On Friday the 8th of November 2019, Prisca and Vivan, representing the organisation - Together As One Trust (TAOT), attended a meeting for friends and members organised by the Greater Manchester Center for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO). The aim of the GMCVO is to improve the quality of life of people of Greater Manchester and contribute to reducing inequalities between
people and places, through enabling a strong, connected and influential local Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE).
This meeting provided a forum where a wide range of community organisations met and learnt about services that they each offer, thereby facilitating access to any such services whenever they are needed. Speakers from the GMCVO as well as from some of the organisations present delivered talks on a variety of subjects. Topics of discussion included the role of the voluntary sector, inequality, building a resilient neighbourhood, inclusion and many others. Many of the topics were eye-catching such as how can the voluntary sector help eradicate poverty within a generation? "I found this topic particularly fascinating given the range of ideas that were explored to address the challenges in addressing the question". Some of the ideas put forward included putting people at the very heart of decision making about them, by among others, listening to them in order to be better
placed to understand what they really need as opposed to simply making provision to individuals without their input regarding their desires, their likes and their dislikes. Other ideas were, ensuring that the objectives and ambitions of the voluntary sector are fulfilled, building more infrastructure in the North, using evidence and data to base decision making and to carry on testing the data to understand people even better. Also, to move from principles to practice.
Another speaker, Gavin Owen of GMCVO talked about some of the barriers that prevent young people from progressing and achieving their full potential. Examples of the barriers include criminal records, low self-esteem, substance misuse, lack of routine in the lives of some individuals, lack of basic education and the lack of opportunity. This discussion was also very close to my heart because it touched on subject matters that TAOT - our organisation is trying to address by (among others), educating and sensitizing people about. His discussion shed more light on how best to access relevant services that can play a role in supporting what we do through collaboration and networking.
Much of the work for instance of the GMCVO is aimed at understanding how to tackle entrenched inequalities and testing possible solutions. GMCVO believes that its work provides evidence that by collaborating with other Greater Manchester institutions and involving VCSE organisations, effective targeted action can be taken in order to reduce poverty and tackle discrimination and prejudice.
In conclusion, we found the meeting very useful as it offered a good opportunity to network and also to be aware of what is out there, given that working in isolation, very little can be achieved whereas in collaboration and in partnership with other organisations, we can achieve so much. Being a relatively new organisation that we are, this was also an opportunity to make ourselves known to other organisations as we look forward to collaborating with as many others as is possible all in an attempt to make Greater Manchester a lovely place for all its inhabitants.