The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt by voluntary and community organisations as they express concerns about their future.
A survey of voluntary and community organisations in North Yorkshire in October found that almost a quarter of respondents may not stay open beyond March 2021.
Charities and voluntary groups across the county were invited to take part in the ‘Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) Resilience Survey’ to help measure the impact that the coronavirus continues to have. Community First Yorkshire has analysed the results with help from the universities of Sheffield, Hull and Leeds.
Over a third of organisations have needed to use their financial reserves since March 2020 in order to survive, with a quarter of these using as much as 100% of their reserves.
Almost half of the organisations who responded rely on volunteers to deliver their services. However, they have reported a severe decrease in volunteer numbers by almost half. Without support from volunteers to deliver services, these organisations face an uncertain future and many vital support networks for vulnerable people may crumble.
Other highlight findings include:
- 85% of organisations have had to close or modify a service they provide.
- 28% of respondents feel that they may be at financial risk beyond March 2021.
- Nearly half (46%) of respondents were experience digital exclusion which was putting their organisation at risk.
Leah Swain, Chief Executive of voluntary sector infrastructure organisation, Community First Yorkshire, said:
“Many voluntary sector organisations depend on volunteers to deliver critical services. Without them, many North Yorkshire organisations, and the people they support, are going to struggle. Many volunteers need to stay at home because of the coronavirus, but we want to encourage those that can to consider giving their support in any way they are able.
“This winter and beyond, we are asking people to ‘Donate Local’, be it through money, time or skills, to support their local charities and community groups. Our local charities and community groups have stepped up, adapted their service delivery, and been there for our residents when they have needed help during the Covid crisis. Local authorities, health partners and local people have told us how they have valued the support of the voluntary and community sector. It is our time to try and give back to them in whatever ways we can.”
The #DonateLocal campaign has three strands: Donate Money, Donate Time (volunteering) and Donate Skills (becoming a trustee). For more information about #DonateLocal, please visit the Community First Yorkshire website communityfirstyorkshire.org.uk or follow us on social media. Twitter: @CommFirstYorks Facebook: @Comm1stYorks #DonateLocal
“The survey results show that we’re on the cusp of losing many valuable local services that are crucial to supporting vulnerable people across North Yorkshire. If your organisation need support, please do get in touch. We’re here to help!”
Community First Yorkshire can support community groups, charities and social enterprises in North Yorkshire with advice and guidance on: volunteering, funding, governance and trustee support, financial support and exploring ways to develop your organisation. Our range of training sessions has been developed to respond to the survey findings by offering the support you need now. Take a look at our training calendar: communitysupportny.org.uk
Contact Community First Yorkshire on 01904 704177 firstname.lastname@example.org
The survey is part of Community First Yorkshire’s Community Support North Yorkshire service which is funded by North Yorkshire County Council and NHS North Yorkshire. Financial contributions were also made by Craven, Harrogate, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby district councils.
Media enquiries: contact Emma Keef, Interim Marketing & Communications Manager on 01904 7041077 email@example.com or Jo Fox, Marketing & Communications Officer on 01904 704177 firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
About the Voluntary & Community Sector Resilience Survey
Partners providing infrastructure support to VCS organisations across Yorkshire and the Humber, have worked together to gather information using a common survey, co-ordinated by Voluntary Action Leeds. Community First Yorkshire is a member of the partnership which includes the Universities of Sheffield, Hull and Leeds.
Fieldwork took place between 4 September and 9 October 2020.
Responses were received from 175 organisations based in North Yorkshire, but a slightly larger sample, 198 organisations, who are ‘active’ in North Yorkshire i.e. delivering at least one service in at least one of the seven Districts of the county – Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Hambleton, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby.
Analyses in this report have been completed using the larger dataset of 198 ‘active’ organisations unless otherwise stated. Data comparisons are made with the April 2020 Resilience Survey and Community First Yorkshire’s Client Awareness and Engagement Survey 2019 where possible.
The results from this survey contribute to Community First Yorkshire’s wider intelligence gathering to provide information to shape support services across the county. The report is being shared with local, regional and national public bodies, the NHS and local authorities and grant funders to help partners shape their plans for coming out of the crisis.
Community First Yorkshire has prepared the ‘Supporting People in their Communities’ report, analysing findings specific to the voluntary and community sector in North Yorkshire. Please read the full report and key findings summary.
About #DonateLocalhttps://bit.ly/2K2gqZN#DonateLocal is a campaign across North Yorkshire building on the national and local #SupportLocal, #ShopLocal and #BuyLocal movement and the community spirit shown through lockdown, bringing this idea of supporting local into the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector. It encourages the public to support their local VCSE organisations in the run up to Christmas and beyond, extending the feeling of support and camaraderie in the county in the same way the economic recovery is encouraging people to support local independent businesses struggling to stay afloat. If you can see the impact your donation has in your local area, you are more likely to develop a closer ongoing relationship.
The campaign has three strands: Donate Money, Donate Time (volunteering) and Donate Skills (becoming a trustee). The money strand will be the primary focus at the beginning, then Time with Christmas volunteering, then Skills will be post-Christmas leading into the new year when you are thinking of the future.
About Community First Yorkshire
Community First Yorkshire is an influential, regional body that works with voluntary and community organisations, social enterprises and rural communities across North, South and West Yorkshire.
We are an independent charity and membership body. We are also a rural community council, part of the national ACRE Network (Action with Communities in Rural England) helping communities improve the quality of life for all people living and working in rural Yorkshire.
We are the first port of call for voluntary organisations, social enterprises and parish councils looking for practical support. We can help with everything from governance and funding, to strategic planning and community engagement through our training and events, resources and networks.
Twitter: @CommFirstYorks Facebook: @Comm1stYorks