About Voluntary Action Lewisham

This is an exciting time at Voluntary Action Lewisham as we embark on a journey to create a new offer for communities, non-profits and civil society in the borough of Lewisham. We hope you’ll be keen to join us and help us achieve our ambitions for our borough.

VAL is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved together over this time. We also know that the needs of our communities, and the volunteers and organisations who work with them are changing. Our service is changing to respond to this, and we are now offering support not just to non-profits and social enterprises, but individuals as well, signposting to volunteering opportunities in the borough. We have taken on the volunteering advice role for the borough; and moved to new premises where we can expand our service delivery and create an exciting, inclusive community hub for the voluntary sector in Lewisham. 

Who are we?
Over the last 50 years we’ve been supporting the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the London Borough of Lewisham to have a voice, to strengthen its capacity and impact, and to collaborate, innovate and respond to the needs of our communities. We’re proud of our history, but we want to be even prouder of the organisation we are becoming, and of what we achieve together next.

We’re using this track record to create a vibrant and dynamic offer, ensuring that Lewisham’s full civil society gets the support it needs to thrive – and by civil society we mean we’re shifting to work with everyone from individual volunteers and activists through to the largest charitable organisations based in our borough, using the definition from The Way Ahead report:

Civil society is where people take action to improve their own lives or the lives of others and act where government or the private sector don’t. Civil society is driven by the values of fairness and equality, and enables people to feel valued and to belong. It includes formal organisations such as voluntary and community organisations, informal groups of people who join together for a common purpose and individuals who take action to make their community a better place to live.

We are emerging from a period of change with a new vision, mission and focus for the future, with a new staffing structure, new funding and new plans in place – you’ll be joining us at a critical point when we’re reshaping what we do and moving towards a successful future.

What do we want to do?
Our vision is to put Lewisham’s people and communities at the heart of our borough. Our focus is on supporting a thriving civil society in Lewisham that achieves improved outcomes for everyone – our voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, our volunteers, and our communities.
We’ll be delivering this work through nine key work streams:

  • involve – getting communities involved in co-producing an understanding of need and what must happen to make Lewisham better, stronger and more sustainable
  • introduce – understanding and connecting people, groups and formal organisations – bringing people together to achieve change
  • initiate – identifying needs and encouraging others to act – sparking collaborations and starting discussions to get solutions
  • incubate – providing seedbed space (physical and intellectual) for emerging groups to tackle new and changing needs
  • inspire – showcasing excellence, developing new ideas, sharing learning from within and outside Lewisham
  • invest – equipping civil society with the skills, knowledge and resources to make a difference
  • inform – sharing data on needs and policy developments with Lewisham groups, and out to local decision makers and the London Hub
  • influence – championing the role of the sector, the needs and strengths of local communities, and helping strategic people make better decisions
  • innovate – be a centre of excellence for civil society support, piloting new ways of working to achieve positive change

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