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