How to: Understand North West Regional Infrastructure Support Services

Regional Infrastructure Support organisations were developed because the voluntary and community sector recognised the need for a strong and coherent voice to ensure our contribution was recognised and valued.

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There are organisations in the North West that are there to help you.

These organisations provide:

  • Vital connections, linking together the work of voluntary and community groups and public sector partners.
  • Opportunities for collaboration and partnership.
  • Support and advocacy for improving the effectiveness of our sector.
  • Services which require regional economies of scale to be effective and viable.
  • Research, intelligence and signposting for and about our sector.
  • A leadership role in infrastructure support development.

In the North West of England the Government funded infrastructure support organisations who champion the engagement of the voluntary and community sector in regional policy and strategy are OneNorth West (a specialist Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) support organisation), Voluntary Sector North West (a general CVS support organisation), and the Five Counties Partnership (the regional ChangeUp Consortium partnership).


1NW was established to provide an accountable and accessible vehicle through which dialogue, influence and activity can be generated, in order for active engagement across BME communities to be supported and encouraged. 1NW is guided by values that promote equality of opportunity, participation, cooperation, democratic involvement, social justice and learning.

Core activities include: Newsletters information packs, events, advice & training, research, democratic representation, networking & partnerships.

For more details visit: email, or telephone 0161 236 6493.


The Five Counties Partnership is made up of the lead bodies of the voluntary sector infrastructure consortia for Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Merseyside and Cheshire.

The Partnership aims to be:

  • integral to the development of strategic relationships within and beyond the third sector in the North West
  • respond collectively to policy
  • undertake joint projects
  • share information and best practice
  • collaborate regionally and seek opportunities to draw funds into the sector

For more details visit: email, or telephone 0161 277 1007.


VSNW is the strategic organisation for the voluntary and community sector with a membership of over 130 organisations, and works across the 5 counties in the region – Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.

The overall goal of VSNW is to ensure that the North West’s voluntary and community sector, in all its diversity, takes its place in shaping the future of the region. VSNW is a strong advocate and lobbyist for the sector with all the key regional agencies, and supports focused networks within the sector (which enables sharing of good practice and development of shared strategic objectives).

Core activities include: Networks, consultations, events, policy development, interpretation and dissemination, newsletters, training, benchmarking, strategy development and dissemination, research, process evaluation and representation at strategic meetings.

For more details visit, email, or telephone 0161 276 9300.

How to: Understand North West Regional Infrastructure Support Services
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For more information or to get support and advice contact the Rainbow Partnership.