We share key findings from our independent study on UK charities’ presence in Wales and the impact of COVID-19.
The voluntary sector in Wales includes a wide range of different sizes of organisations, from the smallest community groups to major international charities. This also includes the Wales offices of UK charities, particularly in the health, environmental and anti-poverty fields. Without doubt, Wales has benefitted from the experience, and financial resources, of these major charities.
During the coronavirus pandemic, many charities needed to make redundancies to cope with the drastic loss in income that they experienced. During this time WCVA heard that a number of key roles for UK charities in Wales were being made redundant. We wanted to commission some research to see the extent of this, as well as the impact on the people charities support.
We commissioned independent research from Carys Mair Communications to speak to leading staff in UK charities in Wales to assess this. All respondents did so anonymously.
Whilst the report identified some cases where this has happened, it did not identify an overall trend, and the overall picture is mixed. There were also a number of views on whether Wales offices were being respected and how much organisations understood devolution.
The report did identify a number of key messages:
- Teams whose organisations respect and understand devolution feel more secure or comfortable in these roles.
- A number of strategic roles had been made redundant with some of these roles being moved back to head offices, and a concern on the impact of this on the teams.
- A worry that Wales-specific policy and advocacy roles may be made redundant.
The report also relays some suggestions from the individual participants for WCVA and the Welsh Government, which we will consider.
This comes alongside the opportunities that will arise that dilute the effect of geography on charities. With less of a need for offices and in-person services, it is likely that we could see charities providing services in one locality moving to others. National borders are becoming less of a barrier even at a point where public policy divergence within the four nations is increasing.
WCVA exists to support the Welsh voluntary sector to make a bigger difference together. Our view is that we all benefit – and more importantly the people relying on charities in Wales all benefit – when there is collaboration between all parts of the voluntary sector.
NCVO has done research into how best this can be done in England. UK-wide charities in Wales play a particularly important role in convening policy networks and leading on some partnership funding bids. By examining the trends around the composition of the voluntary sector in Wales, WCVA hopes to be able to spur all parts of it towards partnership.
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Has this article made you think about something? Do you agree or disagree with the conclusions of the report? Do you have a good case study of partnership between larger and smaller organisations in Wales, or an idea about how to make one happen? Please get in touch with any comments by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.