Most people who volunteered for charities that had received funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) said they would be likely to volunteer in the future.
Yesterday, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the National Lottery Community Fund published the Impact Evaluation of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, which looks at whether the funding achieved its aims.
Overall the report concludes that the £200m fund was successful in increasing the amount of support available to people affected by the pandemic and reducing the number of charities which closed.
However, it notes that for the third aim, reducing the burden on public services, it was less clear if the funding had been entirely successful because in some cases grantholders were helping people to access public services.
The report found that most, 60%, of grantholders increased volunteer hours, either through their existing volunteers or recruiting new ones.
It estimates that as a result of the CCSF 183,200 people volunteered for grantholders, including 47,200 new volunteers.
These new volunteers were more likely to be younger or from an ethnic minority background.
The vast majority of all volunteers were women (68%). The median age for a volunteer was 55 and 46% of volunteers were in work. Some 17% identified as coming from an ethnic minority background and 16% declared a disability status.
Grantholders also adapted the kind of volunteering opportunities they offered, with organisations needing less help with events and more support with things like distributing essential supplies.
As part of the evaluation grantholders surveyed volunteers about their experience, with 92% saying that they would certainly or very likely volunteer in the future.
Some 9,466 volunteers completed the survey and almost all, 99%, of volunteers reported at least one positive outcome from their experience. This includes:
- 48% reported improved mental health and wellbeing.
- 66% said volunteering had given them a sense of purpose.
- 84% said they felt like they were making a difference.
Around 10% also had a negative experience. This includes 4% who said they felt at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, while 2% were felt unappreciated and another 2% were out of pocket.
Unsuccessful applicants more likely to fold
Researchers compared Companies House data for successful and unsuccessful applicants to the CCSF and found that closure rates for unsuccessful applicants were higher than for successful applicants.
Between July 2020 and July 2021 1.5% of CCSF grantholders closed, compared with 2.8% of the unsuccessful applicants. The report describes this as “statistically significant”.
When researchers looked more closely at the data it found smaller organisations were more at risk of closure. In addition, larger charities had a comparable level of reserves, regardless of whether their CCSF application had been successful.