Young BME community motivator. • Improving BME lives. • Engaging in, and promoting, services to BME communities. • Tackling inequality, exclusion or disadvantage for a specific group. • Demonstrating resilience through difficult times. To book a free stall space (closing date 18 October – restrictions apply) and for more information please contact: simon.nelson@bristol.gov.uk or call 0117 922 2358. Bristol BME Voice is providing a free presentation skills training session on 23 October. This is open to any BME-led groups. This will be very useful to groups who want to market their organisation and services effectively. Limited spaces, so please contact us for more information: mobs@voscur.org or visit www.bristolbmevoice.org.uk

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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Support Hub training The Support Hub is offering an exciting range of courses between October and December to help your organisation engage in fundraising, influence commissioning processes, manage volunteers, support trustees and more. For all of these courses, and others planned for next year, visit: www.supporthub.org.uk/training-hub. Voscur also offers in-house and bespoke training where you need support with a specific subject, or several staff need the same course and it’s more cost-effective to train them together. Contact the training team on 0117 909 9949 to discuss your organisation’s needs.

Finance Forum – Record Keeping, Legal Requirements and Data Protection

your trustee team, this course is designed to support

3 October 2013, 10am-12pm

or already have some trustee experience.

Voscur’s Finance Forum offers you a chance to meet other people with financial responsibility, learn from each other by sharing skills and experience, and focus on a current issue at each forum – for example real-time PAYE, full cost recovery, VAT, etc.

your development beyond the basics of being on a board. It is a natural follow-on for people who have previously completed ‘Being a Good Trustee’

Writing Small Fundraising Bids 24 October 2013, 9:30am-3:30pm Make it easy for funders to say “yes” to your bids. Whether you want £200 for a community event or

Let’s Talk about Community Interest Companies: A Workshop

£2,000 for new equipment for your services, you

9 October 2013, 1:30pm-4pm

strong bid that’s appealing to funders, and how to

In the last few years more and more Community Interest Companies (or CICs) have started up. What are they? How are they different from other community sector organisations? What

need a strong, clear proposal. This one-day course will take you through the essentials for writing a avoid the most common pitfalls.

Commercial Skills Masterclass for Public Service Delivery

makes them successful?

13 and 14 November 2013, 9:30am-4pm

This half-day workshop will explore the pros and

This course provides an excellent opportunity for the

cons of CICs, will analyse a very successful local CIC,

voluntary, community and social enterprise sector

Bristol Together, and will give you the opportunity

to increase its skills for winning and delivering public

to decide if a CIC is right for your needs.

sector contracts.

Being an Even Better Trustee

The masterclass offers case studies, practical

10 October 2013, 6:30pm-9:30pm

expert facilitators. It will guide you through the

Focused on governance, managing risk, effective meetings and how to make the most of the skills in

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commercial tools and the direct experiences of business skills required to succeed in an environment that includes subcontracting, competitive tendering and payment by results.

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Campaigning for Impact 19 November 2013, 9:30am-12:30pm From the abolition of slavery and universal suffrage to keeping services open and changing local policy, campaigning has been the engine of extraordinary change. But despite an enviable track record of success, it remains widely underused and misunderstood as a tool for change in the voluntary and community sector. This three-hour session aims to address this lack of use with a fun, practical and no-nonsense introduction to campaigning. We’ll cover the nuts-and-bolts of the process, common tactics, the change it can (and can’t) achieve, and enable you to either get started in campaigning or evaluate whether it’s the right approach to serve your beneficiaries or community.

Difficult Issues in Volunteer Management 21 November 2013, 9:30am-3:30pm Designed for anyone who manages volunteers, this course will help both volunteers and organisations get the most out of working together. It covers identifying problems and practical approaches to solving them, how to set effective boundaries and manage expectations, avoiding common issues before they arise, and effective two-way communication.

Comments, Content and Conflict: Good Practice in Social Media

when do I stay away? How should I interact with young people? Should I moderate comments? As well as providing some guiding principles to bear in mind, this session will give examples of how enjoyable and productive using social media can be!

A Strategic Approach to Commissioning 5 December 2013, 9:30am-3:30pm Is your organisation delivering a public contract, or would you like to? Do you understand the risks as well as potential gains involved in commissioning? How might winning a contract change the way you work? This course will explore how you can influence commissioning processes, different approaches to developing a bid, options for developing partnerships and realistic planning. We will use examples of successful approaches and scenarios based on Bristol City Council’s commissioning intentions.

