According to a recent government report (DCMS 06/05/2020) the voluntary community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector is “fighting for survival”, with increased demand for its services, whilst simultaneously facing funding cuts estimated at £4.3bn (during March-May 2020), resulting in many VCSEs organisations estimated to be insolvent ‘within weeks’. As the report states: “Social distancing is making delivering services harder and more costly. Reserves are running out. Smaller charities, in particular, are at risk of imminent closure”. The core ideas for this project emerged through dialogue with DCMS, who are leading the government’s response on how Covid-19 is impacting the sector, and co-designed with NCVO, the sector’s leading infrastructure organisation. The project has three purposes. First, to provide realtime data and learning on how Covid-19 is impacting the whole sector and, significantly, varies across different organisations by size, structure and services offered. Second, to provide lessons learned reports about how organisations on the impacts and responses to Covid-19, particularly focusing on the new working-practices and innovations which can be scaled across the UK. Third, to provide insights to aid long-term the VCSE sector’s resilience.
The project team brings a unique alignment of researchers specialising in the VCSE sector, HR and innovation, NCVO, who provide sector knowledge, guidance and access, through their research and policy team and 15,000 members. The outputs are a VCSE vulnerability barometer, providing real-time data of the impact Covid-19 on the sector, lessons-learned reports, enabling innovations to be scaled, a final project report and toolkit for resilience.
Nottingham Trent University
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