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New research shows Suffolk’s VCSE sector facing significant impacts of the cost of living crisis

Community Action Suffolk have today released a report detailing the concerning issues Suffolk’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector are facing in the light of the cost of living crisis.

As individuals across the country face an economic crisis the like of which we haven’t seen for decades, the VCSE sector, a lifeline to thousands of individuals across Suffolk, is facing some of the most challenging circumstances it too has ever seen with increased costs, increased demand on services, reducing donations and loss of staff and volunteers, all cited in the report as just some of the issues impacting their work.

Suffolk is not alone, these issues have already been reported nationally by some of the key national infrastructure organisations who have already joined forces to lobby the government (Government must provide immediate financial support to help communities | NCVO), but this is the first research highlighting the specific local impact on Suffolk’s VCSE sector, and a difficult environment for the sector to operate within in 2023 if additional support is not received.

“Our sector has proved time and again how resilient it can be, never more so than over the last 2 years, and I have no doubt it will continue to be so.  But the situation we face now is likely to be even harder and we need support to ensure that we can continue to help those most in need in our communities.” Says Christine Abraham, Chief Executive of Community Action Suffolk.

Community Action Suffolk is calling for anyone that can help to do so now, as Hannah Reid, Deputy Chief Executive, says:

“We fully appreciate how difficult these times are for individuals and businesses across our County but there are things we can all do. It can be as simple as supporting our campaign, taking part in a fundraising activity, making a small donation to a local charity, volunteering for an hour or two, or speaking to your employer about how they could support through their corporate social responsibility policy – everything helps to make a difference.”

CAS are also calling for local and national government and other funders to fully understand the financial implications of the crisis on the sector and put additional support in place.

“9 out of 10 organisations taking part in the research told us one of their most significant challenges was increased core costs.  These are the costs it takes to run the organisation for which there can often be little external funding support, but which are crucial to keep the organisation delivering vital projects and services.  We need additional income to help with these, flexibility of current funding to allow for inflationary increases, and new money to support increased and changing demands on services.  With donations from individuals reducing as they have to tighten their own belts, it’s not an easy challenge to overcome.” Says Christine Abraham.

To read the full report, please visit www.communityactionsuffolk/cost-of-living-support/ To lend your support to the campaign, follow Community Action Suffolk on social media and share campaign materials using #VoluntarySoVital