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Voluntary sector cannot tackle the county’s problems alone

With county council finances in chaos Northamptonshire’s biggest grant provider has warned that the voluntary sector is not a replacement for statutory funding.

On March 1 The Northants Community Foundation will release a forensic examination of where the county’s most deprived areas are in the Hidden Needs report.

NCF Chief Executive Victoria Miles, pictured, said: “Our Hidden Needs report clearly highlights the key areas of deprivation and inequality that are of great concern and need tackling within Northamptonshire.

“We anticipate further requests for funding, particularly for those mainly volunteer led organisations who are quite often delivering essential services.

“The recent announcements regarding local authority funding will undoubtedly have major repercussions, and whilst we will try to bridge the gap with funds from our generous donors, I feel quite strongly that a local community foundation should add value to support thriving communities and not replace statutory funding.”

Northamptonshire Community Foundation is a grant giving charity that provides much needed and often life changing grants to some of the County’s most vulnerable and in need people. The charity’s Northamptonshire Hidden Needs report will unveil the hidden social issues in the county and the effect they have on the community.

The findings will unearth urgent needs within communities exploring themes such as Education, Health and Wellbeing, Housing, Children and Young people and Crime.

Victoria said: “The findings in this report have come at a critical time for those who we work with; our fund holders and those charities and voluntary organisations that benefit from our grants. As the largest local grant giver in the county it is vital that we recognise the priority needs across our communities, so that we can help and assist our donors in providing more directed grant giving to those who are most in need and to build on our social impact. Based on the highlighted deprivation and inequality from the research, the Foundation will look to engage further with a range of partners to provide more opportunities to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities.”

The academic research has been conducted by Professor Richard Hazenberg and PhD Researcher, Claire Paterson-Young at the University of Northampton, Institute for Social Innovation and Impact.

Professor Richard Hazenberg, Professor of Social Innovation spoke of the methodology behind the research “The research was conducted by completing a systematic review of existing information relating to the areas explored in the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The existing information was collated in a spreadsheet, with RAW data analysed and compared to other reports for accuracy. Once the information was collected and analysed, the report was formed based on key areas of ‘need’ identified in Northamptonshire.”

Increasingly voluntary organisations are stepping in to provide services. This arrangement can work well making the most of charities’ expertise.

However it can also allow local and national government to covertly reduce what it provides for taxpayers.

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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