To support one strand of Bristol’s VCSE Strategy 2019-29 (which will be published online soon), Voscur announced at its annual conference in January the launch of a new grassroots leadership initiative that will increase the ability of communities to create and contribute to positive social change.
The Sector Leaders Network will consist of up to 100 people, all of whom are already active in leading change in their communities.
By sharing skills, coordinating intelligence and marshalling the support of their community networks, the Sector Leaders will be better able to spearhead local initiatives, make a greater impact in their work and collectively influence citywide decision making.
Anyone who plays an active role in leading change in their community can apply or be put forward to be a Sector Leader. The advantages of being part of the network include:
The network was announced at Voscur’s annual conference on Thursday 31 January by the organisation’s Chief Executive, Sandra Meadows.
Voscur is now seeking suggestions and feedback on the proposed programme from the VCSE sector – we’re keen to hear from as many people as possible.
If you or someone you know would like to become a Sector Leader then contact us to find out more.
The Sector Leaders Network builds upon the success of Voscur’s existing Advocate initiative. This involved individuals at VCSE organisations being appointed by sector vote to council strategic boards.
This is useful in ensuring the VCSE sector is ‘at the table’ and able to influence policy and strategy whilst gaining intelligence about local government policy.
This approach will be retained within the Sector Leaders Network. However membership will be expanded to include people working in less formal groups and in a wider range of roles: not just CEOs, but development officers, inclusion workers, artists, activists and community navigators. The main criteria for joining is for an individual to be active in their community and willing to take action.
Dan Lyus, a former Advocate is already taking on Sector Leader activities. He explained that his biggest win as an Advocate was winning funding to draw up a falls prevention plan:
“We got funding that paid for the time of people from within the VCSE sector to work on research and preparing an ideas paper.
“This paper was then used to influence commissioning policy. The best thing however was the recognition that our time is valuable and we can’t endlessly give it for free. This is an area I am really glad to see Voscur is seeking to take further.
“Emboldened by the success above I have now started to seek to convene sector leaders before I engage with the NHS/LA so I can be sure I can speak on their behalf.
“In January this year I gathered 14 health and social care leaders together and we had a curry and discussion. We’re now supporting Voscur’s work to ensure VCSE organisations are integral to our region’s STP and the NHS’s 10 year forward plan.”
You can read the Sector Leaders draft programme here.
If you're interested in becoming a sector leader, please complete this form to tell us about your work.