West Norfolk VCSE Hub - Collaboration and communication in action

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We've said this before, but it’s worth repeating.  The west of the county covers a huge area, 555 square miles, from the Burnhams in the north to Feltwell in the south.  Consequently, the population is widely dispersed and its needs diverse and varied.  CAN is pleased to have long and close working relationships with both the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk and West Norfolk (now NHS Norfolk and Waveney) Clinical Commissioning Group, in helping to address many of the challenges faced by, and opportunities presented to, the VCSE sector.  

The West Norfolk VCSE Hub provides an excellent mechanism for sharing best practice and opportunities for joined-up thinking.  It was established to support discussions about key issues for the voluntary sector and public services in West Norfolk, the aim being to support VCSE organisations collaboratively to ensure that the people of West Norfolk get the best support and services possible.  

Meetings of the West Norfolk VCSE Hub are facilitated by Community Action Norfolk.   

How the West Norfolk VCSE Hub Works  

Meetings are held eight times a year, approximately every six weeks.   At present, due to Covid-19 constraints, these take place online.  For each of our meetings we choose a broad theme, such as Mental Health, Advice & Guidance, and invite organisations working with clients in West Norfolk to share what they are doing and any learning that could help other organisations to better support the communities they serve.  General information, updates and advice is also sent to the group between meetings.  This means that participants can choose to join as many meetings as they wish, with an outline agenda sent out before the meeting to highlight the main topics for discussion.  

The group aims to facilitate the following: 

  • Understanding and discussion of key issues for VCSE organisations and the sector as a whole - for example, aspects for CAN to take forward and represent, or to highlight issues being faced 
  • Sharing of information and issues to support better partnership working with non-VCSE partners
  • Exploring of opportunities to work together
  • Sharing of good practice and learning, problem solving and peer support 
  • Participant updates or discussions about new services 

For more information please contact Jackie Cushing by emailing jackie.cushing@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk  or phoning 01362 698216. 

Retrospective - How the West Norfolk VCSE Hub Evolved  

The West Norfolk VCSE Hub is a result of combining two groups - the West Norfolk Advice Hub and the West Norfolk Health & Social Care Forum.  CAN facilitated these face-to-face groups in West Norfolk as part of our strategic and grant-aided role, supporting and engaging with the VCSE sector in the area.    

Both these groups were put on hold in April 2020 due to COVID-19 measures.  CAN took this opportunity to consult group members about how these groups should function moving forward.   CAN identified considerable crossover of issues and information relevant to both groups and concluded there was much value in facilitating a breadth of organisations contributing to discussions.  This also aligned with more integrated ways of working between groups and different sectors.       

And so it was agreed that instead of having the two separate groups they would be combined into one - the West Norfolk VCSE Hub - with meetings for the foreseeable future during COVID-19 taking place on-line via Teams or Zoom.    

Please direct all general enquiries to Jackie Cushing, as above.