CAN’s new VCS Involvement Partners have been elected by its members

Published on 20 September, 2022

Community Action Network (CAN) is excited to announce that its new Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Involvement Partners have been elected by its members.

The four senior leaders were elected as Involvement Partners by others within the VCS. They include Lynn Giles who will sit on the Children and Young People’s Partnership Board and has been working at Action for Children for over 16 years. Lynn brings a wealth of experience and passion, having been involved in developing and managing numerous services for children and families in Dorset.

Natascha McAllister, CEO of SEDCAT, has been elected to sit on the Adult Safeguarding Board. SEDCAT is a local transport charity that works with vulnerable adults, and Natascha has more than 10 years of experience in dealing with vulnerable people with disabilities.

Sam Everard, CEO of SAMEE, an organisation working closely with SEND schools, parents and young people in education, has been elected to sit on the SEND Improvement Board . Sam chairs the South West Regional Stakeholder Network for the Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office and is excited to be able to elevate the voice of SEND indivudals and ensure their views are heard at the table.

Sara Armstrong, from the Footprints Project, has been elected as the Involvement Partner for both the Community Safety Partnership and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Strategy Group. Sara is passionate about ensuring individuals have the opportunity to live in a safe and secure environment. She brings a breadth of knowledge of the VCS and the challenges it faces, and hopes to raise awareness of better partnership working across all sectors.

This exciting new project strengthens the voice of the voluntary and community sector by introducing Involvement Partners who will represent the sector at strategic level. Ensuring the VCS is represented at the table where discussions are held and decisions are made is vital, as it will inform and positively influence how local public services are developed and delivered.

Karen Loftus, CEO at Community Action Network, said: “Over the last 18 months, CAN has been developing a climate for community-led empowerment and this exciting new role has been co-designed with our members to allow for a more inclusive and joined-up way of representation that supports the individual, their organisation and the wider community to better enable effective collaboration, engagement and co-design.

“For us it is important that the VCS Involvement Partners are independent, work or volunteer for a VCS organisation nominated and are elected by our VCS members who they will be representing,” Karen explained.

CAN will work with both the strategic boards and the VCS Involvement Partners to ensure all are clear on roles, responsibilities, governance and how insights will be gathered and shared. The VCS Involvement Partners will be accountable to and elected by CAN members and will enable the VCS to inform, influence and partner in the development and delivery of public services.

The VCS Involvement Partners will be fully supported by CAN and will have access to its support, expertise, advocacy and extensive contacts – enabling easy dissemination of information across all of CAN’s Networks to ensure they are well informed.