It is estimated that there are about 1200 charities and voluntary and community groups in Southwark. The vast majority of them are small and deliver a very wide range of services and support across the borough.
The voluntary sector is an important partner to the Council in making sure that residents have their needs met, ranging from providing advice and support for people on universal credit to providing stimulating activities for young people to develop skills for later life and offering older people valuable companionship.
The current environment is challenging.
We have seen two prominent charities delivering crucial support close in recent months. The situation is unlikely to improve greatly in the immediate future. But Southwark is fortunate in that the Council is supportive of the voluntary sector.
We have a voluntary sector strategy that runs until 2022 and has a joint vision to support a sustainable, confident and resourceful voluntary and community sector that can work in collaboration with the public (and private) sector to create a safer and fairer Southwark.
The Civil Society Futures report that emerged late in 2018 recognised that the state and the market depend on each other, but it is often civil society that is working at grass roots level and can best listen and understand the impact of central and local government policy.
The report sends a strong signal that organisations coming together in collective endeavours will enable civic society to become stronger and more powerful. Connecting groups with each other and to those in powerful positions, like local authorities, enables people to be seen and heard.
Community Southwark has been building a series of networks over the past 3 years that brings together organisations with common interests.
These groups or networks have been able to access policy and decision makers in the Council and Local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). These networks have proved popular and are continuing to grow with the introduction of a new network built around organisations that deliver sports and physical activities in Southwark.
The current focus is providing important feedback to the Council on how the new strategy can be delivered at local level. This engagement between the Council and those that live and work in the borough is essential is making sure that change works for all.
This has been recognised by the Council and a wholesale review of the ways in which this engagement happens is now taking place. A further round of workshops will be taking place over the summer and will be key in how local people and organisations can help shape future Council policy.
If you want to be a part of the growing networks, please contact Steve.
As part of Small Charity Week the FSI and Small Charity Week partners will also be releasing a range of free informative toolkits for your small charity during the week. Keep an eye on the website for more information about this and the competition here.
Please get in touch if you would like any support for your charity, we deliver a range of training and consultancyservices designd specifically to help, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find a wealth of factsheets and handy guides on our website here.
Our Southwark Giving team offers meaningful and needs-led bespoke volunteering in Southwark through practical team challenges and skills-based volunteering for individuals and teams, get in touch: email@example.com