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If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together

If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together  African Proverb

Welcome to the first in the Connectivity Programme blog series.

For many years we have, as a sector, been making advancements in the key areas of our work but there is still a way to go given the complex needs of the communities we serve. A lot of research and development has been done to assist in highlighting the factors involved in meeting community needs and removing the barriers that impact on the BAME VC sector’s ability to achieve success and create longer lasting impact. These barriers include:

  • Capacity and capability - This could be anything from developing financial literacy, management, programme/project development, bid writing to leadership and policy formation.

  • Cultural and political - Many organisations struggle to understand and navigate the cultural and political landscape both internally and externally that will directly affect their ability to deliver.

  • Reputation and responsibility - Understanding how developing networks enable you to build a reputation in the community and sector are vital to creating lasting impact and success.

  • Trust and respect - building trusting and trusted networks support the development and sustainability of the VCS organisations.

  • Finance and funding  - financial planning within the sector should be supported and developed in order to allow for organisations to understand the ‘business’ of community work to create financially empowered organisations that can respond to emerging community needs as well as their everyday activities

No single organisation or programme can tackle or solve the increasingly complex social problems we face as a society. This can only be achieved by having a stronger collective infrastructure, a stronger brand and a stronger collective voice through the range of development and support activities needed to create meaningful, lasting collaborations that bring about meaningful and lasting change.

Using the Collective Impact Approach - a model designed to assist in removing the barriers and working not just together but with meaningful commitment and collaboration – the Connectivity programme will connect selected partners within the BAME sector to create a stronger collective infrastructure, a stronger brand and a stronger collective voice. It will enable them to:

  • Be better equipped to establish and develop collaborations 

  • Effectively utilise the skills, time and resources through meaningful collaboration

  • Understand the risks and responsibilities when working in collaboration

  • Increase awareness and access to organisations across the sector and wider

  • Increase confidence in leading and managing change

  • Strengthen voices on key issues affecting BAME communities

Creating and maintaining collective impact requires a separate organisation(s) with staff and a specific skill set to serve as the backbones for the entire initiative. The backbones of the Connectivity Programme are BTEG and the City Bridge Fund but they are not alone. Three key backbone organisations working in partnership with us are Croydon BME Forum, Selby Trust and Council of Somali Organisations. Each formed, knowing or unknowingly, with the Collective Impact Approach in mind and have chosen some of their BAME organisations to assist in the growth and development of their communities.

If you would like more information on how you can get involved or want to know more email Simone Williams simone@bteg.co.uk

Read an extended version of this blog here

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