Following the Newcastle City Council budget consultation events at the end of December 2021, we have submitted a budget consultation response on behalf of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.
Key points we highlighted from the VCSE perspective include:
- Our sector continues to experience additional pressure as a result of COVID-19
- We are dealing with a new pandemic from the impact of increased severity and complexity of mental health issues amongst our service users, staff and volunteers, and we need to work together to understand and address this
- Managing changes in restrictions has put strain on resources, and the challenge of how to work in a hybrid way but fully support those who need social contact is still ongoing
- We have seen good partnership working between the Council and VCSE organisations, and we were delighted to see the launch of Children and Families Newcastle, with VCSE providers at the heart. We were also pleased to see new much-needed funding from the Council Youth Fund.
- We're pleased to see that the amount of influenceable spend that comes to the VCSE sector from the Council increased over the past year, from 14% to 17%.
- Few local charities were able to benefit from the furlough scheme, given that their services were needed more than ever. We hope that in future rounds of the Newcastle Fund this is taken into account
- As we embrace the challenges of blended/ hybrid services VCSE organisations will continue to need investment and support to improve our digital services
Due to the Council’s multi-year financial planning process, many of the proposals were already consulted on in 2021, so our response this year was condensed.