“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”
We are a collective of social infrastructure organisations in Barking and Dagenham that have set in motion an intentional rebuilding of collaboration and partnership in the social sector towards a more equitable model for strengthening neighbourhoods and communities.
The partnership created by BD_Collective, Barking and Dagenham Giving, BD Council for Voluntary Services (BDCVS), and Barking Enterprise Centre (BEC) aims to stimulate new opportunities in the borough, build capacity, grow cross-sector partnerships, and develop new forms of civic engagement by putting community participation in decision-making at the heart of our approach. This includes breaking the mould on how money is accessed and handing over key decisions to the community, such as decisions on investment and on grant giving.
As a partnership, we believe that the complex issues of poverty, inequality and environmental crisis cannot be solved by one sector of society alone. Collaboration is essential to build trust, and to deliver the systemic changes needed to solve these ‘wicked’ issues.
Our ambition is to harness the collective financial and non-financial resources of the public, private and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors, together with those of local people, to deliver positive effect on people’s lives and enable our neighbourhoods to emerge from these challenging times stronger together.
To achieve this, we are excited to announce that the partnership is jointly recruiting for three posts:
- Development Hub Coordinator: Based in BD CVS, the DHC will develop creative solutions to support local groups to increase their sustainability. Their role will be to develop a gateway so that infrastructure partners can collaboratively improve access to and provision of infrastructure support for VCSE organisations (Download Job Pack here)
- Community Engagement Coordinator: Based in BD Giving, the CEC will ensure that the ambitions and values of the borough’s new Community Endowment Fund are met. The Coordinator will work with the community to design an investment policy, and the mechanism by which the policy will be implemented and monitored. (Download JD here)
- Network Coach: Based in Community Resources for the BD_Collective, the Network Coach will provide coaching support to up to six Network Leads over the next 9 months to create and nurture a highly functional and collaborative environment where organisations can find and help each other and flourish together. (Download role specs here)
The post holders must not only have experience of highly collaborative working but must be ambassadors for collaborative approaches to work, relationship building and social change. We expect the post holders will be in regular communication to share ideas, expertise and resources, to support and challenge each other, and to weave collaboration into the fibre of B&D’s VCSE.
B&D has one of the highest levels of socio-economic deprivation in the country. As of August 2020, over a third of children were affected by income deprivation, and the number of people claiming unemployment related benefit had jumped by 145% on a rate which was already one of the highest in London pre-pandemic.
The local voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector has long played a central role in dealing with the sharp end of need. Yet, in the ‘messy’ landscape amplified by years of austerity, the challenge for organisations has been to collaborate effectively whilst also trying to survive. The sector, one of the smallest in London had become very disconnected with a growing sense of mistrust.
The strategic alignment of the council and the VCSE following the adoption in 2017 of the Borough Manifesto, a vision for the borough to 2030, has opened a window of opportunity to strengthen the VCSE, and enable local people to create meaningful change for themselves, their family and their neighbourhood.
The pandemic itself has shone new light on the ambition, energy and passion of our community, with countless acts of generosity seen across the borough. Equally it has pushed many groups and organisations on the brink of financial collapse. A survey commissioned in August 2020 found over 40% of organisations showing a budget deficit resulting from the crisis, as well as 53% reporting increase in demand but also having funding bids rejected.
As we emerge from the pandemic we need to strengthen the resilience of the VCSE to better respond to needs of our communities, and we believe that collaboration needs to be at the heart of this response.
Barking and Dagenham Giving is a local funder with a simple belief: that the people affected by funding decisions should be the ones making those decisions. We see it as our mission to support everyone in Barking and Dagenham to play a part in creating meaningful change by uniting ideas, energy and resources around common causes.
BD_Collective is a network of networks that brings the social sector of Barking and Dagenham together in partnership with others to participate, learn and innovate. Our vision is to establish a strong, vibrant, collaborative social sector that addresses the issues of multiple disadvantages that many residents experience and at the same time empowers and equips local people to be part of the change helping them to find solutions to their own problems. We believe the ‘how and who’ is more important than the ‘what’ and so all we do (the how) is built on the PACT values (originally from the Civil Society Futures report); power sharing – accountability – connection – trust.
BD Council for Voluntary Services champions civil society in the East London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. We provide practical support to voluntary sector groups and organisations. We work in strategic partnership with the public sector and funders. BDCVS is a member of NAVCA (the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action).
Barking Enterprise Centre is a community interest company providing wraparound support to businesses across East London delivering accommodation, business support and training for startups, social sector organisations and small businesses.