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Citizens Advice Rutland and Rutland County Council launch new strategy to help voluntary and community groups tackle county’s problems

An elected group is to be set up to support the work of volunteers and community groups across the county.

Citizens Advice Rutland want to hear from people interested in getting involved in the representative body which will be launched in the spring.

It’s part of a new four-year Rutland Voluntary and Community Strategy announced this month which aims to provide a ‘vibrant and thriving’ voluntary sector which ‘improves the quality of life’ for people in Rutland.

Citizens Advice Rutland
Citizens Advice Rutland

It was produced by Citizens Advice Rutland, working with Oakham-based Change Agents UK, and commissioned by the county council.

Voluntary and community groups help support social services, health, legal and council services; provide leisure activities; support young people and older people; run support groups for people in need.

A steering group asked for feedback from 215 people from 165 voluntary organisations across the county and, using that, came up with key recommendations and actions.

Former High Sheriff of Rutland Geoff Thompson chaired the steering group
Former High Sheriff of Rutland Geoff Thompson chaired the steering group

They include:

- work with transport providers to improve local transport.

- develop services in underserved communities

- work collectively with funding bodies to secure long-term investment

- support organisations to find funding.

- develop communications between voluntary groups

The Citizens Advice Rutland team
The Citizens Advice Rutland team

Research found public transport, cost of living, isolation and an ageing population were among the biggest challenges facing the community, while funding, apathy and volunteer numbers were the biggest concerns for groups themselves.

The elected body will be tasked with communicating with partner organisations and delivering the strategy.

Geoff Thompson, steering group chairman, said “Last year, as High Sheriff of Rutland, I met many incredible people from across our vibrant voluntary and community sector and I am extremely grateful to all the groups and individuals who gave their time and comments to help develop this strategy.

“As state-provided services face increasing complexity, growing demand for services, and reductions in resources, the voluntary and community sector can play an essential role in helping people live well and solve problems together.

“The sector’s continued success is vital for the quality of life of our residents and this strategy sets out a pathway to support this.”

The full strategy and research can be found at https://volunteerplusrutland.org.uk/reports

For more information or to get involved in the representative body, contact the community development officer at Citizens Advice Rutland at cdo@citizensadvicerutland.org.uk or by calling 01572 725809.

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