Local authorities need to be provided with funding and tools to ensure that they can continue supporting smaller charities after the pandemic, county leaders say.
A new report from the County Council Network (CCN) has highlighted how county authorities have supported small- and medium-sized charities during the lockdown through a number of measures, including grants and rent holidays.
However, Councils and Communities in Partnership also found that the infrastructure for these charity groups in many local areas is ‘patchy’. The report warns that cash-strapped councils will also struggle to continue this support post-COVID.
Among a number of recommendations, the CCN urged the Government to include resource for charity and volunteer groups in the any Coronavirus Recovery Funding, so county authorities are able to support community growth and consolidate volunteer efforts over the past 18 months.
Cllr Sam Corcoran, communities spokesperson for the CCN, commented: ‘The groundswell of community action has been one of the few rays of light during the pandemic, bolstering what was an already strong voluntary and community sector.
‘At the same time, many groups found themselves in difficulty owing to the suspension of normal fundraising activity, and our report highlights how county authorities stepped up to help keep them afloat during this difficult period.
‘In looking ahead to the recovery period, county authorities are uniquely placed to step up and offer support in nurturing these groups, both new and old – from helping with setting up events, providing oversight, and in applying for money – alongside providing them with grant funding directly.
‘This report makes some key recommendations on how councils can support the volunteer energy in our communities and not only ensure these groups’ survival but take them to the next level.’