Government’s levelling up agenda ‘needs charity involvement’ to succeed, warns NCVO

The NCVO has warned the government that its levelling up agenda, to support communities and the local economy in disadvantaged areas, requires collaboration with charities to succeed.

It says that “charities and volunteers are embedded in the communities they serve so have a vital role to play”.

The call has come in the sector body’s report Levelling Up: The Role of Charities and Volunteering.

Also being called for is more devolution at a local level so that decision making is put “in the hands of communities and local institutions”.

Long term funding for local areas is also needed through community endowments and a greater focus on philanthropy.

It wants to see existing levelling up funding redesigned to allow charities to play a greater role.

It cites previous research that estimates charities will miss out, as most of the current funding will go on capital infrastructure such as transport, parks and building repairs.

In addition, the NCVO is calling for greater use of community spaces and investment in social infrastructure “to be the hubs for building and harnessing relationships, opportunities and ideas”.

Involvement of charities in levelling up initiatives is also needed amid Covid-19 recovery due to the significant role of the voluntary sector mobilising support amid the pandemic.

“Charities and voluntary organisations see first-hand how rising inequality has been worsened by the pandemic,” adds the report, which involved the views of more than 200 organisations.

“To resolve it, communities will need varying levels and types of support to realise their ambitions.

“Throughout the covid-19 pandemic, we have seen the incredible resilience, resolve and ingenuity of citizens, communities and organisations. Through hard times, communities have come together – whether in formal associations, informal networks, or just being a good neighbour. At times, they responded quicker than established institutions and stepped up in the face of crisis.

“We owe a tremendous debt to all those who have given and lost so much during the covid-19 crises. We believe our repayment for this national sacrifice must be a transformational agenda in tackling inequality for all. Communities, through charities and volunteering, must play a central role in this challenge.”

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