A Manifesto on behalf of the Voluntary sector, coming post-General Election…

As a charity, we steer clear of politics, but as the general election draws close, we have our own manifesto that we would like to share with parliamentary candidates of all parties.

Because we’re so busy supporting our communities, we don’t normally take time to think about our sector as a whole and its contribution to social, economic, and environmental progress.

However, we also work closely with other charities and voluntary organisations across the sector to lobby on behalf of our communities, especially the vulnerable, lonely and isolated.

We are grateful to our colleagues at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations for drawing up a Voluntary Sector Manifesto, a document that provides the big picture and ensures every corner of our sector is considered by policymakers, whoever they may be, after July 4th.

The policy recommendations it puts forward result not only from recent workshops and consultations but also from years of careful thinking in our sector about how we can have a bigger impact.

It allows us to speak with one clear voice up and down the country and over and over again about the improvements we would like to see in society.

The 2024 general election presents a rare opportunity for charities to raise much-needed awareness of important issues and reset our sector’s relationship with the Government.

The voluntary sector’s talent, expertise, and innovation are often undervalued. Even though we’ve demonstrated it in how we’ve responded to crises and achieved meaningful change for our communities.

The UK is facing challenges that no political party can solve alone. We need to build a partnership with the next Government that empowers our sector to play a full role in tackling those challenges – as policymakers, service deliverers, and the voice of our communities.

The voluntary sector isn’t a ‘nice to have’. Charities don’t exist for handouts. And volunteers shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Charities underpin the country’s social infrastructure. They deliver public services. They meet needs, connect communities and individuals, and help address systemic inequality. Through decades of hard work, they’ve earned deep-rooted trust.

Our sector:

  • helps solve challenges with integrity, drive and dedication
  • has far-reaching knowledge about the people and causes they support
  • works innovatively and responsibly for people instead of profit
  • builds trust with those who are often not heard
  • mobilises, develops and empowers volunteers

 

Strong communities give us all a sense of belonging, support our wellbeing and boost our local economies. Charities and volunteers are the backbone of our communities. Our sector represents and engages people who are often excluded.

Volunteering and voluntary infrastructure are vital to support strong communities. Thousands of people in Torbay regularly volunteer through a group club or organisation. Charities and volunteers play a vital role in building resilience and responding to emergencies.

Volunteering should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for every volunteer. Volunteering can provide skills, confidence, connection, purpose and wellbeing.

We want barriers to volunteering to be removed. Particularly for people who don’t have equal access to good volunteering experiences. We want it to be easier for people in paid work to give their time through employee volunteering schemes.

Charities in Torbay deliver and advocate for a range of services. This includes everything from housing, health services and social care, to education and advice.

Our vision is for a society where all citizens can live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives. We see a future where people can access high-quality, joined-up public services that meet their needs, no matter where they live or their background.

  • We want investment in services that stop people from reaching crisis point
  • Public services need to be preventative
  • The people who are most impacted by services should help design them
  • Services should be accessible for people facing barriers
  • Services should address inequalities within and between communities for all

 

To sum up, we join charities and voluntary organisations nationwide in asking the next Government to

  • Engage charities in policy-making
  • Ensure fair and sustainable partnerships
  • Make sure every voice is heard
  • Build strong and resilient communities
  • Place value on volunteers
  • Support a thriving charity sector
  • Make public giving easier

 

Rest assured that whoever represents us in Government from July 5th we will be seeking a meeting with them to discuss all of the above and lobby for its implementation.

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