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Volunteers’ work is vital in ‘precarious’ pre-Brexit times, says charity chief

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:14 27 August 2018

Pete Richardson, CEO of Community Action Suffolk Picture: JAMES FLETCHER/COMMUNITY ACTION SUFFOLK

Pete Richardson, CEO of Community Action Suffolk Picture: JAMES FLETCHER/COMMUNITY ACTION SUFFOLK

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Voluntary groups in Suffolk should be recognised for the work they are doing for the community at “a time of incredible uncertainty, and in a period of huge austerity”.

Pete Richardson, chief executive of umbrella body Community Action Suffolk, was speaking following the announcement of the government’s new Civil Society Strategy outlining how it intends to work with charities, social enterprises and community groups to build a stronger country and community.

Mr Richardson said the voluntary sector’s work in these precarious pre-Brexit times was vital.

He said: “It’s high time we were fully acknowledging the work that the voluntary sector is doing in Britain – but specifically Suffolk – at a time of incredible uncertainty, and in a period of huge austerity.

“All too often, it’s being forgotten that it is the charities and community groups of our county which are keeping people from adding to the weight of demand on health services or education authorities or other social provisions.

“It’s our incredible voluntary sector which is serving people with support and resource in areas like mental health, financial signposting, family befriending, access to specialist care, and so much more.”

Suffolk, Community Action Suffolk has hundreds of members – from large-scale registered charities, through to smaller WI and Scout groups.

Mr Richardson said: “Each of those groups or causes is delivering incredible work, often on very limited resource – and all too frequently without the recognition they deserve.

“This strategy is something of a validation of the importance of such bodies, and at the same time demonstrates how critical the government sees ‘civil society’ in helping us to all feel more empowered in our communities.

“In many respects, it is the voluntary sector which has been helping the county to stay healthy and maintain momentum in difficult times. With more cuts in services, more demands from within our community, and more need to help people stay connected in their neighbourhoods, it is charities and social enterprises in Suffolk which have facilitated that critical work.”

Community Action Suffolk has an ongoing mission to help its members play their part in the county in the most effective way possible, serving them with expert resources and information, and guiding them toward funding or crucial legal frameworks.

Community Action Suffolk was formed five years ago, as the result of a merger between a number of charitable and community organisations in the county.

Members can access a variety of resources and training opportunities. For detail about the work being carried out visit Community Action Suffolk

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