Message from our chair

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We all of us in the voluntary and community sector need to adapt all the time to changes. I don’t think that I’m unique as a trustee in fearing that we can overlook the big issues in the face of the need to maintain funding, to have effective governance and to engage with our membership as well as stakeholders, not least the public at large.

At the moment, Chester Voluntary Action is reviewing and updating its strategic plan and that has given me cause to think about the issues that face us. Coincidentally, The Scout Association – where I have volunteered for many years – is going through a similar process. Here are some thoughts drawn from both experiences, which I try to bear in mind in my work as a trustee:

Social integration

Brexit and Trump: big changes with long-lasting impact. Brexit exposed a number of fault lines across the UK The voluntary sector is about bringing communities together. How do we help this process and have an even greater impact in our communities?

Wellbeing

Society is challenged by poor mental health. One in four people have a mental health issue at some time in their life. The figures show young people are most affected, with over half of mental health issues starting by the age of 14 and 75% by 18.

How do we embody the five ways to wellbeing in our work: connect, be active, take notice, learn and give?

Inclusion and Diversity

How reflective are we of diversity in the overall community? How do we include more people in our activities?

Digital

We are living in a digital age – like any great technological change, some of it is good and some not so good. The challenge is to use technology to reach out and engage with more people who need our services.

Generational differences

Research suggests that millennials represent the most civically considerate generation since World War 2. There was a 52% increase in the number of 16-24 year olds volunteering between 2011 and 2015. But we also need to recognise that, with an ageing population, there is huge potential for recruiting more volunteers.

These are some of the big issues I think organisations like those who belong to Chester Voluntary Action are facing – but which we are all well placed to deal with together. As Chair of CVA’s trustees I aim to do as much as I can to help move the work forward!

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