This summer, Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum launched its new quarterly survey tracking the ‘state of the sector’. We would like to thank everyone who took part and provided valuable information about their organisations and the challenges and opportunities they are dealing with right now.

After two surveys, the message is clear: funding, reserves and staffing are down, while there is optimism that volunteer numbers have increased along with the number of people organisations are able to support.

Factors such as the continuity of EU funding to Cornwall post Brexit and the NHS Kernow review of ‘small contracts’ – many of which are with voluntary sector organisations – are also causing great concern.

Ian Smith, Chief Executive of Cornwall VSF, says, ‘This trend is particularly worrying because no organisation can live off their reserves for long and charities rarely build up big surpluses. We estimate the sector has already shrunk by as much as 15 per cent in the last two years. Many of us are working positively with public sector organisations to find new approaches to support communities better together. We know that resources are tight and demand is increasing, but the fact remains that VCSE organisations are increasingly under threat, at a time when their clients and the public sector need them most.’

You can view the full reports by following the links below:

Headlines include:

  • In the next three months, respondents expect funding and staffing to reduce, and dependence on reserves to increase (this was the case in both surveys).
  • On average, organisations supported 188 individuals over the last three months and 22 volunteers per organisation gave 2.8 hours of their time per week.
  • Charities’ greatest risks are increasing pressure on funding as public sector spend and support reduces, and staff leaving.

The next survey will be in the New Year and we would encourage all members to take part.