Introduction to Quality Marks 12 December 2013, 9:30am-3:30pm If you’re thinking about applying for a quality mark, or wondering if it’s the right decision for your organisation, then this course, delivered by the Charities Evaluation Service, could be for you. It will take you through the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches and the costs and benefits of applying for a quality mark, and will provide lots of practical tips for how to do this.

4 December 2013, 9:30am-12:30pm Are you building a social media presence for your organisation? This interactive session will encourage you to reflect on the kind of things you share and help you avoid some of the common pitfalls. Using video clips, practical exercises and scenario work you’ll be invited to ponder questions including: when do I wade into an online conversation and

To book or to find out more, please go to: www.supporthub.org.uk/training-hub Alternatively, you can call us on 0117 909 9949.

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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Training that’s right up your street If your organisation needs to develop skills in a particular area, then you are probably not alone. Photo by ILRI

Often the issues that are faced by different voluntary and community organisations are very similar. It is likely that another group based nearby also wants to increase their fundraising skills for example. Organisations doing similar work often have training needs in common. Voscur can provide a training session tailored to the needs of organisations based in particular areas or that share a common theme in their work. Earlier this year, Delroy Hibbert from Full Circle contacted Voscur to enquire about training on the responsibilities of trustees. “I knew that there were other groups in St Pauls who would find the training useful, so I contacted people that I thought would be interested,” he said. Trustees from four other organisations wanted to come along. Delroy arranged a venue in St Pauls and Voscur planned a session that would be relevant for all of the organisations. The feedback on the training was positive and Delroy felt that it had been a success. “I would

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definitely recommend this to other organisations,” he said. “I think this training is essential for anyone who takes on the role of a trustee.” Hosting training in the local area means that it is easier for people to access, plus there is the opportunity to make new contacts and to learn from other people who are doing similar work. The content of the training session can also focus on a specific theme, as was the case with WECIL. Their Lottery-funded Peer Support Project asked Voscur to provide a training session for disabled volunteers. The volunteers came from a range of areas but with the

common motivation to raise money to deliver small-scale projects for other disabled people. WECIL hosted the course at the Vassall Centre and managed the administration of the event. Ann Hewson, one of WECIL’s Peer Support Volunteers who attended the training, found the session useful and enjoyed meeting people from other organisations. “All of the tutors were absolutely first class,” she said. “I would recommend them to anyone.”

If you would like to talk about your training needs, see the information on p19.

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Support Hub

Thinking sustainably Simon Hankins, Chief Executive of Southville Community Development Association, shares his thoughts on building a sustainable organisation to survive in these tough economic times... We are constantly being challenged to explain how any new service will become sustainable; funders want to know how we will keep the service that they have paid for going after their funding runs out – a very good question! I have always wanted to put that question back to the funder – after all, they must have ‘heard it all’ and, if they check, maybe they know what works; but I’ve never been brave enough to ask. Each organisation secures funding via a slightly different mix. I guess the trick is to ensure that the income is sufficient to keep the core organisation functioning plus current (impactful) services going and, where possible, to expand those to support more people, plus to pilot new services. For us (the Southville Community Development Association (SCDA)) we have developed a sustainable model based on social enterprise principles, whilst not losing sight of our charitable status and objects. So what does that mean?

Local residents enjoying an Olympic garden party at the Southville Centre

Basically, that we levy a charge for most of our services, many of which provide us with surplus income that we use to support other services that make a deficit; we also use some of the surplus to maintain the Southville Centre. Operating as a social enterprise means that we apply commercial strategies to maximise improvements in social and environmental wellbeing, rather than maximising profits for external shareholders. It does not mean that we do not make a surplus; all organisations need to make a profit in order to survive, evolve and develop. Through embracing commercial strategies we are no longer reliant on any grant-funding or donations to survive; we generate sufficient income to cover our costs. That does not mean that we do not fundraise – we do. We fundraise to help pay for those services that are not sustainable as well

in a multitude of ways. We also fundraise to pilot new, innovative, higher-risk services which, if successful, we can either make sustainable by charging a realistic rate for the service, or have that part-funded through a small charge with the SCDA funding the deficit, or fully fund it whilst we fundraise to help support/cover the cost of provision. Operating in a sustainable way is not easy. For many charities it feels wrong to charge for services, for some it would be inappropriate; but, in this brave new world in which we are operating, the vast majority of charities will need to adapt and change in order to ensure they continue to secure sufficient income to survive and thrive.

