40% of charities report that their future is uncertain beyond October 2020; 85% of charities have had to close or put part of their service on hold due to Covid-19.

Charities across York and North Yorkshire were invited to take part in the ‘Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) Resilience Survey’ in April to help measure the impact that the coronavirus is having on the sector. Both Community First Yorkshire and York CVS have analysed the results.

While the downturn in the fortunes of some voluntary sector organisations is no surprise, analysis of the survey results demonstrates that organisations are showing an incredible amount of flexibility and determination in their drive to support local communities and people.

Key findings summary:

  • 41% may struggle to sustain operations beyond 6 months
  • 85% have closed or put on hold part of their service
  • 78% have continued to operate; 63% of those have modified their services
  • 44% are finding digital exclusion an issue, across all age groups
  • 70% say that at least one income stream has been affected
  • 60% can find a positive in the current situation
  • 50% have found funders to be flexible and supportive as activities have needed to be adapted


Leah Swain, Chief Executive at Community First Yorkshire, said:

“Covid-19 has had a profound effect on the voluntary and community sector in North Yorkshire, triggering changes in income, service delivery and staffing.

“We knew the survey findings would show worrying trends in financial stability and future operation for many organisations, particularly smaller charities, and we have been working hard to provide support and advice during the coronavirus.”

Despite the difficulties experienced by many voluntary sector organisations, Leah notes the incredible spirit that is shining through:

“Organisations have reported an incredible surge in community spirit with people showing greater unity and kindness, and a desire to help the most vulnerable. I am humbled by the commitment from charity staff and their determination and ability to adapt at this difficult time.  A huge number of volunteers have also provided local support to neighbours and their wider communities.

“We believe that it’s important for the voluntary sector to come together with funders and public sector partners to help charities and community groups get through this difficult period and be able to continue to support vulnerable people and communities after Covid-19.”

Alison Semmence, Chief Executive of York CVS, said:

“Our purpose and passion at York CVS and Community First Yorkshire is to support and champion voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations. This is more important than ever as the survey results across the area, and nationally, indicate that we are set to lose valuable local services if we don’t act quickly. If your organisation needs support, please do get in touch, we’re here to help!

“In order to support those smaller organisations and charities who do not have the resources, York CVS will be launching a fundraising campaign to ask local residents to help ‘keep the lights on’ for those valuable services that support so many vulnerable people in York.”

If you need help with planning your organisation’s future post lockdown please do get in touch with your local organisation, who can support your community group, charity or social enterprise with advice and guidance on: funding, governance and trustee support, financial support, marketing advice and exploring ways to develop your organisation.

If you are based in York contact York CVS on 01904 621133,

If you are based in North Yorkshire contact Community First Yorkshire on 01904 704177,