Collaborate for Lewisham: let's work together!
Our Collaborate for Lewisham conference on 19 October was a very positive event with many attendees making new connections and intentions to pursue partnership opportunities. Please click on the links below to access copies of the slides.
The day began with an introduction to what drives collaboration - from constructive forces, such as a shared vision and values, to negative drivers, such as external pressures. Our speaker, Alan Lawrie, was very realistic about the situation many VCSE groups find themselves in and the importance of beginning collaboration explorations from a place of choice.
Our second speaker, Lillie Swift, Funding Manager at The Big Lottery, talked about the funder's perspective and was very clear that funders are not interested in "forced marriages" or groups coming together solely for the purpose of trying to access funding. They want to see bids from organisations with a shared vision for improving outcomes for beneficiaries.
We then heard from some local organisations who had experiences of partnerships across the whole spectrum, from informal alliances to merger:
- Barbara Gray talked about Lewisham's BME Health Network
- Maureen Biddiscombe talked about Lewisham ESOL Forum
- Jane Hendrie and Maria Turley talked about Lewisham Live arts collaborative
- Amanda de Ryk talked about Age Exchange's merger with Community Integrated Care
The workshops that followed were:
- Tools, models and due diligence for collaboration
- A funder's perspective on partnership projects
- Digital tools to support collaboration
In the afternoon we held Open Space discussions on topics suggested by participants. These were
- Maintaining your identity and specialism when entering into collaboration
- Working with older people
- Mental health work with people from BAMER communities and asylum seekers
- Working with young people
- Brief action points from the groups here
Feedback from participants was gratifyingly positive and there was an appetite to take these introductions and conversations further. As mentioned on the day VAL is happy to host meetings of "special interest groups" for organisations who share common interests or beneficiaries and there are other focused networks in Lewisham that may be relevant to your work:
- Networking event for groups working with people with disabilities - contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information or to join the mailing list
- Our well-established forum for groups working with children or young people has its own mailing list - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lewisham BME network for groups working with BME communities meets regularly - contact email@example.com
- Lewisham Migration Forum meets regularly - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lewisham BME Health Network meets on the last Thursday morning of each month contact Lblbmenetwork@gmail.com
- Lewisham ESOL Network contact email@example.com
- Community Connections facilitates neighbourhood forums for groups working with vulnerable adults in Lewisham - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lewisham Education Arts Network (LEAN) provides support for arts education collaborations - contact email@example.com
- Lewisham Local supports volunteering and business engagement across the sector - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Big Lottery have regular sessions at VAL to discuss potential applications, including partnership bids - contact email@example.com to book a place
Do get in touch if you have other ideas or requests for special interest groups and sign up for our e-bulletins to keep in touch with news and developments.