As 2020 draws to a close I wanted to reach out to all VONNE members and supporters to say thank you for all your help and engagement with VONNE over the last 12 months.
What a year it has been! Never before have we experienced such rapid change to our personal and professional lives, or had to respond so quickly to the new and emerging needs of our beneficiaries and communities. In the case of VONNE, that has been responding to your needs. I hope our information and communication streams have helped you navigate the ever-changing landscape, and seize opportunities through the provision of funding information via the FINE bulletin and online directory. We hope that our events, webinars, networks and AGM+ last month have enabled you to connect with each other, learn from others and share your experiences. We've also done a lot of work behind the scenes, communicating on the impact of Covid-19 on the North East VCSE sector and our communities with funders, commissioners, Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, the health system and many others. We continue to push the needs of the sector, but more importantly, help the impact of Covid on the people and communities we support to be understood. We need to ensure that addressing long-standing inequalities in our region is at the forefront of regional plans and strategies to recover from Covid-19.
For all the challenges we've faced over the last nine months, we should also recognise the achievements and opportunities that have been brought about through the pandemic. We've heard lots about new partnerships and better joined up working within and beyond the sector. Many of us have embraced new ways of working, using digital to connect with our teams, volunteers and beneficiaries, and many organisations have innovated and developed new services and support mechanisms for their communities.
All of this forms a great foundation from which we can rebuild as we look forward with hope into 2021. There’s no doubt that we will still face more challenges and change in the year ahead as the impacts of Covid are likely to last well beyond the immediate health crisis. The VCSE sector has proved how resilient, adaptable and creative we can be over the last few months, and it these same qualities, along with the sheer passion and determination of our people that will drive us forward.
I hope you all have a peaceful festive season and are able to take some time to rest and recuperate. The team at VONNE looks forward to working closely with you in the new year to ensure that we can continue support you as best we can and move forward together.
Carol Botten, VONNE CEO