For more information about the Southville Centre, visit: www.southvillecentre.org.uk

as to support our community

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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17


It’s good to talk – Communicate! 2013 Communicate 2013 was held in July of this year at the Watershed and was a huge success. Over 70 people from voluntary and community sector groups took part in a range of workshops with acta, the BBC, Calling the Shots, First Born Creatives, Knowle West Media Centre and more, and were encouraged to do just what it said on the tin – to communicate! You can listen again online (see link in the box to the right) to our

two expert speakers, Rachel Baker from the Chartered Institute of Marketing SW, and Neil Bennett, editor of BBC Points West. You can also see photos, videos and tweets from the event. It will be important to build on this learning and explore new, ever-emerging areas of charity communications and marketing. The more ahead of the game we are, the better we can play!

Keep an eye on our Support Hub website for details of future events: www.supporthub.org.uk Read all about Communicate! 2013 and access resources here: www.supporthub.org.uk/ resources/communicate-2013

Photos by Simon Weaver

@Garcia23P Thanks for a great day @voscur #voscom @1625ip will benefit as I have. Good fun too!

@rob0mitch Enjoying @wshed with #voscom today. Wonderful annual ritual keeping the social sector abreast of mystique of media. And staying connected.

@Specodi Great #Voscom ‘Excellence in Communication & Media’ day @wshed. Thank you @voscur

18 www.voscur.org

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Photo by ILRI

Does your organisation need some training? Do you know of other organisations that would be interested that: • Are based nearby? • Do similar work? • Need similar support?

“Down to earth, relevant, accessible (no long words).” Participant at marketing training, June 2013

If so, the Support Hub could come to your community to help...

You:

Support Hub:

• • • •

• Designs a tailored session on a particular topic. • Provides the training session at your venue.

Talk to the Support Hub about your idea. Tell other organisations about the session. Take bookings. Provide a room plus refreshments.

Interested? Call us: 0117 909 9949


Social value – level the playing field in commissioning and procurement Earlier in the year, Thrive! described social value as the voluntary sector’s unique selling point. “How close are we to being able to capitalise on the opportunity of social value?” asks Bristol’s Compact Liaison Officer, Mark Hubbard. The new Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 came into force earlier this year. It was heralded as good progress in that it would help to move the worlds of commissioning and procurement to take into account social aspects, as well as financial. As Baroness Stedman-Scott said in the House of Lords debate about

“The aim of the Act is to support community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises to win more public sector contracts and to change commissioning structures so that a wider definition of value rather than just financial cost is considered.” Chris White MP, who introduced the Act.

the Bill: “The opportunity that the

“Activities, approaches and services that help to deliver measurable benefits to local communities’ safety, health, prosperity and quality of life, particularly: • Supporting the local economy, including through apprenticeships, work placements, training and the use of local suppliers

Bill gives to us is to give as much

and materials.

credence to social value as to cost.

The next obvious question is

If we do not do this, then we end

‘how is social value measured

Beneficial impact on local

up knowing the cost of everything

in commissioning and

communities may also include

and the value of nothing.”

procurement processes?’

evidence of:

The new Act requires public bodies to consider improvements in social, economic and environmental wellbeing in their

The answer to this question will allow Bristol’s VCS to develop its social value and make its case in commissioning processes.

procurement processes. It has

First, it helps to know what is

been presented as an opportunity

happening with social value in

to level the playing field in

other parts of the UK. It is early

commissioning and procurement

days in the implementation of

so that the voluntary and

the Act by the public sector.

community sector (VCS) is

The following examples illustrate

better placed to win public

the diverse approaches taken by

service contracts.

local governments in response

environmental impact. • Supporting delivery of the Council’s corporate objectives. • Furthering equality and community cohesion.” The Ealing approach articulates some examples of existing contracts and services that include “an element of added social value” as follows: • Apprenticeships, work

to the Act. London Borough of Ealing – adopted this definition and integrated it into its procurement practice.

20 www.voscur.org

• Sustainability and positive

placements and local training. • Employment of people from particular disadvantaged groups.

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Residents working with Bristol City Council and Easton and Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Management to improve their local park

• Specifying use of local businesses and charities in the supply chain. • Dividing procurement into specialist lots to make it more accessible for small or specialist enterprises. • Sourcing local materials.

And in Bristol? There are several developments of social value in Bristol. In September, a round table meeting – involving VCS representatives, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, Voscur, Bristol Compact and Bristol City Council – looked

Sunderland – committed to

at the Bristol’s draft Social

including social value in contracts

Value Policy. It is anticipated

over £50,000.

that the Policy will clarify – to

Liverpool – committed to procuring services from organisations with a smaller gap between highest and lowest paid staff, and those that can demonstrate clear local benefits. Others such as Birmingham and Croydon appear to have used the Act to amend their procurement practice with a more developed outcomes-

that public sector commissioning will really value the additional benefits often delivered by the VCS. It must be noted, however, that, although the Act is expected to help, there is an expectation that the VCS will demonstrate leadership.

