Sector 'worth £777m to Cornwall'

The voluntary sector is worth of £777m to the Cornish economy and employs 17,120 people, according to a new report.

Valuing the Voluntary Sector, published by the Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, also found that there are about 3,000 voluntary and community groups in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

"The voluntary sector is often recognised for ‘doing good works', rather than as an economic driver," said Blair Thomson, director of the forum. "We now have evidence to prove there is real value in the voluntary sector. It will break down preconceptions."

The report also examined the impact of the European Union's Objective One funding programme. A total of £45m Objective One money was invested in Cornwall's voluntary and community sector between 2000 and 2006, and 20,000 people in the county benefited from Objective One-funded voluntary sector projects. The sector also received a greater proportion of Objective One money than local government or the private sector, the researchers found.

"Objective One encouraged the sector to work together and to have a more unified voice than it had in the past," said Phil McVey, director of European Programmes at the South West Regional Development Agency. "It raised its visibility and it was much easier for policymakers and funders to engage with the sector, and therefore be aware of it what its contribution was."

Last moth the Wales Council for Voluntary Action announced that it could shed more than a quarter of its staff because its Objective One funding was stopping (Third Sector, 28 May).

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