Insight into Buckinghamshire’s voluntary sector: challenges and opportunities for 2019

Community Impact Bucks has published its annual State of the Sector Report which provides a snapshot of the voluntary sector in the UK, with particular reference to Buckinghamshire.

Providing information on key challenges which arise from substantial developments currently taking place on a national and local level, the State of the Sector Report can be used to support activities such as funding applications and decisions on strategic development by individuals, organisations and relevant bodies.

The report also highlights a number of opportunities open to charities in Buckinghamshire.

General statistics include:

  • There are over 4,000 charities and community groups in Bucks, a slight fall from 2017
  • The majority of Bucks charities are very small: 80% have an income of under £100,000
  • Over half of Bucks charities (57.6%) have an income of £25,000 or less
  • Approximately 175,000 adults in Bucks volunteer at least once a year

Challenges include:

  • Demand for services provided by charities has risen significantly, and people who use charities are using them more frequently. The growing trend towards social prescribing[i] will only increase the pressure on local voluntary providers
  • The growing levels of loneliness within Bucks communities place extra demands on adult social care services, particularly those supplied by the voluntary sector including befriending, social events, transport schemes
  • Smaller charities have been hit particularly hard by changes in funding over the last decade, with ‘funding’ considered to be the greatest challenge for the Bucks voluntary sector over the next three years[ii]. This has been exacerbated by recent scandals involving large well-known charities which has also led to reductions in funding to charities overall
  • The planned large-scale housing and transport development in Bucks outlined in the three emerging Local Plans and the Oxford to Cambridge Arc will have a huge impact on existing communities and services provided by local charities, ultimately increasing demand on services

Opportunities include:

  • Bucks Funding Search is a free searchable database of funding opportunities open to Bucks charities and community groups
  • Local charities and community groups have a unique insight into and access to their local communities: their position, and the advantages this brings, should be highlighted in funding applications
  • Local charities are trusted more than international ones[iii]: Bucks charities should publicise the impact of their work and the difference it makes to the local community
  • Funding opportunities arising from the cross-sector focus on loneliness, with particular reference to the Government’s A connected society: A strategy for tackling loneliness[iv] should be explored to support Bucks schemes such as transport and social care

“The significant challenges faced by our Bucks charities, such as funding and pressure on their services, will continue into the foreseeable future,” said Diane Rutter, Acting CEO of Community Impact Bucks. “While there are no easy answers, by highlighting trends and providing supporting statistics, the report can be used to develop voluntary capacity in the county.”

The free report can be downloaded at http://communityimpactbucks.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/State-of-the-Sector-Report-2018.pdf or for hard copies, email info@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

ENDS

For media enquiries, additional photos or to arrange an interview, please contact Diane Rutter or Anne Burton

E: diane@communityimpactbucks.org.uk; anne@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

T: 0300 111 1250

Notes for editors:

  • Community Impact Bucks is an independent charity that gives support, advice and training to charities, not for profit organisations and community groups. We help groups to get started, be effective and grow.  We offer expert advice and training and help charities and groups be more efficient and effective in delivering life changing impact to the people of Buckinghamshire.
  • The State of the Sector Report 2018 is an annual report produced on behalf of Bucks County Council to provide a snapshot of the voluntary sector in Buckinghamshire to help individuals, organisations and relevant bodies work together to build the voluntary capacity in the county. Download available at http://communityimpactbucks.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/State-of-the-Sector-Report-2018.pdf

[i] Social prescribing – the practice of linking patients in primary care with sources of support within the community

[ii] Support Needs Report, CIB, October 2018

[iii] ‘Charity Begins at Home’, David Hart and Andrew Robson, Northumbria University 2017, referenced in Trust in Charities 2018- How the public views charities, what this means for the sector and how trust can be increased, Charity Commission and Populus, July 2018

[iv] A connected society: A strategy for tackling loneliness – laying the foundations for change, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, October 2018

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