Last week, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales launched the findings of major national research commissioned on the impact of small, local level charities and the challenges to survival that they face.
The Value of Small study was carried out by a consortium of researchers from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University; the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) and the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership at the Open University.
• The research focusses on Small and Medium Charities (referred to throughout the report as SMCs, and defined as voluntary, community, social enterprise and civil society organisations that operate at local level with an income of between £10,000 and £1 million). The study highlights distinctive value that SMCs provide by playing a stabilising role between services and communities and by providing tailored, diverse and responsive local support services that plug gaps in local public service provision.
• The findings support the longstanding NAVCA and Local Infrastructure position on the urgent need to address gaps in funding, and also makes reference to the crucial role that local infrastructure organisations continue to play in supporting SMCs.
• Practical case study examples in the report highlight local infrastructure organisations’ role in coordinating cross-sector networks, facilitating collaboration and administering funding. This work provides a compelling account of the value and importance of local infrastructure organisations in ensuring the sustainability of SMCs.
• The report makes strategic recommendations around the reform of funding, reframing the role of social value and sustaining relationships between SMCs, wider voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, and public sector bodies.
We’re keen to hear NAVCA members’ views on this research and on how local infrastructure organisations can continue to support SMCs to collaborate, secure sustainable financial futures and to evidence the value of their work.
What are your thoughts on the report, its findings and recommendations? How do they compare with what’s happening in your local area?
Let us know by emailing NAVCA’s Research & Policy Lead, Amanda.Stevens@navca.org.uk.