We have already done much in Gloucestershire to rationalise and coordinate infrastructure services across the county: the Gloucestershire VCS Assembly has been an effective mechanism for supporting partnership working for several years, particularly VCS engagement in the LSP and the LAA; we have developed a single web portal for information about the VCS, including a database of all voluntary and community organisations in the county; a partnership has been formed to provide a volunteering brokerage service across Gloucestershire; and several infrastructure organisations have already merged or re-structured in order to become more sustainabe Transformation is now needed to ensure that we don’t lose the benefits of these initiatives as the external environment changes and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the new Localism Agenda and Government commitment to empowering communities.
There is therefore a need to:
- Transform the way that the Glos. VCS Assembly facilitates communities and the VCOs within those communities to influence services in a way that is less demanding of people’s time, is more empowering, and requires less state funding to support it (there has already been a 50% reduction in local public sector funding to support the VCS Assembly, and the prospect of further reductions in the coming 2 years.)
- Develop a sustainable business model for delivering an integrated specialist infrastructure support service to the youth VCS sector.
- transform the way volunteering is brokered into an asset-based approach which makes the best use of the skills and resources that individuals and organisations can offer to support the VCS, and develop a sustainable service that can support VCOs to build better partnerships with local businesses within their community.