Bristol. It is expected to include

“The Act is not prescriptive, but empowering. It relies on civil society organisations to take the initiative and use the potential of the Act to change the way we commission services.”

elements such as the Living

Chris White MP.

commissioners and providers alike – what social value means in

Wage, training and development, and the Bristol Pound. There are other examples in a previous

Voscur and Bristol Compact

Thrive! article*.

are working to support these

A Bristol conference on social value held in September also took forward the discussion.

based commissioning approach.

These collaborative developments

Croydon, for example, now

are another example of Bristol’s

focuses on social benefits through

good practice. It is hoped that

employment and education.

the growing clarity will allow Bristol’s VCS to respond well to

developments. * Social Value – the voluntary sector’s unique selling point – Thrive! pages 18-19, Jan-March 2013

For more information, contact Mark Hubbard on 0117 909 9949 or email mark@voscur.org

commissioning processes and

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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21


What is voice and influence? In terms of Voscur’s work to support the voluntary and community sector (VCS), ‘influence’ means the ability to shape policy or decisions. Traditionally, this was done through status, contacts, or wealth. Now the Government and the NHS have open processes to allow the public and VCS organisations to influence (have their say) in their plans. In fact, the right to ‘have your say’ is now a legal duty for the NHS and government. ‘Voice’ is the way we exercise that influence. With continued reductions in government spending, it is more important than ever before to influence policy. Not a day goes by without a report about the NHS, which will be facing a funding gap of about £30 billion by 2020. The Government also announced in June 2013 (Public Spending Review) a massive 60%

1 

5 

Recognise that the decisions

Find out how decisions are

made by others have an impact

made. Read the latest strategies;

on people’s lives; things won’t

keep up with national news and

change unless we have our say.

government thinking. Join local

Don’t ‘leave it to others’; often

networks. Keep an eye on local

there are no ‘others’.

consultations. Find out who

2 

the local decision makers are.

Know why you want to influence

Be willing to have a go

Know the local landscape

Have confidence to question,

6 

contribute to discussions,

Be targeted; think where your

and recognise and celebrate

energies will get the best results.

achievements.

Target decision-makers. Shouting

3 

never gets the message across;

Be clear about what you want to change

Decide who and how you will influence

think about how you will be viewed by others. How will you

Firm up your thoughts: what is it

deal with people who do not

you want to achieve? Have a clear

agree with you? Have you got

message and agreed statement.

a position statement that is clear

Seek out others with similar

and backed up by evidence to

thoughts – locally and nationally.

further your cause? Can you

4 

link your viewpoint to national

Have a plan

research or local good practice?

your members agree with

7 

your ‘cause’. Are your trustees

Several voices are stronger

So how do VCS organisations

involved? Think about your

than one.

become influential? How do you

communication styles. Who is

find your voice? These are our

going to do this work? It takes

top ten tips for improving your

time – if no one is allocated the

influencing skills:

work, it won’t happen.

cut in the size of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

22 www.voscur.org

Review and evaluate it; ensure

Link with others to influence

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


8 

9 

Be realistic; policies and

Are you consulted and asked for

Connect to Voscur’s Voice and Influence team

change take time. Influencing

your opinion? Invited to decision-

Voscur’s Voice and Influence

decision making can be a long

making forums? Have a place on

website now provides

process. Do not expect change

a partnership board or interest

resources and links. We have

overnight. Sometimes a small

group? Do you instigate

a network of Advocates

change will have a big impact

discussion at meetings? Do you

representing VCS interests on

in the long term.

get positive feedback? Do you

local partnership boards. Our

respond to consultations? Do

Chief Executive links regionally

you attend network meetings?

and nationally with similar

Do you send decision makers

organisations to Voscur.

Think about the process

Measure your success

10 

briefing papers or good practice case studies?

Visit our website www.voiceandinfluence.org.uk to find out more about: The work of our Advocates – see our Advocate update videos as well as quick links to the partnership boards they sit on. Get in touch with our Advocates; they like to talk about what they are doing. Voice and Influence meetings – covering health and social care, neighbourhoods and communities, children and young people. Our regular meetings cover current issues and policy developments. Sign up to our networks to get details of these meetings by clicking the ‘keep informed’ button on our home page. Resources section – we have a Voice and Influence resources section for each area of our work, with information and links on many topics. Click on the three themes to view the resources sections.

