VCSE Strategy Group


The VCSE Strategy Group started as part of Bristol’s collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Seeing the communities and organisations we work with experiencing the most negative impacts of the crisis once again, it necessitated a renewed approach to achieving the fundamental objectives we’ve always pursued: equality, empowerment, independence.    

Funders and partners 

Following the initial conversations between stakeholders early on in the pandemic, Bristol City Council convened two of its key community investors, Power to Change and Quartet Community Foundation, to resource this new approach. 

Building on the strong relationships that have been developed over many years, a two-stage process was initially agreed: a first phase of research to understand the impact of the pandemic on precisely those groups already lacking social capital; then a second stage of strategic action planning to translate the ambitions and needs captured by the research into changes on the ground.  

Delivery partners and outputs 

Black South West Network, Locality and Voscur were commissioned in the first phase to gather evidence and identify initial themes and priorities. Following an interim report in September 2020, the final first phase report, Designing a New Social Reality, was published in March 2021. 

Based on this new local research, and wider intelligence from across the city, the VCSE Strategy Group has engaged a wider set of development stakeholders to draft a strategic action by the end of the year.  

Next steps 

The Action Plan covers five main areas: 

  1. Facilitating a cultural shift towards equity 
  2. Funding equitably for the long-term  
  3. Commissioning equitably for the long-term 
  4. Building community agency and resilience 
  5. Creating a democratic forum to connect underrepresented voices to city decision-making  

Voscur is leading on the development of the Democratic Forum, bringing together the existing VCSE Sector Leaders Network, Bristol’s Citizens Assembly and the Health and Wellbeing Board.