• Fraser Urquhart Media

Voluntary Action Leicestershire Focuses On The Future With Its First Virtual Conference

Themed around Resilience and Recovery, Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) has taken the decision to host its annual conference – Future Focus – as a virtual event due to continued COVID-19 restrictions. The virtual event will be hosted across three days, from 13-15th October.

Image: VAL Future Focus Conference 2019

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector particularly hard, despite the fact that a huge number of charities and individuals stepped up to give their time and resources to help where they could.

In fact, VAL was integral in mobilising an army of volunteers at the height of lockdown, working with the City and County Council to recruit an additional 2,400 to be part of a volunteer bank. However, the organisation recognises that now is the time to focus on how to get the sector back on its feet and futureproof VCSE organisations as much as possible, which is where this year’s Future Focus theme stems from.

VAL is continuing to build its offering for the conference, and has, so far, secured keynote speakers from the Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Bodie Hodges Foundation. Guests can dial in to workshops, which will cover three different themes across the three days: Funding, Adapting and Future Proofing. The virtual nature of the sessions will allow guests to be as flexible as needed and plan their attendance around any other commitments they may have, from the safety of their chosen location.

Workshops are set to cover everything from submitting a successful grant application in a post-COVID-19 world, to making your community a better place. There will be sessions focussing on adapting to new ways of working, developing leadership online and mental health awareness.

A panel discussion will also take place on day two, centred around adapting and featuring a variety of panellists from the sector, including the Chair of VAL’s Board of Trustees, Linda Jones.

Kevin Allen-Khimani, Executive Manager – Public Sector Contracts & Projects, said: “With the lockdown in Leicester and now more restrictions being put in place around the city and county, it’s more important than ever that charities get the support they need to survive.

“Future Focus is an opportunity to see and hear from national and regional experts, share ideas with peers and hear the latest thinking on how the voluntary sector will not just recover from the COVID crisis but be more resilient in the future. We’ve got what is probably the most eclectic mix of speakers and topics we’ve ever had, so anyone who is invested in the future of our voluntary sector can join us and hopefully learn something over the three days.

“We hope that the charities and community groups who attend will come away with new ideas and new inspiration for the future, as well as knowing that VAL will be here to support them while we try to navigate the pandemic and the impact it will continue to have on our sector.”

You can find out more about Future Focus and book your space on the workshops here: https://valonline.org.uk/future-focus-2020/

Fraser Urquhart Media, LCB Depot, 31 Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1RE, 07713 740 272.  Copyright Fraser Urquhart Media 2020