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Event Summary – Health Assembly 9th Nov 2023

Meeting Summary

We began with a welcome and overview of the VCSE sector presented by William Butler. The discussion focused on two charities, one specialising in dementia care and the other providing counselling and mental health support for young people. 

We then had a panel discussion around how we blend lived, volunteer and professional
experience as we develop an integrated care system?

Update from Integrated Care Board

Rob, the ICB director of Strategy and Partnerships, spoke about the partnership principles (MoU) and the ICB’s plans for 2024/25.

He discussed ongoing efforts to align partners within the healthcare system and enhance their collaboration with the VCSE sector. The development of an integrated care strategy, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalise working between the Integrated Care Board and other partners, and plans to improve primary care services were all highlighted.

Stephen discussed mental health governance and strategic plans for mental health, emphasising the importance of sharing information and intelligence between partners. Dementia Care & Mental Health Support Charities. William presented an overview of a sector that includes 7,500 organisations, 35% of which are employers, providing work for 44,500 people with a total value of £1.9 billion.  

Two Case Study Interviews

Blending and blurring lived, volunteer and professional experience

The discussion focused on two charities, one specialising in dementia care and the other providing counselling and mental health support for young people. The importance of these charities in addressing community needs and preventing individuals from reaching crisis points was emphasised.  

Helen Burgess - Dementia Active (Banbury)

The charity ‘Dementia Active’ was discussed with Helen, which runs daily groups and sessions for people with dementia and their carers. Dawn from Dementia Active highlighted the significance of their work in combating dementia’s isolating impact.  

The charity’s activities range from structured sessions to singing and dancing. Helen Burgess, an occupational therapist, shared her professional journey with Stephen, detailing her current role in the NHS and volunteer work at Metro Active, a charity for older people. Helen outlined her transition from volunteer to a paid role at the charity, noting the difference in her roles and the resources available. The discussion concluded with Stephen asking about the differences between working in a charity and the NHS as an occupational therapist, highlighting the similarities in transferable skills but the differences in flexibility and resources. Dementia Active and Young Ambassadors Support Helen Burgess emphasized the importance of human interaction with dementia patients and the benefits of integrating Allied health professions into the charity, Dementia Active.  

Dementia Active video – https://dementiactive.co.uk/ 

Carly Newman - No 5 Young People (Reading)

No5, focuses on supporting young people, particularly in terms of mental health. Carly shared her personal journey from being a Young Ambassador, being employed as the outreach communications and fundraising assistant in 2018, and now in her current role as the Operations and Relationships Manager at No5. Four current Young Ambassadors, also shared their positive experiences with the program and the impact it has had on them.

No 5 Young People – Young Ambassadors video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6moQBYoZqlU 

Co-Production articles (including one on No5): https://bobvcsehealthalliance.org.uk/tag/coproduction 

The VCSE workforce: what they do and why they do it

Jim Thomas Health and Care Workforce Researcher

 Researchers Introduced: Expanding Health Workforce Stories William introduced Jim Thomas and Lynda Tarpey, who have been conducting research on the health and care workforce. 

Jim expressed his gratitude for the opportunity and highlighted the significance of expanding the previously shared stories in a broader context. Voluntary Sector Workforce Dynamics in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire West (BOB). 

Jim presented his findings on the voluntary sector workforce in BOB. 

He described the workforce as dynamic, committed, entrepreneurial, and highly professional, with a focus on empowering both the individuals they serve and their own workforce. Jim noted the crossover between people moving from the voluntary sector to the statutory sector and emphasised the benefits of building good relationships with a broad range of organizations. He also highlighted the importance of supporting an organization that provides a wide range of services to those in need, and the need for confidence, professionalism, and a high level of training and development in the voluntary sector.  

Jim discussed the various reasons why people choose to work in the volunteer sector, including retirement, past experiences, community involvement, and career rebuilding, and emphasized that the sector is made up of highly professional and passionate workers. Passion, Governance, Collaboration, and Healthcare in the Voluntary Sector William and William discussed the role of passion in the voluntary sector and the importance of trustees in governance.  

Workforce articles:  https://bobvcsehealthalliance.org.uk/tag/workforce 

Panel Discussion

How do we blend lived, volunteer and professional experience as we develop an integrated care system?

William introduced Niki Cartwright, the Director of Vulnerable People’s Services, and discussed her portfolio and approach to working in the NHS. Niki emphasised the need for collaboration across services and the importance of simplicity and coproduction in working with voluntary sector colleagues. She also highlighted the challenges of short-term funding and the need for a shift to a more collaborative procurement process. They also discussed the importance of outcomes rather than just processes and the role of the voluntary sector in healthcare.  

Philip Bell, CEO of Involved Community Services, shared his extensive experience in health and social care partnerships and emphasized the vital role of the voluntary sector in local decision-making and supporting communities during crises.  

Finally, William interviewed Gemma Donnelly, the chief of Allied Health professions at the Integrated Care Board, and they discussed the significance of the voluntary sector in healthcare and the importance of collaboration between health professionals and charity professionals.

Summary and Next Steps

The next steps included collecting narratives for a report focusing on diversity and equality across the voluntary sector workforce, to be finalised by early next year.

Collaboration Emphasis – William stressed the importance of increasing newsletter subscribers and sought feedback on the new website, which received positive responses from the attendees. 

Next Steps 

  • Carly will send the link to the video about the young ambassadors to the attendees. 
  • Katherine Blair from the BOB ICS business team will be available for follow-up discussions. Her email is in the chat. 
  • Jim and his colleague Lynda Tarpey will continue their research on the VCSE workforce 

Access the resources from the event including summary, participant list and agenda – Resources