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Bevan Foundation responds to inquiry on voluntary sector and COVID-19

November 17th 2020

community support

The Bevan Foundation has responded to the Senedd Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on the voluntary sector.

The Bevan Foundation has undertaken a number of projects exploring the impact of and response to the pandemic on the voluntary sector nationally and in the Merthyr Tydfil Borough.

During the first wave of the pandemic it spoke to nearly 70 charities and community organisations to understand how they had been affected. More recently it has focused on the experiences of people shielding, exploring the voluntary sector’s role in providing valued support to people.

In its response, the Bevan Foundation said that the sector has had varied experiences of the pandemic. It has been a critical part of rapid responses within communities – providing vital advice, welfare, food provision and support services to many. It has also experienced real challenges, including depleted funding and loss of revenue streams, leaving many apprehensive about the future. The response said:

  • There have been positive examples of collaboration between different organisations and sectors, extending across the third, statutory and private sectors. This has included provision of in-kind support, pooling of resources and developing new partnerships drawing on individual organisations’ particular strengths. Some new groups and initiatives have been set-up in response to the pandemic and have responded efficiently, effectively and at pace, under difficult circumstances.
  • Organisations relying on membership fees, donations or earned income through events have seen revenue streams drop off. Although many will be able to get through 2020, their concerns are focused on 2021 and beyond. Although funding has been made available, some community organisations whose primary activities have ceased or been curtailed have been ineligible to apply to schemes that support activities focused on COVID-19 response.
  • Some will require training and support on how to operate safely and adapt to different financial models. Ensuring people feel safe to attend voluntary and community sector activities where it is more difficult to socially distance is a huge issue -many representatives concur that this one of the biggest challenges. If numbers fall groups may be forced to close because they no longer have the critical mass they need to keep going.

Read the full response here »

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