About

We are a ‘small but mighty’ organisation.

We are proud to be the Voluntary Action organisation for the three districts of Wealden, Eastbourne and Lewes in East Sussex. In our work, we support and develop our local voluntary groups and organisations in these three districts that do so much to strengthen and build resilience in our communities. We are also proud to be part of a national movement of social and voluntary action.

3VA is an organisation that empowers, supports and develops social and voluntary action in East Sussex, and we prioritise our efforts to those in greatest need. Our work is based on collaborative and partnership working using an asset-based and community-led approach, and we aim to strengthen social action by amplifying the voice of the voluntary sector. Our activities aim to make a real difference to our communities, and we are constantly reviewing our work to improve performance and make effective use of our resources.

Learn more about us

Our history

3VA was formed in November 2009 when two local organisations with long histories of serving their communities joined forces. Eastbourne Association of Voluntary Services (EAVS), established in 1973, and South Downs Council for Voluntary Service (SDCVS), registered in 1997, converged to create one Council for Voluntary Service for Eastbourne, Lewes District and Wealden as it was felt one organisation could better deliver a consistent service across the three districts and borough of East Sussex both groups worked across.

The term convergence is significant as it was felt it conveyed the more natural process of two groups coming together as opposed to ‘merger’ which implied an enforced change for one or both groups. EAVS and SDCVS had been delivering services in partnership across the Wealden District of East Sussex following the closure of Wealden Federation of Voluntary Organisations in 2006. As the two groups were already collaborating, and as the aims and services delivered by the groups were the same or similar, convergence was seen as a logical, organic next step.

The two organisations converged only after a consultation period involving staff, trustees and members of both organisations during 2009, an Emergency General Meeting of both groups’ memberships and final approval at the joint Annual General Meeting.

After 3VA was born, both ACEVO and NAVCA cited us as an example of an organisation that has successfully gone through the convergence process.

Our vision

Our vision is for voluntary and community organisations across Wealden, Eastbourne and Lewes District making the fullest contribution to the quality of life for all.

What we do - our mission statement

3VA empowers, encourages and champions local voluntary action to be inclusive, diverse and resilient by:

  • Spotting gaps in service provision, exploring new opportunities, and anticipating
    and identifying changing needs in the community.
  • Offering advice, guidance and training to voluntary and community groups on
    funding, volunteering, governance, planning, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Encouraging collaboration, including pooling resources, sharing ideas and working
    together through networks.
  • Ensuring the sector has a voice and can influence policies, plans and practices.

Strategic plan

Our Strategic Plan 2019-2022 is for everyone – from our trustees who will guide us in our mission over the next three years to our staff and volunteers who work with our communities every day. It also describes to our funders and stakeholders, whose partnership we value so much, what we are about and how we will work over this period. We hope that you find something of interest and would welcome your feedback.

Annual reports

In the last year we:

  • supported a total of 420 voluntary and community groups with governance, volunteering and funding advice;
  • helped 82 new groups get established;
  • saw an impressive 47% increase in uptake of our high-quality, low-cost training programme;
  • provided 63 voluntary and community groups with meeting space;
  • co-facilitated 20 community network meetings across 5 localities attended by 380 people.

You can learn more about us, our recent work and our impact in our annual reports:

Thank you to our funders

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