LCVS and the University of Liverpool Third Sector Research Group – One Year on

It’s a year since the University’s Third Sector Reseach Group launched the working partnership between LCVS and third sector groups within the city of Liverpool and beyond with the aim of improving understanding of the research needs of third sector organisations of varying sizes and the research interests and capacity of University researchers.

The first event held by the Group, ‘Knowledge Exchange and Collaborative Working: The Third Sector and the University of Liverpool’ was at The Women’s Organisation in October 2015 and attracted over 80 delegates. The keynote speaker was Karl Wilding, Director of Public Policy at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), who discussed the future research agenda for the sector.

In response to feedback from delegates, some of whom reported a lack of awareness around how to access the University and its significant staff and student resources, the Group held a ‘market-place’ style event at the University in April 2016, where they showcased various aspects of what the University can do for third sector organisations around the city and beyond. This included representatives from the Guild of Students, initiatives such as Interchange, the University’s Business Gateway and other aspects of University life including the Careers and Employability service and Alumni and Philanthropy.

During this event, visitors were able to chat with representatives from these key areas of the University to discuss common interests. It also provided an opportunity to network with other third sector groups.

The Group also organised a ‘Meet the Researchers’ series of early evening events, in which academic colleagues from around the University with research interests in the third sector have briefly and informally presented their ideas and this is followed by group discussion in order to tease out the key issues for the sector around each subject being examined.

The series began in May 2016 with ‘Perspectives on Social Value’ (Dr Jo Meehan and Dr Claire Moxham) and continued through the year with ‘Perspectives on Social Housing’ (Professor Warren Barr and Dr Jo Meehan) in June, ‘Perspectives on Social Health’ (Dr Lucy Frith) in July, and ‘Perspectives on Social Welfare Law’ (Dr James Organ and Dr Jennifer Sigafoos) in September. The final event in this series, ‘Perspectives on Social Research in End-of-Life Care’ (Dr Pippa Hunter-Jones and Dr Lynn Sudbury-Riley) was held in October 2016.

Feedback from the activity during this first year has been positive. LCVS is currently discussing with the University Third Sector Research Group how it can continue to build the relationship with the sector locally, and we are currently looking to develop a series of events for 2017 to build on this.

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