A View from the Turret – Its Christmas 2023

It’s about 10 days to Christmas, and can I take this opportunity to wish you all well. I hope you are all looking forward to a well-earned rest over the festivities.

I find this period is nearly always about reflection: Looking back on the year to date with three months after as everyone moves towards their financial year end.

Once again, it’s been a tough and challenging year. I dare say I am not alone in that.

The financial landscape in which we are part of is unsettling, and 2024/25 is likely to be equally so.

Despite this, the VCSE is extremely resilient and capable, and some of the transformation pieces within Unitary Development and the Integrated Care System offer a raft of opportunity.

I think my ultimate Christmas message is about Partnership. The VCSE talks about this all the time, and we know that the practice of Partnership varies wildly from the Theoretical. We also know that Partnership is an easy term to use, but not so easy to deliver.

Partnerships work best with organisations that have a Trustee Board willing to change, have synergy with likeminded organisations and a complementary Governance and Delivery Programme.

Part of the issue around Partnership stems from the piecemeal funding which the VCSE receives in Northamptonshire. But in reality, we are not alone in this. Speaking to CEO colleagues beyond our boundaries reveals a mixed picture of funding and sustainability. Some Places fund their VCSE extremely well and capably, and as a result their communities and community organisations are more resolute and more able to Partner.

In other places not so. Partnerships are harder to build with little funding. A lack of funding increases territoriality and a culture of mine not ours.

And my final thoughts on Partnership comes from our Power of Small Conference in October 2023. There, some 50 smaller VCSE organisations stated that Partnerships could be key to their survival, but the Practice and Governance of Partnership and how it works best is a skill which needs to be nurtured and developed.

I am therefore committed to supporting smaller organisations through 2024/2025, if I can and have the funding to do so. My driver will be Partnerships, and how VIN can best help achieve them.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my Trustees, Staff and Volunteers for their commitment to the cause which has been unwavering in difficult circumstances.

I merely steer the ship, the Trustees, Staff and Volunteers provide the engine room.

Have a Great Christmas everyone..!!!