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Voluntary Sector Assembly Previous Events

Assembly event – 7 December 2021

State of the Manchester VCSE Sector 2021 Launch - Creating the future
Mike Wild, Macc Chief Executive, launched the report and summarised the main findings. This was followed by questions and answers. The attendees were then asked to join breakout rooms to discuss the report recommendations and how these can become a reality. 

The slides and a recording of Mike's presentation are available via the link below.

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Assembly event – 14 July 2021

Social Prescribing in Manchester
We heard from Sharon West, Strategic Lead Population Health Recovery, Manchester City Council and Heather Etheridge, Director, Be Well on the history of the Manchester social prescribing service, some of the current outcome data and how the current service might develop in the future. Nigel Rose, Strategic Lead (Commissioning), Macc then spoke to provoke discussions on social prescribing. The attendees then moved into breakout rooms to identify asks for the future development of social prescribing. The asks will be developed further and presented to health service leaders.

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Assembly event – 18 September 2019

Working with Young People
Kevin Jones from Manchester Mind opened the event by reviewing where youth services and support were nationally, and what challenges are faced by VCSE organisations. Justin Watson, Director of Young Manchester, spoke about their work and and the future in Manchester. Three workshops then looked at how organisations can use stories to show positive changes and outcomes, a showcase of Manchester Mind's Help Through Crisis project, and a young people's voice workshop from Youth Focus NW. Becky Bainbridge from Reclaim then discussed the importance of investing in young people as future leaders and finally, Paul Schofield from DCMS gave a national perspective and discussed future funding opportunities.

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Assembly event – 3 June 2019

A Meeting of MInds
Simone Spray, CEO at 42nd Street and Gail Heath, CEO of The Pankhurst Centre spoke about the support they provided and what the current landscape of mental health support looked like. There followed three workshops which looked at mental health in workplaces, how the voluntary sector can lead the way and what action needs to be taken to assist the wellbeing of CEOs in the sector. An interesting case study was provided by Circle Steele, CEO of the Wai Yin Society and Gemma from The Owl and the Coconut ran a mindful art session. Finally, Sally from Chorlton and Whalley Range Dementia Action talked about a place-based approach to good mental health.

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Assembly event – 26 February 2019

How can we develop leadership in Manchester’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector?
Claire Tomkinson, Macc Strategic Lead – Collaboration gave a presentation on Rethinking Leadership and how leadership is not about hierachy but about networks with a shared purpose and trust. Sinead O’Connor, Cheetham Hill Advice Centre and Dr Tracey Vell MBE, Manchester Local Medical Committee then shared their leadership journeys. The Macc AGM took place followed by a Lead Like a Woman session by Eve Holt, Director of Happen Together CIC and Manchester City Councillor. The leadership journey of Fran Davies-Tagoe, Tree of Life Centre and a final call to action session from Claire ended the event. 

Assembly event – 13 November 2018

How can we use digital communications?
Ben White from Reason Digital spoke abou the current digital world and the voluntary sector. Paige from TLC gave a talk on how they built a digital brand from scratch. There were also workshops on building a digital marketing plan, Twitter/Facebook, capturing stories and digital fundraising.

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Assembly event  – 9 May 2018

Finding and asking for funding and donations
Joe Saxton, Driver of Ideas, nfpSynergy gave a varied and entertaining presentation on the current funding landscape. There was also a choice of four workshops on Crowdfunding, increasing donations, working with the private sector and asking people for money. Finally, Natalie and Sophie from the Big Lottery Fund gave an update on the recent changes to their funding programmes.

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Assembly event – 24 January 2018

Working With Hospitals - Opportunities and Challenges
Paul Nethercott, Community Partnership Manager, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust gave details of the single hospital plan for Manchester. This was followed by presentations from Care & Repair, The Stroke Association and Sow the City explaining their existing projects working with hospitals. Table discussions then allowed VCSE representatives and health professionals to meet and discuss how they could work together. Finally, a panel discussion was chaired by Doug Jeffrey, GP Director of South Manchester Federation and MFT Clinical Director of Community Services South.

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Assembly event – 1 November 2017


Safeguarding Manchester's Children
The issues surrounding the health, welfare and safeguarding of Manchester's children are never far from the headlines. We all have responsibility for ensuring children are safe, and to know what help and support is available. The November 2017 assembly included an update on Manchester's safeguarding and early years help, and there was a choice of three interesting and practical workshops which discussed issues surrounding children and social media, how voluntary sector organisations can deal with allegations against staff, and community cohesion. Finally, there was an panel discussion on the 'Future of Safeguarding' chaired by Ruth Welford from Barnardos.

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Assembly event – 18 July 2017

Mike Wild, Macc Chief Executive, presented the facts and figures from the recent State of the Sector report and explained what this meant for VCSE organisations in the city. There were also three practical workshops which discussed the implications of Brexit for the VCSE, the future of volunteering and gave the opportunity to ask those all important social media questions in an interactive Q&A session.

