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The Sector-Led Plan sets out an evidence base about the VCSE sector in Norfolk and a statement of shared priorities for the future. It forms the basis of much of the work we are doing as part of VCSE Engage, a three-year programme funded by Norfolk County Council to support the dialogue they have with local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.

The Sector-Led Plan was researched and developed through extensive engagement with the VCSE sector through workshops, one-to-one interviews and a survey. The methods used are set out in more detail in the plan itself, which you can download at the bottom of the page. 

Some key findings about the sector:

- The sector is significant: with nearly 3000 registered charities, over 150 social enterprises and more than 3000 'under the radar' community organisations, and a combined total income of more than £383m. 
- The sector is diverse: working in a wide range of areas, at very different scales. The majority of charities in Norfolk are very small, but they account for only a small proportion of the sector's total income. 
- The sector is an important part of the local economy: employing an estimated 7,250 staff (full-time equivalent) and involving an estimated 76,781 volunteers. We estimate that an additional £57m funding comes into the county each year through the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. 
- The sector is having to respond to increasing pressure: with greater demand for services, increasingly complex cases and little additional funding, organisations are having to find new ways to cope. 63 per cent say they have become more enterprising over the past year. 

Some key concerns for the sector: 

  • - Funding: with funding often short-term and future funding uncertain, this is having an impact on organisations' ability to plan and develop their services.
  • - People: staff and volunteers are essential but there are recruitment challenges in some areas.
  • - Information and communication: organisations want to see improved sharing of information and communication, both within the sector itself and with public sector partners.
  • - Partnership: organisations want to do more work together, but are finding there can be practical challenges. 

These key issues are illustrated in the infographic which you can download at the bottom of the page. 

So what are we doing about it?

The Sector-Led Plan sets out a number of recommendations and actions to try and help address these issues and others besides. Community Action Norfolk is now working with partners, including through the Sector Leadership Group, to take these forward. 

If you are interested in finding out more or want to know how you can support this work, please email office@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk.