Our NENC VCSE Sub-Group Road Map

Author: Sian Dickie

The VCSE Partnership Programme hosts 11 Sub-groups, with 2 of these Sub-Groups being partnered with external organisations. To understand how these work, NENC VCSE Engagement Manager, Siobhan Flynn and NENC VCSE Engagement Coordinator, Sian Dickie, explore the key elements which come together to form our Sub-Groups and how they link into our structures and feed into the Integrated Care System (ICS). 

What is a Sub-Group?

The Sub-Groups are part of our NENC VCSE Partnership Programme. They provide representation for Communities of Interest (see below) and feed into our Partnership Forum, Executive Group and NHS Clinical Networks within the geographic area of our ICS. 

Sub-Groups are for people specifically responsible for health and wellbeing policy and strategic work within their VCSE organisation. People who take part in Sub-Groups receive regular programme information and exclusive meeting invitations to our Sub-Group sessions. Sub-Groups also allow for participants to actively connect with other VCSE sector colleagues in our region to focus on key areas of policy and strategy. 

What Sub-Groups do VONNE host? 

  • Ageing Well
  • Black and Minoritised Communities – This Sub-Group operates as a virtual network. Members receive relevant health and care information, consultations and events for this community of interest.  
  • Cancer – partnered with Cancern 
  • Carers 
  • Learning Disabilities and Autism
  • Mental Health – partnered with Everyturn Mental Health                                               
  • Multiple and Complex Needs 
  • Neurology
  • Women / Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG)
  • Workforce 

We don’t host all of the topical areas which could connect with the ICS, as some of these networks already exist and are well established in the region. Please see below the other networks which may interest you:

The Sub-Group Road Map

In their initial stages, our Sub-Groups tend to take the same steps in order to explore the key issues which affect their community of interest, elect a representative(s) and to work out where they can feed into the ICS. We have created the diagram (see below) to demystify the nature of how this works and to explore the process which we go through.

Sub-group roadmap.jpg

Click here to make the road map larger.

Alt text: A graphic showing the sub-group roadmap. Steps in the roadmap flow as follows: 

1. Identifying Community of Interest 
2. Mapping  
3. First Meeting and Terms of Reference
4. Exec rep decision and further mapping/meeting invites
4. Regular meetings for the subgroup. Meeting content can include group rep updates; relevant info regarding events, funding or opportunities; networking/collaboration updates; ICS updates or core issues.
5. Following meetings members complete actions. the wider group identifies ways to actively engage with the ICS and reps link in with clinical network/workstreams

Exploring the Road Map

Identifying Community of Interest

A Community of Interest is usually focused on a particular demographic of beneficiaries which a VCSE organisation may serve. In other spaces it could also be addressed as a vulnerable or marginalised community. However, we refer to the groups as a Community of Interest as we incorporate health conditions, and don’t solely focus on protected characteristics such as LGBTQIA+.

Communities of Interests were identified in the early planning stages of the Partnership Programme, and when creating them we prioritised the groups from the list above based on demand and enquiry.

As the ICS and its structures continue to form, we will be exploring further, new groups which we can feed into. 


When we map our Sub-Groups, we tend to mean that we are in the process of identifying and contacting the relevant organisations and individuals that we know of, who may want to be a part of the Sub-Group or work in the relevant area. 

Once we have identified these individuals or organisations, we usually ask if they know any people or organisations which we should be contacting to be a part of the group. This acts as a ‘snowball’ effect for the area of interest, giving us good coverage of the North East and North Cumbria. We also make sure that we gauge interest in the group itself, asking people working in the area if the group is wanted, or needed, to avoid the replication of existing networks.

First Meeting – identifying the purpose or need for the Sub-Group and the Terms of Reference.

In the first meeting, the Sub-Group members will introduce themselves, this usually continues throughout the year as new members join and as people/organisations acquaint themselves. In this first meeting we will identify the purpose of the group and if the group is needed. Once this has been identified, we will move onto the Terms of Reference (ToR). The ToR decides the remit of the group, for example, what age range they might cover, as well as elements such as, how often the group will meet. 

The first meeting will also go over the NENC VCSE Partnership Programme, what it is all about and how the Sub-Group integrates into the structures. This is when we will also go over the role of VCSE Representative. See more about this role in the attached documents below: 

Rep role profile information

VCSE Partnership Programme Representation v5.docx (live.com)

VCSE Representative Role Profile v2.docx (live.com)

Some Sub-Groups may choose to have 2 representatives. This can be to share the workload or to ensure that different communities are represented such as our Learning Disability and Autism Sub-Group. 

At the end of this session and other meetings of the Sub-Group we will also ask members if they have any further people and organisations that they would like to invite to the sessions. In this sense, mapping continues throughout.

Regular meetings

After the initial meeting, we will plan, in accordance with the agreed ToR, when meetings will be and what needs to be on the agenda. You will receive the date for the group a month in advance to add to your diaries, however the agenda and Zoom link will be sent a week before via our CRM system. To find out more about how we communicate with our Sub-Group members, please visit this blog post. 

We decide the agenda based what information members have brought forward to our attention, the latest ICS news or what the group may want to focus on based on the previous meeting.

At regular meetings, we discuss the core issues which are important to tackle as a group. We will also share updates from the ICS, as well as updates on the NENC VCSE Partnership Programme updates, including what happened at the latest Partnership Forum or funding opportunities. 

After the VCSE Representative (rep) has been decided (see above) and linked into the appropriate clinical network or workstream (once this has been identified), the rep or reps will feedback what is happening at a regional level, as well as them feeding any information from the Sub-Group, back into the regional meetings they are apart of. This enables two-way communication.

At regular meetings, we will also share relevant information with the group, for example, events which people might be interested in, as well as networking and collaborating opportunities. Members also have the opportunity, should they wish to, to tell other members about what is happening in their organisation, and can choose to have this information disseminated across our own Health and Wellbeing networks. 

Ongoing actions

At a Sub-Group meeting, there is an ongoing set of actions which will continue over a period of time. This could include members collecting case studies for evidence on a particular core issue, sharing a survey which the group has created, or helping to produce a blog post which will highlight a certain issue. 

In the future…

In the future, we may look to extend this roadmap. This area is always growing as new and more established groups develop. We hope to explore potential ways the Sub-Groups can collaborate with each other as well as external organisations in the future. 

Please contact our NENC VCSE Engagement Manager, Siobhan Flynn (siobhan.flynn@vonne.org.uk) or our NENC VCSE Engagement Coordinator, Sian Dickie (sian.dickie@vonne.org.uk) if you have any further questions on or Sub-Groups.

You may be interested in… 

Introduction to our Integrated Care System and VCSE Partnership Programme

Are you new to the VCSE Partnership Programme and unsure how to get involved? Do you want to know what an Integrated Care System (ICS) is and what health and care changes are happening in our region? 

We offer a regular monthly introductory session, where we answer these questions and explore the structures which enable the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector to feed into healthcare changes that are happening in our region. 

To find out more and register for our latest session please contact our NENC VCSE Engagement Coordinator, Sian via her email sian.dickie@vonne.org.uk 

Updated as of March 2024