North East and North Cumbria VCSE Partnership Programme

What is the NENC VCSE Partnership Programme and how does it work? Here we explore our structures, representation and how you can get involved with the Programme.

North East and North Cumbria VCSE Partnership Programme

What is the North East and North Cumbria VCSE Partnership Programme?

Each Integrated Care System (ICS) has a voluntary sector alliance. The alliances bring together all of the VCSE organisations within the ICS, enabling them to collectively inform and shape the ICS into a system which works for everyone. The North East and North Cumbria VCSE Partnership Programme is our VCSE alliance, and aims to ensure that the VCSE sector is embedded at all levels of our Integrated Care System (ICS).

Through the NENC VCSE Partnership Programme, VONNE, working in partnership with Cumbria CVS, leads and delivers on the integration of the VCSE sector within the structures in our ICS.

By working as an integrated part of the ICS, the VCSE sector is able to influence and shape the design and delivery of services, from place-based, neighbourhood localities to strategic board level, making sure our ICS works for everyone.  

The VCSE sector, via the NENC VCSE Partnership Programme is able to provide extensive expertise and reach into the communities that receive health and care services, particularly those that the NHS can find it difficult to connect with. Via the organisations that work within these communities, the Programme enables communities to communicate their own priorities, as well as supporting the design and delivery of models that combine medical interventions with more holistic support. 

The Programme offers the opportunity for VCSE organisations to participate in the ICS at whatever level they feel is appropriate, and the ability to move between levels of involvement as capacity, interest and relevance dictate. 

The aims of our Programme

As well as ensuring VCSE representation at all levels of the ICS, we are coordinating sector-wide responses to some of the key issues that affect VCSE organisations, including:

  • Developing sustainable and democratic funding processes to enable longevity and fair access to VCSE organisations of all sizes. 
  • Ensuring equitable relationships, partnerships and involvement in strategic planning and service delivery for organisations of all sizes. 
  • Building trusting relationships between the VCSE sector and health partners, supported by our Memorandum of Understanding between the ICB and VCSE sector. The MoU is a governing document which sets out the values and expectations that underpin all interactions between the VCSE and health, at all levels of the ICS.  The MoU is with the ICB for signing off, once it is a live document we will host it here. 

We're reaching organisations across the Integrated Care System!

People are part of our Health and Wellbeing Network and receive our regular bulletins
People have joined our VCSE Partnership Programme Sub-groups

Our structures

Our reach is facilitated by the Programme's structures, including various networks and forums. The structures vary across the programme, and their membership is unique to their aim. As such, check out the drop-downs below for more information on the structures within the Partnership Programme and who they involve.

Health and Wellbeing Network

This part of the Programme is open to all sectors. The Health and Wellbeing Network receive a bulletin which is distributed every 3 weeks. It cascades information including news and opportunities relating to health and wellbeing, as well as regular updates on the Integrated Care System from a VCSE perspective. 

Our Sub-Groups

The Sub-Groups are part of our NENC VCSE Partnership Programme and are exclusive to the VCSE sector. They span the geography of our ICS and provide representation for Communities of Interest (see below), and feed into our Partnership Forum, Executive Group and ICS-wide NHS networks and workstreams.

Sub-Groups are for people responsible for health and wellbeing policy and strategic work within their VCSE organisation. Sub-Group members receive regular programme information and exclusive meeting invitations to our Sub-Group sessions. Sub-Groups also allow participants to actively connect with other VCSE sector colleagues from across our ICS geography to focus on key areas of policy and strategy.  

Our Sub-Groups include: 

  • Mental Health - hosted by Everyturn Mental Health
  • Learning Disabilities and Autism 
  • Ageing Well 
  • People Facing Multiple Disadvantage
  • Women / Violence Against Women & Girls 
  • Neurology 
  • Black and Minoritised Communities – this Sub-Group is open to any organisation led by people from ethnically minorities communities, as well as organisations that work with Refugees and Asylum Seekers, or within the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller Community.   
  • Carers
  • Workforce
  • Cancer - partnered with Cancern

Find out more about our sub-groups and how they work via our Sub-Group Road Map blog

Partnership Forum

The Partnership Forum is where strategic health and wellbeing leaders from the VCSE come together and discuss the issues which matter to them. The Forum meetings occur every 2 months and feature presentations from a wide range of external stakeholders, including ICB leaders. This enables an additional form of two-way engagement between the ICS and the VCSE. The meetings also include updates regarding the Partnership Programme and ICS developments, as well as opportunities relevant to the VCSE sector.

Executive Group

The Executive Group supports the VCSE to have a collective sector voice and message when representing at ICS and other health and wellbeing meetings. The group consists of two nominated representatives from each group of Local Infrastructure Organisations (LIO’s)/organisations that provide health infrastructure support within each of the four Area ICPs. Membership also consists of a nominated member/members from each of our Sub-Groups, and agreed leads from other networks that are already in existence e.g. Cancern, the cancer network, and Clinks, the criminal justice network. This ensures broad geographic and thematic representation within the group.

Our NENC VCSE Partnership Programme Multi-Agency Steering Group

Our Steering Group occurs quarterly. On the Steering Group, we have strong VCSE representation, but also NHS clinical and ICS leadership representation. This is to make sure that our Programme remains relevant and fit for purpose, not only to the VCSE sector, but also to the ICS.

Want to get involved but unsure how?

Check out our Join our Networks page to find out which networks are appropriate, or get in touch at or the button below for more information!

Find out more about the integration of the ICS and VCSE Partnership Programme, from our North East and North Cumbria VCSE Engagement Manager, Siobhan Flynn. Transcript for the video can be found here.

Hear from the programme team!

Siobhan Flynn

North East and North Cumbria VCSE Engagement Manager

Lisa Taylor

Health and Wellbeing Programme Director and VCSE Partnership Programme Lead

Richard Boggie

Health Partnerships Strategic Manager and the VCSE Partnership Programme lead for Workforce