CALL TO ACTION: BVSC wants to hear and share the sector’s Covid-19 stories As we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown, BVSC is keen to hear from senior leaders in the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sector in Birmingham about how the Covid19 pandemic has impacted your organisation, your staff, your volunteers and the communities and individuals you serve - and we want to hear and share your stories about how you’ve responded and how you and your organisations were changed as a result. Our aim is to produce and disseminate a widely-read report that brings together a cross-section of organisational reflections that highlights and commemorates the vital part the VCFSE played in supporting Birmingham through the pandemic. We are hoping for between 10-15 individual pieces, written by leaders who want to share their experiences of 2020, the highs and lows of the pandemic and their hopes and fears for the future. We also want to hear a range of stories – from organisations who have been able to change the way they work, to others who have significantly expanded ‘what they do’ to those who have, under social distancing restrictions, struggled to deliver anything at all over the last year. We are also keen to hear from organisations of all sizes – from the small, volunteer run community organisations, to the national charities working in the city; and who work with a diverse range of people (be that relating to specific issues, such as domestic violence, homelessness or support to asylum seekers; or within particular communities or geographic areas). Once we have received the submissions, BVSC Research will take on an editing role to create a single published report that will be widely disseminated to a range of key stakeholders. If we are inundated with responses, it may be that we host some of the reflections stories on our website, and use the report to present a good cross-section of responses. We are looking for written reflections of between 500 – 1000 words each. We do not want to be too prescriptive, but some suggested areas of reflection include: How has your organisation responded to the pandemic Have you worked with other organisations, either from within the VCFSE, or from the public/private sectors? If so, what have you learnt from this? How has the pandemic affected the communities you seek to serve; what have been the key challenges for you in addressing this need and how have you overcome this? How has the pandemic affected your staff and services – how have you overcome the challenges and embraced the opportunities What have you learnt as a leader? Have there been any particular highs or lows that you can look back on now. What are your hopes and fears for the future? In terms of a writing style, we are hoping for personal reflections, written from you as a leader of your organisation. You are welcome to also provide brief examples or case studies if you think that will help to illustrate your story. Some hints and tips if you need them, here are seven steps for how to present an effective story. It should: Tell a “real” and engaging story Make the reader think about what’s happened Promote understanding of the situation Encourage the reader to think and take a position Portray actors in moments of decision or decisive action Provide data about character, location, context, actions Be relatively concise. Alongside your written piece, we will also need: Your organisations logo A good quality photograph of you that you are happy to be included in the publication Where possible photographs that illustrate the story All submissions need to be received by the 15th March 2021. We will aim to have the report published by Mid April 2021. Email submissions to [email protected].