3. B - Benefits
- The strong links that VCS organisations have with local communities that encourage co-operation, engagement and active citizenship, including volunteering, which is at the core of self-help and grassroots activism. The economic value of volunteering can be calculated as a financial contribution but the social and wider benefits are equally significant.
- The social and environmental benefits that Voluntary and Community organisations can bring, including a culture of co-operation, communication and networking.
- The provision of accessible and flexible services that are user-led and responsive to changing needs and new ideas.
- The VCS focus on prevention and early intervention can lead to significant savings in terms of financial and human cost.
- Enhancing the value of our shared spaces and public realm as places where people can come together and which can promote wellbeing and provide habitat for biodiversity.
- The independence and lack of potential stigma that the VCS brings: people often prefer to access services in the Voluntary and Community Sector - this can prevent problems from escalating.
Investment in VCS organisations is an investment in communities and can lead to additional benefits including:
- Increased involvement of VCS organisations in strategic developments, providing ‘voice’, representation and advocacy within the community and essential intelligence for decision makers and planning bodies resulting in better local services that meet the needs of communities;
- Increased confidence in the competence and professionalism of voluntary organisations to deliver services and engage and represent users from diverse groups; offering more capacity for being commissioned to provide services.
- Increased opportunities for growth, development and sustainability through bringing in funding from external sources;
- The local ‘multiplier’ effect, where the local economy benefits from local spend, increased local employment opportunities and support for a future workforce through the provision of volunteering and training opportunities.