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

The outbreak of the coronavirus in the UK presents a shock that is without precedent for almost all of us.


Leaders of smaller voluntary organisations are experiencing stress and a prolonged period of uncertainty. We are offering them online peer support sessions. 


As we build a picture of the challenges they face, we are also advising funders on how to respond. This page will be updated with the latest information about our efforts, and links to past research that may be useful.

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. 

Briefings for funders

Covid-19 blog series

Photo of Mike Aiken

30 July 2020

Covid-19 in 50 languages

Mike Aiken

Mike Aiken looks at how one Sussex charity - Sussex Interpreting Services - has re-designed their entire service, at short notice, to continue providing vital support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Nancy and Sonakshi

09 July 2020

6 reflections on collaboration during Covid-19

Nancy Towers | SEUK & Sonakshi Anand | IVAR

We share the challenges to and pressures of cross-sector partnership working in healthcare settings during the pandemic.

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08 July 2020

Seeing with an applicant’s eye

Ben Cairns

15 weeks ago, we proposed five principles to guide funders in rising to the challenge of the Covid-19 crisis. However, some VCSE organisations now report worrying signs of wobble and strain, even in the most open and agile of funders.

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Research and insights

The following resources from our back catalogue of research may be useful at this time. Soon, we will be adding advice and reassurance shared by voluntary sector leaders through the peer support sessions we have been running in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

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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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iwill Pears blog 1 - png

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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IVAR029 Duty of Care_Report_Cover

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.

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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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