To our friends and colleagues in the VCSE sector
We recently announced that DEVELOP was at risk following a cut in its statutory funding. Whilst the organisation has been successful in raising some funding, the future sustainability of DEVELOP as an independent organisation was still in doubt.
Following talks with Community First and the outcome of our recent Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), the decision has been made to transfer a selection of key DEVELOP services to Community First as part of its community development offering. The transfer will take place in early July 2016.
Once the team and services have transferred, DEVELOP will remain open as a registered charity in a limited capacity to fulfil contractual agreements, before being dissolved once these agreements are completed.
It has been a challenging year for DEVELOP and we have (at times) faced the very real threat of closure, but we are grateful for the support we have received from our members and colleagues in the sector. We are also indebted to Lynn Gibson and the team at Community First for ensuring a genuine legacy of our work over the last 30 years.
We are very excited about the future at Community First and we are keen to share our plans with you. Please see below for a summary of upcoming plans and initiatives.
Our Future Plans
Existing Community First initiatives
Jane Windle-Hartshorn (currently Chief Executive of DEVELOP) will join Community First as Head of Community Development, reporting to Chief Executive Lynn Gibson.
Jane will oversee the implementation of the proposed new community development offering (including volunteering services) and work with the team at Community First to develop existing initiatives including EnACT, Community Led Planning and Parent Champions.
Jane is responsible for ensuring new initiatives work in harmony with the existing offering at Community First.
The new offering
Working alongside the team at Community First, we will create a consolidated and refreshed community support offering including digital and creative initiatives, some of which are unique in the county:
A new community development website dedicated to supporting the sector with resources, toolkits and best practice
A revised membership offering including our Community Portal:
Connect with sector colleagues in our members only forum
A blog featuring advice and co-created content from thought-leaders in the sector and beyond
Digital resources including factsheets and downloadable templates
Research and insights relevant to the voluntary and community sector
Volunteering support services, including free access to volunteer matching database Volunteer Connect
Online support sessions including live chat
A creative agency with a social mission
Alongside this we are delighted to announce that the new offering will also include a creative agency called ‘Bold’ which is dedicated to supporting voluntary and community organisations with creative projects.
The Bold initiative will offer paid-for services including web development, branding, social media and bespoke campaigns, this initiative (owned and operated by Community First) will be one of the first of its kind in the country.
Want to find out more? We are now accepting briefs for creative projects (including website design) which you can send to:
Work with us
We are now accepting briefs for creative projects including website design and branding.
We are currently accepting new creative projects and will continue to do so throughout 2016 and into 2017. We hope to have the new community development initiative up and running in the Autumn.
Stay tuned for more information!
On behalf of the team we would like to thank you for your support and encouragement. It has been a pleasure working with you and we hope that we can continue offering a great service to the voluntary and community sector with this new alliance of services.
With warm regards and best wishes,
Chair of Trustees