The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt by voluntary and community organisations across Ryedale district as they express concerns about their future.
Almost a quarter of voluntary and community organisations across the district may not stay open beyond March 2021 without greater support, reports Community First Yorkshire.
Almost half of the organisations who responded rely on volunteers to deliver their services. With many people still shielding, volunteer numbers are down by almost 25% across the district which means that many vital community services are not able to be offered to the public. Organisations have reported that they are finding it increasingly difficult to re-engage with volunteers — especially the over 65s — to open services again. Without support from volunteers to deliver their services, these organisations face an uncertain future.
Charities and voluntary groups were invited to take part in the ‘Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) Resilience Survey’ in October 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, Leeds, and Hull.
Leah Swain, Chief Executive of voluntary sector infrastructure organisation Community First Yorkshire, said: “Many voluntary sector organisations in Ryedale rely on their volunteers to deliver their services to communities. Without their support, many Ryedale residents 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 or follow them on social media. Twitter: @CommFirstYorks. Facebook: @Comm1stYorks.
Leah added: “We’ve been supporting many organisations through the pandemic by giving them advice on managing their finances, recruiting volunteers and finding ways to adapt their services. If you think you need some support, don’t leave it until it’s too late and your reserves are depleted. Our research has shown that those organisations who have accessed support are predicting a more resilient future than those who haven’t had any 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 in exploring ways to develop your organisation. Their 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 or firstname.lastname@example.org.