The Tower Hamlets Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Strategy 2020-2024 is a partnership strategy between the council, voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations in the borough and the council’s partners, in both the public and private sectors. Its focus is on achieving positive outcomes for the residents of the borough. This will include enabling the borough to recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic and move to a post-pandemic world. The VCS Strategy has a vision of a diverse and thriving VCS, working alongside residents, the council and partner organisations to achieve better outcomes for residents
The strategy focuses on how the council and partner organisations will work together with the VCS to allow the VCS to thrive and prosper, and not be dependent on the statutory sector.
The Strategy relates to the VCS in the widest sense, including:
- registered charities
- faith groups
- unregistered and informal community groups, including mutual aid groups
- social enterprises
- tenants and residents’ associations
- community interest companies, with charitable elements
The strategy acknowledges the importance of the VCS to Tower Hamlets, and the strength of the VCS in the borough, which have been particularly underlined by its crucial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Strategy will see the VCS having a positive impact on the lives of local residents and being a celebrated asset of the borough. It sees the sector playing a key role in Tower Hamlets’ recovery from the pandemic, developing its own resources and skills to tackle inequalities in the community.
The Strategy has three key priorities:
- Better partnership working within the VCS
- A more resilient and sustainable VCS
- Improved partnership arrangements across sectors
The Strategy was developed following consultation and work with local VCS organisations, led by Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service, Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group and Tower Hamlets Homes.
The VCS Strategy was agreed by Cabinet on the 25th November 2020.
The Strategy sets out a framework for action and is being implemented via a delivery plan developed by strategy partners. The work will be overseen by Cooperate, the key VCS partnership body in the borough. A number of VCS Forums will report back to Cooperate. They will also have a role, working with partners, in identifying actions and solutions to address the commitments in the strategy.
The investment that the Council has made in the VCS in Tower Hamlets takes a range of forms – grants, commissioning, funding for projects to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and rent and business rate relief for example. Details of this are covered in the VCS Mid-Year Report which will be available to view shortly.
The current flagship funding programme for the VCS in Tower Hamlets is the Local Community Fund (LCF). The work and achievements of projects funded by LCF is highlighted in the Local Community Fund and Infrastructure Capacity Building Fund Annual Report – Oct19-Sep 20.