Playing our part to help voluntary and community sector organisations to build back better

Over 100 people from 83 organisations participated in research commissioned by Young Ealing Foundation and Ealing Community Network to understand the impact of the pandemic on Ealing’s voluntary and community sector, and what workers in the sector feel is needed to support the recovery of their organisation.

Overwhelmingly, digital exclusion has been highlighted by this and other research in the devastating effects of the pandemic. We found that these effects were most acutely felt amongst younger, more vulnerable people, non-English speaking households and particularly amongst those in larger households who did not have enough devices or often enough space to engage with learning and work online. However, many workers also felt that they lacked the skills to transition onto a digital offer which hindered their ability to continue to support their service users in the immediate aftermath of the first lockdown.

The sector has lost 20% of its workforce, but the needs are increasing with a number of groups of people having been made newly vulnerable as a direct result of the pandemic. Sector leaders are spreading themselves thinly, trying to motivate and support staff, whilst dealing with their own sustainability issues, with little left in reserves to sustain their organisation in the short and medium term and a strong sense that they need more skills amongst their workforce to be competitive in bidding for grant funding.

This road to recovery will not be a smooth one, but immediate investment in the sector is needed so it can withstand the inevitable cuts that will follow. The sector has proved its ability to collaborate and step up; more investment in the structures that will support a cross sector approach will help to maximise resource and give those most vulnerable in the community somewhere to turn.

Find out more about how Clear Thinking is working with funders to help them ensure that their funds go to the places that need it most.

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