Contact Us

Voluntary Sector North West
St. Thomas Centre

Ardwick Green North
M12 6FZ
Tel: 0161 276 9300
Fax: 0161 276 9301


VS6: Working together to build a stronger Liverpool City Region

25 October 2016

 A brief overview of the VS6 partnership of voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations in Liverpool City Region.

Devolution, Our Devolution: Perspectives on the Meaning of Devolution for Voluntary and Community Groups

3 December 2014

Devolution in England is happening now. We want the voluntary and community sector to play a key role in developing the thinking around what a good model of devolution looks like and how it could work best for the communities we represent.

This report contains thirteen different perspectives from across the North West and further afield to give us all food for thought on what devolution could mean and the role of the sector. Click here to download a copy.


The Implications of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for the VCS

30 September 2014

This report, commissioned by Liverpool CVS United Way, explores the implications of city region working, and specifically the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, for local voluntary and community sector groups:

- Combined Authorities: The Implications of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for the VCS (September 2014).  This report includes a section on VCS involvement in the other four Combined Authorities.

- Executive Summary

The Future Role of the VCS in the Cheshire and Warrington LEP

2 July 2014

VSNW and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) were commissioned by Learning Together Cheshire and Warrington (LTC&W) to explore the role of VCS organisations in the future of the Local Enterprise Partnership.

The report draws together evidence and case-studies about the sector's impact and potential in four thematic LEP delivery areas: 

  • social enterprise
  • social innovation
  • employment and skills, and
  • social inclusion.

This report will be of use to LEPs thinking about how they work with the sector and to local VCS lead agencies, especially those developing Lottery match funding proposals (all five in the North West). The report includes recommendations for how LEPs can work with the VCS to generate greater economic and social development.

Other key links:

This report is part of VSNW's work to support the sector to engage in economic policy-making: VSNW Strategic Engagement work 

Thriving Places

11 February 2014

‘Thriving Places’ is VSNW’s and CLES’ campaign to develop a progressive and socially just vision of the voluntary and community sector’s role in local economies and the life of local places.  

VSNW and CLES have established five areas of action:
1. We need to make a strident case for recognising the sector's current and potential role in thriving places
2. The sector needs to be bullish
3. We need to take the argument to inert thinking and prevailing orthodoxies and create the conditions for fundamental change
4. The sector needs to look at itself
5. We need to be clear about why this is the best way forward from an economic perspective

Success Stories: highlights from C&YP NW network members (November 2013)

27 November 2013

This report highlights success stories from Children & Young People NW network members from the last 18 months. These include winning strategic representation on Health & Wellbeing Boards and Apprenticeship Hubs, campaigning for families, buidling successful consortia that win contracts, strong and effective local infrastructure work, providing support for community group take-up of graduate placements, CCG grants, award successes, youth work and nuclear business, young people lobbying for young people (Youthforia!), and evaluating the impact of respite services on parents.

VSNW Annual Review 2012-13

27 November 2013

VSNW works on behalf of its members and the wider voluntary and community sector in the North West to ensure the sector can play a full part in shaping the future of the North West. We have had another successful year, even in the face of reduced resources, and you can read all about it in our annual review.



'Building a Strong Local Healthwatch': the role of the VCS

24 February 2013

Local Healthwatch (HW) organisations will be in place by April 2013. The report draws together the knowledge, experiences and contributions that voluntary sector organistions who attended a workshop on 17th January 2013. The aim of the workshop was to look beyond Healthwatch organisational structure issues to how the voluntary and community sector can maximise its contribution to Local Healthwatch organisations.

VSNW Annual Review 2011-12

10 January 2013

2011/12 was an eventful year for VSNW. This review outlines our many achievements supporting the voluntary sector in our region.

Creating Effective Healthwatch Organisations

5 July 2012

Regional Voices has been working with the Local Government Association and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement on a programme of work funded by the Department of Health to identify and share learning between local Healthwatch pathfinders and to identify the challenges and support needs for future local Healthwatch development.

