Together We Can

Charities, Community Groups, Social Enterprises and Voluntary organisations are #NeverMoreNeeded than they are now.

This current time in our lives is a transformational moment; this crisis has highlighted the unique role of the not for profit sector to react quickly and step up, step in and provide support that no-one else can. We all know that not for profit organisations make our communities stronger and many of us hope that as we rebuild, we will redesign our economy and social systems so that it works for all of us with not for profit organisations as genuine partners in the system.

Whilst I am a Trustee at Cumbria CVS, my day job is with Cumbria County Council. In the last 10 weeks I have had the privilege of running a campaign on behalf of the Council and its partners called ‘Cumbria Together We Can’. The focus of the campaign being the incredible efforts that our communities have done as we have pulled together to respond to the Covid pandemic. I have spent weeks focussing on all of the positives that have been coming from our communities, the mutual aid groups setting up, the volunteers signing up, the existing charities ramping up – we should be proud of our communities and we should be shouting loud for support for our sector.

The Covid-19 pandemic and recent events have highlighted the inequalities in our communities, the imbalance of power in our nation and the fragility of our state. We need to take this moment and learn from it.

As a former Trustee at Multicultural Cumbria, I truly believe there is more that unites us, than divides us, but I am also aware that as a collective, the sector does need to look at how the structures and cultures within our own environments reinforce inequality. The success of our sector comes from reacting and responding to the needs in our communities and ensuring we are never to separate from them to ask them and ourselves “what can we do better?”.

I’ll leave you with that thought in the hope that in this unprecedented time, we can make our sector even better.

Joanna Coleman
Cumbria CVS