Our last Community Action Suffolk Covid-19 VCSE Impact Report for August 2020 highlighted a more encouraging picture for the sector in Suffolk including an increased optimism about future operations.
In November 2020 we carried out a survey focussing on social investment and digital skills. We chose these two areas (in addition to our ‘business as usual’ questions) as they arose from issues identified by the VCSE sector in relation to worries about future funding, and concerns about having the skills to work effectively with remote and digital means of service delivery.
Encouragingly the November Survey continues to show how well organisations have adapted their working practices and digital service delivery in response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. 63% of VCSE organisations in Suffolk have sufficient funds to continue beyond 12 months – this contrasts wit the picture presented in our April Survey where 60% did not expect to survive beyond 12 months.
A key and continuing limit on service delivery continues to be the requirement for social distancing – and given more recent developments with Covid – this is one that we will have to try to live with. The number of organisations that are delivering digitally successfully has grown to 52% – this is encouraging given current developments with the pandemic, and the need to continue deliver services effectively to our most vulnerable communities.
Our questions on social investment focused on whether Suffolk VCSE organisations had or planned to access any of the grants and loans that are available from Social Investment to help through this period. A small number (17%) have or plan to access support from social investment. We found that what VCSE organisations are looking for is not well matched by investors planned provision so this shows that there is work to be done. Just over 34% do not have enough information on social investment/loan finance to decide.