State of the Sector report

Published on 20 October, 2022

The voluntary and community sector plays a valued and key role in community life across Dorset. To this end it is important to sustain a strong and thriving VCS. Over the summer we sought to gather intelligence on the current ‘state of the sector’. Asking our members how their organisation is managing following the Coronavirus pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis.

Overall, the findings aren’t too different to what we expected correlating with our ongoing view and delivery model and will enable us to focus and prioritise our work. Within the report you will see some amazing statistics demonstrating just how great the sector is in Dorset. Such as the economic contribution of volunteers is approximately £700 million or the value of hours given by volunteers during 2021 is estimated to be between £640 – £950 million.

Findings suggest a mixed picture. Research does indicate that although there are considerable pressures on the VCS and on individual organisations, and it remains potentially fragile. The sector continues as a large, diverse and active movement with considerable social and economic impact across the county.

Key highlights within the report include:

Financial sustainability is a big issue. Short term funding, confusion around effective commissioning, along with the national cost of living crisis is having a big impact on the VCS

Collaborations – organisations want more opportunity to engage with and collaborate with each other and the public and private sector

Volunteering – organisations want to recruit the right volunteers with the right skills

Skilled workforce – the sector needs and deserves skilled and motivated volunteers and staff. Investment is needed to ensure this happens.

Positively our findings suggest that many organisations are adapting and developing to meet the evolving and changing needs of our communities and to ensure their own sustainability as we head into further uncertain times.

You can read in the Dorset VCS Report 2021/2022 for more about the ‘state of the sector’ and how we plan to support our members to not only survive but thrive.