A new delivery partnership made up of Staffordshire Council for Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS), Support Staffordshire (SS) and ourselves has been successful in a bid to be the new strategic capacity-building partner for the County Council. This is the contract held until now by VAST.
Our three organisations will be working closely together to make sure that all the voluntary and community organisations we work with will in turn be able to collaborate closely with the County Council, South Staffordshire Council and other public and private sector partners to gain the best possible outcomes for local communities.
Our focus in this new initiative will be upon these four themes: youth, children and families, adult health and care and place based services such as Libraries and Country Parks. There is a lot of emphasis on social action and increasing levels of volunteering to support these key priorities.
This is excellent news for SSCVA in its 30th year of operation and for South Staffordshire communities and residents, and we look forward to taking this work forward with our local partners.
A quick assessment of the national picture reveals that the Council has been courageous not only in protecting the investment in organisations whose primary role is to support the sector, but also in recognising that the challenges ahead need a new kind of relationship with the sector too.
The Council’s emerging Community Based Approach has provoked interest from the New Economics Foundation and Cabinet Office, and provides a real opportunity to put Staffordshire on the map in terms of innovation and partnership.
For the contract to be deemed a success, and more importantly to improve positive outcomes for local people in the coming years, 3 things need to be happening:
- Enabling more local individuals and families to live active, healthy, happy, safe and independent lives, with access to early help where required to get people back on track
- Support for and empowerment of communities to find and build on local assets, utilising what is available to resolve local issues or problems for the benefit of all through networking, social action, volunteering, and community engagement
- Strong partnership working with public and private sectors to find innovative solutions to complex problems, and to enable Staffordshire to increase the level of investment available to support local people originating from outside the County – i.e. Big Lottery, Children in Need, European Funding, national programmes, etc.
It is certainly a challenging contract to deliver, but we all believe the communities of Staffordshire deserve something more than simply reductions in available services due to reduced public funding.
SSCVA is a small but vital part of the jigsaw, focussing as we do on community activity at a very local level and piloting new models of capacity-building such as COMMUNITY CONNECTORS and our COMMUNITY SUPPORT care navigation project.
We look forward to working with you all as we work through the detail and develop our programmes of work with the County Council.