Developing the VCSE Strategic Partnership

VOTE! for your preferred candidates

Voting is now open for the Gloucestershire VCSE Strategic Partnership for Wellbeing.

This is an elected group of VCSE leaders with responsibility for the strategic direction and governance of VCSE engagement with One Gloucestershire Integrated Care System (ICS).

Voting is open to representatives of Gloucestershire VCSE organisations or groups that are either directly concerned with wellbeing, health or social care or operate in an area which broadly impacts on citizens’ wellbeing such as transport, housing, debt advice or community development.

One person may vote per organisation or group; it is the responsibility of the organisation or group to decide who votes on their behalf. The first vote cast on behalf of a group or organisation is the one which is counted.

Candidates have been divided into 3 categories:

  • Grassroots organisations that are user or community led
  • Organisations with a turnover below £500,000 per year
  • Organisations with a turnover in excess of £500,000 per year

Voters have up to 3 votes in each category.

Voting closes 5pm on Monday 11th July.

Further information about all candidates is available below.

 Or to go straight to the ballot form, by clicking VOTE NOW below.

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Grassroots organisations that are user or community led

Candidate Information

Name: Helen Bond

Role: Director of Strategic Engagement and Chair of Directors

Organisation: Gloucestershire Parent Carer Forum

Statement: Gloucestershire Parent Carer Forum are a strategic partner to the Local Authority and Health with a Memorandum of Understanding currently being coproduced.  

As Director of Strategic Engagement I sit on several high level Local Authority Boards representing the views and experiences of Parent Carers and their families.  I am currently Vice Chair of the Carers Partnership Board.  During the Pandemic I championed Parent Carers needs for access to vaccinations to continue caring safely.  This led to the formation of a working group to review the coding of Carers in Gloucestershire’s health systems.  Information I shared was passed through bronze, silver and gold command via the Board Chair.

I have worked with Health Partners on the Development of the Dynamic Keyworker project to support families and individuals with Autism and or a Learning Difficulty who are at risk of hospital admission.  Families that I have referred are being supported.  This project requires understanding of a national NHS project alongside the local voluntary and third sector landscape.  Locally I have been involved in the development of the new Autism Diagnostic pathway (SCAAS), this has required understanding the requirements of the NHS Systems whilst representing the lived experience of families in the county.  


Name: Kobe Francis

Role: Young Ambassador

Organisation: The Music Works

StatementI grew up in Gloucester and have lived here all my life (I am now 22). As a local, Black, young person, I have experienced (both personally and within the wider community) a number of inequalities in access to and take up of health services. I have struggled with my mental health but found it difficult to access services. When I did get support, no one caring for me was from my demographic and understood the issues that sat behind my mental challenges. I know, from speaking to my peers, that mental challenges have held a lot of them back and they have not had the help needed.

In addition, there is a known distrust of the health service from the Black community and I would like to raise awareness of this and support change.

I have worked closely with a lot of creative charities e.g. The Music Works, Your Next Move and see the benefits that creativity can give to people in supporting their health. 

I believe I will offer a different perspective to these health inequality challenges and would welcome the opportunity to be part of the VCSE group influencing the ICS to be inclusive for all.


Name: Vicci Livingstone-Thompson

Role: CEO

Organisation: Inclusion Gloucestershire

StatementI am a collaborative, honest and hard-working CEO, leading a disabled people’s user-led organisation and with strong links to the VCS, commissioners and statutory bodies in Gloucestershire. I have worked for disability organisations in Gloucestershire for the entirety of my career, and have a strong understanding of how the VCSE sits within health and social care systems, and the vital role that we play.

I have experience of fairly representing the wider VCSE sector in forums such as Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board, Partnership Boards, Clinical Programme Groups, and in regional NHS England forums. I am passionate about ensuring that seldom heard voices are represented, and finding different ways to engage rather than expecting individuals and organisations to fit in the box! 

I am naturally collaborative and inclusive, believing that we are working towards the same goals and that we achieve more together. I work successfully at a strategic level, both within my own organisation, and externally, ensuring that the voice of people with health and social care needs shapes local and national strategies. A key element of my role is influencing, making sure that for disabled people there is nothing about us without us, and challenging when things aren’t right. 


