Adapting to change


VAL Director Tony Nickson explains why now is the perfect time for Lewisham VCSE staff, volunteers, trustees and activists to come together and apply our energy and creativity to shaping the future of the sector.


Every year we seem to be talking about adapting to change and coping with an increasingly challenging environment. If anything is a constant, it seems to be this.

Our conference this year aims to bring out some fresh ideas about how we can make sense of the shifting environment we find ourselves in.  We want to ensure that we continue to do what we set out to do to improve the lives, opportunities and wellbeing of the people and communities that we have chosen to serve.

To help us, we are drawing on the work that was commissioned by London Funders, which is published in a proposed regional strategy, The Way Ahead

We are delighted to welcome representatives from major funders and experts in their field – both national and local. A panel of speakers from City Bridge Trust, Big Lottery Fund, London Funders and Lloyds Bank Foundation will give insight into funding the way ahead.

We’re also fortunate to have experts from national and local organisations to help us explore some of the main themes in The Way Ahead, and think about how we can embed them locally. 


Wider focus

The focus is on ‘civil society’ support, which means to include all those who have come together for a common purpose to take action to make their communities a better place in which to live.

In the course of planning its response to the challenges and changes ahead and how it can become an effective civil society support organisation VAL has been guided by the ideas in The Way Ahead, and also by what you have told us in the course of our State of the Sector survey. The conference will be an opportunity for us to show you how we are adapting to meet the challenges of the changing world in which we find ourselves, and to engage with you to explore how we can work together for the common good, with a common purpose.

Our focus as we go forward is on making new connections bringing people together within the community supporting those who have ideas and the energy to put those ideas into practice and join together in a common purpose to make our communities better and healthier places to live and work


Drawing on the past

We're also very excited to present to you a new project to mark the start of a new Heritage Lottery Fund supported project, Refuge-Resistance-Response - celebrating 50 years of social action in Lewisham on the part of individuals and groups coming together for the good of their communities. By looking back in this way we can celebrate the energy and creativity that exists within our community and draw inspiration from those people who went before us with a mission to make things better for their own communities. We can also reflect on its relevance for today.


Personal adaptation

On a personal note, adapting to change has become something of very personal resonance to me as this year has brought challenges that I never imagined I would have to face following my stroke in April last year. Thank you to all those who have sent warm wishes and encouraged me. It reminds me of the power of connecting with others to build healthy, strong communities.

I look forward to seeing you at the conference.


Space 2017: Charting the way ahead plus VAL AGM is VAL's flagship one-day conference on Wednesday 5 July 2017, 9am - 4pm.

The event is free, but registration is essential. Register today!