VCSE Climate Change Forum

We recently hosted a special forum which focused on climate change and its effects on community health and wellbeing.

Delegates attending the event at Magdalen Farm, near Chard, heard fascinating presentations from Jake Burnyeat (Burnham and Weston CIC), Jon Doyle (Somerset County Council), Pip Tucker (Somerset Public Health), Mickey Green (Somerset Waste Partnership) and Steve Mewes (Somerset Wildlife Trust). You can download the presentations here.

Attendees also took part in group discussions on how climate change is effecting the communities they support, and how, as organisations, we can help to mitigate the impacts. You can download the notes from the discussion groups here.

The event was kindly sponsored by Burnham and Weston Energy CIC. There was overwhelming support for making it an annual occurrence.

Notes from the VCSE Strategic Forum, Wednesday 9th October 2019

The VCSE Strategic Forum met on Wednesday 9th October 2019. You can download the presentations here.

The Key Speakers included:

Patrick McKenna, Policy Advisor and Local Intelligence West – Office for Civil Society

Patrick outlined the information that is available for the VCSE community in the lead up to Brexit. Most of the relevant information is on the Government’s Brexit Portal. This includes a checker tool of 7 simple questions to help organisations get ready for Brexit. Patrick also highlighted a DCMS webinar especially for charities, in partnership with NCVO.

GDPR after Brexit was also discussed, along with the EU Settlement scheme. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Nicola Dawson, Service Manager – Somerset County Council Brexit Team

Nicola discussed SCC’s response to the Government’s No Deal Readiness report. A link to the report can be found here.

A Corporate Risk Assessment has been produced with short, medium and longer term work streams. Each Somerset District Council have identified a Senior Manager to act as Brexit lead. These leads are looking at a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’. Nicola asked the Forum how best they can work together to reach hard to reach groups with relevant information.

A question and discussion time followed, during which Forum members discussed the impacts of Brexit on their communities and their organisations – both practical and emotional.

VCSE organisations can contact Nicola at

Katherine Nolan CEO and Vicky Sullivan Health and Wellbeing Coordinator – Spark Somerset.

Katherine and Vicky launched the research element of the 2019/20 State of The Sector report. The previous State of the Sector report (2016) can be found here.

Following Katherine and Vicky’s presentation the Forum broke into small groups to discuss the value of the previous State of the Sector report and explore key findings. There will be a survey sent to VCSE organisations in Somerset in the next few weeks. If you wish to contact Spark directly about the next report, please email Vicky at

Jackie Sopwith, CEO – Somerset Sight

Jackie provided an overview of the organisation which is currently celebrating its 100th year. More information about Somerset Sight can be found here.

Keeley Hawes, CEO – Community Council for Somerset

Keeley discussed the role of the 57 Village and Community Agents working with CCS.

Bite Size presentations

Emily Taylor, Engagement Lead Officer – Somerset CCG
Fit for Purpose – New Plan for Engagement for Somerset CCG

Scott MacMillan – The Volunteer Network
The Voluntary Sectors’ response to home schooling

The next full Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum will be held on Wednesday 25th March 2020.