Most infrastructure bodies seeing rising demand, Navca finds

The umbrella body's annual survey finds that 70 per cent claim to have experienced more call for their services

Infrastructure service demand on the up
Infrastructure service demand on the up

Seven out of 10 local infrastructure bodies have experienced a rise in demand for their services over the past year, a new survey shows.

In the annual survey of chief executives of local infrastructure bodies by the umbrella body Navca, 70 per cent of respondents said demand for their services had increased over the past year.

This was the same proportion as in the previous survey and seven percentage points higher than two years ago.

But 7 per cent of respondents said demand had decreased, up from 3 per cent last year.

The online survey, which attracted 72 responses in November and December, found that almost all local infrastructure bodies were receiving funding from their local authorities, with about two-thirds of them saying the level of funding was significant.

About a quarter said they received significant funding from NHS clinical commissioning groups. A third of respondents said they received some form of EU funding, which Navca pointed out would be threatened by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

The survey also indicated that Navca members, which number slightly more than 200, helped an estimated 115,000 people find volunteer roles last year.

About two-thirds of Navca members support between 251 and 1,000 local voluntary organisations, with members having a combined reach of 160,000 local charities, community groups and voluntary organisations, the umbrella body said.

Neil Cleeveley, chief executive of Navca, said the survey was a timely reminder of the value of local volunteer brokerage.

He said Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, had been right last month to highlight the importance of volunteering.

"I would go further and call for immediate support for local brokerage provided by local volunteering infrastructure," Cleeveley said.

"They have been foolishly ignored by funders in recent years, but if we lose these services we will also lose local volunteers and volunteering opportunities."

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