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The Lord-Lieutenant's Voluntary Sector Forum for West Sussex is an initiative of the Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Susan Pyper, to make advantageous use of the office of the Lieutenancy to support volunteers in the community and to further mutual cooperation between voluntary sector organisations and the public and private sectors.
Speaking on camera (right) before a meeting in April 2013 of eighty representatives of the public, business and voluntary sectors to launch the initiative in Crawley, the Lord-Lieutenant said:
“When I took office four and a half years ago, I thought there must be a way we can bring together the commercial sector, the public sector and the voluntary sector to share the skills and expertise that each other has. I’m not asking money from anyone, it’s really just to try to find those trustees that some commercial companies might be hiding or use the skills of the people working in the commercial sector to help with the financial aspects – perhaps to offer up premises. That’s the idea, very simple, and if we have one tiny bit of success it will make such a difference to the voluntary sector.”
At this event — the latest in a series to be launched throughout West Sussex — ways in which the private and public sectors may benefit from closer involvement with the community were also explored.
A spokesman for the Lieutenancy Office added: “Among the positive outcomes were: the offer of accommodation for meetings/ training, the provision of trustees, expertise in writing funding bids, IT and media support, assistance with servicing vehicles, welfare advice and mentoring.”
The Crawley launch was the third in the series planned broadly by the Voluntary Sector Forum team and in detail in each area by a coopted team of local Deputy Lieutenants and others, usually in conjuction with the local Councils for Voluntary Service. The first event was the county-wide launch of the initiative at Edes House in Chichester in March 2012, followed by the first of the local events held in Worthing in October 2012.
Each of the events follows a similar format tailored specifically to local needs and conditions but designed not only to find ways in which businesses and public sector organisations can support the voluntary sector (and vice versa) but also to register firm offers of support and, if necessary, match those with those who can best use them.
The fourth launch of Voluntary Sector Forum was held at the South of England Centre, Ardingly on April 2nd 2014 resulting in more useful links for charities with business and the private sector. Considerable help has been provided by a local print company during the amalgamation of Mid Sussex CVS with Horsham Voluntary Action now HAMSVA.
Worthing and Adur Voluntary Action have set up a focus group which regularly monitors and supports the partnerships that have been established.
HAMSVA has two Deputy Lieutenants on its Board of Directors and DLs regularly attend the AGMs of other Voluntary Action Groups.
DLs have been pleased to accept invitations to Conferences and meetings of the Chambers of Commerce and Business Partnerships across West Sussex. This has enabled us to share examples of the links set up through the Forum.
A 'breakout' session with representatives of different kinds of organisations explores ways for mutually beneficial cooperation at the Forum's Worthing launch in October 2012.
Copyright: John Rigby / Crawley Observer
The Lord-Lieutenant addresses guests at one of the Voluntary Sector Forum initiative's launch events
Major Tom Wye MBE DL summarises his group's findings after a 'breakout' session.