Other sources Check out Bristol City Council’s website – under ‘council and democracy’ – for consultations and information on how the council works. Most meetings are public, such as the Health and Wellbeing Board meetings. Visit the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group website; their meetings are also open to the public: www.bristolccg.nhs.uk Many national VCS organisations also have resources on influence – check websites for NCVO, Community Matters and the Directory of Social Change. Bristol Compact. An important document signed by both Bristol City Council and the NHS setting out good practice in consultation and relationships. This is a useful document; use it to hold others to account. www.bristolcompact.org.uk Finally, talk to your Voscur Voice and Influence team – we are here to support you to have your say. Call us on 0117 909 9949.

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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23


Bristol’s rising child population – a strategic response Bristol’s ‘Joint Strategic

health, care and education

age adults. Bristol’s birth rate

Needs Assessment’ (JSNA)

system. This will assist Bristol’s

increased fastest in Inner City

analyses the health needs

Health and Wellbeing Board

and East Bristol, but rose rapidly

of the population to inform

in autumn 2013 to develop a

across the whole city. Bristol’s

and guide commissioning of

strategic response across Bristol

population overall increased

health, wellbeing and social

City Council and NHS Bristol

more in the Central or Inner

care services within this local

Clinical Commissioning Group

City areas in the last decade,

authority. The following,

(CCG), as well as health providers

and the child population (see

written by Nick Smith, JSNA

and voluntary and community

figure 3 on p26) likewise saw the

Manager at Bristol City Council,

sector (VCS) partners.

biggest increases in the Inner

gives an update and identifies

City (Lawrence Hill, Ashley, Easton

community sector input…

What’s happening with Bristol’s child population?

The JSNA has highlighted that

In the last decade Bristol’s child

Bristol started with a much higher

population has been consistently

child population). Actual numbers

rising, and is the highest it has

across Bristol now (figure 4 on

been since the early 1980s (see

p26) show half of the six highest

figure 1 on the next page for

wards are in the Inner City, plus

overall increase in Bristol’s child

Filwood (South), Hillfields (East)

population 0-19 years). Figure 2

and Southmead (North).

themes for more voluntary and

one of the striking aspects of Bristol’s population profile is the rapid and continuing rise in the child population. This is also noted in the draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy, as even though different parts of the

(p26) highlights that the current

& Cabot wards). In South Bristol it fell slightly (although South

increase in children under 5 years

What’s the impact on services?

old since the middle of the last

The impact on Bristol’s primary

decade, so this will continue as

school places is clear. This pressure

these children grow up. This is

has been felt for a few years,

strategic response.

linked to Bristol’s rising birth rate,

with growing pressures on health

The JSNA process is looking at

which was 22% higher in 2012

and social care services. For

than in 2005.

example there has been a sharp

health, care and education system are working hard to keep on top of this increase in demand, at times this may be in isolation and there is a need for a joined-up

the data behind this increase, and working with stakeholders and leadership teams to consider the impacts of this on the whole

24 www.voscur.org

rise has been mainly due to the

Bristol is a thriving city with much international migration in the last decade, including families with children and young working-

increase in numbers on the Child Protection Register, and the number with special educational needs has risen markedly. Detailed

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


work is being done to better identify the rise in disabled children and those with complex needs. The impact on primary health care (e.g. GPs) includes the disproportionate impact of under-fives, as they require more health care than most patients, plus increasing demands on school nursing, midwives and health visitors. Secondary care (e.g. hospitals) have seen pressures due to increases in under-fives’ Emergency attendance, with

A local play session with Bristol charity BAND.

What are we doing now?

ongoing public health issues such

The Health and Wellbeing Board

as poor child dental health in

will consider these issues from

deprived areas and high levels of

September 2013. Themes

childhood obesity. Overall, there

emerging for potential actions

is evidence of a need for services

are currently grouped under eight

to become more culturally

key areas, with three highlighted

sensitive to better engage –

as most relevant in relation to

immunisation rates, for example,

increased VCS input:

are markedly lower in the Inner

• Improving integration

City and East – areas where the

(the priority area).

VCS will have expertise.

• Improving joint intelligence – strong role for VCS to add

• Improving skills regarding child health. • Access to health services (e.g. Inner City families) – VCS area of expertise. • Health in schools – stronger health offer. • Location of services – possible co-location or more community bases? • Demonstrating crosssector impacts. • Service redesign and targeting services.

more ‘voice of the community’ or ‘soft intelligence’.

