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      ‘Never more needed’ yet never more stretched: reflections on the role of the voluntary sector during the COVID-19 pandemic

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          Abstract

          This research note presents the preliminary findings from a study into the mobilisation of volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic. Data gathered from 49 semi-structured interviews with representatives from local authorities (LAs), voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations and mutual aid coordinators offer important insights into the state of the sector at this critical juncture, as we find ourselves in a third national lockdown. The role of the VCS in both strategic responses and on-the-ground community action has accorded it renewed respect and credibility. At the same time, the funding landscape for voluntary organisations is uncertain, demand for services is overwhelming, and staff and volunteers are suffering from fatigue. Our findings highlight the imperative of embedding the lessons of the first national lockdown in 2020 by valuing the sector’s contribution to the emergency effort and retaining its seat at the table, ensuring its role in economic and social recovery.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Voluntary Sector Review
          volunt sect rev
          Bristol University Press
          2040-8056
          2021
          Affiliations
          [1 ]University of Sheffield, UK
          [2 ]University of Hull, UK
          Article
          10.1332/204080521X16131303365691
          e42e908d-203a-4708-8085-cc226c1d9cd5
          © 2021
          History

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