About Voscur

Enabling Bristol's social economy

Voscur is the support and development agency for Bristol's Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector. We support organisations in and around Bristol to increase their impact; we work with the investors who commission and fund the work of the VCSE sector, to ensure they make informed decisions and design effective services. We also build relationships between providers and investors to help them work together to coordinate services and maximise their social value.

Our approaches and ways of working

Our organisational Theory of Change (below) sets out the key outcomes we aim to achieve and how we work towards them through specific services and initiatives. These are mapped onto the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to align Voscur’s outcomes with Bristol’s One City plans and other relevant strategies.

Equity underpins everything we do. This means challenging the inequalities that determine where people and organisations start from in working towards their ambitions, and the obstacles they experience along the way.

Our business plan prioritises the contributions a development agency, or infrastructure organisation, is uniquely placed to deliver: building partnerships, asset-based organisational development, equitable leadership and collective voice.

We understand our unique position in the VCSE ecosystem. We prioritise use of our limited resources to leverage additional support that strengthens communities. We provide a differentiated range of support and development to organisations from the startup stage through growth to collaboration and change (see community services overview poster below).

We use positive action to work in different ways in different areas and with different groups. That means working with our partners to prioritise and coordinate targeted outreach, resources and support to particular communities and groups. When partners and other specialists are better placed to help an organisation, we work to make the connection. This is a One City approach to collaboration, and it guides our role as a partner in the VCSE Strategy Group reaching out to build more equitable cross-sector forums and partnerships in the city.

 

Voscur's vision:

To improve the quality of life for the people of Bristol.

Voscur's mission:

To support, develop and represent Bristol's Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector.

Voscur's core values:

  • Equality: Voscur is committed to an organisational and collective responsibility for creating an equal and inclusive society and to the principles of the Equality Act 2010. Voscur's Statement of Commitment to Equality, extracted from our Equality and Diversity policy, can be found here.
  • Sustainability: Quick fixes are no good. We work to support sustainable solutions to local issues - meeting local needs now without compromising those of the future.
  • Accountability: Voscur is its membership - it supports, and is accountable to, the VCSE sector in Bristol.
  • Empowerment: Community development is what people do for themselves, not what's done for (or to) them. Voscur empowers organisations to foster grassroots direction and action.
  • Cooperation: Neither the public, private nor third sector can provide everything communities need. Voscur therefore facilitates cooperation and collaboration between all three.
  • Independence: Independent from public bodies and other charities, support and development organisations can facilitate partnerships and be a critical friend.

Voscur's strategic aims:

  • Development: Find out what local communities need and help organisations meet those needs.
  • Support: Help organisations to function more effectively and improve their services.
  • Liaison: Help organisations communicate and collaborate effectively together.
  • Representation: Represent the views of the VCS to public bodies and policymakers to help improve the environment in which we all work.
  • Strategic partnerships: Foster effective working between the public and voluntary sector to inform and influence local planning and policymaking.
  • Equality: Increase the participation of all equalities groups in civic society.
  • Sustainability: Be entrepreneurial and responsive to ensure Voscur’s own sustainability.

 

Supporting local impact

Houria social enterprise grows with support from Voscur

Houria, which means ‘freedom’, is a pan-African catering social enterprise that specifically supports, trains and employs migrant women and survivors of slavery. It was founded in 2019, by Kim Prado, with values of empowerment, sisterhood, enterprise and cooperation.