This report highlights both some key elements considered to be essential in creating an effective local Healthwatch organisation and also some of the challenges that were highlighted through interviews with a selection of voluntary and community sector (VCS) and LINK representatives.

VSNW Healthwatch Meetings with the Dept of Health

30 May 2012

VSNW recently held meetings with the Department of Health Officials to which a small number of LINk hosts were invited along with LINk representation and their Local Authority Healthwatch Lead.  The main aim of the discussion was to discuss potential organisational form for Local Healthwatch and what would and would not be acceptable. Those invited had specific model ideas they wished to discuss and this led on to a wide ranging discussion of issues surrounding the establishment and role of local Healthwatch.

Open for All? The Changing Nature of Equality under Big Society and Localism

17 January 2012

Research into the impact of Government policy on Equalities Groups in the North West finds that:
1. Reforms have come at a cost
2. New forms of representation are weak and exclude equalities groups
3. Spending cuts are damaging voluntary sector capacity to deliver big society
4. The new policy framework is liable to reinstate old patterns of exclusion and discrimination
5. Implementation is disproportionately harming the most excluded
6. The capacity of equalities groups to participate and hold public bodies to account is heading towards a point of critical failure.

► The Full report (.pdf, 800KB) is available below through download link
► A word version is available here (4 MB)
Executive Summary (.pdf)
Executive Summary (.word) 

Still delivering for England's North West: VSNW Annual Review 2010-2011

28 October 2011

Our 2010-11 annual review sets out how we have continued to support the voluntary and community sector in the North West in policy areas such as health, learning & skills and equalities. Our work in representing the sector, gathering information and supporting networks has continued despite the reduction in regional bodies and the current political environment. 


Open publication - Free publishing


To download a text-only version, please click here

To request a paper copy or to request alternative formats, please contact us

Towards more effective commissioning of local voluntary organisations

21 September 2011
Report profiling five case studies from across the North West which explore how and why particular voluntary sector organisations have become key to tackling the health needs in their areas.
To read more about the implications and learning inspired by this report, go to the following page on this website: The Commissioning Project  

The Implications of Government Policy for Equality Issues

26 May 2011

Produced as part of the Equality, Big Society and Localism Research Project commissioned by the NorthWest Infrastructure Partnership (NWIP), this think piece includes an exploration of the implications of The Localism Bill, Big Society, The Local Growth White Paper, and the latest Welfare and Health reform proposals.

Getting the Localism Bill Right

11 May 2011

Getting the Localism Bill Right (.pdf)

Getting the Localism Bill Right (May 2011), VSNW’s guide to the Localism Bill, highlights six key areas of the Bill and proposes six principles that could be used to shape and define “Localism”:

► Principle 1: "That Localism is open and inclusive for all local people"
► Principle 2: "Communities should have a say in making decisions that affect them"
► Principle 3: "Local services should be shaped by and accountable to local communities"
► Principle 4: "That Localism promotes a caring and broad sense of community"
► Principle 5: "That the assets of the state are owned on behalf of our communities"
► Principle 6: "That Localism builds local strength without becoming solely inward-looking"

Hidden Power 2: the voluntary sector in Cheshire and Warrington

1 November 2010

Explores the scope and structure of the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in Chershire and Warrington based on a survey of over 250 local VCS groups. 

As of May 2014, a short report updating the headline findings was published by VSNW: Statistical Summary of the Voluntary Sector in Cheshire and Warrington (VSNW Briefing #92, 2014)

Delivering for England's North West: VSNW Annual Review 2009-10

25 October 2010

VSNW annual review coverVSNW's annual review focuses on our achievements of the last year, as told by our members, networks and statutory sector partners. 

Demonstrating the local economic and social value of grant-making with the VCS

15 April 2010

In this think-piece the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and VSNW seek to demonstrate the need for and the continued viability of grant-making for the voluntary and community sector. 

