A vision for the future of Bristol’s voluntary sector beyond Covid

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Black South West Network, supported by key partners - VOSCUR and Locality – is launching the final report of a 9-month city-wide research project exploring the response of Bristol’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector to the pandemic and the potential of the sector in the city moving forward.
19 Mar, 2021

The report assesses the impact of Covid-19 on the VCSE sector and identifies the dynamic and physical assets that were essential to the Sector’s response to the crisis. Collated within the report are case studies and examples from different parts of the voluntary sector to bring evidence of its high levels of resilience, adaptability and creativity.

Moving beyond the pandemic, the report also formulates seven principles to underpin a collective vision for the VCSE sector’s long-term future. The vision is accompanied by actionable recommendations to develop a One City approach to the sector’s recovery and achievement of the vision.

The research was jointly funded by Power to Change, Bristol City Council and Quartet Community Foundation. It has been overseen by the VCSE Strategy Group, a multi-stakeholder strategic partnership chaired by Deputy Mayor Asher Craig and committed to developing an equitable, city-wide and coordinated framework for the VCSE sector’s recovery.

As we move to confront the economic, health and wellbeing challenges ahead, the research has built on the lessons learned to create evidence for an effective and equitable recovery strategy that will enable the VCSE sector to tackle current and future challenges and move forward as a key actor in the city’s socio-economic environment.

Danielle Cohen, Power to Change, said: “’Designing a New Social Reality’ describes a vision for recovery with communities and the VCSE sector at the heart of it. Community businesses have a vital role to play in building an equitable and inclusive economy for Bristol post-Covid 19 and we are excited to see how the report’s recommendations will be taken forward to support the sector to grow and increase its impact.”

Sado Jirde, Director at BSWN, said: “Through ‘Designing A New Social Reality’, the tectonic plates of society have irreversibly shifted and we have a chance to strive for ‘levelling up’ like never before. Thank you to all those who took the time to contribute, that enriched the process and created a wealth of data about our sector’s realities. It has also been a strong collaborative effort thanks to the sterling contributions and support from the Strategy Group, who guided this research to make it a meaningful journey. We look forward to seeing the changes that emerge from this work. It is in our collective hands to improve the lives in our communities, in our organisations, boards and organisational cultures, and ultimately the Bristol’s VCSE sector overall.”

The full report and the diagram illustrating the vision and recommendations can be found HERE in the reports section at BSWN’s website.