Seminar held in Belfast to discuss independence role of voluntary sector

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Image: Bill Osborne from the Building Change Trust giving an introduction at today’s seminar in the NICVA building in Belfast

By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor

Ulster University Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS), who have been commissioned by the Building Change Trust to carry out research on the independence of the Voluntary, Community and Social Economy (VCSE) sector in Northern Ireland, today held a seminar on the topic in the NICVA building in Belfast

The future of an independent voluntary sector has become a matter of intense debate in England and a growing body of evidence is emerging on the nature of the challenges faced by voluntary and community organizations.

A combination of cuts in government funding and the increasing role of voluntary and community organisations in delivering public services, often in competition with private companies, has created considerable turmoil with a number of organisations seeing their funding wiped out or severely reduced.

The research project has two aims. The first is to design an “Independence toolkit” that voluntary sector organisations will be able to use beyond the lifetime of the project to benchmark their independence against an agreed set of measures.

The second is to collect data on the state of voluntary sector independence in Northern Ireland that will lead to the publication of two annual reports on the subject.

At the seminar, participants had the opportunity to hear more about the research, engage with the research team and find out how they can get involved.

A series of images from today’s event can be seen below:

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