VONNE Annual Conference 2017

On a snowy day in Newcastle VONNE held our AGM and Annual Conference at CastleGate in Newcastle. 

The slides from Jane Hartley's AGM presentation are available to view.

The theme of the conference, 'The Future of Civil Society: A North East Perspective' was designed to align with the Inquiry into Civil Society Futures and feed into their conversations taking place around the UK.  

Despite weather warnings across the North East around 100 delegates attended to listen to Julia Unwin CBE open the conference.

In Julia's engaging presentation she talked about the changing context in which we all operate, framed around the four D's of democracy, digital, demographics and deficit, and highlighted that 'civil society' is not that civil!  Highlighting that many VCSE sector organisations are founded to respond to challenges, set up in grief, in anger and in response to injustice.

Julia also gave an overview of the key themes emerging from the Inquiry's research, the summary of which can be found on their website.

After Julia's scene setting, we moved onto the civil society conversations.  Each table were asked a series of questions:

  • Who are you and what role do you play in civil society?
  • ​What are your biggest hopes and fears for civil society in the next ten years?
  • ​What should the VCSE sector in North East civil society look like in 10 years and what are the drivers and barriers for change?
  • What are the three most important insights you want to share?

And the facilitators (who all did a wonderful job) fed back the top three insights to the room.

Director of IPPR North Ed Cox then launched their report, produced with support from VONNE, 'Civil Society Support in the North'.  This three year piece of work involved conversations with stakeholders across the North, examining data from the Third Sector Trends survey and case study examples of what good practice looks like.  The report can be downloaded from the IPPR North website.

If you missed the event you can view a whistlestop tour of the afternoon via Storify.

Next Steps

VONNE are collating the outputs from the conversations and will be working with the Inquiry into Civil Society Futures to produce a write up which will be fed into their research.  This will also be made available on the VONNE website.

If you are interested in finding out more please contact Anne.Fry@vonne.org.uk.