Shropshire Council praises voluntary and community sector’s work during pandemic
Shropshire Council’s work with the voluntary and community sector has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to several positive outcomes.
Closer working with town councils, parish councils, the Shropshire VCS Assembly and the Shropshire Association of Local Councils, has resulted in better partnership working in the county.
Both the global pandemic and the heavy flooding earlier in the year has seen closer working relationships and better understanding develop between the groups.
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said:
“I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and congratulate the voluntary and community sector, including the collective support from Shropshire VCS Assembly, town councils, and parish councils, including the work of Shropshire Association of Local Councils, in their response to the pandemic.
“I recognise how fortunate we are locally with the resilience of many of our communities. The Community and Rural Strategy will be important in working to endorse and enhance that resilience as we move forward.”
During the year, research has been undertaken by the VCS Assembly to better understand areas of pressure, with sector leaders supporting work to address concerns.
The local response to coronavirus saw many new community groups being established to offer support to those in most need, and existing groups responding by quickly changing how they offer support.
This has been supported by the work of the Community Reassurance Team, which continues to offer support and advice to the voluntary and community sector. A positive outcome has been stronger private sector partnerships and close working with town councils and parish councils.
VCS organisations have also increased their online and digital offers, but remain concerned about the proportion of the population without the adequate equipment, skills or connectivity to benefit from online services.
Another success has been lobbying and influencing MPs on the provision of some financial support to the voluntary and community sector. Local MPs were very responsive and played a part in influencing the development of the national VCS Coronavirus Support Grant schemes.
Gwilym Butler added:
“Locally the VCS continues to play a key role in social prescribing and supports local health responses.”