News April 2020

Posted: April 08th 2020


The lockdown leaves us with little to report. 


We are running our first virtual seminar on mental health and well-being on Thursday (9th April) at 11 am. If you read this in time and send me an email I can send you a login. Speakers include the Lincolnshire Agricultural Chaplain, Jim Hume of Support in Mind and the National Centre themselves on their new project linking impact measurement and farm networks.

Parliamentary Inquiry

We have now completed the edits of the last session, which was on system development and health care delivery. Watch out for the minutes of the session which will be on the website in the next few days.

Rural Proofing Toolkit

Thanks to all those who responded to the call for case studies for the toolkit. These are currently being processed and will feature in due course.

Board Meeting

The next meeting of the Board is scheduled for 28 April and if you would like to look in on it we can connect you up as an observer via zoom.

Nuffield Research

Were looking to develop a new stage to our research on rural funding building on the very successful literature review undertaken for us by Nuffield last year. Watch this space for more details. 

Hot off the Press

We have just finished working with colleagues in Lincolnshire on a survey about the impact of the coronavirus on the VCS sector. The results are chastening and tell us:

Current Financial Impact – Almost half of respondents have faced a major reduction to their financial capacity (50% or more) – this is likely to get worse over the next quarter.

Future Financial Impact - Over 80% of respondents have been substantively affected in terms of their capacity as a consequence of social distancing.

Impact of Social Distancing - Almost 75% of respondents feel that their clients will be very significantly or significantly affected by their reduced capacity.

Client Support - Two thirds of organisations feel that there is no other organisation that will take up their clients.

Impact on Clients – is principally about the fact that services have been withdrawn from specific client groups. Where ongoing support for clients is planned this is almost exclusively through online and telephone support.

Additional Actions - include seeking digital solutions and in some cases having the capacity to deliver previously “hub” based activities through driving and deliveries. 

Scope to Work with Others - some organizations identified that they had digital and phone capacity which could be used to help others and to network with others.

Current Needs - over 30 respondents identified a need for financial support. A proportion identified that their most pressing need will be subject to a time lag when the current pre-contracted activity comes to an end. 

Increasing Capacity - financial resources were identified as the biggest factor, which could increase the capacity of the organisations concerned. Additional foci included a community of support for sharing ideas and more (PPE). 

Wider Support Needs - strategic engagement with the sector was identified as a key factor. 

Planning for Recovery - the provision of professional advice services for VCS bodies was identified. There were concerns that vulnerable groups will need focused and ongoing support. Help with restructuring and the development of formal recovery plans were both identified as important activities to prepare for a robust future. 

We need more evidence from other settings like this and if you would like to put your area forward please let us know via