Inspiring Leadership: Somerset’s First VCSE Conference
Somerset’s VCSE Strategic Forum, which is hosted by Somerset Community Foundation, held its first conference for the sector’s leaders on March 16th at the Somerset Coast YMCA HQ in Bridgwater. Over 50 trustees, chief executives and senior managers from local charities and social enterprises heard from speakers representing national organisations, academic institutions, local funders and the public sector.
The day started with a high level overview from Katie Boswell, New Philanthropy Capital’s Deputy Head of Charities looking at how the sector must adapt to achieve more impact by improving governance, taking risk and putting beneficiaries in the driving seat of mission. Carol Jacklin Jarvis from the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership at The Open University focused on the challenges and benefits of collaborating. Rhys Davies from Community Catalysts and Phil Dolan from Age UK Somerset gave their take on what collaboration has meant for their organisations before Stephen Chandler from Somerset County Council gave an honest appraisal of how the Council is changing its approach to working with charities. Finally Emma Beeston highlighted how funders need to change in their approach to supporting organisations to fulfil their potential.
Feedback from participants was very encouraging with typical comments including “Great day; very, very useful for our organisation and the crossroads/fork in the road that we are currently negotiating and exploring," "Really useful to take time out to think strategically" and "Working in a small organisation it was nice to hear others experience and give time for development and innovative thoughts.”
The conference was made possible thanks to support from Somerset County Council.