North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and the County’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have awarded a £1.4 million grant to two established local charities to deliver support and development work to the county’s voluntary sector.

The successful funding application was jointly submitted by North Yorkshire & York Forum (NYYF) and Rural Action Yorkshire (RAY).  NYYF is the current contract holder and has managed the funding since 2011. RAY has been working to support rural communities and groups across the County for 80 years. Both organisations are currently working closely together on a proposed organisational merger to provide enhanced support to voluntary, community and rural organisations. Such a merger will allow the development of new services and a chance to broker new opportunities for members.

County Councillor David Chance, Executive Member, North Yorkshire County Council said:  “From April 1 North Yorkshire & York Forum and Rural Action Yorkshire will be providing practical and strategic support to enable a vibrant voluntary and community sector across the county.

“The grant from the County Council and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups replaces previous, non-competitive arrangements established in October 2011, originally for 18 months and rolled forward annually every year since.  We carried out an in depth review of the voluntary and community sector infrastructure in 2015-16 and in 2016 a new competitive process future funding of infrastructure support was introduced.  The review considered best practice, the views of suppliers and the views of a sample of 160 voluntary and community organisations with regard to the current services they receive and demand for future support, including support volunteering.’’

 Leah Swain, Chief Executive of RAY, said: “We are delighted to have secured this grant which provides us with the opportunity to build on the good work of the current service providers in supporting the voluntary and community sector. We are excited about how we might be ambitious for the sector and create new ways of providing support for a wide range of different voluntary or community groups. We are looking forward to working with the sector to shape the new service to meet their needs. This is a significant financial investment by the County Council and the CCGs who are investing in the health of a sector that they value as a critical partner in delivering their services.”

Simon Hills, Interim Chief Executive of NYYF, said: “We are really proud to have retained management of the grant and are looking forward to continuing to work with and support voluntary organisations in North Yorkshire. We are aiming to enhance the quality of support we offer and plan to make accessing those services easier for organisations whatever their size and location.”

Management of the new grant will start on 1 April.