Support adventure etc

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay


Read Ann's latest blog, in which she celebrates the wonderful grassroots response of volunteers to the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities, looks at how Assembly network meetings can be held on line, and discusses the recent online meeting of the Assembly Executive committee:


Take part to help make the case for more support for the VCS

"Help VONNE, VCSE Local Infrastructure Organisations (LIOs) and members of the NE Funders Network to understand the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on you and your beneficiaries.  

"Giving us this information helps us understand the impact of COVID-19 so we can effectively represent the sector and influence how funders focus their support now and in the future recovery period. The findings will also be shared with stakeholders including local authorities, LEPs, private sector organisations and the health system, to make the case for additional support and resources for the sector, and with national infrastructure partners including NCVO, ACEVO, NAVCA and the Charity Finance Group, to help us influence Government decisions affecting the sector."  

The survey will be open until 9am on Monday 4th May.
"We realise how busy you are but your input is vital to enable us to work more effectively on your behalf and that of the sector in the North East region. The survey will only take 10-15 minutes of your time, so go and make a brew, then click on the link and help us to help you.  Complete the North East VCSE Sector COVID-19 impact survey"



April 2020


Dear colleagues,

In am writing to you in the direst of times for the Country, but most importantly for the people and communities and as one who sees the very best of our intentions.

Many of you are involved in supporting the Government and Local Authorities in their actions in supporting the communities in which we all live in and love. Your efforts are to be applauded and are gratefully, if not officially recognised.

I am not alone in being overwhelmed by the response of the entire country, and especially the brave responses from our NHS colleagues and those working in the caring services whether paid, or on a voluntary basis.

Your efforts have proven what can be achieved when the cause is right and just, and when properly mobilised and motivated. It proves how responsive and flexible the whole voluntary sector is.

It does however concern me that it takes an event like this for the true worth of the sector to be recognised, and I wonder how quickly this will be forgotten when we return to a point of some normality.

I fully appreciate the difficulties that all the Third Sector organisations and voluntary groups are facing currently, be that with finance, or undertaking activities. We are seen as a sector that is resilient and able to effectively bomb proof, even when that is a fallacy. We only continue to survive because of our hard work, dedication, canny financial acumen and the goodwill of our supporters, volunteers and funders.

Speaking of which, I am grateful to the funders who have continued to support the sector in the current climate and have been extremely flexible and generous.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank staff and especially the Chief Officers for their work in ensuring delivery of the vital community services, in addition to supporting the efforts of the Local Authority.

Perhaps this situation will alert the Government and Local Authorities to the worth of the sector and actually start putting in place some proper strategic use of the sector and community groups in the delivery of services. Certainly, it would be worth thinking about the creation of an army of volunteers that can be more effectively mobilised and targeted in the event of such a catastrophe in the future.

In the meantime, can I once again thank you for all your efforts and support during this difficult time. I, on behalf of the Assembly, wish you well in your efforts and want you to be a safe as possible.

Thank you, stay safe, stay well.



Joe Jackson

Chair of Assembly Executive Committee

Northumberland VCS Assembly

Looking to the future


Over the last five years, Northumberland VCS Assembly has taken some huge strides forward. You can read below about the Assembly’s achievements over that time.

In terms of planning for the future, we’d like to know your thoughts on the priorities that should be focused on and how we can better represent the voluntary and community sector and have influence. This information will contribute to a facilitated meeting the Assembly Executive is taking part in to discuss how the Assembly can better represent the sector – have a voice and also be heard.

Please give us your time to answer the following questions by clicking on the link below. The survey should only take you about 10 -15 minutes. Your assistance would be most appreciated and all the information you provide will be treated as confidential.

Many thanks for your assistance.


VCS Assembly achievements


Northumberland’s Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Assembly is an inclusive, independent and influential voice for the voluntary and community sector in the county. Its role is to inform, engage with, co-ordinate and champion the views of the sector.

Achievements over the last 5 years:

  • Regular network meetings provide opportunities for voluntary and community groups to come together for mutual support and learning, information sharing, raising issues and concerns across the county.
  • A democratically elected Executive Committee with representatives from across the county provides leadership, accountability and is responsible for progressing the general development and direction of the VCS Assembly.
  • Regular meetings with county councillors and officers at the VCS Liaison Group providing opportunities to promote the voluntary and community sector, raise issues and concerns, share information and identify mutual opportunities.
  • A Statement of Intent has been agreed between the Council and the VCS Assembly setting out the key principles for partnership working.
  • Membership of the VCS Assembly has grown from 172 in Nov 2014 to 361 in January 2020.
  • The VCS Assembly has a representative on the Health and Well Being Board so the voice of the sector can be heard at this County Council cross sector strategic group.
  • The VCS Assembly contributes to partnership boards, forums and consultations to ensure the sector has a voice and is able to influence policy and practice, and to advocate on behalf of the sector. e.g. physical activity and culture strategies, Asylum Seekers and Refugees Strategic Group, Climate Action Steering Group, North of Tyne Combined Authority VCSE Stakeholder Group
  • Works to increase public sector understanding of the nature and the value of the VCS and it’s potential role and capacity in the delivery of services, as well as looking at opportunities to support and co-produce new solutions to improve the wellbeing of communities and the sustainability of organisations e.g. Social Prescribing Steering Group, Empowering People and Communities Working Group.
  • Conferences are held on key issues of interest to the sector and other opportunities taken to get a better understanding of the views and concerns of voluntary and community groups e.g. State of the Sector Survey.


Become a member of the Assembly


If you'd like to know more about becoming a member of Northumberland VCS Assembly, please visit or email the Assembly Development Officer, Ann Atkinson: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..