Name: Indigo Redfern

Role: CEO

Organisation: GL11 Community Hub

Statement: As part of the network of community hubs across the county, we are keen to improve engagement with public sector and commissioners to enable true participation on an equal  and transparent basis between public and community sectors. I am committed to working toweards effective systems change to achieve this.


Organisations with a turnover below £500,000 per year

Candidate Information

Name: Anna Bonallack

Role: CEO

Organisation: Creative Sustainability CIC

StatementHaving helped form the MOU and Terms of Reference for the Strategic Partnership, I would be delighted to continue to work alongside VCSE colleagues, to ensure the intentions of those documents are met, geographical inequities are addressed, and health inequalities are reduced for people and communities.

I have 12 years experience in cross-sector partnership working, and in my role as CEO have first hand insight into the issues and barriers the VCSE faces. With a seat on the Partnership Board, I can share my learning and anticipate where problems will arise for the VCSE sector, around contracts, core funding needs, burden of risk, targets and tendering processes.

Working on both multi-sector and grass roots projects means I am skilled in collaborative decision-making processes that help overcome power imbalances and allow all voices to be heard. I will advocate for supportive, resourced opportunities that genuinely give seldom heard communities safe, meaningful representation. I will challenge current evaluation tools and promote those that produce meaningful data for better understanding of health and wellbeing drivers.

I will advocate for well resourced, user-led, asset-based community development that drives much better health and wellbeing outcomes for people, long term generational health and more resilient communities across Gloucestershire.


Name: Ri Ferrier

Role: Director  

Organisation: Home-Start Stroud and Gloucester

StatementHaving been involved in the working group for the MoU, I would like to be considered to sit as a member on the Strategic Partnership. 

I am passionate about the important role of the voluntary sector in bridging the many gaps in services across our county – and about the VCSE being recognized for the value it brings.  I see this partnership as a vital next step for the VCSE having a voice, being part of important decision making and having the influence that it deserves.

I received a BA (Hons) in Business Enterprise and much of my career has been around initiating new projects, marketing and being a catalyst for positive change.

My love of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism has been brought to the corporate world, the social enterprise sector and now to non-profits and the VCSE.

I am passionate about building a better world for future generations and have also published a book: ‘Voice of the Children’ – a compilation of 9-11-year olds’ ideas on how to improve the world.


Name: Joanna Hammond

Role: CEO

Organisation: Cotswold Friends

StatementAddressing loneliness and isolation in rural communities….

In my role as CEO of Cotswold Friends, I see first-hand every day, the challenges faced by older and vulnerable people living in rural Cotswold communities.  For many, their situation has worsened due to the impact of Covid and the loss of friends and family.

There is no doubt that loneliness and isolation are critical factors affecting physical and mental health and wellbeing.  Providing ongoing services that enable people to get together with others in their local community can bring life-changing benefits.  Supporting people, even to do just one small thing, can make such a big difference. However, rural public transport can be a key barrier.  Services are often infrequent, unavailable, or difficult for people to use.  Transport is also a critical issue in accessing wider healthcare services across the county.

The VCSE Strategic Partnership for Wellbeing provides a fantastic opportunity to really engage with healthcare decisioning, working together for positive change.  With 5 years of experience in the local charity sector and 20 years working in the healthcare industry, I am very keen to utilise this knowledge and understanding to help address the challenges facing rural communities across Gloucestershire.


Name: Nicole Hastie

Role: CEO

Organisation: Active Impact CIO

StatementI am excited by the development of this VCSE Strategic Partnership aimed at increasing coproduction in the area of health and wellbeing.

Within my role at Active Impact over the last five years I have been proactive in engaging with statutory services at a strategic level in order to develop best practice.

I have been part of the planning group for both the 2018-21 and 2021-24 Gloucestershire Autism Strategies. I was instrumental in getting a NICE compliant children’s assessment pathway included in the 2018-21 Strategy and have since volunteered my time as a parent carer representative to support its development.

Recently, I have been working with GCC and a wide range of VCSE and small business activity providers to improve and redevelop the commissioning of short breaks for disabled children. This has at times been frustrating without a strategic partnership in place to support the work. It has therefore fallen to small organisations like Active Impact to bring together other VCSE organisations to have our voices heard and to press the council to work coproductively. I am therefore very keen to be part of a Strategic Partnership that would lead to greater cohesion and equality across the sector.


