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Daniel Childerhouse (Future Projects)

I would like to be part of the VCSE Sector Leadership Group as the purpose, objectives and principles of the group align incredibly well with those of the charity I lead and with my own personal values.

My experience at Future Projects over the last nine years has provided me with in-depth knowledge and understanding across a range of delivery themes such as: health, education, youth, offending, volunteering, poverty and low pay, homelessness, SEND, social justice and more.  Future Projects delivers a range of services under these themes across Norfolk, including a Therapeutic Independent Special School for pupils with complex Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs and SEND, community radio and media services, employment support programmes for those furthest from the labour market, community development and inclusive growth programmes, advice and guidance services in highly deprived communities, social prescribing and social isolation programmes, specialised finance and debt advice services, training and skills development programmes, volunteering programmes, and criminal justice support programmes.

I strongly believe that the VCSE sector must work in a joined-up way to overcome the changing socio-economic environment, and to provide effective, valued, and impactful services for society’s most overlooked communities. As such, I am interested in developing whole system approaches in collaboration with key partners from the sector to affect and influence decision makers, to improve practice and outcomes, and to ultimately ensure that people in need receive the support, services, and help they require. Moreover, I am interested in addressing the systemic and structural issues which lead to the inequalities which serve to create demand for VCSE services in our society. To do that, the VCSE sector requires a strong, coordinated voice.

Throughout my 15+ years working in the VCSE sector I have undertaken a range of roles which have given me a good insight to the key functions associated with running successful VCSE organisations; Funding, Finance, Human Resources, Governance and Management, Statutory Compliance, Safeguarding, Operations and so on.  I believe this gives me a unique understanding of the way in which organisations operate and the pressures and challenges they face both operationally and strategically.

I have good networks and connections amongst public and private sector leaders, and a large network of local employers across Norfolk through my role as chair of Living Wage Norwich - in which I am responsible for driving the local agenda for fair pay and responsible employment practices.  I am also engaged with several consortia and partnerships across Norfolk through European, Central and Local Government funding streams.

Ultimately, I believe I have a broad range of knowledge and experience across several of the VCSE Sector Leadership Group’s stated themes and would be a strong advocate and influencer on behalf of the group - and the beneficiaries each respective member serves.

Rachel Cowdry (Break) 

It is essential in times of change that we have a strong leadership team in the sector to speak truth to power.  I believe that the VCSE SLG holds that responsibility (along with the Voluntary Sector Forum) and I would like to be part of this dynamic group to serve the sector. 

I have been in the sector for nearly 12 years (and in social care work for nearly 30) and have built significant, influential relationships within Norfolk and beyond that I would draw on to be of use within this group and to support the sector.  The voluntary sector offers a unique provider position to Local Authorities and there is further scope to remind our partners that unlike the private providers, we are not for profit and are duty bound to provide the best value for money.  There is a need to support commissioners understanding that in order to have a viable sector supporting their priorities, we need to have appropriate levels of funding for the services we provide.

I have worked in Break for nearly 12 years and have knowledge and expertise in a wide range of services - from workforce development to safeguarding from H&S to change management.  I have led strategic discussions in Break and as a consultant to other organisations.  If I was voted on to this group I would also draw on my experience in the private and statutory sectors and my professional and strategic qualifications.

I have recently been appointed as Break’s CEO and would welcome all opportunities to be more integrated into the sector.  I have also been appointed as the Voluntary Sector Forum Rep on the Corporate Parenting Board.

I believe that we are a stronger sector if we are working together, forging positive partnerships and (if possible) speaking with one voice.  This shift in trust and confidence within the voluntary sector will take time, but will be hugely beneficial.  It is essential that we build on the co-production agenda and work with statutory partners to achieve the best outcomes.

Jo Howes (DIAL Great Yarmouth)

DIAL has been running since 1985 and I have been managing the Charity since May 2010. I have been at the forefront of ensuring we provide information and advice on all aspects of the Welfare benefits system together with a Debt Advice service with qualified advisors being registered with the IMA (Institute of Money Advisors).

