Presentation on theme: "A Guided Tour of the Voluntary Sector Julie Hutton Rural Network Manager."— Presentation transcript:
A Guided Tour of the Voluntary Sector Julie Hutton Rural Network Manager
The Yorkshire & Humber Rural Network We seek to strengthen communication and collaboration to support the rural voluntary and community sector voice in Yorkshire and Humber. We do this by: Carrying out research Providing information and briefings Networking to gather evidence of the issues facing rural VCS groups. We do this to: Inform and influence the policy, practice and understanding of government, agencies, the media and other bodies in Yorkshire and Humber and further afield.
“What we are grappling with, and what we are aiming for, is nothing less than a huge cultural shift, where power people, in their everyday lives, in their communities, in their homes, on their street, don’t always turn to answers from officialdom, from local authorities, from government, but that they feel free and empowered to help themselves and help their communities” Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) Policy context
So what is different about rural? It has long been known that rural needs are overlooked – or not given equal weight when policies are being decided or delivery programmes devised. (ACRE 2009). In addition the fact that provision/purchase of such services is more expensive is also well recorded (LG Futures, Costs of Providing Services in rural areas, 2011and State of Rural Services 2011).
What else? It is impossible to overlook the impact of severe reductions in public funding a) it costs more to deliver services in sparse rural areas; and b) central government gives less grant funding to rural than to urban local authorities. Recent work for SPARSE-Rural found that, on average, Predominantly Rural authorities receive £324 per head of population in 2011/12, whilst Predominantly Urban authorities receive £487 per head of population – a difference of £163. (LG Futures, 2011)
And…. c) City Deal funding has focused on the bigger cities and the benefits are not translating to rural areas. d) In metropolitan areas rural communities and the Community and Voluntary sector who support them are on the fringe of policy not central to it. e) “A few years ago we were supporting the development of buying local food for many reasons, now we are helping to set up food banks.” (Sarah Robinson, Rural Action Yorkshire)
How are groups feeling? Quarterly Confidence Survey Rural groups are roughly as optimistic/pessimistic about economic conditions as other groups. 23% believed that over the next 12 months economic conditions within the voluntary sector will remain stable and 77% thought they will deteriorate. No one thought conditions would improve. Rural groups are less likely to have plans to take on more staff. None did, compared to 13% of other organisations.
What can work well? The Voluntary and Community Sector can work with business to help them build relationships and with the community in which they operate. Working in partnership with the local authority and others is often key to success, collaborate rather than compete. Libraries potentially closing and the VCS supporting communities to take them on. Other opportunities have been found as a result to overcome rural isolation.
However difficult, we need to get young people in rural areas engaged in volunteering and being interested in becoming engaged with the key policy discussions. Some people are reluctant to become involved as trustees in running voluntary organisations as they are worried about the financial risk and legislation. What is the value of the voluntary and community organisations - “Local knowledge and local solutions”