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Member Spotlight – Helen Mee from The Clare Foundation

We spoke with Helen Mee, Head of Charity Services at the The Clare Foundation.

Tell us about your organisation and the areas it serves

The Clare Foundation is a Bucks based infrastructure charity and grantmaker. We facilitate multi-stakeholder projects and programmes aimed at solving the key issues within Buckinghamshire, bringing together charities, community groups, businesses and public sector organisations. I lead the Charity Services team and manage our pro bono support programmes.

When did you join the Alliance and why?

I joined the VCSE Health Alliance at its inception because The Clare Foundation were a VCSE representative on the Buckinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board, and had been closely involved in the creation of the Bucks Health & Wellbeing strategy. I felt it was important to be connected into the work of the new ICB, and to have opportunities to network with organisations that plan and deliver health and care services, for people in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

How has being part of the group helped you?

By joining the Alliance and attending meetings I have cemented working relationships with existing contacts and forged new connections with a number of VCSE organisations delivering services in Bucks and other areas. The group has also given me a better appreciation of the work going on regionally, and it is helpful to learn about best practice models in our neighbouring counties.

Additionally, The Clare Foundation were given the opportunity to attend a Buckinghamshire VCSE mental health and social prescribing event at Lindengate and share a marketplace stall with the Health Alliance. This really helped to raise awareness of our organisation with social prescribers, primary care professionals and those employed by the mental health trust.

Have you met new people/ organisations since joining?

Yes, I have met new people and The Clare Foundation have been able to offer support to their organisations through our free education, training and networking events, and through our small grants scheme.

Have you increased your understanding of the NHS and Integrated care since joining?

Yes my understanding of the NHS and integrated care has improved. I like the emphasis on integration and partnership working, and that the NHS, local authorities and the third sector all have a seat at the table. It will be interesting to see how things progress in 2024.

What would you say if you were to recommend it to others?

I would definitely recommend joining the Health Alliance to others, I believe partnership working can help create positive change across BOB region.

It’s particularly valuable to join the alliance for smaller charities, even if you are not commissioned by NHS or the local authority. It helps with understanding of the wider system and can give context to the services you deliver, which is important to demonstrate when making grant funding applications.

Connect:

https://theclarefoundation.org/

https://www.facebook.com/TheClareFoundation/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/1492904/

Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-mee-5a41752a/

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