The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership’s Harnessing the Power of Communities Programme have published their latest report, titled ‘Third Sector Resilience: Before and during COVID-19’.

Working closely with over 300 voluntary and community organisations across Bradford district and Craven, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, the report sets out the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and the communities they support. A lifeline to many of the 2.7million people living across the area, community groups, charities and voluntary organisations have been delivering vital services for years, including the renewed focus in recent months to those in need of vital help, including the 111,000 people who are shielding.

Building on the long term work of the VCS across communities, the report highlights that for many charities and community organisations their future is now uncertain. Financially they are under pressure and for many digital capacity is a barrier to their work.

Key recommendations noted in the report are:

  • NHS, Local Authorities and other funders and commissioners commit to putting in place a strategy for longer term, joined up investment in the VCS.
  • All Partners formally recognise the social and economic value of volunteering and actively plan to better connect the volunteering infrastructure across NHS, VCS and LAs. This includes: working together to consider developing and adopting a volunteer passport; investing in volunteer training and development across sectors; and working together to develop a WY&H wide integrated volunteering strategy.
  • Commissioners and funders work together to simplify contracting and commissioning arrangements including monitoring requirements and to develop a shared application format.
  • The Partnership works with the VCS to put in place a workforce offer which enables the further development of: workforce capacity including health and well-being; finance and business adaptation; governance and planning.
  • All partners ensure the VCS and community voice is listened to and reflected in service design and delivery from the outset.

You can read the report here.