Dear colleague,

There will be important changes over the next few years that will affect Blackburn with Darwen and the whole of Lancashire (or the Lancashire 14). From the ending of EU investment, Council budget pressures, NHS re-configuration, social, economic and health impact of COVID 19, on top of the existing challenges of 2020, these all impact and involve the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) sector in many ways.

As a group of VCFSE Leaders in the sub-region, Community CVS has come together to start a conversation with colleagues in the sector. It is important that we understand exactly what is important to the 10,000+ groups in every part of Lancashire and how we can collectively envisage change and push for this at local, sub regional and national levels.

Locally Organised Communities Across Lancashire (LOCAL) is the vision coordinated by Voluntary Sector North West (VSNW) and supported by Community CVS and many other infrastructure organisations across Lancashire that will facilitate this necessary conversation, and ensure that all voices are heard, whether you are from a social enterprise in Morecambe, a theatre in Blackpool, a large charity in Burnley, a faith group in Preston, a sports club in Skelmersdale or a community group in Blackburn or Darwen – we want you to get involved.

Over the coming 10 weeks we want to invite you to engage in and organise these conversations, with our help and guidance. Our aim is to have a serious mandate and produce a collective sector vision for the upcoming elections in May. We have developed ten suggested priority areas as a starting point, although they are not written in stone and deliberately lack detail.

We need YOUR organisation’s input in evaluating these headlines. Over the next 10 weeks (made up of 3 phases) we will be asking for your participation, organisation and critical analysis whilst we answer:

  • Are these priorities what is important over the next 3-10 years?
  • What have we missed?
  • Do you want to sign up?

We want as many residents, groups, organisations and representatives to get involved as possible to develop this vision and make it truly reflective of the sector in Blackburn with Darwen and across Lancashire.

In order for us to help facilitate this conversation and produce clear, accessible updates we have developed a website. Here you can find further information, events and communications toolkits and a comment forum that we are encouraging organisations to use to document their thoughts and responses.

Whilst we struggle to envisage what a post-Covid 19 world will look like, it is vital that the voice of our community groups are heard. Forming a shared viewpoint based on fruitful discussion and pragmatic solutions is one way we can ensure this. Please share amongst your networks this invaluable opportunity and the tools we have developed to maximise inputs from organisations across the region.

Yours faithfully

Garth Hodgkinson
Chief Executive
Community CVS

Please follow us on twitter to keep up to date with the LOCAL conversation @local_lancs and use the hashtag: #lancashire14vision