Workforce development

Third sector workforce challenge in health, care, and wellbeing

Blue Stone Consortium members provide essential public services, such as helping people recover from mental health problems, better manage long term medical conditions, supporting frail older people to live as independently as possible, and giving information and advice to a wide range of people on low incomes, in a crisis and in need of help.

Our members have been working alongside our statutory health and social care partners for many years providing an essential and valued contribution to local service delivery.

BSC members have also played an important role in ensuring vital information is shared with health and social care professionals and have advocated on behalf of their clients to those professionals. Increasingly BSC members are seen as integral elements of multidisciplinary team working; to support children, older people, people with mental health problems, and people with learning disabilities.

In addition, over the last few years, our members have played a major role in developing navigator and link worker posts to support statutory health and social care services in the delivery of more integrated care.

This background has put us in a good position to support the shaping of the People, Communities and care model in Newcastle and Gateshead; a model the development of which is being sponsored and led by the ‘Accountable Organisation’s (Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Foundation Trusts, and Local Authorities).

In response to the Accountable Organisations’ call for comments on the emerging model, we ran a seminar in April 2017 on the model, led by Brendan Hill, Chief Executive of the Concern Group and a director of Blue Stone Consortium, who is also member of Newcastle’s Integration Taskforce.

One of the issues that emerged from that seminar was the need to better understand and develop the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE) Workforce to meet the challenges of the emerging model. Consortium members have great expertise, experience and reach into communities to deliver health, wellbeing and care services, often alongside other public service delivery organisations. We see the model as an approach that brings our members and other organisations together to support people and communities in an integrated way, improving the outcomes for those people, minimising duplication, increasing efficiency and sharing best practice.

There are barriers to recruiting, retaining and developing the VCSE workforce, both paid staff and volunteers. All who are committed to delivering high quality services to some of the most disadvantaged people in Newcastle and Gateshead.

To identify these barriers and to start to explore solutions to overcome them, we conducted a survey of our members, the summary and more detailed results of which are here.

Please contact Vanessa Nogueras at or 07843 818647 if you have any queries in relation to the survey, or have any suggestions on how we can meet the workforce challenges outlined.