Financial fears for voluntary sector

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The voluntary sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is fearing for its financial future, according to a new survey.

Voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations are facing a widening gap in their finances, and following the Government’s recent budget, some are concerned about the effect the continuing economic squeeze is putting on their organisations and the vulnerable people they support.

In a survey by the Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (Cornwall VSF), members said they were particularly worried about the impact of reductions in welfare benefits and tax credits.

“We’re in danger of creating a perfect storm…”

The scale of the challenge facing VCSE organisations has also been highlighted in a report by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which estimates there will be a £4.6 billlion gap in the voluntary sector’s finances nationally by 2018/19.

Cornwall VSF chief executive, Ian Smith, said: “Most of the organisations I speak to expect the people they support to be worse off.

“They are seeing demand increase, but at the same time are under huge pressure themselves to survive. Not only are they receiving less Government funding, income from donations is reducing, and people are less able to give up their time to volunteer.

“We’re in danger of creating a perfect storm, despite widespread recognition that people engage more positively with the VCSE sector and it is often best placed to support them most effectively.”