Working together to make our voluntary sector stronger 

Published: Friday, July 14, 2023

  • Local groups come together to discuss how to strengthen Wandsworth’s voluntary sector. 
  • Part of work by the council to create a shared vision and approach.  
  • Work will improve support given to local people within communities. 

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Some of the borough’s key community leaders came together with the council this week to discuss how to help Wandsworth’s voluntary sector thrive. 

The event was the final part of ongoing work to find out how the council can strengthen its relationship with the voluntary and community sector, what support it needs and how different organisations can work effectively together to help local people and create a shared vision for Wandsworth.  

Around 120 people were in the Wandsworth Civic Suite from local groups, health partners and the council including CEO Mike Jackson and Council Leader Simon Hogg.  They shared ideas and discussed key issues including collaboration, funding, volunteering and community development.  

Guests also showed their support for Wandsworth's London Borough of Culture 2025 bid campaign which aims to strengthen local communities and bring together all sizes of voluntary and community organisations working in the borough. 

Representatives from NHS SWLondon and the Wandsworth Care Alliance back the bid

Mary Idowu is Deputy Director of Wandsworth Place Partnership NHS South West London Integrated Care System. She said: “I was truly blown away by how engaged all of the participants were. The voluntary and community sector has continued to deliver and are supportive (and full of ideas) of how we can work collaboratively to improve things for residents in Wandsworth.” 

Michelle Cook, the director of Home-Start, said: “It’s very encouraging to have our council colleagues lead a pro-active approach to identifying the challenges faced by sectors supporting communities across the borough. Events like this have invited frank expression, which has facilitated clarity on where challenges are experienced jointly.  I’m optimistic that this strengthens our position to address barriers as a collective.”

An independent analysis of the Wandsworth voluntary sector has been carried out on behalf of the council over the past few months by the organisation Rocket Science. Feedback from this meeting will feed into the final report expected this summer. A dedicated council team has also been set up to work with the voluntary sector. 

Deputy Council Leader Kemi Akinola gave the closing speech at the event. She said: “We know there is so much out there to learn from and build upon. But it’s been such a poignant and powerful opportunity to really understand and reflect on the array of different experiences and perspectives – before taking our next step together, including our campaign for London Borough of Culture 2025.

"We hope to gain a deeper understanding of what needs to change in Wandsworth and how together we can support an already thriving voluntary sector.”

Find out more about support for the voluntary sector.