Supporting strong and resilient community organisations

Cllr Patient

Calderdale Council is reviewing its commitment to the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, to build strong partnerships with providers and recognise their important contribution.

Calderdale Council has a proud record of supporting and working in partnership with a thriving and resilient VCSE sector.

In recent years, the importance of the sector has been particularly evident with the strong support of local organisations responding during times of crisis, such as flooding, the COVID pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis. These events have underlined the importance of a strong and vibrant VCSE to the overall resilience and wellbeing of Calderdale.

At the meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on Monday 13 February 2023, members will consider a report containing a number of proposals, as part of a five-year commitment, to support the sector and recognise its importance and the many benefits of strong partnership work.

The proposals have been informed by recommendations from an external review into the funding and impact of the VCSE in Calderdale by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies. The findings of the resulting report ‘Measuring the Value of the VCS in Calderdale’ offer an opportunity for the Council to transform its relationship with the sector to help deliver a shared vision for the borough.

The proposals include plans to introduce longer funding arrangements to improve the sustainability of organisations, helping them plan ahead, lever in external funding and retain skilled staff. It’s also recommended that current services and grant programmes are recommissioned. This includes the popular small grants funding programme and further funding programmes of existing strategic grants for anti-poverty and advice, culture and stronger neighbourhoods.

Existing providers would also be recommissioned for up to five years, including Voluntary Sector Infrastructure Services, Advice Services and Healthwatch, to ensure they can continue their cost of living support and other key services delivered through these contracts.

Through the Council’s partnership with health services, additional funding of £85,000 per year is proposed to increase the capacity of Voluntary Sector Infrastructure Services. The funding would be provided to the organisation in recognition of the key role they’re able to play in reducing health inequalities and to sustain support for those impacted by the cost of living crisis.

The report also looks at potential options for increasing the responsibility of the Community Foundation for Calderdale, as part of a stronger partnership with the Council for administering some of the grant programmes.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Cllr Scott Patient, said:

“Voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations play such an important role in Calderdale. The kindness and commitment of the many volunteers and passionate staff is invaluable, and we’ve seen how their efforts continue to make such a difference, as we work in partnership to deliver key services in the borough.

“We want local organisations to flourish and be the best they can be. By firming up our commitment over a five year period we can ensure that they have the support to access match funding, plan for their futures, and continuously improve the services they provide to local people. Something which is particularly important at the moment as we all look for ways in which we can ease the impact of the current cost of living crisis and help increase resilience.”

Calderdale’s VCSE sector is a vital partner for the successful delivery of the Vision 2024 for the borough and the Council’s three key priorities of tackling poverty and inequality, climate action and creating sustainable towns across Calderdale.

The report ‘Supporting the voluntary sector: VCS commissioning programme 2024-2029’ is being discussed at the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 13 February at Halifax Town Hall, starting at 6pm. The meeting can also be watched at link)


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