VOLA Consortium

VOLA Relaunch March 2014


VOLA is a consortium of Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector service providers operating in Liverpool City Region.  The consortium exists to provide a formal structure for supporting the VCSE sector in relation to learning, skills, employment support and criminal justice services (crime prevention and rehabilitation of offenders) in the area.

Operating as a Social Enterprise and legally constituted in October 2013, VOLA Consortium is a Company Ltd by Guarantee (8746685) and a Registered Charity (1158777).  However, the consortium has actually been in operation in an unincorporated form since 2007 through a hybrid managing agent/ lead provider model, housed in Sefton CVS.

VOLA has a strong track record of success in managing and delivering complex and challenging public sector contracts supported by solid business management and support infrastructures and, since its inception, has delivered over £8m of publicly funded contracts, supporting nearly 5,000 learners and over 700 employers to date.

The consortium has robust contract, programme and project management processes. Over 80 local VCSE sector organisations have been involved in the delivery of consortium contracts/ projects to date and 120 have taken part in capacity building and Quality Improvement activities.

If you would like to become a member of our successful and expanding consortium, please click on the membership section of our website.


Programme Development Funding for Building Better Opportunities

VOLA (through Sefton CVS as lead body) in partnership with LCVS and Network for Europe (NfE) have been successful in their bid to the Big Lottery Fund to run the Programme Development phase of their Building Better Opportunities (ESF opt-in) programme, which is part of the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) 2014-20 programme.  Building Better Opportunities sits under the ‘social inclusion and combating poverty’ strand of the ESIF programme.


The ESIF programme is being overseen at a local level by the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and over the next few months, we will be working with the local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector, the LEP and the Big Lottery Fund to shape the development of LCR’s Building Better Opportunities programme.


To this end, we will:

  1. Ensure there is widespread awareness of the ESF opportunities available locally through the opt in with the Big Lottery Fund, with potential future applicants fully informed of the requirements, risks and responsibilities involved, and given the opportunity to discuss the LEP’s priorities and local need:
    • Provide regular updates (through our respective e-networks, newsletters & websites) on developments with Building Better Opportunities and the wider ESIF programme. 
      If you don’t think you are on our distribution list, contact our named contact to get on the list
    • Run awareness raising workshops – see below for dates, venues and booking details
    • Consult with the VCSE sector on competing priorities for this funding
    • Run a series of capacity building workshops early 2015 covering topics such as monitoring & admin, impact measurement, Quality Improvement and ESF cross-cutting themes (E&D and Sustainable Development) – which will all be key considerations/ requirements relating to ESF delivery.
  2. Develop positive working relationships between organisations in LCR, which will lead to good quality applications to the main ESF programme from 2015.
  3. Provide a named contact to provide information, deal with enquiries, etc.

The partnership of VOLA, LCVS and NfE is well placed lead on this project, working closely with the LEP and the Big Lottery Fund to influence local European funding priorities.

  • Tony Okotie (LCVS CEO) and Val Jones (Chair of Network for Europe and CEO of SENW) both sit as VCSE sector representatives on the LEP European sub-committee;
  • Andy Churchill (Network for Europe CEO) is involved in a range of LEP and European funding groups and committees in LCR and across the North West
  • Stuart McGrory (VOLA Consortium Manager) sits as VCSE representative on the LCR Employment and Skills Steering Group.

Through this project, in addition to the core aim of shaping the Big Lottery Fund funding priorities, we intend to inform and consult with the VCSE sector on plans for Liverpool City Region’s wider ESIF programme.


If you would like to submit proposals for required interventions - either that you think should be specifically funded through the Big Lottery Fund ‘Building Better Opportunities’ strand, or through the wider ESIF (2014-20) programme - please complete the template below and return to stuart.mcgrory@volamerseyside.org.uk by Friday 5th December 2014.   Please note that proposals should be evidence based, rather than speculative suggestions.


Click here to download the template


Read more...


Latest Membership News

We are pleased to announce that our new online membership platform has now been launched.

In late 2013 VOLA Consortium incorporated as a Company Ltd by Guarantee and is in the process of applying to become a registered charity, so are now inviting membership applications for the new VOLA Consortium company.

Read more...

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