It’s that time again when we need to ask you to renew your membership or partnership with us. So we have one big ask of you all. When you receive an email from us asking you to renew your membership with us or an email asking you to confirm your consent to receive updates from us because of GDPR, please do reply positively and quickly. There is so much to do and together, working in partnership, we can achieve so much more...
Over the last year, we have strengthened our membership offer by creating more opportunities for engaging, networking and influencing and continuing to strengthen our sector support offer in terms of learning and development, accessing funding opportunities and benefitting from advice on guidance on everything from volunteering best practice to good governance, including advice on setting up a charity or constituting your group or just making improvements in governance and operations.
We see this website, and our social media channels as great ways of continuing the conversation alongside face to face meetings so do please keep connected. As we look ahead to the next few years, our focus is on working with our members and stakeholders to strengthen our membership offer and to increase the voice of the sector in Denbighshire and across North Wales so that our public service partners see us as strategic partners for community engagement, and building resilient communities and continue to invest in the sector through grants and service level agreements.
In January this year, we went out to our membership and invited expressions of interest for the Third Sector Partnership Group, the sector’s influencing body with Denbighshire County Council and other public sector partners. That process highlighted the passion and commitment within the sector, but the real pressures people are under. I had some great conversations with people who rang up to find out more and who genuinely wanted to be involved but who were also facing time pressures that made the commitment we were asking of them just a little too much. Some emailed to say that much as they might like to they could not commit but looked forward to being part of the conversation through the Members Forum, at other network meetings or via social media. Others did apply and I am really grateful to them as the Group has a crucial leadership role to play influencing the agenda in the months and years ahead. I am looking forward to us introducing these network leads imminently.
What I learnt – or had reaffirmed - is that everyone is feeling the time squeeze. As the challenge of doing more with less really hits, we are all having to make hard choices. The good news is that I didn’t come out of this process feeling depressed but actually more determined and focussed.
Based on your feedback, we are planning to reorganise some of our engagement and network meetings to make the demands on people’s time less onerous and to make the times when we meet as useful and productive as we can. In this way we hope to reduce some of the pressure points in diaries whilst still having a positive impact. This is also a reflection of the fact that as a small team, with limited resources, we want to effectively tailor our support and advice to members’ needs as usefully as we can.
So please tell us what you need most and what you can have less of. We cannot promise that we can do all that you want – but we will always do our best to help within the limits of the resource we have, and we will refer you on even if we cannot ourselves assist. We have some great information resources on the new website in the Advice and Guidance section, and our Sector Support pages give you an idea of the kind of support we can provide. So again please do get in touch. Later in the year, we plan to do a more structured questionnaire with our members to get your views and to help us plan services for next year. We would also welcome the same kind of open and honest dialogue with our partners. So please keep the feedback coming in.
Members have to be at the heart of what we do. So please join us as a supporter or renew your membership and help shape DVSC and the wider conversation in Denbighshire. Let’s work together to strengthen the partnership between the third sector and our public service partners.
Chief Executive of Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council