Figure 1: Bristol child population (1982-2012) 0-19 yrs old, revised ONS data, 2013 120,000

110,000

100,000

90,000

80,000

‘82 ‘83 ‘84 ‘85 ‘86 ‘87 ‘88 ‘89 ‘90 ‘91 ‘92 ‘93 ‘94 ‘95 ‘96 ‘97 ‘98 ‘99 ‘00 ‘01 ‘02 ‘03 ‘04 ‘05 ‘06 ‘07 ‘08 ‘09 ‘10 ‘11 ‘12

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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25


Figure 2: Bristol child population trend (2000-12)  5yr age bands, revised ONS data, 2013

Figure 3: Total child population change (0-19 yrs), 2001-11 (by CCG Locality) 8000

35,000

7000 6000 30,000

5000 4000 3000

25,000

2000 1000 0

20,000

-1000

‘00 ‘01 ‘02 ‘03 ‘04 ‘05 ‘06 ‘07 ‘08 ‘09 ‘10 ‘11 ‘12

North and West

South

Inner City & East

0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19

Inner city East

Figure 4: GP registrations number of children by ward 1st April 2013 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000

Children under 5

Filwood

Lawrence Hill

Ashley

Easton

Hillfields

Bishopston

Southmead

Hartcliffe

Avonmouth

Eastville

Lockleaze

Kingsweston

St George West

Bishopsworth

Whitchurch Park

Knowle

Windmill Hill

Horfield

St George East

Henbury

Henleaze

Brislington East

Hengrove

Brislington West

Redland

Westbury-on-Trym

Frome Vale

Bedminster

Southville

Stockwood

Clifton

Stoke Bishop

Cabot

Cotham

Clifton East

0

Children 5-17

To find out more or add further comments, contact Nick Smith (JSNA Manager): nick.smith@bristol.gov.uk For more about the JSNA visit: www.bristol.gov.uk/jsna For the full report visit: www.voscur.org/Bristol_JSNA

26 www.voscur.org

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


If you’re helping young people with employment opportunities then why not apply for a Chartermark? Do you want recognition for

good standards of practice

your community engagement

that improve employment

or Corporate Social

opportunities for young people.

Responsibility? We know that many organisations are involved in providing work experience opportunities including apprenticeships, volunteer support for education, helping with activities, running specialised training, or hosting visits. The Local Enterprise Partnership is introducing an Employability Chartermark. This will recognise

The Employability Chartermark is a quality standard that will be awarded to voluntary and community sector groups and businesses and education organisations in recognition of their commitment to, investment in and delivery of work-readiness in young people. The Local Enterprise

clear, uncomplicated process and support to help your organisation achieve the Chartermark and give you recognition for your good practices in increasing employment opportunities for those who are often disadvantaged in employment opportunities.

Partnership will provide a

For more information about how to apply for the Chartermark and to find out more please contact carolyn.griffiths@woeskills.co.uk or visit the website: www.westofenglandlep.co.uk/people-and-skills/chartermark/chartermark-launch

Fund to support individuals Voscur has been asked by the chairman of the trustees of a Bristol-based fund to identify organisations working with people in need, who may benefit from this fund. The fund pays small grants to organisations for individuals in need or hardship. We have been asked to stress that the fund will not pay directly to individuals, but to ‘sponsoring’ organisations. The fund is not for projects; it was set up to benefit individual residents of Bristol. If your organisation would like to find out more about this fund, please email liz@voscur.org, with the subject heading ‘Individual support fund’, and Liz will send your contact details to the trustees. The chairman will then contact you and explain the criteria and application process.

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

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27


Prioritising spend – the ‘zero based’ approach Photo by kenteegardin

The gap in Bristol City Council’s (BCC) funding over the next three years is estimated to be around £80 million. This figure is after taking into account the growing demand on BCC services that comes with an increasing population generally, particularly of both children and older people, but also recognises the likely continuing reductions in funding from central government. This estimated £80 million gap over the next three years is roughly on the same scale as the savings that the Council has made over the last three years. Recognising the continued austerity, the Council is taking a different approach to producing a balanced budget over the next three years and will be constructing a budget around the design of services against agreed priorities and outcomes, as opposed to the historic, incremental budgetsetting processes. The process being undertaken is as follows: 1. The Council is classifying its expenditure between statutory minimum (the services it is

28 www.voscur.org

legally obliged to deliver),

3. The proposals have been

cost of being/fixed costs

developed over the past few

(such as running the

months for discussion with

democratic process) and

the Mayor and Cabinet, before

discretionary (the services it

going forward to scrutiny by

chooses to deliver because

other councillors and out to

they are important to Bristol).

consultation with the public

2. All expenditure will then be

towards the end of this year.

assessed against BCC

Next year’s budget and

corporate priorities and

Council Tax will be set by full

outcomes – broadly under

council in February.

the following themes: • Active and creative • Caring and protecting • Greener and healthier • Moving and connected • Learning and working

Voscur will keep you informed of any opportunities to participate in and contribute to the development of the budget and/or related consultation.

