Ben Lloyd, WCVA Head of Policy, highlights the key points in our Voluntary Sector Manifesto for the crucial 2021 Welsh Elections.
Next year’s elections will be crucial in deciding the future of Wales. The next Welsh Government will need to focus on Wales’ recovery from the current coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent recession, as well as making the most of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
We believe that volunteers and the voluntary sector can play a significant role in that. Throughout the pandemic, volunteers and the voluntary sector have been at the heart of Wales’ response, from delivering medicines and food throughout the lockdown, to supporting those out of work subsequently.
WCVA has produced a Voluntary Sector Manifesto 2021 for the Senedd elections next May. We have worked with voluntary sector networks and our members to produce a manifesto which is based on conversations across the sector since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, it is endorsed by ten voluntary sector networks.
This manifesto outlines how the next Welsh Government, whatever its makeup, can work with the voluntary sector so that both can have a bigger impact on the lives of people in Wales.
It seeks to build on the recent surge in volunteering, and the fantastic community spirit that has flourished throughout the last year. It also outlines how the Welsh Government can support the voluntary sector to play as strong a role in the recovery from COVID-19 as it did during the lockdown and the Storm Dennis flooding earlier this year.
In all of our discussions with the voluntary sector in the last year, voluntary sector organisations have told us that they feel they can build on their recent experiences to tackle some of the challenges facing Wales in the future, such as the upcoming recession and changes to the global economy, climate change, and increased inequality. We all believe the voluntary sector, with the right support, can sustain the voluntary and community spirit which has helped us all through the last year.
Our manifesto contains proposals such as:
- Investment in youth volunteering, supporting the expansion of opportunities available within existing and emerging organisations.
- New legislation and funding to support community empowerment, including a new Community Wealth Fund.
- Putting citizen voice at the centre of service planning and policy development. Specific attention should be paid to including marginalised groups within this.
- Making the most of the voluntary sector’s experience of supporting people back into work, with this included in new economic programmes.
The manifesto also looks at how the next Welsh Government can support the sector to be more resilient in the future.
After the next election, Wales will flourish if we can develop meaningful partnership between the public, private, and voluntary sector. WCVA believes this Voluntary Sector Manifesto will help achieve that.
Do you want to talk to us about our manifesto, or suggest ideas for what you think the next Welsh Government should prioritise? Please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.