Consolidation and growth: An update on VSSN SG activities

David Kane |

Angela Ellis Paine (VSSN Secretary) wrote:-

For those of you unable to attend VSSN last day conference and our AGM, held at Manchester in November, we thought you might like to hear about some of the key activities and developments that have taken place in VSSN over the past few months.

Elections: This year’s Steering Group elections were hotly contested, with 13 nominations received for nine places. The results were announced at the AGM. The Steering Group has since made one cooption, bringing the total Steering Group membership up to 10. A full list of Steering Group members can be found on our website. We are grateful to all those who put themselves forward and who have served on the Group over recent years. Particular thanks to Jeremy Kendall who has come off the Group after five years of active engagement.

Journal: Discussions are continuing with The Policy Press about the establishment of a third sector research journal as a VSSN membership benefit. Members have been consulted about a potential pricing structure for the journal, the results of which are currently being considered. As soon as we hear more from Policy Press we will get back in touch with all members to talk about next steps.

Website: Work is continuing to develop the VSSN website as a key resource for members and other stakeholders. We are currently working on plans for a major redevelopment of our web services.

Directories: With the help of Robert Dalziel, we are continuing to add to our new voluntary sector course directory. Members who have not already included details of their course in the directory are encouraged to do so online, by following this link. We are now starting to work on next year’s research directory which we hope will be online for the first time.

Membership: VSSN’s membership continues to grow. We currently have 117 paid members, 36 of which are members through (10) organizational subscriptions and 81 of which are individual members. In addition, our email discussion list reaches over 300 people, and our thanks go to Jill Mordaunt for her continued role as moderator. If you are yet to sign up or renew your membership you can do so here or you can email us at

Events: Colleagues at the University of Birmingham and the University of the West of England kindly hosted day seminars over the year, both of which drew over 40 attendees. The 2008 annual VSSN/NCVO voluntary sector research conference, held in September, was well attended with over 140 delegates, 50 papers and around 20 sessions. Next year’s conference will be held on 7 and 8 September 2009, at the University of Warwick. Meanwhile, our next day conference will be at the in Belfast on 15 May 2009. Subsequent day conferences are all listed on the website. We look forward to seeing you there!

Getting involved: As the Network grows there is more and more to be done to meet the needs of our members. We are really keen to involve as many of you as possible in supporting our work. In particular, we aim to set up a series of Task Forces, each linked into the Steering Group, in order to take forward a number of key developments. The Task Forces are as follows:

1. Marketing and membership (led by Rob Macmillan)2. External relations (led by Chris Cornforth)3. Annual conference (led by Colin Rochester)4. Journal (led by Pete Alcock) [Please note, this is not a call for nominations for the editorial board. That process will happen once the Journal has been confirmed and established] 5. Website (led by Nick Plant )6. Directories7. Early careers researchers (led by Angela Ellis Paine)

If you are willing to get involved in one of these groups we are very keen to hear from you. Please email me (in the first instance) at:

Please do get back to us if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, by emailing me at

Best wishes,


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