As a sector, we are “Stronger Together”
Keeping this in mind, we know the vital role the voluntary sector, from grassroots through to national level, has on supporting communities in need and improving the lives of the people within them. In a time of national emergency, the demands on the sector increase, putting more and more pressure on the local charities, community groups and social enterprises working so hard to support them.
The crucial support and increasing pressure on charitable organisations has prompted the formation of the VCS Emergencies Partnership, a national coalition of voluntary sector organisations, to ensure that the VCSE groups working locally are able to access the support they need when they need it.
What does the Emergencies Partnership do?
The overall aims of the partnership are:
To boost and enhance the support from national organisations to the voluntary sector, enabling them to continue their work. This support will also allow the sector to raise the profile of grassroots groups working on the ground, giving them the support, resources, and recognition, they need and deserve.
To further strengthen the coordination of the national and local response during times of emergency to ensure that help and support gets to where it’s needed as quickly as possible. This coordination will also ensure that emergency responses are efficient and effective.
To provide a single access point between the government and the local voluntary and community sector to ensure unmet needs are identified and addressed.
How does the Partnership achieve these aims?
To achieve these aims, the Emergencies Partnership operates through four streams:
1. A national platform to gather intelligence and to act when and where unmet needs are identified at national, regional, and local levels.
2. A request for support service for organisations who are in need when demand exceeds the support that is available.
3. Five regional cells where representatives from national and local voluntary organisations can coordinate the response to emergencies across the sector.
4. One national volunteering cell which will provide a single point of contact for large-scale requests of volunteering support.
The role of VAST in the Emergencies Partnership
As a “Liaison Lead” for Stoke-on-Trent, VAST will coordinate and respond to the requests and needs of local voluntary groups in the city. If these needs are part of a wider demand and supply problem, the Emergencies Partnership network will be used to address the needs of the sector and ensure that the right resources and support is provided where it’s needed, when it’s needed.
As Stoke-on-Trent’s local infrastructure organisation, VAST’s understanding of local need, capacity, demand, and resources can be used to ensure that Stoke-on-Trent is fully equipped to respond effectively and efficiently to any local, or national, emergency.
What support is available?
Support comes in all shapes and sizes.
For some, this might be a supply problem like sourcing PPE equipment for health-related services, or a need in a homeless shelter for additional bedding or sleeping bags, or perhaps a community group who needs more volunteers to deliver food parcels.
If your organisation needs something that’s proving difficult to source, then we can help. This is exactly the reason the collaboration was created: “Improved and sustained collaboration and support for grassroots level activity” sourcing solutions locally and nationally.
In a nutshell...
Essentially, if your organisation needs help, be it through volunteers, PPE supplies, carrier bags for food parcels, expert advice, or something else in Stoke-on-Trent, then just get in touch with VAST via firstname.lastname@example.org
If VAST can get the support you need locally, then they will do so. If your request for support is part of a wider supply problem, then they will reach out to representatives further up the chain in the network to find a solution.
Large-scale national requests will be escalated to the Strategic Coordination Group to meet the needs for support that cannot be met locally.
Why will it work?
This way of requesting support provides a simple pathway for local VCSE groups to get additional support and capacity to meet the needs in their area. It is a quick escalation point for local organisations to report an unmet need or a need for support that can’t be addressed through the usual routes. Escalation this way will ensure that the right organisations have enough capacity, and the right skills to work effectively in their communities.