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Major collaboration highlights importance of working with volunteers

A major conference in Sefton has put the spotlight on the importance of collaboration within the voluntary, community and faith (VCF) sector to improve the services it offers to borough residents.

More than 100 delegates attended the Growth Through Collaboration event organised by Sefton CVS at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre in Waterloo.

The aim of the conference was to highlight the opportunities and benefits of VCF sector groups working together to develop strength in depth, and maximise their assets and resources.

The conference was sponsored by Rathbone Greenbank Investments, the ethical and sustainable investment arm of Liverpool-based Rathbones, one of the UK’s leading investment managers.

The organisation’s Investment Director, Nick Roe-Ely, was one of the speakers at the event.

Other guest speakers included Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive of the Directory of Social Change, Sefton’s Director of Social Care and Health Dwayne Johnson and Rae Brooke, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation for Merseyside.

Delegates at the conference were also able to find out about up-to-date sources of finance from the representatives of around 15 local, regional and national funding bodies that exhibited at the event.

And the conference also featured a series of interactive workshops on themes including ‘the benefits of collaboration’ and ‘achieving great things with limited resources’.

Sefton CVS Chief Executive, Angela White OBE, commented:

“These are still very challenging times for the VCF sector, and partnership and consortium working are vital if groups are to thrive in the future.

“That’s why we made collaboration the theme of our annual conference this year, and invited a range of experts on the subject to pass on their expertise and experience to representatives of groups based here in Sefton.

“The day proved to be both well attended and successful, with speakers showcasing a series of very good examples of best practice in the field which I am sure has provided delegates with real food for thought in terms of their own operations.”

New ‘Include-IT Mersey’ project aims to get people online

Include-IT Mersey is a new project, jointly funded by the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund as part of its 2014-2020 Building Better Opportunities Programme.  The project will provide a personalised package of support to digitally excluded residents of the Liverpool City Region that are out of work to help improve their IT and online skills, confidence in using and practical access to digital technologies and, ultimately, support them towards and into employment.

The project will be delivered by a partnership of 23* not-for-profit and public sector partners spanning the six boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, Halton and Wirral, with specific target areas in each borough.

Led by Sefton CVS, in collaboration with VOLA Consortium members, local Housing Associations and Local Authorities, this innovative multi-agency partnership is founded on partners that really care about their local communities.  It will ensure that those in need of support to help develop their IT skills, access to online services and digital technologies will receive the best possible service, whatever their starting point.  In addition to IT skills development, assistance will include employability and personal skills development to support people into or closer to employment.

Angela White, Chief Executive of Sefton CVS said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding and it is an honour to be leading such an innovative partnership, spanning the voluntary, public and social housing sectors.  The online agenda is increasingly prevalent in people’s every day lives and can present an additional barrier to those people that are not online, not just in terms of their employment prospects and access to job opportunities, but in their private and social lives too. Developing IT skills and getting online can open up a whole new world to people in many different ways!  We very much look forward to working with our partners to offer this vital service to across the city region and to make a real difference to local people and communities”.   

The project is currently being set up and hopes to start being able to offer services to people from May 2017, and more details will be announced in the coming weeks. For those already online, you can find out more and sign up to receive updates at www.includeitmersey.org.uk.

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