Blue Stone Consortium makes a positive difference in the lives of people and communities in Newcastle Gateshead by harnessing the diversity, expertise and reach of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in Newcastle Gateshead; bringing them together to develop and implement solutions to problems identified by local people.
They are a company and registered charity set up and run by VCSE organisations that work to improve the lives of people in Newcastle Gateshead. These, and other organisations that have joined them as members, are all committed to working together and being contract ready or willing to work towards being so.
Their members are a diverse range of organisations; working at a neighbourhood, local, city or borough wide, regional and national level to help people change their lives.
Every year their members appoint the Board to lead the Consortium and to ensure that all of their activities accord with their values.
Why they do what they do
The way that public bodies commission and procure services through has changed. Increasingly they are moving away from grant funding and tendering for contracts competitively. Whilst this can save money it does put some not for profit organisation at a disadvantage because they are not geared up for tendering, because their area of operation is smaller than the one being tendered for, or because they are unable to scale up their operations quickly enough to meet the needs of the tender. As a result, many local VCSE organisations do not have the same opportunities to win such contracts as other organisations, including larger commercial ones.
This may result in commissioners and local communities losing out on
-the reach and credibility that VCSE organisations, of all sizes, have due to their well established relationships have with communities and individuals in Gateshead and Newcastle
-the innovation and expertise that many specialist VCSE providers have
-the diversity of provision that comes about through different providers working together to a common purpose.
Blue Stone Consortium was set up as a solution to these problems. They are a vehicle through which small, medium and large VCSE organisation can work together to win and deliver a range of services commissioned by the public sector, grant making bodies and social investors.
Where is Blue Stone Consortium