A new report by UK Community Foundation examines the impact of the pandemic on local Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations (VCSOs) and the communities they are based in.

It looks at the practical steps that funders can take to ensure that their grant-making is responsive, effective and inclusive to local VCSOs. It also showcases some of the innovative work happening in the community foundation network. The main conclusions of the report are:

Growing demand for services
Nearly all of the community foundations surveyed are seeing a growing demand for the following services: food and essentials, mental health services, technology and IT, social isolation and domestic violence support services.
Negative impact of closures
The impact of closures and decreased capacity of local VCSOs will have a wide and far reaching impact on the communities they serve. These include: an increased strain on statutory services, a reduction in volunteering opportunities and the loss of irreplaceable community provision.
Funders take action to support local VCSOs
Funders can take immediate actions to ensure that their systems and processes aren’t barriers to local VCSOs delivering vital services to communities. These actions include: supporting tried and tested good practice, providing core cost funding, taking a flexible approach to grant-making, encouraging collaboration rather than competition, and improving the financial stability of local VCSOs by providing multi-year funding.
Community foundations are being responsive to communities
Community foundations are being responsive to the needs of local VCSOs and communities. The place-based community foundation model is enabling innovative grant-making programmes, ensuring local people have a meaningful say in how funding is allocated, and being adaptive to the different needs that the pandemic is creating.
Funders take action to ensure they are inclusive and accessible to BAME-led VCSOs
Using recommendations from organisations that received funding from UKCF’s BAME Infrastructure Fund, the report also sets out the practical steps that funders can take to ensure that their systems and processes are inclusive and accessible to BAME-led VCSOs.

Rosemary Macdonald, CEO, UK Community Foundations, said:

“We all know that the effects of the pandemic are going to be with us for years to come. As funders, this puts the ball firmly in our court. Now more than ever we must make that our grant-making is in tune with the needs of the local charities and community groups that have been a vital lifeline to people. Using the local expertise of our community foundations, the experience of decades of place-based investment, and the unique insights of funded organisations – this report makes a series of realistic recommendations that we can all implement.”

Tina Costello, CEO at the Foundation, said:

“The last 18-months have shown how vital community support is. Placed-based Community Foundations, that provide unique and adaptive grant programmes, have ensured that funding remains effective and relevant. We’re pleased to see the findings of this report and know it will support funders in creating healtheir, happier lives across the UK.”