The 2017 Support Cambridgeshire survey has been published.

Download a pdf copy of the report

Conclusions

"Charities play a fundamental role in our civic life. They are often in the front line of support for the most vulnerable and are therefore in the best place to assess their needs. They not only provide. They inspire and innovate and through their advocacy help shape our laws, government policies and society as a whole."

Stronger charities for a stronger society

Day in and day out Support Cambridgeshire see the impact that small charities are having on people and communities across the county. We see the difference that volunteers make and the difference that volunteering makes. We see the dedication of the staff, volunteers and trustees who struggle in an ever more hostile environment to deliver with passion, commitment and imagination.

We want to see more done to help small organisations, as we believe this will lead to more equal communities. We want to see the good practice we witness on a regular basis shared and built on.

To achieve this, we want to see three changes.

1.    More grant funding for small organisations.

There is ample research that has shown that austerity measures have significantly impacted on funding for small voluntary groups. Locally we have seen this across all statutory funders and yet there is widespread acknowledgement of the importance of the work of local groups and charities.

Grants mean that local charities and community groups can make things happen for local people. A small grant can help an organisation to lever in additional resource, bring additional volunteer capacity and respond flexibly to the needs of their communities and build on the strengths.”

A bite sized guide to Grants for the Voluntary Sector

We urge all local statutory bodies to look at how they can maximise grant funding to small organisations to deliver local services.

2.    More local support for groups

We believe that groups continue to need local, expert, responsive support. This is what Support Cambridgeshire and its partners provide, and yet funding for infrastructure continues to go down in real terms as demand rises. We know from the survey that groups appreciate the support we offer.

“Without them we would not be where we are today as we are now very strong”

“The help and on going advice from [them] is vital to our organisation and we would not have been as successful without their help and the one to one meetings”

“We find them invaluable - I can pick up the phone and ask them about any aspect of running a not-for-profit organisation and they usually know the answer or can point me in the right direction. Training is excellent. Every local voluntary group should belong!”

“[They] have provided information and introduced us to other organisations. They are a safety net - need an answer - ask them”

We urge funders of all types to recognise the importance of core funding the type of support services that Support Cambridgeshire and other infrastructure organisations provide. This support is not just the safety net for when groups need help. It also allows groups to grow, to become more sustainable and ultimately to increase the impact they have.

3.    More equality across the county

We recognise that the services that individuals and organisations are able to access across the county are not equal. We want to see ways in which support is given to communities and organisations to develop the services that are missing and needed. This means looking at where organisations need help to develop and grow, and also where a lack of organisations is leading to communities with less opportunity to engage or become involved.

Slides of key findings

We have developed a set of slides that highlight some of the key findings. These can be downloaded from here as a pdf.

Small Things - Big Impact from Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service