West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) and the area’s voluntary community social enterprise sector (VCSE) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday 4 July. This cements the role of the sector as an equal partner at all levels.
The VCSE sector in West Yorkshire includes around 14,900 registered and unregistered groups supporting people in many areas of their lives from youth groups, ageing well support, sports and wellbeing clubs to name a few. The sector employs around 43,100 full time equivalent posts which makes up 3.7% of employment across the area. On top of this there are an estimated 147,000 regular volunteers giving their time and energy to help young and old people to live their best life possible, around the clock, 365 days per year.
The VCSE makes a substantial and valued contribution to the lives of 2.4 million people living across the area in shaping and delivering health and care services. It brings different people’s voices into play, as well as innovative and agile ways of delivering care. The signing of the MoU is a significant step in seeing the sector as equal partners, alongside the NHS, councils and others, in the work of WY HCP.
Signing the MoU, Cathy Elliott, Chair of NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said: ‘As someone who has worked in the VCSE for the majority of my career and as a leader in our West Yorkshire Partnership, I’m delighted to put my name to the MoU. It is a sector that is an essential partner in the delivery of integrated health and care in our communities, and one we should never take for granted.’
Another signatory, Rob Webster CBE and CEO Lead for WY HCP said: ‘Rooted in our communities, the VCSE is an essential part of our Partnership, including our approach to tackling health inequalities and delivering the best possible outcomes. As we respond to new statutory arrangements in West Yorkshire, we wanted to reinforce the role of this important sector, that they are equal partners, who contribute greatly to making a positive difference to people’s lives and one we all value’.
Hilary Thompson, Senior Responsible Officer for WY HCP’s Harnessing the Power of Communities Programme said: ‘We are excited to sign this important MoU between our newly formed NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) and the VCSE sector which sets out our commitment to working together and ensuring the VCSE are actively involved in our health and care arrangements across West Yorkshire’.
The MOU builds on the role of the sector in place since WY HCP was established in 2016. It aims to strengthen all aspects of heath and care including in decision making processes which in turns shapes and influences services which meet the needs of all communities.
From big charities to the smallest community group – each has a role to play in delivering better health and well-being outcomes for everyone in West Yorkshire.