A new year is upon us and it’s a time when we might normally be planning the future for our organisations, but unfortunately we aren’t living in normal times and planning for the longer term is extremely difficult to do!
However, we cannot sweep things under the carpet and hope that it goes away. We need to be ready to react to opportunities, meet the challenges and continue to move forward in the best way we can.
The pandemic has demonstrated the resilience and adaptability of our organisations, which has been illustrated in the recent follow up survey undertaken by VONNE on the impact of COVID-19 on VCS organisations. Once again, Northumberland organisations were the highest responders to this regional survey which has meant that we have been able to analyse their responses separately.
Whilst some small organisations have not been able to meet, the majority have adapted their services to continue providing support, but concerns are expressed across all organisations about their ability to meet the needs of all beneficiaries. Digital exclusion of recipients of services, and also of some organisations too, has raised issues about the health and well-being of individuals who are difficult to reach in these circumstances and the importance of everyone being connected digitally.
Addressing the digital divide is more pressing than it has ever been. Organisations, wherever possible, have taken advantage of the short term funding to support COVID-19 activities and whilst the majority of organisations expect to breakeven by the end of the financial year, some are experiencing losses and there is particular concern about reduced reserves, end of short term support and longer term funding. Read the full analysis of Northumberland responses.
Take care and keep safe.
Assembly Development Officer