Who We Are

The Forum brings together leaders from across the wide range of voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in Somerset, with senior staff from Somerset County Council, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, District Councils, and other key county-wide public and private sector agencies. We discuss issues of interest and concern, help to inform commissioning, and promote collaboration and partnership working across the sectors.

What we do

Strategic Forums
We arrange two Forum Meetings a year with an informal networking session after each meeting. The forums provide a great opportunity to meet and debate with a wide range of Somerset colleagues from the VCSE, public, and private sectors.

Annual Leaders Conference
We held our third VCSE Leaders Conference in June 2019, and theme was ‘the future is in our hands’. It gave Somerset VCSE leaders an exciting opportunity to hear from leading practitioners and thinkers, discuss and debate, share ideas, and make new connections.

Trustee Gathering
We recognise the vital role that Trustees play in organisations across the county. The first Somerset Trustee Gathering was held in November 2017, to coincide with National Trustees Week, and it was attended by experienced trustees and Chairs, prospective trustees, and those who were new to the role. We work with partner organisations to raise awareness of the important role of trustees, attract new trustees, and provide exciting development opportunities for existing trustees.

We are keen to enhance opportunities for VCSE representation on key countywide boards and committees. The development of this website provides will enable us to promote these opportunities to the wider sector, as well as have a mechanism for Advocates to seek the views of the wider sector, and feedback key decisions or issues.

Specialist Workshops
Over the last two years we have convened meetings and workshops on specialist topics and funding opportunities, including the Building Better Opportunities Fund, Life Chances Fund, the Richmond Group’s work in Somerset, and the BBC Children in Need workshop.

Research, Position Papers and Campaigns
Through this site, we hope to distill the key regional and national VCSE research, reports, innovation, and news and bring it together in one place. In early 2017, along with key partners, we commissioned the first Somerset VCSE State of the Sector Report. We also produced a Community Services directory for the Somerset Autism Strategy Group in 2017.


The Forum was established in 2015 following the publication of two reports on the Somerset Voluntary Sector produced by Engage, and developed out of voluntary sector conversations with Somerset County Council.

We’re proud to work with the following partners and funders:


Read the 2018/19 VCSE Strategic Forum Report

Read the 2017/18 VCSE Strategic Forum Report

Read the 2016/17 VCSE Strategic Forum Report

Read the 2015/16 VCSE Strategic Forum Report