York Cares Annual Stakeholder Meeting

On 19 April 2018 over 70 representatives from organisations across the city came together to consider social value from a cross-sector perspective at our Annual Stakeholder Meeting. The meeting was held in the board room at Aviva and as guests arrived they were able to make the most of the beautiful view across the city which looked even better in the sunshine before listening to a range of speakers talk about their experiences.

Caroline Dibbs, Customer Engagement & Operations Director, Aviva and Chair of York Cares kick started the evening by welcoming guests and thanking them for attending. There was then a short film showing some of the highlights of employee volunteering across our programmes over the last year and reminding us all of the huge positive impact people can have through volunteering.

Over the last year York our employee-volunteers have supported:

  • 60 young people to work harder and aim higher through our Aspirations programme
  • 800 children to link real life and learning through our Inspiring Minds programme
  • 38 care experienced young people to develop their skills through our Starting Blocks programme
  • Over 20 voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations through our Team Challenges programme
  • 9 older people’s homes and independent living communities through our Social Connections programme

The theme of the evening was social value, something that is really important in understanding how we can work together to understand local needs, bring about social change and the impact that our programmes make. Caroline Dibbs reminded us that it is only through working together that we can bring about lasting change.

Next three volunteers shared their stories about the difference they have been making in the community. First up was Richard Elam from Evora Consturction who spoke about his involvement in the Starting Blocks programme and how he has given time to give a budding architect an insight into the industry. Richard spoke passionately about how important it is to ensure that care experienced young people have the same opportunities as all other young people – something that Richard shows his commitment to through his involvement.

The next volunteer to speak was Grace Baird from Arup who has been involved in Project Dare which challenges young people to link their academic learning to real life problem solving activities. Grace spoke about she had worked with her colleagues to design and inspiring activity around rail engineering with the aim of showing young people what an engineer is and does as well as the skills an engineer needs. Grace shared her enthusiasm for giving young people opportunities to gain an insight into the world or work and also how much her and colleagues had taken from the experience.

The third volunteer to speak was Cleo Preston from Portakabin who spoke about her involvement in the Social Connections programme. Cleo spoke about how her an her team had been into an older people’s home and made Christmas cards and wreaths with the volunteers. Cleo said that although her and her team had initially been out of their comfort zone that they relaxed into it and had a really positive experience.

Following this we had the opportunity to hear from Sarah Armstrong, Chief Executive, York CVS about her thoughts on social value in the third sector. Sarah spoke about what social value means to her and to York CVS and shared the message that it’s important that if there’s a need and a way that we can do something to address that need then we should act and make a positive change. Sarah also spoke about the importance of knowing the value and the impact of the things that you do and reminded us of the collaborative difference we are capable of making in York.

The final speaker of the evening was Sally Houghton, Service Improvement Manager, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) who shared her thoughts on social value in the public sector. Sally showed that social value really is at the heart of the JRHT and that in a lot of places there are ‘hidden gems’ these are people who really go above and beyond and make a huge positive difference.

The evening was a great opportunity to come together and to be reminded that it is only by working together that we can make York a better place.