Over 150 people attended the Royal Borough’s first voluntary and community sector conference.

The event at Charlton Athletic Football Club, on Thursday 23 November, celebrated the official launch of the voluntary and community sector strategy. The strategy was created earlier this year in collaboration with volunteers, groups and organisations, and was agreed at Cabinet in September.

At the conference, there was an update on the progress on delivering the strategy’s objectives to date and the action plan for the future.

Special guest Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, gave the keynote speech. He spoke about the national picture for the voluntary sector and how other local authorities and voluntary sector organisations are overcoming challenges.

There were a variety of workshops to attend which explored good practice in terms of governance, impact reporting, working with the faith sector and partnership working and there was also a chance to network with fellow voluntary and community groups. Exhibition stands with representatives from a range of groups including the Her Centre, the armed forces and Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency were also present.

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries and Community Well-Being, said: “Our incredibly diverse voluntary and community sector helps make the Royal Borough of Greenwich so special. We believe that strong and vibrant voluntary and community groups are at the heart of a fairer Greenwich so we are fortunate to have such a vast network.

“Our first conference was a celebration of this and a chance to take stock of where we are and how we are going to move forward, with the new strategy forming the basis for a new way of working together. Thanks to everyone who took part and I look forward to the conference’s return next year!”

The voluntary and community sector strategy aims to create an environment which allows the VCS to work independently and together with partners in the public and private sector to meet local priorities to support some of the most vulnerable who are affected by poverty, inequality and social and economic exclusion.

The five-year strategy outlines how the third sector as a whole aims to maximise resources to the best effect. It was developed in consultation with:

  • Local voluntary and community organisations
  • Metropolitan Police
  • London Fire Brigade
  • NHS Greenwich