Director at large

by Tony Nickson

A lot has happened since I took up the post of Director almost two years ago. Much of my time has focused on setting the foundations to enable VAL to continue to support and represent the sector in an ever-changing environment.

profile-pictureOne of my ambitions when I started was to go out and meet with members to find out more about your services, your concerns and your views on how we can support you in your work. I’m pleased to say that last month I made my first visits to some VAL members as part of my Director’s Tour. So far it’s been enlightening, inspiring and humbling to see what’s being achieved despite the very real challenges you are facing.

I visited three very different organisations that gave me different insights into the ways of working, creativity and spark which make the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in Lewisham so vibrant. Bold Vision in New Cross has set up a number of initiatives in the area, including running the library, a café and environmental arts projects. All this has been in spite of the obstacles that have come their way. JOY (Just Older Youth), also in New Cross, is a user-led group run by a team of dedicated volunteers that provides a range of activities and classes for older people. Age Exchange is based in Blackheath and specialises in offering ground breaking support for people suffering from dementia. Their reminiscence work is already gaining national and international recognition.

I’d especially like to thank the staff who took the time to show me around and share your work, your concerns and your views on the services you receive from VAL. 


Look out for more blogs from Tony as he continues his Director’s Tour over the next few months, which is part of VAL’s ongoing work to engage with its members. We’ll also be highlighting more of the work of our members in Grapevine and in social media. If you have an innovative way of working or would like to share examples of good practice contact our Communications & Publicity Officer, Joanne Roberts, at