I hope you will read this year’s VHS ANNUAL REVIEW 2015 and agree that it captures the commitment and energy of VHS and our members working together to make a difference.
In my first 12 months as Chair of the Board it has been very evident to me that VHS has secured new levels of respect and credibility amongst all of those we seek to work with, support or influence. To build our reputation as a trusted leader of our sector we have worked collaboratively, inclusively, influentially and dynamically; an approach that represents our core values and underpins the 3 year strategy taking us forward to 2018. For me, 2015 stands out as the year when VHS punched significantly above its weight as the champion of Scotland’s voluntary health sector.
For our members and the people and communities they serve, 2015 has been another challenging year. Those people whose health and wellbeing are most fragile or at risk are really taking the brunt of welfare reform, cutbacks in public services and other inequalities. Our sector’s ability to meet the additional needs and demands created is frustrated by the deep funding reductions it experiences directly. There is little sign of public resources shifting across to preventative, person centred and community solutions, and public sector recognition of the third sector as a strategic partner in shaping and delivering services is still far from the norm.
We know from our members and wider networks that addressing social isolation and loneliness, putting kindness and compassion back into public services, and giving voice to people’s lived experience are top priorities. We also know that “public health is core to what we do” for our members. Tackling health inequalities and implementing integrated health and social care services are national policy areas where our sector’s involvement is crucial to success.
In our efforts to promote the recognition of, and give support to, voluntary health organisations as well as influence policy and practice, the staff team led by our Chief Officer Claire Stevens has worked tirelessly on our members’ behalf to provide them with opportunities to showcase the contributions the sector does and can make; express opinion; and develop skills and competences. The team is small and has seen a few changes of personnel over the last year, but despite this their commitment to the work of VHS and their enthusiasm for the job has been outstanding. I would therefore like to personally express my thanks and that of the Board for the contribution each team member makes to achieving VHS objectives.
Our Board continues its commitment to support the work of VHS and it aims to ensure that our financial and governance practices are sound. The Board with its wide ranging skills sets and knowledge base ensures that we keep to our fundamental aims and make the right decisions to achieve our strategic objectives as laid out in our Strategy 2015-2018.
Read more about us and download our Annual Review, Chair’s Review and Strategy here
Chair, VHS Board