Welcome to the webpage dedicated to supporting and highlighting the role of voluntary organisations in the health and social care sectors in Wales.

WCVA has been supporting voluntary organisations in the health and social care sector since the early 1930s. For example, during the depression in South Wales, WCVA paid for district nurses (at a cost of £100 a year) and supported keep fit classes for women.

Currently, the voluntary sector employs approximately 48,500 people in the health and social care sector in Wales, with many more as volunteers. Altogether, 25% of WCVA member organisations provide care and support services to the community such as making home adaptations and providing respite and/or end of life care.

WCVA plays a vital role in supporting voluntary organisations in helping deliver and implement Welsh specific health and social care policies and legislation, including:

  • coordinating dialogue and representation of the voluntary sector at high-level meetings, like the Health, Social Care and Well-being Planning Group
  • ensuring there is an effective voluntary sector that can influence the transformation of the health and social care sector
  • working with others to create a vision for social value.


Welsh Government is keen to change the way health and social care services are delivered across Wales. There is ground-breaking legislation and policy unique to Wales that voluntary organisations should take note of, namely the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, 2014 and A Healthier Wales.

Welsh Government wants to shift the balance away from primary, secondary and long-term care and towards the community and access to non-medical interventions. Voluntary organisations have a key role to play in pushing forward this culture change, particularly given their ability to mobilise a paid and unpaid workforce to:

  • deliver care, support and advocacy services
  • sign-post people and organisations to the information they need
  • share local intelligence about unmet needs, so new services can be developed or changed for the better.

The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014

This Act provides a legal framework to transform the way care and support is offered to adults and children in need by promoting:

  • integrated health and social care services
  • greater independence, so people have a stronger voice and more control
  • greater freedom, so people decide the kinds of support they need
  • consistent, high-quality services across Wales.

Read the full details on our Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act page.

A Healthier Wales

‘A Healthier Wales’ is a policy developed by Welsh Government in June 2018. It is the Welsh Government’s response to a Parliamentary Review of the ‘Long-Term Future of Health and Social Care, A Revolution from Within: Transforming Health and Care in Wales’. The Review’s remit was to make recommendations on how health and social care services might be realigned to manage current and future demands.

It seeks to shift services out of hospital and into communities and support people to live healthy, happy lives, ensuring they stay well at home. Welsh Government has repeatedly stated the importance of the voluntary sector to successfully implement its vision and has created a £100m transformation fund.Diagram showing Welsh Government’s ambition to move from a hospital-based care and treatment focus in 2018, to a health, wellbeing and prevention focus in 2028

Read the full details on our A Healthier Wales page.


We are campaigning for voluntary organisations to be given:

  • More funding to sustain voluntary sector activity
  • More co-production – where citizens and carers can meet their needs by developing care and support services themselves
  • Investment in leadership
  • Strengthening stakeholder relationships
  • Support people to use Direct Payments
  • More research into the voluntary sector workforce – paid and unpaid
  • Functioning Social Value Forums
  • Cross-sector evaluation tools.


Early Help Hub, Flintshire

Read about a multi-agency response to a family where there have been incidences of adverse childhood experiences and / or domestic abuse or neglect, but none of which have yet reached the threshold for a statutory intervention or safeguarding referral.

Fair Treatment for Women in Wales

Read about a women’s and girls’ patient-led group that first started life as a Facebook page in late 2014, which has since transformed into a campaign seeking better services for women generally, including on issues relating to miscarriage, menopause and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Kidney Wales

Read about the ways the national charity, Kidney Wales, has moved quickly to respond to Covid-19 and has offered personalised services for people living with kidney disease.

Community Connectors, Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO)

Read about Community Connectors, who liaised with the British Red Cross, Age Cymru and even the local pub to help an older couple, so the wife could be discharged from hospital and recuperate appropriately at home.

Better Lives: Working Co-productively in Gwent Learning Disability Support

Read about a co-productive disability support project where people with a learning disability were treated the same as paid staff for Torfaen People First. Together, they used each other’s strengths to develop services to meet the needs of their community.

Age Connects Morgannwg: Adapting to Life’s Challenges – Covid-19, Floods and Nail Cutting

Read how Age Connects Morgannwg adapted their services to respond to flooding and support people that are shielding.

Tide – The power of connection

‘The biggest hurdle to overcome during Covid-19 has been the loss of personal time and space. The withdrawal of services combined with lockdown has made it impossible to have a break from caring.’ Read about what Tide has been doing to continue vital support for carers.



A database of third sector and community services that help people with their daily lives


Offering information on local community and public sector services across Wales


What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing is where a health or social care professional seeks to help someone to improve their health, wellbeing or social welfare by connecting them to community services which might be delivered by voluntary sector organisations, the council or a housing association. For example, signposting people who have been diagnosed with dementia to local dementia support groups.

There are various reasons why a person is referred for social prescribing. These are just a few examples:

  • for physical, psychological or psycho-social reasons
  • for general wellbeing
  • to combat social isolation and loneliness
  • to support self-care
  • as part of welfare advice or financial advice, or
  • to support someone to self-manage a pre-existing or long-term condition.

A social prescription or referral is wide-ranging, tailored to the needs of the individual who works with a social prescriber, link worker, community connector or navigator to develop a prescription/referral pathway which is right for them. The prescription, for example, could include access to a befriending scheme, a gardening project, an arts and crafts group, yoga or to a weight-loss programme.

What is the Wales Social Prescribing Research Network?

The Wales Social Prescribing Research Network, also known as WSPRN, sits within the Welsh Government funded Wales School for Social Prescribing Research (WSSPR). WSSPR aims to develop a framework and reporting standards for social prescribing evaluation and build critical evidence for social prescribing in Wales. If you’d like to know more about WSSPR, please see the website, www.wsspr.wales.

The WSPRN meets across Wales (and digitally) to discuss and develop its research priorities. Members include WCVA, many County Voluntary Councils, University of South Wales, Cardiff University, Bangor University, PRIME Centre Wales, Welsh Government, NHS Wales organisations and others.

If you’d like to know more about the network, please contact Sally Rees, WCVA, National Third Sector Health and Social Care Facilitator, on policy@wcva.cymru.

To sign up to be a member of the network and receive updates and more information, please contact Fiona Harris, WCVA, on fharris@wcva.cymru.


WCVA Blogs

WCVA Podcasts

Other resources

  • Co-production Network Wales offers information and case studies about co-production in Wales
  • Wales Co-operative Centre’s Care to Co-operate provides support to people in Wales who want to set up or run well-being services in a more collaborative, co-operative and inclusive way
  • Social Business Wales is a useful resource, with information, templates and business advisers, for anyone wanting to set up a start-up or operate as a social business providing health and social care services
  • A coproduced charter based on a WCVA and Wales TUC consultation setting out the principles for successful volunteering in a mixed workforce
  • Can volunteering create better health and care? – Helpforce published a report in 2017 on the positive difference that volunteering can make to health and social care services


Profile shot of Sally Rees, National Third Sector Health and Social Care Co-ordinator at WCVA

Sally Rees is the National Third Sector Health and Social Care Coordinator, based in north Wales, who represents the interests of the voluntary sector at high-level Government and public sector meetings. She is funded by Welsh Government to oversee WCVA’s work within the context of A Healthier Wales and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, 2014.

David Cook, Policy Officer

David Cook is WCVA’s Policy Officer, based in Cardiff. He reviews the work of the Senedd and Welsh Government, and compiles data on health and social care organisations, writing submissions on their behalf.

Get in touch:

If you work in a health or social care organisation with a question to ask, developmental needs or a compelling story to tell, then please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

Tel 01745 357561

Email jdavies@wcva.cymru