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Covid-19: Support for voluntary sector leaders and their funders

Leaders of smaller voluntary organisations are experiencing stress and a prolonged period of uncertainty due to Covid-19. We are offering them online peer support sessions: ‘a space for solidarity and solace’


As we build a picture of the challenges they face, we are also advising funders on how to respond, learn, and sustain progressive practice.


I feel better about myself now than I did … being able to sit back and realise what is possible and what we’ve achieved in this period.

VCSE leader

Support for funders

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Thank you

We would like to thank the funders of our Covid-19 response work for their support:


  • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation
  • The Tudor Trust

Cover for briefing 14 paper: peer support for VCSE leaders.

Briefing papers:

Chasing against time

This fourteenth briefing shares the experiences of 33 charities through online peer support sessions, between 4 December 2020 and 20 January 2021.


VCSE organisations are clear about what they need from funders:

‘Be brave’, ‘be flexible’, ‘trust us’, ‘be clear and open’, ‘understand the pressure we are under and reflect this in how you work’, ‘become more of a partner and less of an auditor’. 

Support for VCSE leaders

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I found it really useful to hear what other organisations do and how they are handling the current crisis. 


It’s good for mental wellbeing and to have the opportunity to talk and share with others in similar situations.

Covid-19 blog series


10 September 2020

What has Covid-19 taught us about leadership?

Segun Olowookere | Restless Development

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Research and insights

The following resources may be useful at this time. This list includes research from our back catalogue and recent publications on how VCSE leaders and funders are experiencing and responding to Covid-19. 

Acting in uncertainty front cover image

Briefing papers:

Acting in uncertainty

Ben Cairns, Houda Davis, Liz Firth, Chris Mills

This briefing shares the experiences of the 20 staff participating in our Evaluation Roundtable Community of Practice sessions during June 2020 and our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise.

Front cover The story told by 72 funding applications

Briefing papers:

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. The data provides rich insight into the challenges faced by VCSE organisations as they navigate into recovery and renewal.

Delayed Transfers of Care (DToC) & the Voluntary and Community Sector in Greater Nottingham

Research reports:

Delayed Transfers of Care & the Voluntary and Community Sector in Greater Nottingham

What does it take to reduce patients' stay in hospital when other options would be better?

Piecing the story together - cover

Briefing papers:

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.

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25 June 2019

The gift of time: Practical tech tips and what we learnt from sharing them

Ellie Hale | CAST, Lynne Dyer | Growing Links

Growing Links share their experience of tech and reflections on what was learnt during the study.

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09 November 2018

Reimagining hospital volunteers - getting started with under 18s

Annie Caffyn

It’s one thing to decide that you want to work with young volunteers, but where do you start and how do you keep new recruits interested? We've collated tips from hospital volunteer coordinators.

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Research reports:

Duty to Care?

This research aimed to generate and share learning about changes in grant need and grant-making in the context of the recession.

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Duty of Care

This research aimed to generate and share learning about changes in grant need and grant-making in the context of the recession.

Front cover image of Turning a Corner


Turning a corner

We believe funders could make adaptations to grant-making practices to respond to the needs of small voluntary organisations.

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Getting started with collaboration: A framework for joint action

This framework is for individuals and organisations who are setting out on new collaborative ventures.

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