Over 150 people from across Stockton Borough’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE) came together last week to join Catalyst’s annual conference.

Catalyst Conference 2018 Acts as a Bridge

The conference was held for the second year at Ingleby Manor Free School, with the overarching theme of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’.  This theme reflected how the VCSE is acting as a positive bridge during a time of great uncertainty.

Steve Rose, Catalyst’s Chief Executive Officer, opened the conference.  He said:

“It’s been a year of being buffeted from all sides, with the impact of cuts, the impact of other policy changes and the impact of Brexit.  It’s never been more difficult to run our organisations but the sector has never been more vibrant.  We have more organisations coming out of the community and a number of new organisations have joined up on our database.  I am glad that we are enabling our communities and your people to continue this good work.”

The guest speakers were:

  • Nancy Doyle-Hall, Executive Director of the Virgin Money Foundation.
  • Dr Paul Williams, MP for Stockton South.
  • Clair Docherty, Funding Officer, Big Lottery Fund, North East & Cumbria Team.
  • Jane Bradshaw, Chief Executive OF St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington.  Jane concluded the witty overview of her VCSE career with a lively and sincere rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’

At lunchtime, the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Sue Snowdon, presented the Queens Award to the Billingham Environmental Link Programme (BELP).  The Lord Lieutenant said:

“BELP is a most remarkable project.  It has made a huge difference to its community and to numerous individuals in an area of very high levels of social and economic deprivation.”

During the afternoon, guests had the opportunity to take part in several workshops.

If you have any feedback on this year’s conference or have any suggestions for the 2019 conference please email enquiries@catalyststockton.org or call 01642 733906.