During the COVID-19 emergency, Leeds has been widely recognised as having responded rapidly and flexibly to the needs of people and communities.

Working with strategic partners, the third sector has been at the centre of this response. In recent weeks, Third Sector Leeds – the strategic body for the third sector – has been coordinating work to gather intelligence about the impact of COVID-19 on third sector organisations and to capture the key positives on which we can build for the future.

Sector Resilience in Leeds – summary of findings
The first report summarises the learning from a sector resilience survey which was delivered by a partnership of Leeds based infrastructure organisations; Forum Central, Leeds Community Foundation, Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humberside, Third Sector Leeds and Voluntary Action Leeds. As a key headline, the report shows that around 60% of survey respondents report that they may not be able to continue in business past the end of the year. We believe that if action is not taken then the third sector in Leeds may look very different in the future, to the detriment of our communities.

To counter this, Third Sector Leeds has set out some suggested actions that could be taken, and intend to work with a range of partners to shape the short and medium term response to this challenge. Working closely with strategic partners, including Leeds City Council, we will be convening a Bronze Group to consider sector resilience which will feed into the Third Sector Partnership and enable tangible actions to be taken forward.

Learning from COVID-19 – communities in control
Our second report looks to the future and sets out some principles for reshaping relationships, that we believe will help to capture and sustain the best aspects of the joint response in Leeds over the longer term. If we can capture this flexibility and innovation now and take the best of these approaches into our future work, we can make a real difference for people and communities, particularly those who are most disadvantaged.