getting voices heard

Supporting voluntary sector organisations and community groups to find a voice and make sure that it is heard forms a key part of our work. 

We represent the interests of the Voluntary & Community Sector in local, regional and national forums of public sector agencies, local authorities and government, where policy is influenced and made.  Our input can take a variety of forms, input to the Joint Health & Well-being Delivery Plans being one example.

We advocate for the Voluntary and Community Sector in County Durham through county wide, multi-disciplinary networks and partnerships, such as the County Durham VCS Strategy and Working Groups, the Business, Enterprise and Skills Group, and Voluntary Organisations Network North East (VONNE). We also co-ordinate development, production and training for the County Durham Compact, between the VCS and public sector partners.

Reporting how local and national policies are affecting local communities, and the organisations that are rooted in them forms a key strand of our work.  We co-ordinate and provide intelligence to government departments (including Defra) on a range of policy issues.  Through our membership of ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), we report on topics such as fuel poverty, local services, the economy and growth, affordable housing, transport and broadband coverage.

As active members of the North East Farming and Rural Advisory Network (NEFRAN), we help to assess how policy affects community and social aspects of life for communities in our rural areas. This network advises the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) and provides a rural proofing role for strategies addressing economic growth and development in the region.

Our contribution towards influencing and helping shape policy is underpinned by close collaboration.  We have strong links with voluntary sector networks and partnerships that are active in the county, including grass roots organisations, and Town and Parish Councils.

We also collaborate and work with networks of organisations that share common purpose, have shared objectives, and deliver key services for those who need them.  Examples of communities of interest that are active in County Durham include advice services, homelessness and housing, foodbanks, health, mental health, and services for young people, and for the environment.  We communicate and share information through a wide variety of means including newsletters, bulletins and social media.  We also consult through events, meetings, surveys, and workshops, and provide access to resources, briefings and intelligence through our staff, web site and partners.


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