We interviewed Laura Price, CEO of Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) about her experience of being a part of the health alliance.
Tell us about yourself and your organisation?
I joined OCVA as CEO at the end of 2020, which was a very strange time to join a new organisation! We were still working entirely remotely and communities and organisations were exhausted from the first wave of the pandemic. It did however provide a fantastic opportunity to break the mould and start doing things differently.
Before OCVA I had served as a County Councillor for 8 years and had experience of founding and running a local community transport operator. I’m naturally open and collaborative so OCVA appealed to me because our whole purpose is to connect up the voluntary sector in Oxfordshire, providing all sizes and shapes of groups with the right tools, training, support and advice to help them get on with doing what they do best – making a difference to peoples’ lives.
What made you join the alliance?
OCVA was already part of the Alliance steering group, but I was really keen to be involved. Health and care are so important and touch on so many aspects of what the community and voluntary sector does, but too often routes to meaningful collaboration are too complex for charities and communities to navigate. I’d like to see that change.
How has being part of the group helped you?
It’s helped me get to know some brilliant people inside and outside of Oxfordshire. It has kept me up to date with the evolving BOB ICS picture (not easy!) and it’s helped me translate some complex messages and information that I’ve been able to pass on to other groups and organisations in Oxfordshire through my own role and local network.
Have you built your network since joining?
Definitely! The Alliance has particularly helped me get to know voluntary sector support organisations in neighbouring counties and boroughs and it’s been great learning about the different ways that they work with Health, their local authorities and how we can collaborate more. I’ve also been impressed with the contribution that small organisations are making to this project – the range and expertise of small charities across our region is phenomenal.
What would you say if you were to recommend it to others?
If you haven’t joined yet, then do – there’s nothing to lose but lots to gain. The Alliance isn’t just about ‘Health’ it’s wider than that – it’s about addressing the inequalities in our counties. You don’t have to go to EVERY meeting – dip in and out, catch up on the newsletters, join the Slack channels – there are different ways to engage to suit your organisation.
Links to connect: