An Audit Wales report on the delivery of COVID-19 relief funds for the voluntary sector has found that working with WCVA to deliver the funding helped get money to where it was most needed.
Audit Wales have released a memorandum report focusing on the delivery of the Third Sector COVID-19 Response Fund, which included the Third Sector Resilience Fund (VSRF) and the Voluntary Services Emergency Fund (VSEF), both funds that were designed to help the Welsh Voluntary sector survive the effects of the pandemic and lockdown.
A LOOK BACK AT THE COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND
The report details a lot of the procedures and processes involved in ensuring that money got to groups who needed it most and explains some of the thinking behind working with WCVA to deliver it.
As a funder we have a long history and wide breadth of knowledge of the funding landscape for the Welsh voluntary sector, and we used our experience to make sure applications were processed as quickly as possible, to ensure urgent response, as the report notes: ‘Welsh Government wanted to get the Third Sector COVID-19 Response Fund flowing quickly, so chose […] WCVA as an intermediary body for key elements of the Fund […] drawing-upon their grass-roots connections, knowledge and experience’
CHALLENGES TO BE MET
At what was a uniquely challenging time for everyone, we’re also happy that the report found that our ongoing communication with Welsh Government was beneficial, finding that it ‘facilitated learning in real-time, which then informed improvements to processes and better targeting of funds.’ Being able to listen and respond to the needs of the sector, especially when it came to concerns that certain smaller groups had around eligibility, allowed us to adjust the application process, enabling more organisations to apply. When traditional fundraising sources had dried up and income across the board was facing a squeeze, this was especially important.
As a body that’s also familiar with how to monitor and report on what recipients were doing with their funding, we’re pleased with that the report also found the information we sent back to Welsh Government helped ‘identify demand, uptake, gaps in existing funding and potential funding shortfalls, and informed decisions about allocating further funding and targeting needs’.
The pandemic posed a number of huge changes and challenges for us and the wider voluntary sector, but we welcome the lessons we were able to learn from it, and will use this experience to help make the sector more resilient to changes in the future. You can read the memorandum report in full online.