February VCSE Sector News

Our latest VCSE Sector News. With a UK election on the horizon, many organisations are thinking about how to influence the priorities of politicians and supporters, yet the diversity of challenge and change can be overwhelming.  Recent headlines range from 2023 being the hottest year on record to the digital switchover (from analogue) beginning in the East of England in May 2024.  With so many interconnected issues it is more important than ever to learn from and work with each other to ensure we can all access the services and support that we need.

This month’s VCSE Sector News Digest

The Norfolk Advocacy Partnership (NAP) is conducting an anonymous survey, accessible here, gathering information on what people in Norfolk know and think about advocacy (it should only take 5 minutes to complete).  NAP advocates for ‘systems wide change’ across Norfolk and aims to promote the rights of disadvantaged groups, including building awareness of issues and improving service offers.  The report compiled from the survey responses will aim to improve advocacy services in Norfolk.

The Centre for Ageing Better’s new ‘Age Without Limits’ campaign aims to change the way we think about ageing, warning of the ‘scarring’ impact of ageism as we get older on our health, job prospects, and the way we live our lives. It includes a free image library showing positive and realistic images of over 50s and a guide on challenging everyday ageism.  In case you missed it, research from the International Longevity Centre published in December 2023 revealed that life expectancy for people aged over 50 has started to fall, with every year of lost life expectancy resulting in 2.6 fewer years spent in good health.

Norfolk Constabulary have launched a ‘Stop Hate in Norfolk’ campaign providing resources for everyone who wants to work towards tackling Hate Crime in Norfolk.  This includes access to free e-learning aimed at partner organisations, community groups, volunteers and residents who want to better understand how they can respond to hate incidents, how hate incidents relate to safeguarding, and how to become a 3rd party reporting place.

The economic climate and cost-of-living crisis are having a detrimental impact on our financial resilience according to research by Vitality, with 71% of Norwich residents surveyed stating they do not feel financially resilient and are worried about money, compared to 69% of those surveyed across the UK. It also shows that the financial crisis is having significant long-term impacts, with 27% saying it has stopped them from getting on the property ladder and 21% saying it has stopped them from starting a family. The research also shows the greater impact on women and parents.

For heritage organisations, ‘Barriers and Enablers to Board Diversity in the heritage sector’ by Historic England provides insights on the challenges and possible interventions to increase board diversity. When 59% of charities say that their boards do not reflect the communities they serve, there are lessons and ideas here for the wider VCSE sector too.

As a ‘taster’ of its extensive publishing, Bristol University Press has put together a collection of free articles, book chapters and Open Access titles.  The subject areas include Poverty, Inequality and Social Justice and AI, Digital Technologies and Society.

In case you missed it, the ‘Charity Pulse Report 2024’ provides an inside look at how charities fared in 2023, plus a glimpse into the obstacles and opportunities that lie ahead in 2024.  Also, this year Volunteers’ Week – taking place from Monday 3rd to Sunday 9th June – is celebrating its 40th anniversary.  This annual event sees charities, voluntary groups, social organisations and volunteers themselves come together to recognise the incredible impact that volunteering has in communities around the UK. Voluntary Norfolk are planning some exciting events with plenty of opportunities for local VCSEs to get involved. Look out for updates in our next newsletter. Sign up here!

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