In Small Charity Week I’ve been reflecting on our own role as a small charity ourselves.
As CEO of a small infrastructure organisation (Leeds Older People’s Forum), it’s really important to me that we strive to be the collective voice for third sector organisations and groups which work with and for older people in Leeds. We want older people to have the opportunities, choices and support to live the lives they choose. We are far more likely to achieve that if we work together and take the #TeamLeeds approach.
In my role I bring the voice of our third sector members to strategic, city-wide meetings such as the Frailty Population Health Board, which is part of the governing arrangements in Health. I meet regularly with colleagues who work in areas such as Commissioning and Financial Inclusion, and with elected Leeds City Council members. They are supportive of our work and want to hear the issues we know our members and older people in Leeds are facing.
We collect the views of our members organisations in various ways: our staff are on the ground talking to small charities in the City; we have recently launched our ‘Trending Elders‘ survey to find out from member organisations what the issues are facing their members. I’ve found initial findings from the survey incredibly useful in meetings with colleagues in the local authority and local health trusts.
The team at Leeds Older People’s Forum supports smaller charities in the city in lots of ways: we bring people together for networking and peer learning; we apply for funding and offer small grants, and we work with members on campaigns that none of us would be able to do alone – Travel Connections, for example.
Small charities in Leeds are vital for older people, as clearly demonstrated in the evaluation of the Leeds Neighbourhood Networks. They understand and are trusted by the communities they work in and with.
Small does not mean powerless. We’re proud of the work we do, and the impact we have as a small organisation, working with dozens of other small organisations, to amplify our collective voice and the voices of older people in Leeds.
Chief Executive Officer