Representing the VCS in Southwark now and post Covid-19

Representing the VCS in Southwark now and post Covid-19

We are seeking to reshape and refresh the way in which Southwark’s voluntary and community groups and organisations come together to speak authoritatively on behalf of the whole sector and influence the decisions that matter.

Since 2016 we have built and developed a growing number of themed groups and networks. These in turn have fed into Southwark Voice which was revamped in 2017. It’s now 3 years on and given the current Covid-19 pandemic the world looks a very different place. We hear a lot about the “new normal”. The ways we work, deliver services and the needs of beneficiaries have changed, perhaps temporarily, perhaps for the long term. It’s time to respond.

We want to ensure that we have a representative structure that truly includes the communities of Southwark and that can respond to changes in circumstance and be fit for now and into the future.

Our current structure of Southwark Voice, Provider Led Groups (PLGs) and other networks has provided a useful platform for organisations of all sizes to network, share ideas and hear and influence policy. We want to build and improve on what we have achieved in the past.
Subject to your agreement we are looking to retain our existing PLGs but rename them as networks and add to them where there is a recognised need for representation.

The current Southwark Voice representation is made up as set out in the table below via PLGs and networks, other externally run networks or by nomination/election where no group currently exists.

Since this incarnation of Southwark Voice, we have begun to engage with other groups that represent, for example, sports and physical activity, the Latin American community, small groups, food poverty and those providing front line support to those on universal credit.

The power of constructive networks emerged strongly from our virtual conference that took place on 28th May 2020. We are keen to act quickly to capture this energy and enthusiasm as we begin to rebuild out of the Covid 19 situation.

At this point we have two questions for you:

  • Is the current representation adequate, if not where should it be strengthened?
  • Would you like to play an active role in any of the networks, if so which one(s) (if it does not currently exist for your interest please tell us).

We believe that this reshaping of Southwark Voice and its supporting structures is an opportunity to better represent the interests of a wider range of residents and communities.

Please provide your views on the structure by emailing Steve on:, by 10 June 2020. We have scheduled a series of virtual network meetings later in June 2020 so that we can get the structure up and running quickly.

This is our proposed schedule.

  • Children, Families and Young People's Network - 10am 23rd June
  • Creative Network Southwark - 2pm 24th June
  • Learning Disability Network - 1pm 25th June
  • Mental Health - 3pm 25th June
  • Physical and sensory Disability Network - 10am 30th June
  • Safeguarding Leaders Network - 3pm 30th June
  • Small Groups Network - 3pm on 23rd June
  • Sports and Physical Activity Network - 1pm 30th June
  • Volunteer Managers' Network - 11am 24th June
  • Southwark CAN including MAGs/SGTO - 11am 29th June
  • Southwark Food Action Alliance - Date TBC
  • Universal Credit Network - Date TBC
  • Healthwatch Supporter Network - Become a member to find out how you and your beneficiaries can get involved in local health and social care services. Your beneficiaries can also contact us to give feedback about health and social care services, and we can offer information and signposting.

We understand that these times might not work for all. If you have an interest but are unable to attend, please let us know. We will contact you shortly to provide you with more information on how these meetings will operate. If you have any questions, please email Steve on:, or call 0207358 7017.

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