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Bristol Women’s Commission Penny Gane, Chair of Bristol Women’s Voice and Bristol Women’s Commission, updates us on local developments towards gender equality in the city... On International Women’s Day this year, George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, signed the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life on behalf

George Ferguson signing the Charter, watched by Penny Gane, Diane Bunyan and Helen Mott

Dem, Conservative, Labour and

groups will be a mix of women

Green parties, University of Bristol,

with expertise in the area, as well

University of West of England,

as those bringing a ‘fresh pair of

To implement the charter, the

the Learning and Enterprise

eyes’. Groups are also tasked with

Mayor proposed the establishment

Partnership, First, Clinical

engaging women across the city

of a Women’s Commission to draw

Commissioning Group, Avon and

on these issues. The next meeting

up an action plan (the Women’s

Somerset Constabulary

is in early September.

Strategy for Bristol) to address

and PCC, City of Bristol College,

areas of discrimination and

Spirit PR and the BBC. This

disadvantage that women face.

broad attendance is aimed to

This ground-breaking initiative

encourage change in every

came about from a meeting

sector of the city. The first

between Bristol Women’s Voice

meeting established the

and the Mayor soon after his

following priorities: women’s

election in which we discussed

health; women and the

the wide range of work around

economy; safety/violence;

gender equality and presented

caring responsibilities; transport;

him with a copy of the charter.

and getting more women into

We asked George if he would

public life.

of the city of Bristol, the first city in the UK to do so.

consider signing this for the city as an indication of his intention to help bring about real change in gender equality in the city.

Bristol Women’s Voice is looking at how we can best work with the Commission. We are planning a series of public meetings and small meetings around the city on priority issues and we will be collecting information through a variety of means. We will also feed in the work we are doing on women’s health and public life. We will post updates from the Commission on our website

The second meeting of Bristol

and make sure there are links to

Women’s Commission was held

all Commission activities. It’s

in July. At this meeting we looked

early days but it’s looking very

in more depth at getting women

positive indeed.

Following the adoption of the

into public life and heard from

Charter, the first meeting of the

Commission members actively

Bristol Women’s Commission was

involved in this work. We then

held in May 2013. Invitees included

set up task groups to investigate

representatives from Bristol

work going on in three of our

Women’s Voice, Bristol Fawcett,

six priorities: transport, public

Voscur, Bristol City Council, Lib

life and safety/violence. The task

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

For more information, visit: www.bristolwomensvoice.org. uk/bristol-womens-commission/

www.voscur.org

29


Open space – a productive VCS Assembly conference “Wide range of “The event was very knowledge, lots of positive and community innovative ideas because orientated. I felt as of the opportunity though my voice had you provide for VCS a space.” groups to meet “It’s vital to keep and talk.” “It’s important for the networks open, be active in finding voluntary sector to new groups and new communicate and ideas and increase co-operate, also for us representation.” to set the agenda.”

The quotes above were typical of

Here is a flavour of some of the

the many comments we received

day’s discussions.

following our VCS Assembly back in July. The purpose of the

Reducing the poverty gap – vulnerable communities

event was to make sure that Voscur

We discussed the economic

is taking forward the issues that

consequences of poverty and the

are important to the sector.

psychological impact in relation

Voscur’s chair, Richard Pendlebury,

to self-worth and confidence-

conference at The Park in Knowle

set the scene for the session, before people immersed themselves in an experimental discussion and decision-making process known as “open space” led by Mike Zeidler, Director of the Happy City Initiative and a Voscur board member.

30 www.voscur.org

building initiatives. The group felt Voscur could campaign to ensure Bristol City Council offers greater decentralisation of resources, with more risk capital invested

How can Bristol reclaim open spaces? How can the voluntary and community sector (VCS), allied with the neighbourhood partnerships, campaign to ensure that local woodland and green space is defended and extended, not just to promote a more aesthetic urban environment but also to make a contribution to a greener city in relation to neutralising CO2 emissions?

in areas with high levels of social exclusion. A key issue raised was to promote the concept of social value and how to measure it.

