Joint statement Stockport Council, Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector Steering Group

Stockport Council and Stockport CGG recognise the valuable work of Stockport’s voluntary and community groups during covid and want to thank them for all their hard work.

We want to continue to support our communities as much as we can during this unprecedented period and work collaboratively with the VCSE sector as we go forward together.

To do this, we commit to:
• do our best to support your financial position – where possible making resources available to organisations tackling the Covid-19 crisis, supporting you with fundraising and grant funding application;
• be flexible on reporting and monitoring for the foreseeable future, so that you can free up time to focus on your frontline support to communities;
• work with you to use your funding to where it will have the most impact even if this means changing previously agreed delivery targets or outcomes;
• support you to direct and deploy your staff and volunteers safely in the best way that you can, taking into account the government guidance;
• maintain an open, honest and regular dialogue about the challenges you’re facing and how we can help;
• develop a collaborative network that can sustain our partnership work in the future and mobilise skills and resources across organisational and sectoral boundaries;
• promote the work you’re doing to the wider public through our core channels to garner additional support and resources ensuring the efforts and impact of the VCSE are recognised and valued;
• continue to lobby Government directly and through Greater Manchester channels about the importance of the sector and the support you need to enable you to undertake vital work with all our communities.

In return, we ask you to:
• be flexible in your approach and to follow guidance and information in order to help keep people safe and to work with us;
• use technology and digital solutions where possible to stay in contact with communities ensuring people are not isolated;
• help us better engage with and understand the needs of all of our communities, sharing information across agencies to support a holistic response;
• connect with us to be kept informed of how you can help and support the wider efforts in our borough;
• keep us informed about any changes you make to your activity; where this is funded by communicating any significant changes to your contract manager or grant manager;
• understand we are also facing severe pressures, with many similar demands on our finances and our time;
• bear with us and understand that in these unprecedented circumstances we may not get everything right, however we will do our best and act quickly to rectify any mistakes.

Our communities are critical to us all making it through this difficult time. We have been humbled by all the efforts people have made to so far. Thank you for the passion and commitment you are all showing in keeping people safe and connected in Stockport.

Cllr Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “The way our communities have pulled together in recent months has been fantastic to see. The coronavirus pandemic has tested our residents, community groups and others to the limit – but we know that when help is needed, our colleagues in the VCSE sector step up to the mark and join the wider team that helps others stay safe and well and offer support and assistance where they can.”

Cllr Amanda Peers, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities at Stockport Council, said: “Local voluntary, community and social enterprise groups are the lifeblood of our communities. We understand that times are tough at the moment – but we also know the real value and benefits these groups bring to our borough. We want this superb work to carry on in the days, weeks, months and years ahead and that’s why we’re backing our VCSE sector in the way we are doing.”

Andrea Green, Accountable Officer at NHS Stockport CCG said: “We know that our voluntary and community groups play a vital role at the very heart of our communities and this is never more apparent than in a crisis. They have taken every challenge they’ve faced in their stride and their inspirational efforts – alongside the tireless work of health and social care professionals - have made a huge difference to the way Stockport has dealt with the pandemic. This work will be just as essential moving forward and we are committed to continue working with all of our communities to plan and create a stronger Stockport together”.