During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has played an important role in ensuring that many of us could continue to work and learn, be kept informed and stay connected with our family and friends. However not all of us have been able to do this because of not being able to afford the technology and connectivity and/or not having the skills or confidence to be able to use technology effectively.
The pandemic has really brought home how important it is to ensure that everyone is connected and it is those who are not that are the most vulnerable in our communities who need the support to get online.  This discussion report looks at the challenges, how VCS organisations have adapted and are supporting beneficiaries and how we can work towards digital inclusion.
Download this Northumberland VCS Assembly discussion report on digital inclusion.

Take part to help make the case for more support for the VCS

"Help VONNE, VCSE Local Infrastructure Organisations (LIOs) and members of the NE Funders Network to understand the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on you and your beneficiaries.  

"Giving us this information helps us understand the impact of COVID-19 so we can effectively represent the sector and influence how funders focus their support now and in the future recovery period. The findings will also be shared with stakeholders including local authorities, LEPs, private sector organisations and the health system, to make the case for additional support and resources for the sector, and with national infrastructure partners including NCVO, ACEVO, NAVCA and the Charity Finance Group, to help us influence Government decisions affecting the sector."  

The survey will be open until 9am on Monday 4th May.
"We realise how busy you are but your input is vital to enable us to work more effectively on your behalf and that of the sector in the North East region. The survey will only take 10-15 minutes of your time, so go and make a brew, then click on the link and help us to help you.  Complete the North East VCSE Sector COVID-19 impact survey"

Support adventure etc

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay


Read Ann's latest blog, in which she celebrates the wonderful grassroots response of volunteers to the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities, looks at how Assembly network meetings can be held on line, and discusses the recent online meeting of the Assembly Executive committee: www.vcsassemblynorthumberland.co.uk/news/blog/572-assembly-update-may-2020-crises-bring-out-the-best-in-people.




April 2020


Dear colleagues,

In am writing to you in the direst of times for the Country, but most importantly for the people and communities and as one who sees the very best of our intentions.

Many of you are involved in supporting the Government and Local Authorities in their actions in supporting the communities in which we all live in and love. Your efforts are to be applauded and are gratefully, if not officially recognised.

I am not alone in being overwhelmed by the response of the entire country, and especially the brave responses from our NHS colleagues and those working in the caring services whether paid, or on a voluntary basis.

Your efforts have proven what can be achieved when the cause is right and just, and when properly mobilised and motivated. It proves how responsive and flexible the whole voluntary sector is.

It does however concern me that it takes an event like this for the true worth of the sector to be recognised, and I wonder how quickly this will be forgotten when we return to a point of some normality.

I fully appreciate the difficulties that all the Third Sector organisations and voluntary groups are facing currently, be that with finance, or undertaking activities. We are seen as a sector that is resilient and able to effectively bomb proof, even when that is a fallacy. We only continue to survive because of our hard work, dedication, canny financial acumen and the goodwill of our supporters, volunteers and funders.

Speaking of which, I am grateful to the funders who have continued to support the sector in the current climate and have been extremely flexible and generous.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank staff and especially the Chief Officers for their work in ensuring delivery of the vital community services, in addition to supporting the efforts of the Local Authority.

Perhaps this situation will alert the Government and Local Authorities to the worth of the sector and actually start putting in place some proper strategic use of the sector and community groups in the delivery of services. Certainly, it would be worth thinking about the creation of an army of volunteers that can be more effectively mobilised and targeted in the event of such a catastrophe in the future.

In the meantime, can I once again thank you for all your efforts and support during this difficult time. I, on behalf of the Assembly, wish you well in your efforts and want you to be a safe as possible.

Thank you, stay safe, stay well.



Joe Jackson

Chair of Assembly Executive Committee

Northumberland VCS Assembly