Throughout the last few years we have successfully worked in partnership with both statutory and voluntary organisations, working on projects led by GYBC – Neighbourhoods that Work, DWP with the role out of Universal Credit and the challenges it raised, Building Better Opportunities led by East Coast college allowing expansion of some services to being County wide. The latter project has given us experience of working as part of a European Union funded bid and increased administration. We are currently working in partnership with Future projects in Norwich, providing Money and Debt advice to their clients as part of their funding from National Westminster Bank. Our recent success in leading the Social Prescribing project with Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind as our partners, is evidence of our passion and commitment to the local area. We also have experience of delivering Lottery Funded projects with our existing project finishing in 2021.

DIAL, up until recently was the only Level 3 Disability Confident Leader within the Borough of Gt Yarmouth and has worked with East Coast College supporting them to achieve this accreditation for both the Gt Yarmouth and Lowestoft college.

I am very passionate about partnership working as I believe it is a strong catalyst for bringing together different strands of the voluntary, public and private sector to address barriers for some of Norfolk’s most vulnerable people. Successful partnerships involve those who have enthusiasm, drive and commitment to making projects successful and who are willing to share ideas and resources.  Working collectively, we can make a real difference to the lives of the communities which we support, many of these being deprived and vulnerable individuals.

DIAL has recently hosted a meeting of both voluntary and statutory organisations to look at partnership and funding opportunities moving forward with attendees being from the Lottery, Norfolk Community Foundation, DWP, GYBC, NCC Lift, VCSE NCC, East Coast College. A further meeting is being arranged for early December.

I would welcome the opportunity to be part of the Leadership Group and be a voice for the Great Yarmouth area which has a diverse and transient population and different needs to other parts of the county whilst helping DIAL to take forward our ambitions in becoming well known within Norfolk.

I believe I have a wealth of experience in a wide range of issues affecting our communities and have worked hard to build a strong network of organisations within the area. I feel that this will benefit the Leadership Group moving forward.

Daniel Williams (YourNorfolk)

I have been an elected member of the SLG since it came into being three years ago.  I am standing for re-election because I believe that by continuing to improve the way in which we engage & represent ourselves we will open up important new partnership opportunities alongside the integrated health and social care service that our NHS is now becoming.

I have worked in Norfolk based VCSEs for 25 years, much of that in senior leadership positions.  My experience spans housing, youth, health & social care and for over 10 years now, I have dedicated time to improving understanding and partnership between our sector and statutory health and social care providers and commissioners in Norfolk.  Most recently I have been sitting on the North Norfolk Local Delivery Group (LDG), the purpose of which is to implement and monitor local delivery of transformational service initiatives identified by the Sustainability Transformation Plan.

Preventative interventions, helping to manage demand across both acute and primary care services, are a key part of every LDG agenda, and the group is keen to invest where they can.  However, whilst I sit on this group as a VCSE ‘representative’, the reality is that I do not, and cannot represent the sector.  In order to ensure that our capacity as a sector is fully utilised I believe we have to improve the way in which we work together to represent that capacity.

Whilst the ‘Working Together’ partnership between Voluntary Norfolk (VN), Community Action Norfolk (CAN) and Momentum is the best forum for such strategic representation we have had during my working lifetime, I do not believe it is performing as well as it could be for us as an independent sector representative body.  If I am re-elected to the SLG I will continue to act as a critical friend to the ‘Working Together’ partnership, championing the following improvement priorities;

  1. Developing an independent framework for engagement with statutory commissioning partners which is transparent and open to all.  A potential conflict of interest exists for VN & CAN as both infrastructure partners & delivery providers.  Whilst VN & CAN are ‘Working Together’ partners they also compete for infrastructure work and positioning.
  2. Ensuring that the value of local philanthropy is understood by commissioning partners.  A decade as Chief Executive of Big C, Norfolk’s Cancer Charity, showed me what the Norfolk public will do to add value at the edge of statutory services when local charity vision and statutory provision are aligned.
  3. Engaging the full capacity and grass roots diversity of our sector.  Most smaller VCSE organisations don’t have capacity to engage at county strategic level, nor to consider the alignment of their vision.  We need to do a better job as a sector to create links with grass roots organisations, to provide independent facilitation and to ensure that limited commissioning spend can be targeted precisely where it is needed on the coal face.