Many of Shropshire’s voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations are feeling the effects of Covid-19 on their everyday operations. Thanks to funding from the Covid Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), VCS organisations in Shropshire are now benefitting from the help of a new team designed to help get them back on their feet called SIP Voluntary & Community Support Team.
The SIP Voluntary & Community Support Team offers free infrastructure support services to local charitable groups & organisations in Shropshire. Infrastructure support means help with everything from advice and guidance to groups and organisations (such as legal structures, committee advice, volunteer management etc), to grant and funding advice, offering a volunteer brokerage service, and a wide variety of heavily subsidised trainings. A full list of what the team can provide can be found here.
The team is made up of four highly experienced infrastructure support specialists who have been working in the voluntary and community sector for many years. The timing of this team’s work couldn’t be better. “We are finding that organisations that may not have needed support in the past are now also contacting us,” says Allison Richardson, Team Manager. “This is an important indication of how vital these services are for Shropshire right now. The team is working with a wide range of groups who are all experiencing similar issues due to the pandemic. The feedback from the support we are currently providing has been very positive. To be able to have a wide range of advice, guidance and support from one team has already enabled groups to become more sustainable and have the capacity for future growth “
Not only is this grant and the work of the SIP team great news for VCSA members, but the other thing for the VCSA to celebrate is the central role that of one of their own Forums of Interest played in securing the funding for this programme.
The Shropshire Strategic Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) is a long-running collaboration between Community Resource (formerly Shropshire RCC), Qube, Energize, and Shropshire Youth Association. SIP is also a well-established VCSA Forum of Interest. It was their hard work & deep understanding of the VCS needs in Shropshire, alongside the Shropshire Council Social Impact Task Force that meant this proposal was submitted and, ultimately, received funding to move forward.