October / November / December 2013  Issue 22


Photo by aiesecgermany

Procurement / Commissioning This issue continues to be of concern. Current processes are perceived as disadvantageous to smaller and specialised groups because of financial and other barriers and risks. Other areas of discussion were: how to influence the commissioning process to lead innovation and change; the need for appropriate support for consortia and mergers; and the potential for working with the Council to identify best practice from around the country.

Key challenges emerging from the different discussions

• engaged, particularly with the local authority. • Recruitment – VCS salaries (particularly skilled and management) are low. This

• Commissioning.

will lead to lack of movement

• Partnership/collaboration

and difficulty recruiting

/merger. • Competition with other VCS organisations and private sector organisations to provide services/win contracts. • Increased competition through

the right people. There is a skills drain – this is linked to recruitment and salaries.

What people said about the ‘open space’ approach

traded services – not necessarily

People had mixed views about

a bad thing, rather a sign of the

the process – some remarked that

times, but the VCS needs to pull

whilst the open-space discussions

together, not apart.

threw up some interesting

• Re-imagining the role of the VCS in the 21st century. • Survival and core funding and financial models. • Using the power and voice we have worked for and gained to effect real change and to influence at a strategic/policy level. The VCS needs to see evidence of this to remain

challenges as well as great ideas, we needed more time to do justice to the debates. Other participants felt it was one of the most creative ways of workshopping they had ever experienced and enjoyed the “buzz” they created but were concerned as to how the feedback was going to be used.

Issue 22  October / November / December 2013

What we will do next The issues raised on the day will help to shape Voscur’s priorities and influence our work programming. We will report back to you on our website, through this magazine and through our network meetings as to how we are doing that.

To view a video shown on the day to illustrate some of the great local work of the VCS in Bristol and important issues for the sector, visit: goo.gl/6wXdPp Assembly meetings take place three times a year in different locations across Bristol and give voluntary and community sector groups the opportunity to discuss and debate key issues. For more information on these and Voscur’s Voice and Influence service more generally, visit: www.voiceandinfluence.org.uk

www.voscur.org

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Voscur Ltd. Royal Oak House Royal Oak Avenue Bristol  BS1 4GB

Tel: 0117 909 9949 Fax: 0117 933 0501 Email: info@voscur.org Web: www.voscur.org

October, November, December training 2013 October 2013 Date

Time

Event/training

Location

1st

9am-1pm

How Civil Society Can Best Engage with the LEP

The Station

3rd

10am-12pm

Finance Forum – Record Keeping, Legal Requirements and Data Protection

Royal Oak House Meeting Room

3rd

2pm-4pm

Home Care Consultation – VCS feed-in

City Hall

9th

1:30pm-4pm

Let's Talk about Community Interest Companies: A Workshop

Hamilton House

9th

10am-12pm

Children and Young People’s Network meeting

Barton Hill Settlement

10th

6:30pm-9:30pm

Being an Even Better Trustee

Barton Hill Settlement

23rd

9am-1pm

Presentation Skills for BME Groups

Easton Business Centre

24th

9:30am-3:30pm

Writing Small Fundraising Bids

Windmill Hill City Farm

November 2013 Date

Time

Event/training

Location

6th

11am-4pm

Voscur’s Annual Conference and Social Impact Awards

The Station

7th

1pm-3:30pm

Health and Social Care Network meeting

St Werburghs Centre

13th/14th

9:30am-4pm

Commercial Skills Masterclass for Public Service Delivery

St Werburghs Centre

14th

10am-12:30pm

Neighbourhoods and Communities Network meeting

Barton Hill Settlement

19th

9:30am-12:30pm

Campaigning for Impact

Royal Oak House

21st

9:30am-3:30pm

Difficult Issues in Volunteer Management

The Gatehouse Centre

December 2013 Date

Time

Event/training

Location

4th

9:30am-12:30pm

Comments, Content and Conflict: Good Practice in Social Media

Knowle West Media Centre

5th

9:30am-3:30pm

A Strategic Approach to Commissioning

@Symes Community Building

12th

9:30am-3:30pm

Introduction to Quality Marks

St Werburghs Centre

For details of all the above training and events, visit: www.voscur.org/calendar/month

Voscur is a registered charity and a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Company no. 3918210. Charity no. 1148403. Printed on 100% recycled paper using vegetable-based inks


Thrive! magazine Oct/Nov/Dec