The contribution that Thurrock’s rich tapestry of voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups make to the wellbeing of Thurrock often goes unnoticed. Whilst people are aware of the work of the large organisations such as CAB and Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions, the hundreds of micro and small groups supplying help, support and companionship is often overlooked. In the 2016 State of the Sector Survey which follows, over 70% of the respondents were organisations classed as micro or small which enables this report to demonstrate that whilst the large organisations deliver vital services and a voice at the front end, it is ably supported by a raft of small, often localised and subject specific groups.

The income received by the sector either through grants, service agreements or income generation continues to decrease with a 15% drop from the £34.9 million off 2014/15 to £29.8 million this year. The need for public sector bodies to reduce their overall spending has meant that there is less money available either through; contracts, grants or SLA’s. This will continue to have its greatest impact on the small to medium sized organisations who traditionally have received much of their income from the public sector. We will continue to work with Statutory Partners to demonstrate that commissioning services and working with the sector is a more cost effective solution to maintaining frontline services for the residents of Thurrock.

This survey demonstrates the huge impact that Thurrock’s voluntary, community and faith sector has on the wellbeing of Thurrock residents, with nearly 5,000 volunteers contributing an estimated 45,000 hours of their time each month. To employ staff at the median wage for this area to undertake the work of these volunteers would cost £607k per month, if only 25% of the volunteers work reduced the impact on public sector bodies this represents a saving of £7.2 million per annum on the public sector wage bill.

Click here to read the full 'Thurrock State of the Voluntary Sector 2016' report.