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Chief Officers & Chairs Group

Chief Officers & Chairs Group

To work together to ensure a thriving third sector in the Harrogate District which is able to meet the needs of the local community
Next 2019 meeting dates

Wednesday 18 September                 1.30pm - 3.30pm        (at Ripon YMCA) -  Book your free place here 

Tuesday 19 November                       10.00am – 12.00pm    (at Disability Action Yorkshire)  - Book your free place here 

If you can offer a venue for a future meeting please email 

If you are a Chief Officer or Chair of a local voluntary organisation working in Harrogate District you are very welcome to join us.  Please book your place using the link above. 


‘Such a good quality forum and much needed to share and join together.’

‘Keeps us in touch with the local scene’  

May 2019 Update

There was a presentation from the new Universal Credit Best Practice Lead working with Citizens Advice at our May meeting in Harrogate Community House.  We learnt about the new Help to Claim service supporting people with Universal Credit claims and how intelligence and best practice will be shared with local voluntary organisations.

We also had an update on the Harnessing the Power of Communities (HPoC) Programme including plans for new Primary Care Networks and Social Prescribing Link Workers. It was highlighted that the local voluntary sector was in a good position to help locally and there were already good examples of local social prescribing. Community Based Asset Mapping is seen as a key tool. It makes sense to make the best of what is already in place in communities.

Other topics included the Homelessness Strategy 2019-2024 and Community Safety challenges such as ‘County Lines’, as well as updates on new local services and opportunities to get involved with forthcoming events including Pride in Diversity.

February 2019 Update

We were given a warm welcome at the fantastic new premises of Wellspring Therapy and Training in Starbeck.  

Presentations about the West Yorkshire & Harrogate Health Partnership (WYH HCP) Harnessing the Power of Communities (HPoC) Programme in Harrogate District highlighted funded opportunities to work with statutory partners; develop the voluntary sector workforce; map our community health assets; identify hidden issues/ gaps in provision and work on a Strategy and Action Plan for Loneliness in Harrogate District.

We need to understand the latest jargon, national and regional initiatives to be in the best position to enable our local charities, who best understand local people and local needs, to tackle issues such as poverty, loneliness, mental health and wellbeing day in and day out. 

November 2018 Update

20 charity chief officers & chairs shared information and opportunities, connecting and learning about new initiatives. We also heard about the work of the Community Safety Hub based at Harrogate Borough Council and ways we can work together. Community Safety Manager, Julia Stack, shared information about many local issues including referrals for mediation services; a small budget for Handyperson Scheme for safety chains/ spy holes etc for vulnerable people in our community; County Lines and the Prevent key messages of Notice, Check and Share. We also heard about the Children in Need Emergency Essentials Fund which provides grants for items that meet children and young peoples’ most basic needs or are critical to their wellbeing.  

September 2018 Update

Leading an organisation can sometimes be a lonely place, so it's good to be able to get together to share issues and challenges, as well as good news and success. Thank you to Ripon YMCA for kindly hosting the Group, which is working together to help the people who need our local members’ charity services.

Opportunities for partnership working, funding, feedback and representation were shared. The information exchange is always valuable for members and also raises awareness of current issues, including problems around basic two way communications with the voluntary sector. Karen, HARCVS Chief Executive, is then able to raise these issues in her role as voluntary sector representative on the Harrogate District Public Services Leadership Board

With regards to public sector funding, there was often the need to do more with less. It was necessary to manage expectations. The voluntary sector needed to be assertive about what could be realistically delivered for the funding provided. Small amounts of money were not being made available for prevention services. Sometimes it seemed to be getting harder to engage, when there was a need to work together.

May 2018 Update

The meeting was kindly hosted by Saint Michael's Hospice. 

We discussed how we can sustain and develop much needed local charity support services. Colleagues from NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG and North Yorkshire County Council gave an update about their work and future plans for integrated care. Group members made the important point that if referrals are made to local charity services, funding needs to follow to enable the services to be delivered and to meet demand. The voluntary sector needs to be at the table involved in decision making. 

A request was made to ensure that the contribution made by the sector is recognised and valued and acknowledgment that it is not sustainable to refer people on into the voluntary sector without consideration of how such support is paid for.  Even when services are delivered by volunteers they are never free, and overheads need to be met; safeguarding ensured and legal obligations adhered to.

February 2018 Update

We had a busy meeting sharing latest developments about new projects to help people in our local communities, opportunities for joint training, funding and developing community spaces. There was an update on THE LOCAL FUND which launched on 31 January and opportunities and experiences shared on the topic of business and team volunteering.  Many organisations were facing challenges and uncertainties around future funding. The review of wellbeing and prevention services by North Yorkshire County Council was a challenging time with long established and valued local services vulnerable in the competitive process. With potentially significantly less investment in the District there would be an impact on individuals in need, volunteers and organisations. The Group would need to work together to flag up the impact on local communities.

November 2017 Update

In November, Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre kindly hosted the meeting. A range of concerns and issues were shared including the impact of Universal Credit, disability awareness for transport providers, hospital based care for people with mental health issues and preparing for GDPR. The North Yorkshire Prevention Services Review, the possible impact on local people who needed support and the issues of capacity and growth for local charities were flagged as concerns to be raised. There was positive news about THE LOCAL FUND for Harrogate District being formed by a three-way partnership between Harrogate Borough Council, HARCVS and Two Ridings Community Foundation, in the face of ongoing pressure on public budgets and over subscription to existing funds.  There had been positive discussions about voluntary sector involvement in the West Yorkshire & Harrogate Health and Care Partnership but there was a need for better evidence of the impact of prevention and wellbeing work on primary care. There is some difficulty in engaging across the wide group and geographical and political issues, but this was a pathway to influence and it was time to get involved to ensure the voluntary sector is able to influence the work that is happening at a West Yorkshire and Harrogate level.  

Background to the Group

The Chief Officers and Chairs Group was set up by Harrogate & Area CVS and Ripon CVS in late 2009 in order to support the local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) to consult on the NYCC and NHS North Yorkshire and York “Securing the Future: A Dialogue with the Third Sector” paper.

The group was established to allow key decision makers from local VCS organisations to identify issues of mutual concern and to generate local solutions. The group aims to collaborate and communicate more effectively within the sector and therefore strengthen the collective voice of the local VCS.

The group is facilitated by HARCVS and meets up to 4 times a year at different venues, offered by its members. The terms of reference can be read here.

Join the Chief Officers & Chairs Group

If you are a decision maker in a voluntary organisation in Harrogate District and would like to receive information about the group, attend a future meeting, have ideas for topics for future meetings or are able to offer a venue for a meeting please contact Angela on 01423 504074 or email