Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Voluntary Sector Network Update

VSN Meeting 22nd May 2024, St Ives Corn Exchange, chaired by Sandie Smith

Sandie welcomed everyone and introductions were done as there were several new faces in the room.

Action Log

Most of the actions were complete.

63- Sandie plans to have another EDI workshop for one of the autumn meetings.

78- Some uncertainty as to what this was about. Debbie checked and previously Bev Hoskins had talked about staff incentives and suggested that one staff member a month (health) could be given a day at a voluntary sector organisation. This action was to check with the CVS whether this was an option and if the offer would be wider than the VSN.

87- Julie Farrow had been asked if she could be part of a menopause working group but she doesn’t have capacity. She is hoping a voluntary sector organisation would be willing to be part of this. If so contact Julie

Sandie Update

Sandie reported that the VSN has received funding for the forthcoming year.

This allows the data project to progress to the next level. Micheal (CAB) was asked if he would give back at the next meeting.

Within the budget, we have some money for comms so Costa from Hunts Forum will be doing this for us.

There is also some money to support the reps at the ICB meetings- this distribution is being looked at.

The Quality Development Tool which measures the maturity of the VSN has now been completed. The steering group will sign this off and then it goes to NAVCA.

The actions are to be linked into the strategy with support from a consultant so the original goals will be kept and a section update/ progress hopefully will be complete by the end of July.

The Assura grant offer received 23 expressions of interest and 15 have been asked to complete a full application. The grant was to focus on hyperlocal and the panel met on 19th June to decide the outcome. On the panel, there is representation from both North and South places. It is hoped that there may be a further round of opportunity which will be opened to the Integrated Neighbourhoods that didn’t get monies in their area in the first round. Sandie will keep you all informed.

Sandie asked about future items for meetings. She is going to invite both CCC and PCC the social care directors to a future meeting.

There has been a request from the Early Help hub (Dan) to talk about the progress being made.

Sandie was pleased to tell the meeting that there are now over 100 members of the VSN.

Andrea Update

Andrea discussed “Aligning Support” and said there were 3 work streams:

Development of a compact set of principles for looking at grants/contracts and looking at the understanding of co-production. This also includes a faith covenant.

Impact- a more consistent way of talking about impact- looking at people’s insights.

Volunteers- how can statutory partners support volunteers

Andrea also mentioned that round 2 of the Healthier Futures Fund had been announced but they were still seeking feedback from the first round- ie what stopped you from applying, what made applying difficult?

Action – Debbie to resend the survey link.

Fiona Kerr-Mental Health, Learning Disability & Autism Care Partnership, VCSE Influence and Participation Project

Fiona gave a presentation outlining the involvement she has had since her start date. She explained that the VSCE sector Influence and Participation Project Board of whom several of VSN members are part of, continues to champion,

refresh and expand on priorities from the launch. They are attending many meetings and raising these priorities at every opportunity.

Action -to share presentations post-meeting.

Anna Kostrubala and Ellen Aboukhatwa- Integrated Neighbourhood managers for St Neots and St Ives.

Anna and Ellen gave a comprehensive overview of Integrated Neighbourhoods and showed the position for North Place.

Anna then gave examples of projects being supported by Integrated Neighbourhoods including a project in St Neots where a tattoo business had approached the IN as they had been encountering people who self-harmed. From these initial conversations, the Armour project was set up. The staff at the tattoo parlour all got trained in mental health awareness and now feel more confident having conversations with clients. A support group has also been set up to support families of those who self-harm. A video is included in the slide pack.

These examples were quite different for each area so showed that the projects are led by those living and working in the area.

Ellen told the group that the St Ives Integrated Neighbourhood launch was going to be on 14th June. From that meeting some priorities will be set and some subgroups set up.

Anna and Ellen thanked the VSN for their support of IN. If you feel your organisation would be keen to be involved at IN level please contact your IN manager.

Although North Place was covered there was an ask about South Place. Debbie explained she had found it difficult to get information about South Place INs and they seem to have been run with a different approach to North.


Sandie was asked about the Health Inequalities event that the ICs are arranging- We initially expected someone from ICB to attend this meeting but that was cancelled, and we were told that they would now feedback after the event.

The meeting attendees wanted to know how they could get an invite. Sandie has an invite and believes others have received them too and believes the places have been filled. No one at the meeting had received invites. They asked who had been invited.

Action- Sandie to check the position on this.

Debbie- The next Health and Wellbeing Network meeting is being held on 11th June 12-1.15. Tiff Lane is coming to talk about LGBTQ+ language and what it means. To book click on the link.

Debbie- due to the success of the showcase event in the spring another is being arranged for 11th July. Debbie already has 8/9 people signed up from the waiting list from the last event. There are still a couple of spaces spare. A few of the meeting attendees expressed an interest. Keep an eye out for future emails for further details and booking forms. Please support the organisations that are showcasing by joining in for one or more sessions.