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Community First brings local voluntary sector all together in one place


Community First brings local voluntary sector all together in one place

Attendees from Hampshire voluntary organisations joined together for Community First’s Impact Event.

On 18th January 2018, Community First hosted a fully booked impact event involving a voluntary sector expo and the charity’s Annual General Meeting.

Hope Church in Winchester was bustling with stalls, banners and staff from local voluntary and community groups of all kinds, as well as delegates from local business and government bodies for the Community Expo and Marketplace. CEO Tim Houghton opened the event saying how important it is for the voluntary sector to raise its profile, harness skills of businesses and work with public service organisations to find solutions which empower people and communities to help and support themselves and which protect the most vulnerable people in our society saying:

The sector needs strong leadership and needs to be big, bold and confident in its approach.  We achieve this by coming together, being visible and supporting each other.”

Community First’s Volunteer Service team ready to welcome visitors to their stand

Attendees were involved in promoting the event and their presence on social media under the #alltogether. Many of the local community organisations represented took the opportunity to promote their causes via video campaigns to delegates and on social media.  Throughout the morning participants took part in a range of breakout sessions run by local business and charities. A real enthusiasm for making connections and networking was tangible in the room.

The buzz of the marketplace transitioned smoothly into a reflective session for Community First’s AGM. The AGM saw the re-election of Beverley Jones as Chair and Trevor Lewis as Vice-chair, setting the direction of the charity’s governance for the year ahead. The motion also passed to promote Community First’s charitable purposes within the broad Hampshire county area as the charity’s area of benefit. This change befits the county-wide effort for a unified local voluntary sector.

After a sociable lunch, attendees took part in ‘Inspiring Insights’, specialist workshops hosted by speakers from local charities and businesses. Social media and digital content proved popular, with a fully booked session on storytelling campaigns by Cheryl Clarke from IBM and a Social Media workshop delivered for IBM by Nada Alkutbi. A workshop by Jill Sainsbury from Switched-On Multimedia also prepared attendees for the rise of video as a means of social engagement. Kathryn Cornish from local charity Autism Hampshire ran a session about the new Hampshire Advice Charter offering a ‘no wrong door’ approach to offering help to people seeking support in the local area. Carly Davey and Mandy Souter from Stroke Association also provided information on stroke awareness and support for organisations.

Overall the event was a success in bringing together various voluntary groups, with their diverse social objectives; but they have more in common than sets them apart.  The voluntary sector in Hampshire started 2018 with sociable momentum.



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