We consulted with frontline VCS organisations and communities by:
- Carrying out a survey, circulated to the memberships of all consortium partners and widely publicized in our weekly e-bulletins, network meetings and on Survey Monkey
- Talking directly to members of the Gloucestershire VCS Assembly Board, who all represent specific sub-sectors (geographical or thematic) of the VCS.
- Facilitating group discussions at 5 district VCS Forums across the county.
- Carrying out a fully participatory process for developing this bid which involved all 11 infrastructure organisations that are members of the consortium, who each brought the views and experiences of their members and the communities in which they work
We consulted with public sector partners by:
- Facilitating a group discussion with the Gloucestershire Compact Group which includes representatives from all public sector organisations In the county with a responsibility for commissioning or relationships with the VCS
- Discussing the role of the VCS in the Local Economic Partnership at a consultation meeting with Gfirst, the organisation that supports the LEP.
Key themes about the support groups needed were:
- A desire for more help and a more flexible system for finding suitable volunteers, particularly from the sports club sector
- Some confusion about the different infrastructure organisations that are, or have in the past been, involved in supporting organisations that work with children and young people (CYP).
- A desire to see closer integration of support around volunteering issues and other organisational development issues.
- VCOs would welcome more opportunities to learn from eachother, and share best practice and skills.
- A sense that some colleagues in the public and business sector don’t understand what the VCS is, and a desire to build stronger relationships with local funders and commissioners
- A particular need for practical support to the voluntary youth sector and a stronger collective voice to influence decisions
- Lack of capacity: many members of VCOs don’t have the resources or time to attend so many meetings and find the current bureaucratic structures confusing and inaccessible; they want information provided in more accessible ways possibly using web-based technology more.
Public and private sector partners wanted:
- Help with facilitating engagement with communities, and in harnessing the knowledge and understanding VCOs have of the needs of communities
- Ensuring that the Glos.VCS Assembly structures, which may have become so embedded that they have become taken for granted, don’t all disappear as sector resources reduce and that new ways are found to enable the VCS to influence services.
- Support in finding suitable work experience placements for students at the University of Gloucestershire.
- A clearer message to local businesses from the VCS about what it has to offer and what contribution it makes to the local economy, if it wants private the sector to work with it.