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Assembly event – 28 February 2017

This assembly asked participants to think about the current issues affecting the VCSE sector in Manchester. There were also presentations by Nigel Wilson – CEO of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group - on the future of social housing providers, their relationship with the VCSE sector and their role in the wider community and Professor Ruth Lupton – Head of Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit, The University of Manchester - on the role of the VCSE sector in promoting inclusive growth.

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Assembly event 8 June 2016

This assembly gave an opportunity for participants to share, learn and discuss some of the key issues affecting the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Manchester and to be part of The Way Forward, a set of proposals to maintain and increase the impact of the VCSE sector in Manchester. The two main topics were Our Manchester – An Asset-Based Approach and Manchester’s Primary Care Led Prevention Programme – A Radical Upgrade.

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Assembly event – 10 December 2015

Cuts, Campaigns and Devolution
This assembly gave an opportunity to share, learn about and discuss some of the key issues affecting the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Manchester.
Presentations included:
  • Cuts to Manchester City Council – The latest news about how MCC are proposing to make the major savings they have to make
  • The Campaign to Save Mental Health Services – Mental Health services are facing cuts of £1.5 million which will lead to the closure of services for hundreds of people with mental health problems
  • Street Homelessness – With increasing media exposure street homelessness has become a major area of action for the city. What’s happening and how is it being addressed?
  • Devolution – Devolution is an area of rapid change. What’s happening and what, so far, has been the response of the VCSE sector
  • The Way Forward – a strategy for Manchester’s VCSE sector - Proposals from the Voluntary Sector Assembly of Manchester on how the VCSE sector can sustain and increase its impact in Manchester

Assembly events – 16 April 2015 and 25 June 2015

Another Year Facing the Challenge Parts 1 and 2
The purpose of these Voluntary Sector Assemblies was to prepare the Manchester Third Sector to meet the many challenges we will face over the next year. We need to be ready.

In the first VSA 16 April, we discussed a draft voluntary sector strategy; reviewing the sector’s response to the previous round of cuts; assessing the impact of devolution; and planning how we wish to engage with local public bodies over the next year.

At the second VSA 25 June, we engaged in a debate primarily with Councillors from Manchester City Council based on the discussions held at the first Voluntary Sector Assembly.

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Assembly event – 11 December 2014

Emergency Voluntary Sector Assembly Voluntary Sector Cuts
80 representatives from Manchester’s Voluntary and Community groups came together to discuss the devastating impact of cuts across the city on 11 December.

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Assembly event 15 September 2014


Voluntary Sector Assembly - In the long-term who cares? The sequel
The Care Act 2014 will make one of the biggest changes to the Social Care landscape in 60 years. It sets out a new framework of Local Authority duties that cover social care funding and changes to the regulation of social care providers. We know there is a serious gap between public funding of social care and rising needs. Will it be the solution to the well documented Care Crisis in the UK?

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Assembly event 24 June 2014

This Assembly saw a lively discussion about volunteering, its role in the community and some of the dilemmas arising as part of the changing political landscape at a national regional and local level.

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Assembly event 30 January 2014

The key debate for this assembly was ‘Saving the City’. Manchester residents are facing further savage cuts in public services and welfare benefits including £70 million reduction in Council Finances in 2015/2016. The voluntary, community and faith sector is becoming ever more important in maintaining the wellbeing of the city as the public sector reduces. This assembly focused on what our vision is for a way forward for the City. The event also included key note speaker Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council.

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Assembly event 17 September 2013

This Assembly focused on the impact of cuts in welfare funding on the people of Manchester and on voluntary and community organisations, and how we should respond. There were presentations and workshops on campaigning, how to deal with losing funding and on reshaping welfare provision. There were also updates on what’s happening in Manchester, and opportunities for organisations to meet and share their experiences of the impact of cuts on the people of Manchester.

Click here to read the event report

Assembly event 11 June 2013

The June event focused on bringing together a diverse range of groups to:
  • build connections across the sector
  • discuss what pressures everyone is under
  • share tips and advice on what groups can do at both a strategic and practical level
  • get feedback on what additional support / resources groups would like from infrastructure
  • try out a format for these events which enables people to take part in the sections which are most useful for them
Click here to read the event report

Assembly event 4 February 2013

The first assembly event held in February 2013, chaired by Prof John Diamond from Edgehill University, focused on the perceived threat to independence from public sector policy around “welfare reform” or “welfare cuts” and the outsourcing of the welfare state to the commercial for profit sector and the social sector.

Click here to read the event report

The Way Forward
During 2015, a VSA task group created The Way Forward, a vision for the future of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Manchester.

"Our vision is one where every community in Manchester is rich in VCSE organisations of all kinds and varieties, working with all kinds of people and in all kinds of ways, where the VCSE sector is at the core of public debate about what kind of society we are trying to create."