Community and voluntary groups have long been a vital resource for communities and are needed now more than ever. Food banks, shelters, crisis support groups, mental health services and many more organisations are responding to huge demand for their services and are working tirelessly to ensure people are supported.
The sector has adapted quickly and effectively but is also facing new issues, financial pressures, and an uncertain future.
In response, eight infrastructure charities and regional bodies have joined forces to ensure that the support available is meeting demand. South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation, Barnsley CVS, Voluntary Action Doncaster, Voluntary Action Rotherham, Voluntary Action Sheffield, South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau, the Sheffield City Region and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System are working together in partnership with the University of Sheffield.
As a first step, they have launched a survey for community sector groups to complete about how they have adapted during Covid-19 and to detail the problems they currently face.
Ruth Willis, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation said:
“The purpose of this survey is to ensure that we can continue to do our best to help our essential community organisations. Every response we get means we can better advocate for community sector interests and to adapt ourselves to meet local needs. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to fill the survey in. The more responses we get the better we are able to help.”
Mayor of the Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis said:
“The Coronavirus is the most serious challenge we have faced in generations: tens of thousands of people have tragically died, key workers are putting their lives on the line, workers and businesses are suffering.
“I know people in South Yorkshire are resilient, but we must explore every option to support our communities, charities, jobs and businesses. I am working with South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation as they convene this group, and they also form a vital part of my Covid-19 Economic Response Group.
“Charities and volunteer groups have been there for us in tough times, and they will help us to rebuild once we overcome the Coronavirus. It is important that groups complete the survey, alerting us to the problems that exists so that we are better equipped to help.
“There will be tough days ahead, but I am determined that we pull through the pandemic as quickly as possible and build a stronger, fairer future for South Yorkshire. I am leading on a recovery plan, working with the government, businesses and others. But just returning to the status quo is not good enough: this must be a moment of renewal for our region and the country, when we tackle fundamental problems that have been neglected for far too long.”
Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive Lead at South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, said:
“The voluntary and community sector organisations across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw have been playing a vital role in offering advice, signposting and direct help to many thousands of people throughout the early days and weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is crucial that we hear from them to understand how they have adapted which will in turn help to shape what future support and services could look like.”