RAN's Third Advice Forum
"Partnerships and Networking"
We chose this focus because of the strong feedback received from the Second Advice Forum.
She outlined four key benefits of forming partnerships:
- being able to provide clients with more holistic support
- widening access to funding opportunities, because funders increasingly want to fund partnerships
- sharing information, ideas and best practice
- raising your profile, and becoming stronger and more influential by working together
Partnerships were not always easy, but there were several things you could do to make them successful:
- form partnerships with organisations who share your vision about working with clients
- take time to learn about your partner - what they do, how they do it, what they are trying to achieve
- clearly define respective roles and responsibilities
- set out your expectations of each other in a Memorandum of Understanding
- create a joint trustee board to govern the partnership
- establish a decision-making process to resolve disagreements
- build strong personal relationships between key people in the different organisations
- work to sustain mutual respect and understanding.
Each of the 14 organisations present then had three minutes to tell the others "This is who we are and what we do".
There were presentations by:
- Communicare - Francesca Yates
- Reading Refugee Support Group - Nick Harborne
- Parents and Children Together (PACT)/Alana House - Jennie Herbert
- Citizens Advice Reading - Sallyann Hunt
- Smokefree Berkshire - Iwana Jaremko
- British Red Cross - Dragon Wright
- Age UK Reading - Matt Taylor
- Parenting Special Children - Jennie Kettel
- Reading Community Learning Centre - Sarah del Tufo
- Launchpad - Gabrielle Watts
- Reading Mencap - Leslie Macdonald
- Graft (Thames Valley) - Hazel Wright
- Healthwatch Reading - Mandeep Kaur Sira
- Reading Frontline - Rob Walker
Two representatives from Reading Borough Council - Janet Meehan from the 'Stronger Together Partnership' and Andrew Donachie from the Welfare Referral Team - then gave short presentations about their work.
The Forum closed with a short final session discussing RAN's work and possible topics for future Forums. Key points made were:
- the next Forum should focus on housing & accommodation issues in Reading
- RAN could broker training opportunities for Member organisations.