A new report published by PKAVS and The Gannochy Trust has revealed the strengths and challenges facing the voluntary sector in Perth and Kinross.
The sector remains resilient despite Covid-19, but there are concerns about the impact of the pandemic, such as its effect on staff and volunteer mental health and well-being and frustrations over the delay in service provision.
The report followed three #BeConnected events hosted by PKAVS and The Gannochy Trust last winter, where voluntary sector representatives were invited to share their thoughts on the strengths of the sector, the challenges it faces and what changes they would like to see. Over 100 delegates shared their thoughts in the report.
The key challenges centred on the impact of Covid-19, particularly the stress and fatigue suffered by staff and volunteers and the impact this has had on mental health and well-being. Frustrations over delays in service provision due to the pandemic were also expressed and the limitations of online working, with concerns that some service users were being excluded because they were not digitally agile.
#BeConnected also provided a useful platform to discuss how funders support charities in the future, with discussion around streamlining the grant application process and the provision of longer-term funding options.
There was also a growing appetite among representatives for more networking and collaboration between charities, funders and other agencies. The benefits of collaborative working during the #BeConnected events were clear to see, giving attendees the platform to voice concerns, share ideas and identify needs. Collaboration was seen as particularly important during the pandemic to enable the sector to work more effectively together to meet the community’s changing needs.
Despite the challenges, the report has shown the sector remains flexible, with strong relationships and close collaboration taking place within communities. The sector’s ability to embrace digital technology during the pandemic was mentioned, as well as the continued resilience of staff and volunteers. The sector continues to have a positive reputation in the community, and the value and contribution of volunteers are acknowledged and respected throughout.
Joanna McCreadie, CEO of The Gannochy Trust, said:
“The #BeConnected events were a unique opportunity for charities to come together and share ideas, highlight challenges and identify needs. The report has also provided valuable learning about what charities need to support them. But, most of all, it’s clear that charities in Perth and Kinross have shown how essential they are to people and communities.”
Paul Graham, PKAVS Chief Executive, stated:
“Our local third sector has been a tremendous asset throughout the pandemic. Joining up with the Gannochy Trust to listen to their experiences, insight, and ideas has been illuminating and will shape our practice as we explore ways to support the sector to not only recover from the pandemic but to flourish and play their key role in building a fairer, more equal Perth and Kinross.”