VCSE Voices is a new project which increases representation of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector at strategic, decision-making meetings across the Wakefield District.
VCSE Voices provides opportunities for members of our sector to influence policy and take part in cross-sector discussions to improve services so that they meet the needs of people who live in our district.
To do this, Nova recruits and works with VCSE Advocates.
VCSE Advocates are people who work in or volunteer within the VCSE sector and are therefore well-connected to the views and needs of communities. Nova currently has 24 Advocates in post, attending meetings.
VCSE Advocates attend board meetings to champion and broadcast information from the sector. They provide knowledge and insight about the needs of VCSE groups and the diverse communities they serve, sharing information from and to the sector.
Advocates share meeting information back to the sector by leading the VCSE Voices Network - a peer discussion space open to all Nova members.
Many decision-making boards exist to coordinate and deliver health and wellbeing services; adults' services; social care; and children and young people’s services.
Advocates provide representation across boards within:
Each meeting has responsibility to include VCSE sector representation and therefore, through VCSE Voices, Nova is continually recruiting Advocates to provide expert advice and leadership.
The VCSE Voices Network is a monthly meeting where Advocates come together. During meetings, Advocates share information and updates, receive peer support, identify shared themes, and collaborate on planning and development.
The network ensures that information from meetings is shared with the wider sector and not solely with the advocate in attendance. This is a fundamental part of the project's philosophy and purpose: to increase knowledge, transparency, and participation.
Advocates receive a tailored induction and are provided with training and support to enable full participation.
We want Advocates to feel empowered to partake and so offer training based on individual needs. Past Examples include training on how to have good meetings and training around cultural competency.
Backfill exists to reimburse Advocates for their time and expertise. This process both demonstrates the value of contribution and formalises the representative role, while enabling advocacy to come from diversified perspectives.
If you'd like more detail, you can watch the recording of the launch event on our YouTube channel.