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Two appointments to NCVO’s board of trustees and three key ambitions for the future

Highlights from our 2022 annual general meeting, including appointments to our board of trustees and our ambitions for the year ahead

NCVO’s chair Priya Singh and CEO Sarah Vibert announced ambitions to address the challenges facing the voluntary sector at our annual general meeting (AGM) on Monday 21 November 2022.

Changes to our board of trustees

Priya also confirmed Georgina Carr, CEO of the Neurological Alliance, has been elected by NCVO members to join our board of trustees. She’ll be joined by Sheila Taylor, CEO of the NWG Network, who was re-elected by members for a second term of three years.

End of year reflections

Reflecting on the past year, Priya noted that while our membership has increased, a challenging financial picture forced the board to choose to use reserves over and above cutting vital support.

Speaking to members, Priya said: “Together we have all faced a tough year, but we have continued to be there for the communities we serve. Your challenges are our challenges. And we stand with you as we face the difficult months ahead.”

Ambitions for the future

Sarah Vibert, who was appointed CEO in March 2022, then looked forward, outlining three key ambitions for NCVO and the voluntary sector.

1. Developing our membership community

The first ambition will focus on building better relationships between members so they can collaborate and work together to address challenges.

Sarah said she wanted “to make NCVO membership feel like a community.” Sarah continued, “I know how valuable it is to talk to people who ‘get it’ and help us to realise it's not just us and our organisations, everyone is facing similar challenges. We have big plans to make this possible at scale by building an online membership community over the next two years.”

2. Harnessing co-creation in volunteering

The second ambition is for there to be a new approach to volunteering which is rooted in co-creation with communities. NCVO confirmed we're working with partners Sport England, Volunteering Matters, Association for Volunteer Managers, NAVCA and the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on plans for delivery of the Vision for Volunteering across England.

Sarah said: “There needs to be a step change in volunteering in England, how many people volunteer, who volunteers and to develop a mindset of community co-creation. Instead of organisations driving or generating the change, we need to support and enable communities to take action.”

3. Working systemically to join the dots

The final ambition focused on how the voluntary sector itself develops in the coming years. Sarah outlined twin ambitions for the voluntary sector: to reduce its carbon footprint as well as working to create greater diversity and inclusion across the voluntary sector.

Sarah said: “We’ve got exciting plans for how we will support the sector over the next 12 months and beyond to ensure we are all fully playing our part in reducing our carbon footprint. But by focusing on tackling the climate crisis we can’t lose sight of the need to create greater equality across the sector.”

Key to achieving these ambitions is working systemically, Sarah went on to say. “It’s perhaps hard to think ambitiously about the future right now,” said Sarah. “Demand is high, funding is shrinking, our own staff are facing difficult winters, and our organisation’s finances are being stretched beyond limits. We’re doing more, with less."

“So how do we keep moving forward, when it seems crisis after crisis is pulling us back? The answer lies in not focusing on individual issues. The cost of living crisis has its roots in an energy crisis and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is part of the answer.

“As with covid-19, the impact of the cost of living crisis is most acute in communities where there are existing inequalities. So, I think as a sector, our number one ambition must be to work systemically to tackle these interrelated crises.”

Priya closed the AGM, thanking members and NCVO staff.

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