VCSE Alliance outcomes April 2023

Outcomes of connecting and contacting small and medium sized Voluntary Sector Organisations

113 small and medium members of the VCSE Alliance were consulted, and were asked about:

  • What their issues are
  • What their situation is
  • Their views on their membership of the VCSE Alliance

All of the organisations showed an interest in becoming more active and participating in the Alliance but found that there were capacity and time issues. 

We held a health and wellbeing workshop to highlight organisations services, offer a chance to share and support each other, and help to understand the Integrated Care System.

The main themes of people’s experiences are: 


  • Everyone spoken to saw future funding as an issue, particularly as there is currently more need for their services and support than ever. With less funding available to apply for
  • Rising Cost of Living Crisis - alongside funding the rising cost of living has created more need for support, but it has also meant that organisations with venues, and even renting space are experiencing higher bills, eating into running cost budgets and impacting on reserves

Wild Earth said:

“There is more need for mental health support for young people now than ever before, but we don’t have enough funding. We can’t support enough people now. If we go who will provide the support for them.”

Working as VCSE Alliance:

Thoughts about collectively working as the VCSE...

  • Most organisations spoken to agree that this was a positive thing
  • However, some were wary and distrustful of sharing their ideas and information with others, as it might be used without their organisation gaining any benefit from the session
  • Some groups were happy to run their own services without the necessity of being involved with others
  • Some organisations felt that time was against them, and without support they would not survive in the long term

Publicity and marketing:

  • At the workshop some the organisations said they were being impacted by hierarchies within statutory services, including council and GPs
  • This meant that they struggled to get their services publicised in areas where there was a need
  • Several organisations said that they wanted to rebrand themselves based on changes in the way that their organisation was perceived, and the new words that are in use
  • The organisations at the Workshop were happy to collaborate, work in partnership and share information and work together to help address issues about their services and needs

Shortage of volunteers:

  • Nearly all of the organisations were concerned and impacted by a lack of volunteers, and partially attributed this to anxiety about covid, but also that people had other things to focus on, whether to find a job, or other activities

Need for more trustees:

  • Organisations were worried about their need for new trustees as the trustees are moving on, retiring, and not being replaced by younger or different members
  • Some organisations think they are stilted and out of date and need new ideas to invigorate the organisation
  •  New ideas are needed particularly around the change in the way people understand their service experience their services and have their needs met

Community activities:

  • The development of Food banks and supermarkets seems to have taken over traditional community services and activities
  • For some organisations, not as many other organisations are renting space in community venues or offering activities

Some Positives:

  • All of the organisations were positive about continuing their work, and trying to “ride out the storm”
  • Although worried about the future, they were also passionate about the difference they make to some of the most “isolated, alienated, and ostracised” members of the communities whose needs are not being met elsewhere
  • Innovative ideas were discussed in terms of how to get local companies to give to the Voluntary sector – their time as trustees or volunteers, or funding

To collaborate, connect and join forces with other VCSE organisations in Coventry then  Join the Alliance