I have now celebrated my first year with NCVS as Consultant Chief Executive and wanted to take this opportunity to share an update with you about what we've achieved over the past year, and look towards our future.
It’s been a year of strategic reflection and positive growth for Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) against an on-going backdrop of statutory sector funding cuts and increasing demand for our services. I have now celebrated my first year in post with NCVS (working a couple of days a week) and have really enjoyed the experience of being in the voluntary sector again, after working in the sector many years ago. Everyone has been very welcoming since I've joined and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the support I've received from staff, the board of trustees and all those people across Nottingham's voluntary and community sector who I’ve met, and had the opportunity to meet and work with again - after previously working with them in my former roles.
My heart has always been with the voluntary sector, so when the NCVS board of trustees approached me and offered me the job, back in June last year (2018), I was very pleased and proud to accept. NCVS holds a particularly close place in my heart as I started my career here - I have come full circle!
I took up my first post with NCVS during a summer break from university in the 70s, where I organised play schemes in Nottingham’s parks, this gave me a lifelong interest and commitment to supporting the voluntary sector.
In recent years, funding for the voluntary sector has been cut substantially, both locally and nationally, largely due to the changing roles of public agencies - and it’s concerning to imagine a future without the vital support that an organisation such as NCVS provides, by connecting, supporting and brokering social and voluntary action in Nottingham. That’s why, as one of my first tasks in post, I was keen to embed our current strategy and am now working closely with our trustees on developing a new one, which I hope to share with you soon.
This year, we have also recruited a number of new trustees to our board, to help continue the important work of ensuring that our organisation has clear priorities and good governance, as well as recruiting a number of new staff:
- Enterprise Development Officer Chris Hill has joined us, for the next 15 months, to run our exciting new Enterprising Nottingham project. Funded by the NatWest Skills and Opportunities Fund, it provides training and one to one support to new and existing social enterprises (less than 12 months old) in Nottingham.
- Natalie Webb has joined us in the new role of Communications and Engagement Officer, to help raise the profile of NCVS and keep local communities well informed about the services we provide.
- We are also excited to welcome new Practice Development Coordinator Filipa Santos to our team this month (August 2019), to help us develop and grow our Practice Development Unit (PDU) which we run in partnership with Opportunity Nottingham.
- Furthermore, we're continuing our work with Community Associations across Nottingham and have recruited Somshun Nessa (Community Development Worker) and Nikki England (Community Administrator) for a six month project, supporting community centres.
We know that the nature of volunteering is constantly changing and we really want to be closer to our communities. That’s why we have also been working hard this year on implementing a new integrated customer relationship management (CRM) system and website, which we look forward to unveiling in the near future. A key feature of the new system is that our full database of volunteering opportunities will be available for the public to access through our new site for the first time.
We are also improving how we store and present information, so that individuals and organisations can more easily access specialist guidance and best practice resources. By developing more flexible ways of working, this means that NCVS can be ready to respond and adapt to the voluntary sector's ever changing climate, and ensure that we are always available at the heart of our local communities and in multiple locations.
Moving forward, we will continue to support Nottingham’s voluntary sector and work towards making the city one of the best places to volunteer - which ties into work that we are doing, alongside partners, on a city-wide project to develop a Volunteering Strategy for Nottingham. We will also work hard to shout about the sector and champion its successes.