Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS)

Cambridgeshire Insight | VCS

An Introduction to the sector in Cambridgeshire.

Evolution is the key to the enormous wealth of active local voluntary and community groups in Cambridgeshire.  Groups of individuals have formed thousands of charitable groups that meet the needs and interests of their local neighbours. These groups are small hubs of local expertise, responding to the needs of the communities they serve.  They are always looking to the future to ensure that their users continue to benefit from their services.  At the same time larger voluntary or “social  enterprise” organisations (many of whom are registered charities) also form part of the rich tapestry of groups that make up the sector.

About 3,000 groups are loosely connected to local support charities like CVS and Volunteer Centres, but many more are not. The ratio of actively connected groups to self-supporting local clubs and societies is more or less the same as that for other parts of the country: a ratio of about 20:80.  We estimate that more than half of these groups run entirely on volunteers with 80% of the remainder having fewer than 5 staff members. More than half of the groups have a turnover of £10,000 or less with just 15% managing a turnover of £100,000 or more.

Annual CVS Survey

CVS5 Annual survey report cover, More for LessThe County is covered by three general infrastructure support organisations. (See here for more information) CCVS work across Cambridge, South Cambs and Fenland, Hunts Forum work in Huntingdonshire and Voluntary and Community Action East Cambridge (VCAEC) work in East Cambs.

An annual mapping exercise is carried out by the CVS organisations to keep in touch with their members, and to look at needs and issues that are affecting the sector. The latest report (2015) can be downloaded here along with those from 2014 and 2013. There is an accompanying blog piece based on the 2015 survey that puts into a wider national context and looks at the future of infrastructure organisations.

The following slides summarise the 2015 report.

Going Local

In 2013 CCVS carried out some detailed work into small groups working across the county. Going Local, surveyed 73 groups providing services to older people, it was found that between them they were able deliver services to 9,401 people with 216 paid staff and 1,289 volunteers.

The volunteer hours alone were valued at £1,423,350 per annum, using Volunteering England’s recommended equivalent cost per volunteer hour. This payment in kind of volunteer time and expertise is what keeps the groups going whilst they respond to the changing needs of their chosen client groups.

CCVS Directory

The CCVS Directory is a directory of member organisations of the 3 CVS organisations in Cambridgeshire.  This lists the names and details of activities and services that are provided by groups that have agreed to advertise themselves on the internet. this forms the most comprehensive directory of VCS organisations in the county.