We are extremely saddened to inform you all that East Riding Voluntary Action Services (ERVAS) Ltd and partners Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council (HWRCC), South Holderness Resource Centre (SHoRes, Withernsea), Agencia Consulting Limited and Yorkshire Health Partners were unsuccessful with our bid for the iBCF Social Prescribing Linking Service and the VCS Support and Development Service for the East Riding of Yorkshire. We therefore will not be contracted by East Riding of Yorkshire Council to provide support to the VCS in East Riding from 1st May 2018.
ERVAS has held the VCS Support and Development Contract since 2007 in our own right and prior to this from 2003 as a project of North Bank Forum. Since 2011, we also worked with partners HWRCC, SHoRes and The Courtyard in Goole. We are extremely disappointed that as a local charity working within local communities, the value of local relationships for the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) has not been recognised. We have worked with over 90% of the 2,500+ VCS organisations in the East Riding and spent considerable time getting to understand their needs in order to develop new services and effectively represent them at a local and national level. Since 2007 we have also brought in additional resources of over £3.25 million to help us support VCS organisations and local communities. In the last 5 years we have also supported VCS organisations with their own fundraising which has brought over £2 million into local communities across East Riding.
Furthermore, we have been providing Social Prescribing Services since 2015, with HWRCC and SHoRes first as a pilot funded through the Better Care fund, and later as a sub-contractor of City Health Care Partnership, as part of the Community Services contract through East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group.
At a time when East Riding of Yorkshire Council is keen to work to a system leadership model and increase resources and support for local community assets, that they have decided to award this contract to Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust and partners, contradicts those ideologies and highlights some of the difficulties within the various systems.
As a result of the above, ERVAS’s income for 2018-19, will reduce by approximately 65%, therefore we will be undertaking a restructure, reviewing the services that we continue to offer and withdrawing from a large number of the strategic boards that we represent on. However, we retain the same aims as a charity and will continue to be the supportive, enthusiastic infrastructure body required by the Sector. By making changes, we are confident that we will be able to develop a sustainable model and continue to provide infrastructure support to VCS organisations. This will ensure that services provided outside of the current Support Services (e.g Community Accountancy, Volunteen etc) will continue and all of our services continue to be relevant to the VCS in line with identified need and will be available into the future. We will continue to provide infrastructure support, work in partnership with VCS organisations and access additional funding opportunities to develop new services as required by the sector.
We are keen to engage with you as VCS partners as we review our activities and will seek views over the coming weeks about what you think we could helpfully offer in the future.
This development, although not what we would have hoped for, provides us with a new challenge and an opportunity to maintain our development as a well-respected infrastructure body for the VCS in the East Riding.
Sian Broughton ACMA, CGMA, DChA, MAAT, ASET
Chief Executive Officer