Name: Pippa Jones

Role: Director

Organisation: Create Glos

Statement: Create Glos is a network of arts and cultural organisations, many of whom are in the VCSE sector but don't necessarily identify as such and haven't traditionally been well connected into policy making forum. Our role as a sector support organisation is to change this to ensure better connectivity with our network so that the assets, insights and views of the arts and cultural sector can be better understood, shared and valued.  Of particular relevance to this application is a strand of work called Create Health which aims to support our network to grow arts and health activity especially at a hyper local level.  CG's role is to de-risk this innovation and to research if and where there are gaps in provision across the county- either on the supply or demand side.   We are interested in sharing the values and processes of the MOU with our network so that the sector can grow its confidence and knowledge of commissioning. 


Name: Ben Morris

Role: Director of Play

Organisation: Play Gloucestershire

StatementI am in a privileged position of being able to run a ‘small but mighty’ charity that works with children and young people, in their schools and communities. At Play Gloucestershire we believe that outdoor play is an essential part of a happy and healthy childhood. Witnessing the power of play and its life changing effects on physical and mental wellbeing first hand over my thirteen years as a playworker is why I believe now, more than ever, as a collective across the sectors we need to think big in terms of how we can work together in new ways to tackle health inequalities. 

Working at the speed of trust with young people, their families and their communities is important. Long lasting relationships are forged this way, and I believe trust across the VCSE and ICS partnership, and trust from the public in this collective, will be a huge factor in making things work for the better wellbeing of all Gloucestershire residents.


Name: Amabel Mortimer

Role: Programme Manager and Development and Engagement Manager

Organisation: Gloucestershire Creative Health Consortium (GCHC)

StatementI have worked as an expert project manager within complex, and fast paced voluntary and health sector environments for over 20 years. Specialising in Arts for Health and Wellbeing having worked at delivery, strategic and board level (sitting on One Gloucestershire's Cultural Commissioning Board), I also have lived experience of health challenges. Meaning I understand wholly where health and voluntary sector organisations juxtapose at their very best. Alongside Programme Manager for Gloucestershire Creative Health Consortium, I also work as Development and Engagement Manager with Artlift, a small Creative Health charity based in Gloucestershire, 

Skillsets I can bring to the Strategic Partnership role include:  

Commitment to coproduction approaches 

Strategic planning and creative leadership

Negotiation, coordination, and consensus management

Public speaking

Research and development

My belief is that we have a responsibility to proactively reduce health inequalities, improve outcomes in population health, and create sustainable access to healthcare across Gloucestershire. Collaborative working with strategic partnership members is the essential mechanism for developing and formalising new approaches for VCS and ICS to address health inequalities together. Having already been a member of Gloucestershire VCS Alliance’s Resource Task and Finish group, I would be delighted to go on to become a Strategic Partnership member.


Name: William North

Role: Community Resilience Lead

Organisation: The Long Table Stroud CIC

Statement: As the Community Resilience Lead for The Long Table my role is to support communities to gain access to good food and more importantly eat together. We thrive by not telling communities what to do but to enable them through real action and support towards the same goal. In working alongside the Gloucestershire CCG on projects showing how co designed work can create real change I trust my experience could be valuable to the VCSE partnership. Working for a CIC means that we will always try and pay for a role rather than rely on volunteers – however the reality is that volunteers are the hidden cost of making real change and being able to learn from those on the panel within this field would be hugely beneficial to our work. I am honest to a fault about the work we do, and credibility is the core driver for me as an individual. If voted to join I promise to bring to the table actionable solutions to affect change and justify my role within the larger group.


Organisations with a turnover in excess of £500,000 per year

Candidate Information

Name: Tom Beasley

Role: CEO

Organisation: Active Gloucestershire

StatementThanks for considering voting for me to join the Strategic Partnership. I’m CEO of Active Gloucestershire and I will have met many of you at meetings and events across our county. I’d like to be considered for three reasons.

1. Partnership: I believe in the value of partnership working and witness first-hand how our sector’s stronger when we work together to make our county a better place to live. I’ll bring skills in building honest, lasting relationships between ICS partners which I’ve always ensured are based on trust and respect.

