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One East Midlands announces closure
One East Midlands (formerly Engage East Midlands) has existed since 2001 to ensure the Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) in the East Midlands has a reliable mechanism through which it could share, learn and grow a strong voice and influence in the development of policy.
Over the last 7 years, under the tenure of Rachel Quinn as Chief Executive, One East Midlands has built a solid reputation from local to national level for high quality support and enabling VCS influence. By 2013 our work in the fields of EU funding and Health & Social Care had become well established and highly regarded, placing our members in positions of influence previously unachievable.
However, following the 2010 general election and the subsequent loss of many regional structures and policy, our purpose has consistently been questioned. Consultation with members continued to support the need for an ‘impartial intermediary at sub national level’ but the impact of national austerity measures and changing attitudes towards the role of VCS infrastructure has made this very difficult to sustain.
From a personal perspective there appears to be a critical mass at which maintaining delivery to this scale and standard is possible. The Board have long watched the team work hard to deliver increasingly complex income-generating projects to sustain this critical mass, at cost to our general management capacity. Demand for increasingly complex and technical support to the sector also requires a continuous growth in skills and knowledge which is difficult to maintain. As responsible employers we believe that this model places too great a strain and expectation on too few individuals making it unsustainable in the long term.
The decision to close has been taken with heavy heart by the One EM Board. We have accepted that One EM is no longer the right vehicle to deliver the needs of the VCS in the current environment but wish to ensure legacy and learning from our achievements. Working together, the Board and staff team are currently planning for transfer of our knowledge and resources and secure continued delivery of our contractual arrangements in the field of Health & Social Care. The timing of our decision has meant we retain the financial capacity and control to do this well.
As an organisation that has an interest in the work of One East Midlands we ask that you continue to engage with us during the next few months to help us secure a legacy from our learning and to be a good example of how the sector can change and evolve even in difficult times.
Fiona White, Chair of One East Midlands