Big Society commissioned for important study on ‘state of the voluntary sector’ in Norfolk and Suffolk

January 15, 2015

Category: Community Development

big society (source: Big Society Funding)

Big Society Funding CIC is delighted to have been commissioned to carry out a pioneering study which will shape investment in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) in the years to come.

The important ‘state of the sector’ research will establish the economic impact of VCSE organisations in Norfolk and Suffolk. It is the first time such a study has been undertaken in this region.

Big Society Funding have been asked to carry out the three-month project for a partnership led by Norfolk County Council with Suffolk County Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP).

The study will explore:

  • How the sector has been affected by the recent recession and the opportunities arising from the economic recovery
  • How many and what type of services the sector delivers for and on behalf of public authorities
  • How far the sector feels engaged with the NALEP and how it can support its strategic objectives through economic growth
  • The level and economic value of volunteering and the extent to which it is successful as a route into paid employment
  • The skills and experience within the sector
  • The extent to which it does or could benefit from the forthcoming European Structural and Investment Funds.

Big Society Funding will aim to engage as many VCSE organisations as possible, including key charities, social enterprises and decision-makers. We hope as many groups as possible will engage with us to create an accurate picture of how the sector contributes to the local economy.

Please come to one of the locality meetings or complete the online survey:

  • Monday 9th February: The Friends Meeting House, St Johns Street, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1SJ (10.30 – 1pm)
  • Thursday 12th February: King of Hearts Café, Fye Bridge Street, Norwich NR3 1LJ (10.00 – 12.30pm)
  • Thursday 26th February: ISCRE, 46a St Matthew’s Street, Ipswich IP1 3EP (5 – 6.30pm)
  • Friday 27th February: Books & Beans Café, GYROS, Gt Yarmouth Library, Tolhouse Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PQ (10.30 – 1pm)
  • Thursday 5th March: West Norfolk CVA, 2 Regis Place, Bergen Way, King’s Lynn NR30 2JN (2 – 4pm)

The results will be compiled into a public report called the State of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE) in Norfolk and Suffolk.

This data will be fed back to NALEP, used to inform their strategic objectives, explore funding opportunities and support more long-term investment in the sector.

Big Society Funding’s dynamic team of experts, led by director Mark Ereira-Guyer, have an impressive track record of supporting voluntary groups in East Anglia reach their potential.

Mark said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to bring our experience, contacts and wide-ranging experience of the sector in East Anglia to this project. We are in an excellent position to analyse its current state and look forward to encouraging local VCSE organisations to contribute to our findings.

“This is an important and exciting project which will give a detailed and comprehensive insight into the part social enterprises and voluntary and community groups play in ‘Big Society’ and the economy of Suffolk and Norfolk.”

Chris Starkie, Managing Director of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Big Society Funding CIC’s research will help us to better understand the sector, and how it has the potential to contribute to the aims and objectives of the LEP, and its partners, to deliver long-term growth across Norfolk and Suffolk. The intelligence will help to inform future programme development and to shape greater strategic and sustainable investment in the VCSE sector.”

The East of England European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness and Employment Programme via ‘Building Bridges’ have funded the study.


Big Society Funding is a three-year old Community Interest Company set up to support the VCSE sector to build its capacity and encourage people and members of community groups to become ‘Big Society’ activists and fundraisers – finding a voice in shaping local services and increasing their ability to meet the needs of the disadvantaged communities they care about. We are an independent and non-political, not-for-profit organisation.

To contact the team:

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