2. Tackling inequalities: I’m driven by a desire to address the inequalities in our health system so that everyone can live long, healthy lives. I’ll bring a passion and commitment to find the areas in which we can collaborate and learn, whilst ensuring we make a lasting difference to communities in our county. I’ll bring to the role a track record in influencing based on learning and evaluation.

3. Governance: I believe that governance needs to be representative and should be based on trust and mutual respect. I’ve got lots of experience working with representative and effective governance systems and I’d bring these skills at this critical time.


Name: Chris Brown

Role: CEO

Organisation: Forest Voluntary Action Forum

StatementI am proud to work for a vibrant anchor organisation that has the networks, skills, and trust to effectively advocate on behalf of thousands of residents, groups and organisations in the Forest of Dean. We always go the extra mile to capture what matters to those who are too often ignored within our County. 

I am passionate about learning about the systems which impact on people’s lives and translating these in a way that others understand and can participate in. I have shown consistently that where necessary I am prepared to challenge and propose new, innovative ways of working. These are often based on the values of collaboration, equity, mutual respect, and transparency. I believe that these values are consistent with those that are required to build a strong working relationship between the VCS and ICS. 

The Forest of Dean is traditionally underrepresented in strategic discussions despite being an area of enormous health inequalities, deprivation, loneliness, and isolation. It also possesses some incredible assets and success stories which should inform learning elsewhere. The opportunity to help drive this valuable relationship in its infancy is incredibly exciting and I am optimistic that with the right people we can achieve amazing things. 


Name: Sally Byng

Role: CEO

Organisation: Barnwood Trust

StatementI see the creation of the Strategic Partnership as a significant opportunity to create closer, constructive relationships in the service of the health and wellbeing of all people across Gloucestershire.  The last two years have shown the value and potential of cooperation and collaboration across all sectors to enable positive change. The ‘them and us’ culture between the VCSE and commissioners/funders was challenged and overcome in many cases. I am keen to play a role in enabling a culture of collaboration to be protected, continued and deepened.

I have convened Gloucestershire Funders over the last 2 years, a loose collective of funders in the county who got together in the pandemic to make applying for funding by the VCSE easier. I am keen to make deeper connections between the charitable funding sector, the organisations that the sector funds and public sector commissioners. In all my work I try to live and breathe a way of working based on creating an environment for collective, creative thinking about knotty issues, so that together we can work in a mature way for better health and wellbeing for all.  I should love the opportunity to contribute that experience to the Strategic Partnership. 


Name: Jason Dunsford

Role: Head of Employment and Skills and Manager of the GEM Project

Organisation: Gloucestershire Gateway Trust

StatementI have the privilege of managing GEM, an employability and social inclusion project that has supported over 2000 people, amongst the furthest from the labour market, back into, or closer to employment. GEM is a partnership of over 40 (predominantly VCSE) organisations, who have proven their ability to engage with those ‘hardest to reach’ through innovation and agility, supporting people from the ground up as led by our participants.

The impact of GEM, including activities such as #GEMonline during the pandemic and the Inclusivity Works campaign focused on employers, has been consistently evaluated and leaves me in no doubt about the significance of the education, employment, and income determinants of health and wellbeing. The VCSE working alongside Gloucestershire County Council to deliver GEM is evidence of how the sectors in partnership can make Gloucestershire a better and healthier place to live and work.

Through Gloucestershire Gateway Trust and our business Gloucester Services, I am committed to improving health and wellbeing outcomes for citizens through levelling up education, lifelong learning, and career aspirations. I’ve worked in not-for-profit organisations throughout my career, have been a trustee for 14 years, and sat on various strategic groups such as GFirst LEP’s Skills Advisory Panel.


Name: Matt Fellows

Role: CEO

Organisation: Age UK Gloucestershire

StatementAt Age UK Gloucestershire (AUKG) our vision is making Gloucestershire the best county in which to grow older. We are doing this by shifting the narrative on ageing, building age friendly communities, facilitating community opportunities, and being the trusted source of advice and guidance for older people. We do this in partnership, building on the strengths of our VCSE partners; enabling equity of provision and equality of access, and focusing on the most holistic approach to realising health and wellbeing that enables older people to live independently and continue to do more of the things they love for longer.

