Review of regional support to voluntary and community organisations

VCU is initiating a review of its arrangements for supporting the Voluntary and Community Sector through the Regional Infrastructure Support Programme (RISP) to ensure arrangements are fit for purpose for the next 5-7 years. 

VCU’s intention is to ensure that any support structures have been designed in collaboration and partnership with key stakeholders across Northern Ireland. Please see attachments for a presentation provided by VCU on the scope of the review and the Terms of Reference. 

VCU’s proposed methodology for ensuring this necessary collaboration takes place centres around the adoption of a co-design process facilitated by the Strategic Investment Board which will include an innovation lab.

The process will be conducted in a number of phases:

  1. A number of co-design workshops will be held across Northern Ireland in late September/early October (see below for dates and venues)
  2. An innovation lab due to take place in early November. The innovation lab format is an internationally recognised methodology offering fresh, alternative approach to developing both strategic and tactical solutions to complex policy, operational and social problems. Each lab brings together a group pf issue experts, sectoral representatives, operational delivery, policy making and service users into a creative space to co-design and co-produce innovation solutions to an agreed challenge.
  3. The work of the innovation lab will then be taken back out to a further series of co-design workshops to firm up proposals and to help inform consultation.

The Joint Forum has been asked, in its government engagement role, to assist in the undertaking of the process. VCU has asked the Joint Forum to:

  1. Use the influence of the Joint Forum and networks to publicise the co-design process and the two phases of workshops across the wider voluntary and community sector. We will be doing that through the Joint Forum hub on the NICVA website and providing regular updates to the sector via NICVA e-news.
  2. Nominate four representatives from the Voluntary and Community Sector to take part in the Innovation Lab scheduled for the 12th and 13th November. Nominations must be provided by 11th September. 

At a Voluntary and Community Sector Joint Forum Panel meeting, representatives decided that given the tight timescales a fair selection process could not be carried out with the wider sector. Given the fair and transparent selection process that is undertaken to appoint to the Joint Forum and the panel's experience in advocating for the sector as a whole, it was decided that the four people would be chosen from within the panel. The minutes of this meeting are available and attached to this article. For more information on how the VCS panel is chosen, click here. 

The four people chosen to represent the sector at the innovation lab are:

1) Seamus McAleavey (NICVA)
2) Anne McVicker (WRDA) 
3) Glenda Davies (Sandy Row Community Forum)
4) Jonny Currie (EBCDA)

Note: the entire sector is encouraged to attend the co-design workshops. The four people chosen for the innovation lab will also be feeding back their experiences of the process via the NICVA website.

Workshop dates:

  1. 28/9/15 – NICVA, Belfast
  2. 30/9/15 – Holywell Trust, Derry~Londonderry
  3. 1/10/15 – East Belfast Network Centre, Belfast
  4. 5/10/15 – The Braid, Ballymena
  5. 7/10/15 – The Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen
  6. 8/10/15 – Market Place Theatre, Armagh
  7. 12/10/15 – Gortalowry House, Cookstown

All workshops will run from 10.00am to 12.30pm with registration/tea/coffee at 9.30am.

Register your interest in attending one of the co-design workshops by e mailing [email protected] providing contact details and the name of the organisation you represent. In the event the workshops are oversubscribed VCU may have to limit attendance to one representative per organisation and will give preference to those who have registered first.


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