Voluntary Action Arun & Chichester: Community response to Covid-19 highlighted at annual meeting

The response to the Covid-19 crisis was a major theme at the Voluntary Action Arun & Chichester annual meeting, highlighting the way communities have pulled together to support residents during the pandemic.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 2:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 3:03 pm

The charity’s members and partners celebrated another year of fantastic voluntary action in Arun and Chichester in a virtual meeting looking back over the work in 2020/21.

The annual meeting was a celebration of not only the work of VAAC but also the amazing work done by the voluntary sector in the area over the past year.

The Impact Report 2021, which was launched during the event, outlined some of the ways the sector was affected by the Covid crisis and how VAAC was able to support its members to survive, even, in many cases, extending their services to support those most in need.

Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester has witnessed the resilience of community groups and charities as they rose to meet huge challenges during the pandemic

Hilda Sherwood, VAAC chief executive, said: “It has been a privilege to lead Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester during the pandemic and to witness the resilience of community groups and charities as they rose to meet huge challenges.

“I am also very proud of our staff team who have gone above and beyond to support the sector, giving expert advice and information on a range of subjects. We are a free service, so please get in touch if you would like support from us.”

Other achievements included the partnerships that continue to develop, among the voluntary sector and with statutory and other partners.

The need for these partnerships was highlighted during Covid-19 with initiatives such as the Arun & Chichester Food Partnership being set up to support local people.

VAAC believes these partnerships are an integral part of building strong and healthy communities, and will continue to champion partnership working and the sharing of ideas and resources.

Direct support included providing training and networking events for 402 people, helping organisations to advertise nearly 100 volunteer roles, with 390 new volunteers registering on the VAAC website, and helping members to raise £401,953 in total.

Ian Noble, project co-ordinator at Charity Mentors Sussex, was invited to speak at the meeting. He explained the free service matches leaders in the third sector to volunteer senior managers and specialists for mentoring and support.

Jenny Garthwright, VAAC digital content and communications officer, said: “We were sad that we weren’t able to hold our AGM In person again this year but we were thrilled to see our members and partners virtually, and to celebrate both the achievements of VAAC over the past year and the amazing strength and resilience of the voluntary sector.

“Thank you to all who came, and we look forward to celebrating even more incredible achievements within the voluntary sector next year.”

For more information on VAAC and how you can get support for your charity or community group, visit www.vaac.org.uk