Research shows size & shape of voluntary/community activity

Thu, March 19th, 2015

The research was commissioned by LCVS and undertaken by LJMU (EIUA)

In March 2015 LCVS published research which for the first time accurately assessed the size and shape of voluntary and community activity across the Liverpool City Region.

The research, commissioned by LCVS (Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services), was undertaken by Liverpool John Moores University’s European Institute for Urban Affairs (EIUA). It shows how important the voluntary and community sector is from an economic perspective.

Key findings were:

  • That there are 8,638 voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) based in the City Region, a total made up 3,102 registered and some 5,536 ‘below the radar’ organisations.
  • There are 24,196 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees working in the sector in the City Region, with an average of 7.8 employees per registered voluntary sector organisation. This employment figure exceeds, for example, that of four of the City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership’s seven targeted growth sectors.
  • The City Region’s VCS has a Gross Value Added (GVA) of £917.9m, or 3.7% of the City-Region’s total GVA. Based on this figure the voluntary sector’s economic contribution is comparable to the finance and insurance and information and communication sectors, within the Liverpool City Region and exceeds that of four of the seven growth sectors targeted by the City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership.
  • Volunteering in the Liverpool City Region has a GVA of £551m.
  • The VCS plays a vital role in ensuring services are delivered to the parts of society where the private and public sectors cannot or will not reach. Compared to the national average, the Liverpool City Region has proportionally more organisations working in capacity building; health; training; economic well-being; and community development.
  • Compared to the national pattern, the Liverpool City Region also has proportionally more voluntary sector organisations fulfilling the following roles:
  • Delivery of public services – 34% of organisations
  • Community development and mutual aid – 31% of organisations
  • Emotional support/befriending services –26% of organisations
  • Providing advice to individuals – 27% of organisations
  • Advocacy, campaigning, representation, information and research – 21% of organisations
  • Providing staff and volunteers – 22% of organisations
  • Help for people to access services and benefits – 20% of organisations
  • Capacity building – 15% of organisations

Tony Okotie, Chief Executive of LCVS, said:

“It has long been accepted that voluntary and community sector activity adds to the richness and quality of life at a local level. The range of activities and services is enormous. However, what has been lacking is independent and reliable data about the sector’s reach and its economic contribution. This research clearly demonstrates that, beyond its social role, the sector is also an important economic player both as a major employer within the city region, and through the significant economic value of volunteering”.

Gerwyn Jones, Senior Research Fellow at EIUA, and one of the authors of the research report,said:

“This research adds to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the significant economic and social value of the voluntary and community sector. Its contribution to the Liverpool City Region economy is so significant that the sector needs to be recognised as a key partner and fully involved alongside the public and private sectors in the governance arrangements of the City Region.”

Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive of the Liverpool and Sefton Chamber of Commerce, added:

"Liverpool and Sefton Chamber have always recognised through our partnership work with LCVS the important contribution charities in Liverpool make to the city. This research now provides valuable evidence to show just how important the voluntary and community sector is from an economic perspective to the City region."


A full copy of the research can be downloaded here: http://www.lcvs.org.uk/res/media/pdf/SizeandShapeofVCSFINAL.pdf

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