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The state of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Herefordshire

Within the council's County Plan, the community ambition to ‘strengthen communities to ensure that everyone lives well and safely together’ will be delivered in part through the Talk Community approach. This is a partnership approach that links three fundamental elements to promote and maximise independence and wellbeing within Herefordshire’s communities. Talk Community therefore focuses on the people that make up our communities; the place and space which those communities occupy; and the economy in which those communities work.

The voluntary and community sector are key partners in the Talk Community approach.  In recognition of this, Herefordshire Council commissioned Impact Consultancy to research the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and assess the ‘state of the sector’ in Herefordshire. The objectives of the research were to;

  • Provide insight into the size and diversity of the voluntary and community sector in Herefordshire and how it compares nationally and with neighbouring counties.
  • Demonstrate the contribution the sector makes socially and economically.
  • Highlight how the sector is supported and works with others.
  • Identify the key issues facing the sector locally.
  • Provide recommendations to strengthen the sector.

The research has identified learning in five key areas:

  • The profile of the VCSE sector in Herefordshire.
  • The value of Herefordshire’s VCSE sector.
  • How the sector is changing, and the challenges it faces.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the VCSE sector in Herefordshire.
  • Partnership working, voice and influence.

Key findings include that there are about 2,300 VCSE organisations based or operating in the county of which 1,325 are registered with the Charity Commission.  It’s estimated that they contribute £355 million per annum to Herefordshire’s economy.  Almost 80 % have an annual turnover of less than £100,000, 40% of which operate with less than £10,000 turnover, based at the heart of their local community.  Further key findings and recommendations are contained within an Executive Summary with more in-depth information within the main report.