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Building Alliances

Climbers silhouettes - one climber is helping another climb over a ledge

Power through community

We believe that one way in which we can make systems healthier - make our regions and our cities better, fairer and more sustainable places to live and work - is by bringing together diverse alliances of voluntary and community organisations, local authorities, social enterprises, unions, universities, funders and schools.


Our current social sector is built on the unnamed assumption of ‘isolated impact’ – the best way to tackle social problems is to find and fund a solution embodied within a single organization, and hope that the most effective organisations will grow to extend their impact more widely.


Unfortunately, there is very little evidence to suggest that isolated efforts are the best way to solve social problems.  Even worse, complexity thinking says that if you are operating in a complex system (as we are), individual actors (organisations) cannot produce outcomes – only the entire system can produce outcomes. We need to move from thinking in terms of ‘isolated impact’ to thinking about ‘collective impact’ - and alliances are one tool for doing this. 

These alliances work in three ways to change the system and create better outcomes within local systems:


1. Campaigns – running collaborative initiatives that aim to achieve tangible social and political changes that improve the lives of people in the region.


2. Relationships – strengthening relationships between member organisations, through facilitated peer networking, mentoring, and skill-sharing.


3. Capacity – working to increase the internal capacity of all member organisations, through matched skill-sharing schemes, secondments and job swaps, and our Anti-Leadership Training.

We are currently working in the North East of England to support the VONNE Climate Action Alliance and the NE Youth Alliance.

If you'd like to contact us to learn more about alliance-building, please click the button below.  We would especially like to hear from you if you lead an organisation in the North East.

Alliance Building Workshops
Alliance Building Workshops
A cartoon of a person lifting a huge chart off the ground, whilst another person stands behind and looks at a map of connections

Alliance-building is hard work.

We've developed a process that helps new alliance partners to slow down, not rush into decisions about what they're going to do together, and instead focus on developing relationships and building understanding of where each partner comes from and what they bring to the table.

Our workshops cover a variety of topics including shared purpose, Big Hairy Audacious Goals​, membership commitments, public narrative and the art of storytelling​, building high-performing teams​, group decision-making and the wisdom of crowds​, and

collective bravery.

VONNE logo - a compass highlights NE accompanied by the words Strengthening the sector; supporting the region
North East Youth Alliance Logo. 5 hands on top of each other in a circle

VONNE Climate Action Alliance

The VCAA exists to jumpstart a regional response to the climate emergency. It is a collection of around 20 VCS organisations who said collectively that they want to:​

  • support communities to mitigate their emissions through direct action​​

  • adapt to environmental and other changes​​

  • campaign for necessary, radical, and urgent action

The VCAA is currently in the process of identifying their initial set of actions and priorities, which will be announced later in 2020.

North East Youth Alliance

The NEYA exists to support a culture shift across the youth sector – to get people in the youth and community sector thinking and working differently. Within this, the partners aim to

  • develop an effective, collaborative model of working that is driven at a community level by local organisations and informed directly by young people

  • improve the quality and co-ordination of services and support for young people in the region

The NEYA has just put together its Reference Group, and will be determining its next steps in the run-up to Christmas 2020.

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