Promise Event Report: The Recession - An Opportunity for the Third and Independent Sectors?

13 January 2010

The Report gives a summary of the activities and discussions which took place at the Promise NW Network Event held on 4th December.

Regional Compact for the North West

26 November 2009

The Regional Compact commits the regional public and third sector agencies to developing a better working relationship based on stronger shared understanding and shared principles, commitments on both sides that include addressing key areas of joint work:

►Equality and Diversity
►Funding, Commissioning and Procurement
►Monitoring and reviewing the regional compact

VSNW's Annual Review 2008/09

12 November 2009

This review of 2008/09 includes VSNW's:

►Mission, values and strategic objectives
►Work building strong working relationships with the VCS in the North West
Work building strong working relationships with key regional public sector agencies
Work to tackle the impact of the recession
Support for VCS Health and Social Care groups
Details of trustees, staff, members, and funders


Future Jobs Fund: A good start?

19 August 2009

A good start? VSNW Guide to the Future Jobs Fund A guide to help voluntary and community sector organisations in the North West to understand whether the Future Jobs Fund is a good match for you, your organisation and your new employee

Study Tour to Heartland Health, Missouri

14 May 2009

(May 2009)

Key follow-up actions for VSNW and NHS partners on pages 10ff.

Collaborative scenarios

13 February 2009

Using scenarios to explore opportunities for strategic collaboration between the social and community sectors and the NHS in the North West

(Duggan & Pashley: February 2009)

Report of an event jointly organised by NHS NW and VSNW


Liverpool Cabinet meeting

13 January 2009

Summary of responses.

Debt counselling in the North West: Roundtable recommendations on debt advice provision

13 December 2008

(VSNW: December 2008)

In response to the economic downturn, the key recommendations of the roundtable are:
  1. Develop strategies to maintain current debt advice support in the North West.
  2. Widely promote full range of available advice services to people, especially those in the North West, and encourage early intervention.
  3. Develop strategies to support debt advice services, particularly in the North West, to handle increasing demand.
  4. Look for quick legislative wins that would support debt advice work and reduce caseloads.

Working Better Together in the North West: Skills for Care and the Third Sector

13 November 2008

VSNW, L.Connor: November 2008

North West VCS learning and skills network survey

13 July 2008

 (VSNW, L. Connor: July 2008)

Survey report which outlines:

  • the benefits of the network as a means to develop a regional influence for the sector around learning and skills issues
  • areas for improvement e.g. clarifying the role and membership of the network.

Featured News

25 October 2016

Citizens launch 'People's Plan for Greater Manchester'

A new citizen-led initiative, the People’s Plan, has been launched in Greater Manchester. All who live, work or study in Greater Manchester are encouraged to get involved and to share their views, priorities and proposals for devolution across the region.

20 October 2016

VSNW's Conference and AGM 2016: Community Powered Change

This year's VSNW conference, Community Powered Change, will look at how communities can be the drivers of transformation, with keynote speakers and panellists including: Professor Ruth Lupton, Head of the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit, Kathy Evans, Chief Executive of Children England

20 June 2016

EU referendum: Potential implications for the North West

The North West Leaders Board, which comprises of local authority leaders from the region along with other representatives including VSNW Chief Executive Warren Escadale, have issued a report on the implications of leaving the EU for the North West

13 June 2016

DoH call for evidence for new carers strategy

The Department of Health (DoH) are planning to produce a new carers strategy and have announced a call for evidence. The deadline for this has been extended to 31st July 2016

24 May 2016

Review of partnerships and investment in the voluntary sector

The final report of the VCSE Review, Joint review of partnerships and investment in voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in the health and care sector, has been launched

Contact Us

Voluntary Sector North West
St. Thomas Centre
Ardwick Green North
M12 6FZ
Tel: 0161 276 9300
Fax: 0161 276 9301