Voluntary sector social inclusion work needs cash

The voluntary sector’s contribution to the
social inclusion agenda is severely underfunded, according to
research published this week.

The report, commissioned by the National
Association of Councils for Voluntary Service (NACVS) into the work
of nine councils for voluntary service (CVS), finds that each CVS
contributes around 1.5 full-time employees’ time to government
social exclusion programmes, but that huge problems exist with
funding such work.

Director of the NACVS Lis Pritchard said: “The
research has shown that we are heavily engaged in social inclusion
work and that we have welcomed that. But the negative message is
that we are heavily hindered by our lack of funding for strategic

“[Local authorities] approach us because they
can’t deliver local strategic partnerships and so on without CVSs.
But if we don’t get more funding, then the help we give will be
less effective. They want us to be involved; we want to be
involved. So we need more money.”

There are also concerns about the way in which
the voluntary sector will access money from the children’s fund for
projects to tackle social exclusion.

The government’s decision to invite council
chief executives to apply for money from the fund could mean that
voluntary groups are left out of, or have tokenistic involvement
in, partnerships.

But Gerry Lynch, senior support and programme
manager at the children and young people’s unit, said: “If a local
authority came back to us with only one voluntary sector and 12
statutory organisations, we would investigate that bid.”

The Role Of Councils for Voluntary
Service in Social Inclusion
from 0114 278 6636.

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