State of the Sector

Report published on the VCSE in Gloucestershire

More than 5000 organisations employing over 7000 people with a turnover of over £460,000,000. That’s one of the key findings in a new report about the local voluntary and community sector produced by the Gloucestershire VCS Alliance. You can read the full report here.

Our State of the Sector report highlights what the voluntary and community sector (VCSE) in Gloucestershire does. Clearly there is a huge diversity in causes and size of organisations, but in the area of social welfare, the report shows how the sector operates as a key service provider, playing a vital role in our local economy and as a significant employer.

In providing this information the Alliance shows the positive social impact that the VCSE has in supporting local people and their communities.

The report is also timely. Whilst most of the data was collected during Autumn 2019 as a snapshot of the sector at that time, the issues and challenges that the report raises about the sector can only have grown since the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. The Alliance uses the Introduction to bring its summary of the findings up to date. There is plenty that will be of interest to policy makers, commissioners, other funders, as well as leaders within the sector itself.

Key findings:

  • There are more than 5500 voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises in the county. 2718 of these are registered charities, 543 social enterprises and an estimated 2316 informal voluntary groups.
  • Registered charities (not including educational institutions) employ nearly 7,000 full- and part-time staff, and over 14,000 volunteers.
  • The VCSE in Gloucestershire is hugely diverse; however, the top three causes it supports are older people, rural areas and health-related issues.
  • The Cotswolds has the largest number of charities while Gloucester city has the second smallest, even though several county-wide organisations are based there.
  • Registered charities, excluding educational institutions, had a total income of £464,662,775 in 2018-19.
  • 33.6% of VCSE organisations have a turnover of £25,000 or less and are deemed to be micro organisations.
  • 87% of organisations rely on grant funding.  Grants remain the lifeblood of the sector.
  • Around 50% of VCSE organisations are engaged on public sector contracts, usually for a period of 1-3 years. There is an acknowledgement by both sides of a mutual dependency, and a recognition too of the strain put on the relationship by the twin challenges of cuts in funding and increasing demand on already stretched resources.
  • 64% of those we interviewed said they are worried about their organisation’s financial sustainability; in the survey 73% are concerned about the long-term future.
  • The problem of recruiting suitable volunteers poses an ongoing risk to the viability of small organisations. Over 52% of VCSE organisations of all sizes think that recruiting sufficiently skilled and demographically diverse Trustees is an ongoing problem.

Thank you if you were one of the many voluntary and community organisations who completed a survey and/or an interview last autumn.  Your data has enabled us to build a picture of the vital role you play.

We will share the report with key stakeholders at Gloucestershire County Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Gloucestershire VCS Alliance is the independent voice that informs, strengthens and develops the voluntary and community sector in Gloucestershire.