Resilience and flexibility have played a strong part in helping many voluntary and community organisations to weather the storm of the pandemic, a new report has shown.
Charities and voluntary groups across North Yorkshire were invited to take part in the ‘Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector Resilience Survey’ to help measure what impact the coronavirus continues to have. Voluntary sector infrastructure organisation, Community First Yorkshire has analysed the results.
- Overall, the survey reveals that the sector is confident about reopening and restarting services, although many feel they continue to need support to do so safely
- Some organisations have thrived, as Covid-19 has given them time to rethink and refocus their service, better understand their users and community and adapt to new or different demands and technologies
- Others have reported that they have seen a new and diverse group of volunteers coming forward to offer their support, bringing in new skills and more flexible volunteering
- Only 9% feel that they would struggle to run beyond 6 months, a positive drop from the 40% who felt this way in May 2020.
Jane Colthup, Chief Executive of Community First Yorkshire, said:
“On one level, there are no surprises from the survey results. Things are looking up as we move out of Covid restrictions, and the economy begins to revive.
“There are some positive surprises coming out of Covid for the sector. We’ve all had to embrace new technologies which, for some organisations, has meant an optimistic step towards a new way of working. Where possible, many organisations have moved face to face services online and some have said that this will continue where appropriate.
“Some organisations have said that the pandemic, with all its difficulties, has allowed them to stop, take stock and reflect on their organisation and where it’s heading.
“On the other hand, there is still concern about reserves running low and whether the flexible funding policies of the last eighteen months will continue into 2022. The report also showed that digital exclusion is still a significant problem for 42% of respondents, so the digital divide is an issue that needs to be addressed, particularly in rural communities.
“I really want to applaud the hard work of charities and community groups, for hanging in there when things looked really dark last spring and for showing the determination and agility to do everything in their power to continue to support local people in local communities.”
Complementing the findings of the VCSE Resilience Survey, Community First Yorkshire and its partners – West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP), Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Yorkshire Sport Foundation – published a joint report earlier this month which celebrates the vital contribution the sector makes across West Yorkshire and Harrogate to the economy and the health and well-being of local people.
“Local authorities, health partners and local people have told us how they value the support of the voluntary and community sector. Many organisations provide unique help and sources to individuals across North Yorkshire and we really want to applaud their hard work, resilience and dedication.
“Over the coming months, we shall be working with our partners across the county to help the sector manage change, encourage digital transformation, and find and recruit new volunteers.
“We are proud to give our support and will continue to be there to offer any help that we can.”
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.
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 1 May and 14 June 2021.
Responses were received from 104 organisations ‘active’ in North Yorkshire, delivering at least one service in at least one of the seven Districts of the county – Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Hambleton, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby, and 91 organisations with the main location in North Yorkshire.
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 and Making Connections’ report, analysing findings specific to the voluntary and community sector in North Yorkshire. You can view the full report and key findings summary online.
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