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Finding a way forward

This eighth briefing shares the experiences of 41 leaders participating in the sessions between 17th June and 5th July, and our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise. 

Three issues remain at the forefront of VCSE leaders’ minds: 
  1. The wellbeing of their staff and themselves
  2. The range of issues that need to be taken into consideration when planning how to safely reinstate face-to-face services and working practices
  3. Ensuring that the sector’s role and contribution is visible

Read the full series of briefings here

Acting in uncertainty

This briefing shares the experiences of the 20 staff participating in our Evaluation Roundtable Community of Practice sessions during June 2020. These sessions are open to all foundation staff leading on evaluation and learning. Our aim is to create a space where they can share challenges and dilemmas, and learn from each other’s experiences in their efforts to put learning at the heart of their foundations’ response going forward. 

As well as sharing their experiences, we also offer our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise.

Time for flexibility

This seventh briefing shares the experiences of 34 leaders participating in the sessions between 4th June and 15th June, and our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise. 

Three issues remain at the forefront of VCSE leaders’ minds: 

  1. Mid to long-term funding prospects.
  2. Balancing the immediate needs of staff and beneficiaries with the long-term future of their organisations.
  3. Thinking flexibly.

Read the full series of briefings here

Covid-19: The story told by 72 emergency funding applications

A Foundation gave us access to 72 funding applications made to their Covid-19 response fund in May 2020. This data provides rich insight into the challenges faced by the voluntary sector as organisations navigate their way through crisis and into recovery and renewal.

 

The applications were presented to the Foundation Board for approval; a prior sifting process had reduced the number from 445. A total of £2,272,121 was awarded to 71 organisations, with income ranging from £25,000 – £1 million. 14 of the grants related to project costs, with the significant majority being for core costs. The organisations work in a range of fields, including homelessness, criminal justice, mental health and migration. They are largely based in England, with two from Wales.

The application data offers a powerful snapshot of the reality faced by charities during the Covid-19 crisis. Six key themes in particular stand out:

 

  1. Charities are seeing a significant increase in demand for services
  2. Pressure on finances comes from lots of different directions
  3. The funding crisis is both long and short term
  4. Being organisationally robust has not protected these organisations
  5. The role of CEOs/Directors is critical but vulnerable
  6. This is a story of extraordinary resilience and adaptation

Read more about the challenges VCSE leaders face during Covid-19.

Taking some control

The sixth briefing reflects the experiences of 31 charities between 12 May and 2 June through online support sessions, and our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that this raises.

Four preoccupations continue to be front of mind for VCSE leaders:
 

  1. The uncertainty of future funding
  2. Staff welfare and morale
  3. Balancing the opportunities and limitations of virtual service provision
  4. The organisation’s strategic direction


Read the full series of briefings
 here

Focusing on what we can do

This fifth briefing reflects the experiences of 36 charities shared between 29 April and 11 May 2020, and our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that this raises.

As VCSE leaders entered weeks five and six of the Covid-19 lockdown, three main challenges remained at the front of their minds:

  1. How should they continue to adapt services and working practices in order to respond to changing/increasing beneficiary need?
  2. How can they plan at a time of huge uncertainty?
  3. How might they respond to reductions and pressures on organisational income?

Read the full series of briefings here

Piecing a story together

Covid-19 is changing the funding world like nothing before it. This briefing shares how evaluation and learning staff are supporting their foundations through the immediate crisis and with questions about what all this means for the future. 

 

Based on an approach we are using with VCSE organisations, in the last week of April, IVAR facilitated two online sessions of the Evaluation Roundtable Community of Practice, open to all foundation staff leading on evaluation and learning. Our aim is to create a space where they can share challenges and dilemmas, and learn from each other’s experiences in their efforts to put learning at the heart of their foundations’ response going forward. This briefing shares the experiences of the 20 staff participating in these first sessions and our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise.

 

If you are interested in joining the Evaluation Roundtable, please email vanessa@ivar.org.uk

 

Read more briefings from our Covid-19 series for Trusts and Foundations here

A funding cliff edge?

This fourth briefing reflects the experiences of 28 charities shared between 17 and 23 April 2020, and our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that this raises.

VCSE leaders are continuing to contend with four main challenges: 

 

  1. Rising and changing demand for services
  2. People in need remaining ‘off-radar’
  3. Declining unrestricted income
  4. Planning in uncertainty


Read the full series of briefings here

Barriers are coming down

Recognising the tremendous pressure that health, VCSE and local authority leaders are under as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, IVAR and SEUK are facilitating online peer support groups through their Practice Development Network (PDN), which supports cross-sector partnership working in healthcare settings. The aim is to create a space for people to share challenges, opportunities, dilemmas and worries around cross-sector working, and to learn from each other’s experiences. 

This briefing shares the experiences of the 37 people who participated in the first session on 22 April.

A balancing act: Youth volunteering in hospitals, in the context of Covid-19

IVAR is the ‘learning partner’ for the Pears Foundation’s #iwill Match Fund, which supports the growth of inclusive, high-quality youth social action opportunities through 30 NHS Trusts and their respective charities. This briefing offers some initial reflections on the network’s response to Covid-19.

 

‘It has been an incredibly moving experience seeing how young people have responded, adapted and grown in this unfamiliar world we are currently in.’

 

We summarise the main content of peer support sessions for hospital volunteer coordinators which took place, and share insights from the Pears Foundation on each Trust’s response to Covid-19 along with thoughts from #iwill ambassadors and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

 

Alongside this briefing, we are publishing resources to support young volunteer programmes in hospitals, developed and shared by the Pears #iwill Peers. These can be accessed at www.ivar.org.uk/youth-volunteering-in-hospitals