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Dialogue at The Care Forum Publishes Report Examining The West of England VCSE Sector Response To The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Epidemic

The Care Forum’s Dialogue team has published a report examining the impact and response West of England voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

Produced in partnership with the West of England Civil Society Partnership, and already used by leading funding organisations such as Quartet Community Foundation to lobby on behalf of the regional sector, the report highlights the key successes, challenges and learning for the regional VCSE sector during this time.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 78.3% of respondents remained operational in response to the epidemic.
  • 22% of respondents reported that without the support they identified, their organisation risked having to close services.
  • 58.6% of respondents needed financial support, mostly in the medium term.
  • 56.6% of respondents reported being able to meet service user demand.
  • 80% of respondents needed some form of support.
  • 20% of respondents reported they were unsure of what would happen to their organisation in absence of identified support.

The report provides a powerful snapshot (April – May 2020) of the experiences of the West of England VCSE sector in responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic; telling a story of the opportunities and challenges we’ve seen our sector facing during these unprecedented times, and offer some learning for ways to support the sector going forward. The key messages and learning here include:

  • The West of England VCSE sector has shown tremendous agility and responsiveness to the epidemic, becoming digitally enabled practically overnight and provide services to local communities.
  • The regional sector has experienced significant challenges in response, at once seeing significant increases in demand even as organisational capacity decreases.
  • As revenue streams are suppressed across levels, the regional sector demonstrates significant uncertainty about its future sustainability.

Given these findings, the report highlights the need for significant efforts to support the West of England VSCE sector through this period and beyond. Only by doing so can we enable our regional VCSE organisations to continue empowering local communities, delivering vital services, and supporting staff wellbeing long into the future.

To download and read the full report, please click here.

Questions & Further Research

If you or your organisation is interested in working together to develop a similar piece of research, please get in touch with The Care Forum’s research team:

About Dialogue & The Care Forum

Dialogue is the health and social care insight and engagement service for The Care Forum, supporting the West of England VCSE sector. 

The Care Forum is an independent voluntary and community infrastructure organisation, supporting the health and social care system across the West of England for over 20 years.