I have learnt that public services are about the whole social economy, not just the public sector. The work of the third sector – charities, voluntary associations and social enterprises – has always been important, but throughout this difficult year, it has shown to be critical to the resilience of public services.
The public sector alone would have struggled to support communities across the country. Third sector organisations were able to be at the front line of response and took pressure off the health and care sectors. For example, a small organisation I’ve worked with throughout the pandemic was able to provide much-needed support to vulnerable women and families whose situations had been exacerbated by the crisis. We’ve seen thousands of these organisations mobilise. In the middle of the global toilet paper rush in March 2020, I even started using a social enterprise that provides recycled toilet paper, and that gives 50% of their profits to improve sanitations in low and middle income countries!
The COVID-19 crisis has made us all reconsider what we had previously taken for granted. Third sector organisations come in lots of shapes and sizes, across many sectors, but they all work to address our societal needs, and they’ve taken a pivotal role in addressing and mitigating the impacts of the crisis on individuals, the economy, and on society as a whole.
As the crisis comes to an end, the impact of the social economy’s involvement in public services will have to be leveraged. By taking a stronger focus on places, and empowering communities more, the Government must embrace the new landscape created by the great work of the numerous charities and social enterprises.
To learn more about our work with the third sector contact Micol firstname.lastname@example.org.
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