Research findings by We Act show that people greatly value the work of smaller and local charities and community groups, with 71% of those surveyed agreeing that locally based organisations have a strong understanding of their needs, while 60% agreed that being local to where they live is important to them.
There are 787 charities in Laois including local voluntary supports, such as disability services, sports clubs, and family resource centres. Respondents believe that these charities have a strong impact on their community and that the charity and community sector is more responsive and flexible than statutory services during times of crisis.
We Act spokesperson Sarah Monaghan said: “We know that most charity and community groups are set up in response to a need or a personal crisis – this need is often local or one that an individual, family or group has direct experience of. For example, in Portlaoise, Laois Traveller Action Group represents, supports and empowers Travellers to achieve equality, and recognition of Traveller culture.”
There are 34,000 organisations in the sector, employing almost 165,000 people with a further 1 million volunteers. The combined turnover of the sector is approximately €13.9 billion. Over 93,000 people serve on the boards of Irish nonprofits and charities.
Ms Monaghan continued, “The size of the charity and community sector can often surprise people. The sector employs a similar amount of people as the construction industry. But the true value of the sector really becomes apparent during times of crisis. The pandemic demonstrated that – in times of real crisis – charities and community groups are at the forefront of our national and local response.”
The survey of 1,000 people in Ireland conducted on behalf of the We Act campaign found:
71 per cent agree that small charity and community organisations understand their needs.
60 per cent agree that being local to where they live is important.
62 per cent think charities are more likely to be responsive in their services than statutory services.
66 per cent think charities are more likely to be flexible in their services than statutory services.
69 per cent think charities are more likely to be personal in their services than statutory services.
75 per cent say that, if charities disappeared overnight, the lives of vulnerable people would be impacted.
77 per cent think that the charity and community sector need to play a role in advocating for those who are vulnerable.
Irish charities and community groups joined forces late last year to launch We Act, a national campaign that will build on the huge upswell of community activity during the Covid-19 pandemic and help drive the post-pandemic recovery.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.