As a key partner of ‘One Gloucestershire’ we currently deliver a range of services alongside our NHS partners. We also represent the VCSE sector on a number of project groups, boards and steering groups at multiple levels. Formalising this role as member of the VCSE Strategic Partnership is an opportunity for all organisations representing and supporting older people to ensure their voices, views and experiences are reflected and respected. As the Chief Executive of AUKG I believe this representation is a key and critical part of my role and one which I hope will be supported by the wider VCSE sector.


Name: Fiona Phelps

Role: CEO

Organisation: Gloucestershire Counselling Service 

StatementAs the incoming CEO of Gloucestershire Counselling Service I have a keen interest in the development of the Wellbeing landscape and agenda within the county and recognise the opportunity to collaborate and contribute to the ICS to tackle health inequalities. 

We see the impact of such inequalities in our work at GCS and believe we have a lot to offer to the strategy in representing our client group and profession. 


Name: Barbara Piranty

Role: CEO

Organisation: GRCC

StatementI’m keen to be part of this VCSE Leaders Strategic Partnership for Wellbeing because I’m passionate about Gloucestershire, the VCS, and its importance in supporting the delivery/easier access to high quality, equitable health and wellbeing services, as well as empowering individuals and communities to look after their own physical and mental wellbeing.

I have many years' experience of working across the system with leaders and commissioners through Healthwatch, LINk and the other health and care projects. My work in digital mental health also provided me with a wider understanding of the national perspective and complexity of ICS development. Over the years I have been heavily involved in social care both as a professional and personally and know the difficulty in delivering good quality care to a predominantly ageing population here.

GRCC has worked with communities and individuals in Gloucestershire for 100 years and has a tremendous amount of expertise in community development, housing and transport and my roles have covered all of these areas. 

Great things can be achieved through good, honest relationships and meaningful collaborations and I would welcome the opportunity to help this partnership influence and work with the system to achieve the best outcomes for our county.


Name: Paul Riddick

Role: CEO

Organisation: Community Connexions

StatementI would wish to represent all community transport providers in the county. My purpose would be to raise the profile of transport issues with commissioners/decision makers to ensure;

1) transport is considered in the planning of service provision

2) transport is included in the overall health strategy

3) transport is properly funded to increase provision in line with anticipated demand

4) transport is not seen as 'someone else's problem' and is integral with services

5) health inequalities are addressed through sustainable transport solutions

6) vulnerable people across the county have access to affordable door to door transport to attend essential health appointments


Name: Victoria Robson

Role: CEO

Organisation: The Door Youth Project

StatementAs a passionate ambassador for collaborative working I am excited to see how this new strategic partnership will work in practice and I am keen to make a meaningful contribution to its success.  

My personal priority is always to place standards and service above all else, both in life and work; doing all I can to serve my community and do this to the best of my ability. While recognising that in order to achieve the highest standards, this can only be achieved within a culture of learning and risk taking.  

I have served in the charity sector for the past 11 years. Previously working as a Leadership Development Consultant for many years in the UK and overseas; supporting senior leaders in organisations to promote healthy productive and high performing teams/cultures. I currently have the privilege to work as CEO with a small but growing youth and family support charity based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, The Door. My strengths are bringing people together, being a strong team player, building robust relationships with senior stakeholders, working at a strategic level, while always seeking to see how today’s activity fits with the overall context and direction of travel.


Name: Claire Smeeth

Role: Service Development Lead

Organisation: Crossroads Care Gloucestershire

StatementI feel that within my 20+ years of experience in Social Care, I have been able to see from the bottom up approach, all aspects of care 

I am an honest , hardworking person. If i say I am going to do something i will. 

My knowledge in the care industry has enabled me to voice my opinions. Something a few years ago i probably wouldn't of.

Crossroads Care Gloucestershire, whom i  am proud to be an employee of is a CQC rated charity organisation as OUTSTANDING. This i am pleased to say and always will endeavour to keep this rating.

I feel that i can support the VCS with my experience and the wealth of contacts that i have made within the industry.

My passion is in the support of others, ensuring that an unpaid carer has the help and support they require. I have worked hard to get where i am in my career, and if i can help others to follow their career in care i will.                                                                                                             


Voting closes 5pm on Monday 11th July.

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