The Wheel Welcomes First National Strategy to Support the Community and Voluntary Sector

The Wheel, the national association of community and voluntary organisations, welcomes the launch of Ireland’s first national strategy to support the community and voluntary sector. The Minister of Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D launched the strategy entitled ‘Sustainable, Inclusive, Communities: A five-year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland 2019-2024’ in Dublin earlier today. 

Commenting on the launch of the new strategy, Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy at The Wheel said, “Community and voluntary organisations that are the lifeblood of the country have faced an increasing number of challenges in recent years and this strategy is a major step towards supporting their work. In enabling the work of these vital organisations the strategy has the potential to positively impact people in every community in the country.

“The commitment of Minister Michael Ring and his officials to support community and voluntary activity is to be commended. The new strategy represents a shift in the relationship between state and sector, to one which is rooted in collaborative working for the benefit of all,” said Mr Cooper. 

The strategy, which The Wheel progressed as a member of the drafting group, outlines key measures that have long been required by the sector. Mr. Cooper highlighted the objective in the strategy to develop a multi-annual funding approach as the standard for public-funded programmes, and the objective to reduce, streamline and standardize reporting and compliance requirements, as enabling charities to enhance their ability to plan ahead and focus their resources on delivering services. 

“Combined with the recently published policy on social enterprise and the forthcoming announcement of a volunteering policy, the government is assembling the first comprehensive road map to support thousands of community and voluntary organisations, and the tens of thousands of volunteers giving their time for the benefit of communities,” said Mr Cooper. 

However, he noted that resourcing and practical implementation plans are now key to the success of the strategy. “A specific new budget line should be included in Budget 2020 and in the next funding allocation to the Department of Rural and Community Development, to ensure that all the measures in the strategy are implemented,” said Mr Cooper. 

Finally, Mr. Cooper added, “We believe that with the commitment of all involved, and adequate resourcing by government, the strategy is a potentially transformative moment for the community and voluntary sector in Ireland.” 

Download the strategy