Creating conditions for community led empowerment 

The voluntary and community sector plays a huge role locally in improving people’s lives and are well placed to understand and work with communities to empower positive change.

Ensuring the sector has a place at the table where discussions are held, and decisions are made, is vital as it informs and positively influences how local public services are developed and delivered.

‘Representing the voluntary sector’ is asked of local charities who find themselves at meetings with public sector colleagues. This can often be difficult and unrepresentative. CAN is co-designing 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.

It is our role to create a climate for community led empowerment – CAN can’t and don’t want to ‘represent’ the sector at every Board and meeting. There are other local charities and community groups that are much better placed to do this with our support and advocacy, to ensure they fulfil their role and have a mechanism to gather and share vital insights.

Where there is a call for ‘VCS representation’ – we want to share opportunities to sit on Boards/meetings and will ask local VCS organisations to put forward a representative we are calling a VCS Involvement Partner. CAN will work with both the Board and the VCS Involvement Partner to ensure all are clear on roles, responsibilities, governance and how insights will be gathered and shared. The VCS Involvement Partner 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 our support, expertise and advocacy – along with our extensive contacts. Enabling easy dissemination of information and the use of CAN Networks and Leaders exCHANGE ensuring they are well informed.

They will be responsible for:

  • Developing relationships between public sector organisations and the VCS
  • Supporting effective communication and improving the way both sectors work together at a local level
  • Gathering and representing peoples experiences, priorities, views and concerns the statutory boards and the opportunities they present

CAN currently support VCS representation on the following boards/meetings:

  • Health and Wellbeing Board (BCP) – Karen Loftus, Community Action Network
  • Local Resilience Forum (pan-Dorset) – Karen Loftus, Community Action Network
  • Health Inequalities Steering Group (HIG) – Karen Loftus, Community Action Network
  • Dorset ICS Seasonal Planning Delivery Group – Rachel Trickey, Community Action Network 
  • Dorset & BCP Joint Safeguarding Adults Board (BCP representative) – Natascha McAllister, SEDCAT
  • Pan-Dorset Prevent Partnership Board – Amy Collins, Community Action Network 
  • Vibrant Communities Partnership Board (BCP) – Karen Loftus, Community Action Network
  • Missing, Exploited and Trafficked (MET) Panel (BCP) – Lisa Hooper, Escapeline
  • Safeguarding Children & Young People Board (BCP Council) – Julie Deller, West Howe Community Enterprises
  • Early Help Partnership Board (BCP)  –  Emma Lee, Community Action Network
  • Early Help Partnership Board (BCP) Communications and Community Workstream – Emma Lee, Community Action Network 
  • Early Help Partnership Board (BCP) Workforce Development Workstream – Emma Lee, Community Action Network 
  • Early Help Partnership Board (BCP) Data and Digital Workstream – Emma Lee, Community Action Network 
  • Early Help Partnership Board (BCP) Early Help Assessment Pathway Workstream – Emma Lee, Community Action Network

     VCSIP Vacancies

    We have vacancies for a VCS Involvement Partner on the following Strategic Partnership Boards:

    • Programme Group for SEND Improvement Board (BCP Council) – VACANT
    • Domestic Violence Strategy Group (BCP Council) – VACANT

    There is a bursary of £200 per year for each VCS Involvement Lead to support expenses.

    Find out more

    If you would like to know more, or if you’d like to become a VCS Involvement Partner, please contact our Head of Engagement, Emma on 07966 742941 or email her at with a completed nomination form.

    Become a VCSIP – be part of the bigger picture!