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About us

Sunderland Voluntary Sector Alliance has been formed by the sector themselves, working in partnership with a wide range of services across the city. The Alliance is in place to support the voluntary and community sector in Sunderland, with charitable purposes, and is resourced for public benefit. The Alliance is a recognised route - for other local commissioners and national funding organisations - enabling clear communication and to strengthen partnership working.

The Alliance is sector-led, building upon established Area VCS Networks - the Alliance supports the city, to recognise the importance of the voluntary and community sector in Sunderland and ensure everyone in the city understands that they must work closely with the voluntary sector to increase public benefit.

Our Charitable Purpose

The SVSA has been developed to support the sustainability and growth of VCSE sector organisations with charitable purpose in Sunderland. It also has a role in attracting additional funding and investment into the city for the sector. It is a conduit between VCSE sector organisations, local commissioners, and national funding organisations to strengthen relationships for public benefit. 


To create ambition, energy and drive to support communities to bring about social change, grow community wealth and create resilience.


Stronger Sector, Stronger City


  • Integrity
    Integrity in our workplace is about trust, where honesty and ethical behaviour guide every decision and action, fostering a culture of respect
  • Transparency
    We believe in open and honest communication, sharing information freely, and maintaining an environment built on trust.
  • Collaboration
    Celebrating teamwork, listening to diverse perspectives and encouraging open communication, we embrace collaboration knowing that working together we can achieve more.
  • Accountability
    Taking ownership of our decisions and actions and recognising their impact on each other and the sector. Through this we build confidence and drive, holding ourselves accountable for achieving our goals and upholding our values.
  • Inclusivity
    Recognising diversity as a strength, we know that each individual brings a unique perspective and value to our team. Creating a culture of respect and empowerment.

Our Strategic Aims

  • Collaboration
    Develop and deliver a sustainable and effective, two-way communication and engagement strategy which will ensure all VCSE sector organisations, regardless of size, are aware of and benefiting from the SVSA collaboration.
  • Representation and Inclusion
    Ensure all communities including the most vulnerable are represented and have a voice. Provide local intelligence to influence stakeholder and partners, ensuring the delivery of 'needs led' services and activities at a community and neighbourhood level.
  • Strategic Voice
    Provide a strategic voice for the VCSE sector across the city informing the design implementation and delivery of services, influencing commissioning opportunities to improve outcomes for residents across the city.
  • Investment
  • Working in partnership with all stakeholders to develop social value, attracting and distributing funding and in-kind volunteer resources across the sector to maximise outcomes and to deliver a sustainable Investment Strategy. 


Working with the Sector we aim to: 

  • Build the capacity of Sunderland voluntary and community sector organisations to become more sustainable.
  • Develop a membership of connected voluntary sector organisations across Sunderland.
  • Share good practice and respond to local needs.
  • Develop joint-working and income generation opportunities. 


Our Strategic Objectives


Strategic Objective 

Key Actions 


1. Sunderland VCS Alliance offer support for sustainability and growth across organisations to increase  public benefit.  

1. Leadership and vision shared to ensure the VCS is recognised by all City Partners and respected as a critical service provider. 


2. Practical Support delivered via the Community Support workers - 2 years intensive support to the sector. 


3. Ensure the priorities of the City Plan and Community Wealth Strategy are adopted as part of developments. 



VCS Alliance on City Board and all VCS organisations celebrating 'their' joint union and vision. 



All VCS organisations across Sunderland strengthened to enable them to be sustainable and increase their service offer (if they choose too). 


Aspirations are raised and outcomes for residents and neighbourhoods are improved. 

2. Establish the Alliance as an independent organisation with a charitable purpose.  



1. Regular support meetings with BIC. 

2. Complete consultation with the VCS re model. 

3. Present models to the Board. 

4. Agree preferred model and progress. 

The VCS Alliance will be a recognised vehicle in the city to bring funding into the sector and continue to grow in the sector for public benefit. 

3. Expand opportunities for attracting additional regional and national funding by facilitating more collaborative partnerships.  

1. Attend NEC funders network. 

2. Attend Sunderland strategic funding group. 

3. Alliance becomes a member of the City Board. 

4. Develop Funding and Income Strategy  



Funders will have the confidence money will be used to maximise impact for public. 


Longer term funding opportunities for sustainability and growth of service delivery. 


4. Maximise social value through procurement processes. 

1. Council procurement process adapted and agreed approach at Chief Officer level. 

2. Agree legal process. 

3. Encourage wider City partners to take same approach. 

Increased income and support. 


Better impact from investment in the city to support the sector and residents /communities for public benefit. 

5. Increase the capacity of the current VCS to support needs led services.   

1. Identify service gaps, through asset and current service mapping. 

2. Attend social prescribing working group. 

3. Incorporate identified needs for future funding applications. 

4. Continue to meet health partners following the transfer to ICB 

5. Support the growth of new organisations and community groups with charitable purpose where there is a need identified  

Benefits to the public improved. 


Community assets maximised and VCS working hand in hand with partner organisations 

6. Local intelligence supports commissioning and funding applications. 

1. Develop a mechanism to gather information from across organisations where gaps in services are identified.   

2. Incorporate information onto Alliance website as requested by organisations to support the completion of funding applications. 

Services meet local need avoids duplication in service delivery from across the sector.  


Stronger Impact to improve community resilience and public benefit. 


Supporting the growth in local services which will strengthen communities. 

7. Continue to support and grow the volunteers.  

1. Current platform for registration under review and match-making service developing. 

2. Continue to Audit VCS requirements. 

3. Meetings with key partners underway to secure corporate volunteering including large businesses in the city.  



Added value from volunteering and processes simplified to enable residents (and organisations) to support and enjoy the benefits of volunteering. 

Increased service delivery. 

Increased uptake of employment. 

8. Incorporate Low Carbon into service developments.  

1. Alliance is a member on the Low carbon shadow board. 

2. Community asset review will support understanding how facilities could benefit from environmental work to reduce carbon footprint 


Additional funding to support improved environmental outcomes.   

9. Complete community asset diagnostic and review-match funds and social value to improve facilities. 

1. Work with partners to look at available assets across the city. 

2. Involve the wider partners for asset transfer and complete options appraisal.  


More community buildings will be open for business supported by City. Partners and businesses (linked to social value and investment). 


Business growth and investment developing stronger and more resilient neighbourhoods improving public benefit.  

10. Produce Alliance communications Plan. 

1. Continue to develop communications plan. 

2. Launch new independent Alliance website and email address. 

The VCS have access to meaningful information including the Alliance service offer to support sustainable organisational and service developments for public benefit. 

11. Develop training and events programme  

12) Establish commissioned based approach to the distribution of grants. 



1.Link with other providers to avoid duplication of offer and maximise available recourses. 

2.Develop programme based on identified need. 


1.Develop a process for the distribution and monitoring of grants. 

2.Implement project calls for the distribution of grants to the VCSE sector.  


The sector will be better equipped to meet needs. 




Funding opportunities will be increased.  

Outcomes will be measured to maximise impact for public benefit. 


As part of our ongoing commitment to put our staff and people first, we are delighted to announce we are now a real living wage accredited employer.


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