VCSE-led conference marks an important step towards greater collaboration

The first in a series of partnership events, aimed to bring together a wide range of decision-makers and experts across the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, as well as the Integrated Care System (ICS), took place recently to mark an important step towards greater collaboration.  

The ‘Working with the Sector: The Key to Health and Care in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin’ conference, which took place on Wednesday 4 October 2023 at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, was a chance to highlight the achievements of the VCSE sector, gather learning from delegates from different areas of the system, and explore what the future may look like with greater alignment to the ICS.  

For those in attendance, feedback was overwhelmingly positive and provided helpful insight into how attendees felt the event had gone, whether they had found the day useful, and what they felt were feasible next steps. For those who registered their interest but who were unable to join on the day, we hope to see you at a future event.  

For the Steering Group, who worked to organise and deliver the conference, this feedback, in the main, told us that delegates felt the event was an important step towards a ‘partnership of purpose’, a great networking and shared learning opportunity, and that we should build on momentum. Members of the Steering Group include the Shropshire Infrastructure Partnership (SIP), the Telford Chief Officers’ Group (COG), the Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly (VCSA), and members of NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. 

Feedback also showed that the keynote speech, delivered by Mike Richardson, was a highlight of the event, offering crucial insight into the power of the VCSE evidence base and a catalyst for insightful workshop discussions. 

Many delegates expressed, both at the event and through the feedback forms, that they were keen to ensure the energy and enthusiasm, so evident on the day, should have tangible effect in addressing and improving the health and wellbeing of our population.  

As a result of this, the Steering Group has discussed options and feel that the most effective way of achieving this is to ensure the VCSE is fully built into the long-term commissioning cycle for health and social care.  

To this end, specific activities are being explored to bring commissioners and VCSE leaders together to align system planning with the incredible power available through the VCSE sector. Updates on this work will be circulated to let colleagues know about any future events as they are developed. 

We very much welcome the continued interest and involvement from colleagues across the system in this work, so please do share your ideas, recommendations, and experiences. We want to hear from you and to build on the great work the conference started.  

You can contact us by emailing either the VCSA at, or the Telford COG at Plus, if you would like to view any of the conference materials, including presentation slides, contact information and more, please visit the conference website. 

Thank you to those who have been involved so far. More information on the work to enable the VCSE to play a key role in improving health and wellbeing outcomes will be shared across the sector and the ICS over the coming months.  

To read more about the ‘Working with the Sector: The Key to Health and Care in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin’ conference, please click here. 

Page last updated 30 October 2023