VONNE Annual Conference 2018: why Brexit and why now?

This year our annual conference theme is Brexit: implications for VCSE organisations and their beneficiaries in the North East. In this post Carol Botten, VONNE CEO, explains why we chose this and what we aim to achieve through the event.

There is much we don’t yet know about Brexit.  

What is the final deal going to look like? Will we even get a deal? What will the political, economic, legislative and social implications be for people, communities, organisations and businesses of the North East? Might there be opportunities as well as challenges in a post-Brexit world?

VONNE doesn’t have the answers to these questions, but what we do know is that the UK will leave the European Union in less than 6 months’ time and this will be the most significant political event of a generation.  We are also clear on our role to connect the North East VCSE sector with policy makers and influencers working across the many aspects of Brexit to enable information and intelligence sharing on the emerging landscape and potential implications both positive and negative. 

VONNE wishes to support you, our members, to better prepare and plan your organisations’ responses to what are likely to be significant shifts in our operating environments and the needs of your beneficiaries.  The better prepared we are, the more resilient we will be.

Giving the North East VCSE sector a voice

In addition to hearing from a wide range of expertise on Brexit, we also want the conference to be an opportunity for the North East VCSE sector to have a voice and enable a conversation amongst ourselves and with the attending policy makers and influencers.  Through the panel session and the workshops that follow we will draw out some collective messages on Brexit. 

The panel contributors will take those messages back to guide their own work and thinking around Brexit. At a local level VONNE will use the key messages to further shape our work and influencing in this area over the coming months with the help of a North East VCSE Brexit Reference Group from our membership.  

After the conference VONNE will work with the reference group to reflect on and further shape the contributions from attendees to finalise key messages, areas of focus and asks of central Government and policy and lobbying bodies, which we will then take forward with them. In a period of extended and great uncertainty, VONNE needs to have clarity and focus so we can best represent you, our members.  We want to continue to work with you ensuring that the voice of the VCSE sector continues to be heard, that negative implications are mitigated against and opportunities to shape future policy, practice and funding are fully realised.

We do hope that you will be able to join us in Sunderland on the 18th October to join in the debate.  If you haven’t yet registered, please visit the event page on our website.  Remember that VONNE Membership+ subscribers get discounted or free tickets.

If you would be interested in joining the North East VCSE Brexit Reference Group, please email Abi Lunn to register your interest abi.lunn@vonne.org.uk

Carol Botten