Introducing a Safer Culture North East

You may have seen the national announcement last week, or read the regional news today, that a partnership between VONNE and North East local infrastructure organisations has been awarded funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and DCMS Safeguarding Training Fund.

I’m delighted to be working on behalf of VONNE on this project with colleagues from Catalyst Stockton-on-Tees, Connected Voice, Durham Community Action and Northumberland CVA, to deliver training and awareness raising sessions on the importance of safeguarding and highlighting the open access NCVO safeguarding resources across the North East, working alongside the region’s local infrastructure organisations.

This work will contribute to important conversations about how we keep people safe.

It happens here

Abuse, harassment and harm can happen to anyone, working in any sector. The voluntary sector is no exception. Often charities, voluntary sector organisations and community groups work with people who are talked about as being ‘vulnerable’ but these conversations are not just about the people who use our services. They’re about our staff, our volunteers, our trustees and anyone else who we interact with in the name of our organisations.

That’s why this tool, launched last week, from the DCMS is helpful if you see or are told about concerning behaviour in your own organisation.

Safer Culture North East

The responsibility for abuse or harassment always lies with the person committing the act and we need to be realistic; we can’t control that behaviour and we’re unlikely to completely eradicate it. But we can put safeguarding and keeping people safe at the heart of what we do, from recruitment and induction, training and policies, to appraisals and supervision; as well as in those informal spaces, the spaces in between the formal procedures that ultimately create our working cultures.

That’s why we’ve called our project Safer Culture North East. We know that safeguarding issues and concerns will arise but what we can do is help organisations and individuals to feel more confident dealing with them; being ‘safer’ is a continuous effort.

Over the next few weeks, our partnership will be developing training materials using the NCVO resources and engaging with VCS reps on safeguarding boards. You’ll be hearing a lot of talk about safeguarding in our ebulletins and at events, and there’ll be training sessions to sign up to.

In the meantime, take a look at the NCVO resources and if you have any questions about Safer Culture North East don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Anne Fry
Deputy Chief Executive

Funded jointly by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and The National Lottery Community Fund