Better Together VCS Forum



The Better Together VCS (Voluntary and Community Sector) Forum brings together senior representatives of larger or specialist VCS organisations with a countywide remit to share best practice and look for new opportunities to collaborate. 

The forum meets bi-monthly and is chaired by the VCS representative on the County Durham Partnership Board, Jo Laverick, Executive Director of Durham Community Action. Support for the forum is provided by Ian Hunter Smart in the County Durham Partnership Team - telephone 03000 263595 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click for More Information

Member Organisations

Meeting dates 2019


Social Prescribing Follow up

Thank you for attending the Better Together VCS Policy Forum on Social Prescribing this morning, or for sending an apology if you were not able to attend.

As promised I am sending you this email so that you all have my contact details should you have any further thoughts, comments or questions to make 

As Jo mentioned we will draft up an initial report from your feedback and circulate it for comment prior to wider circulation.

Copies of the presentations will be available shortly via a weblink which we will give you.

Many thanks for your participation.

Kind regards,

Ian D. Hunter Smart

Voluntary & Community Sector Officer

Transformation and Partnerships

Durham County Council

County Hall



Direct 03000 263 595

Feedback from the Better Together VCS Forum 4th Dec

Please find attached the notes from the meeting held on 4th December together with the dates and venues for meetings in 2019.

We also attach a copy of the presentation delivered by Jo Laverick to the County Durham Partnership Board on 21st November 2018.

And finally, a reminder of the Consultation on the development of the new County Durham Partnership Vision – please do give us your views if  you can and promote it where you can:  Durham 2030 - our vision for the future  Thank you.

County Durham Partnership

Transformation and Partnerships

Durham County Council

Room 5-140/150

County Hall

03000 263593

E mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Next Better Together Forum 4th Dec

We look forward to seeing you at the next Better Together VCS Forum to be held on Tuesday 4th December at 1.00pm at Humankind (formerly DISC) Sapphire House, IES Centre, Horndale Avenue,

Newton Aycliffe, DL5 6DS.

The agenda and notes from the last meeting (previously circulated), and meeting dates for 2019 are attached, together with a copy of the current VCS representatives on the AAPs for your information and as promised.

Please let us know whether or not you are able to attend or whether you will be sending a representative. Please reply to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Mental Health - Better Together VCS Policy Forum Report

You may have participated in, or been aware of the Policy Forum about Mental Health, which was convened on Friday 6th July. This was the first in series of Policy Forums which are being coordinated via the Better Together Forum. Better Together is an informal network of county wide and specialist VCS organisations which provide services for communities across County Durham.

The Forum attracted a broad cross section of stakeholders with an interest and in-depth understanding about how mental health support is being provided in the County. Delegates included elected members, VCS service providers, commissioners, NHS Foundation Trust managers and CCG representatives. The content provided an overview about how governance and commissioning is emerging and developing across both health and social care sectors, how services are provided via TEWV, and the challenges and opportunities which VCS providers of mental health support services are working with. The underlying theme was one of cross sector partnership working, which is why we are keen to share messages from the delegates who took part.

We’re pleased to be able to circulate the attached report, which summarises the presentations from the morning and the ensuing discussions. I’d like to draw your attention to the next steps we agreed as a result, and which are detailed at the end of the four page report.

If you have any queries or would like any additional information, please do contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or Ian Hunter Smart This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , who is supporting the Better Together Network.