State of the Voluntary Sector in Hampshire

State of the Voluntary Sector in Hampshire

Action Hampshire, with the support of the district CVSs, recently carried out some research into the state of the voluntary sector in Hampshire.

An on-line survey was circulated around Hampshire’s voluntary and community sector organisations in November/December 2017. A range of questions were posed, most of which were asked in relation to the organisation’s position 3 years ago.

478 responses were received commenting on areas including capacity to deliver services, financial security, volunteering and planning for the future. Some of the key findings highlighted issues on the increase in demand for services and areas that organisations are struggling with.

Demand
Over 60% of respondents reported that demand for their services has increased over the past 3 years, but many also report that the type of demand has changed. As other services close, there is nowhere to refer clients on to:

“Clients are more likely to have multiple issues, and as other support services have decreased we often cannot refer them for other support and therefore work holistically.”

What are organisations struggling with?
Organisations continue to struggle with a range of subjects and issues: volunteers (recruiting, retaining and managing), marketing, and gaining funds (specifically earning fees, bid writing, and tendering & procurement).

“It has become much harder to generate revenue. Even our fund raising events are getting fewer people.”

Very few respondents said that they were likely to be helping their beneficiaries less in a year’s time. A worrying 22% of respondents felt that they either had ‘no idea’ where they would be in a year’s time, or were unsure if they would still exist in a year’s time.

What does this mean for the future of Hampshire’s voluntary sector organisations?

You can download the summary and full report here:

The Good Childhood Report 2016

good-childhood-report-2016

Over the last decade the Children’s Society have asked over 60,000 children how they think their lives are going.  The Good Childhood Report 2016 is their fifth in-depth study into children’s well-being, produced in partnership with the University of York.

good-childhood-report-2016-coverThe media picked up on some of its headline findings:

  • 1 in 3 girls are unhappy with their appearance
  • Girls are less happy than they used to be
  • Children’s direct experiences of where they live affect their well-being more than factors further removed from them

It lists three main policy recommendations:

  1. The Government should introduce a legally binding entitlement for children and young people to be able to access mental health and well-being support in educational settings in England and Wales. This must include sufficient funding.
  2. The Government must commit to understanding and acting on children’s well-being. At the moment there is no firm commitment from the Government that children’s well-being will continue to be measured. With a new Government in place, now is the time to reaffirm the commitment to monitoring well-being – and particularly children’s well-being – across the UK.
  3. Local authorities across the UK should develop a process to make sure that children have a voice in decision-making about their local areas, including:
  • Developing a process to allow children and young people to debate the issues affecting their lives and to assist in decision-making over setting priorities for the year ahead.
  • Bringing people together at a neighbourhood level to improve children’s access to, and their perception of safety in, their local environment – including local parks and open spaces.
  • Producing an annual children and young people’s local profile that brings together the range of data that is available on children’s lives in the area.

You can read the summary report here or have a look at the full report.

And if you want to tackle some of the issues raised by the report such as self-esteem, relationships and well-being, get hold of the Seriously Awkward resource which has 6 creative sessions to use with young people.

Youthscape Centre for Research

Phoebe ThompsonPhoebe Thompson (previously editor of Youthwork Magazine) has recently started a new role, developing a research unit at Youthscape.

The Youthscape Centre for Research is a brand new think tank situated at the heart of Youthscape.  Their hope is to carry out national pieces of research among youth workers and young people.  As part of this they’ve created an online registration form with just a few questions, inviting any youth workers out there who are interested to get involved with our work.

We need youth workers around the UK to participate in our research, to help us reflect on the findings, and to contribute to youth work strategy and innovation going forwards. We will be carrying out a few research projects each year, and would love you to be a part of them!

Simply answer the few short questions in the following survey, and they will be in touch soon.

Children wide open to God says survey

Great snippet from an article in the latest Connecting You from Scripture Union

Children are open to spirituality and have a natural inclination for prayer, whether or not their parents have an active faith, says a new piece of research commissioned by Scripture Union as part of the Guardians of Ancora project.

The survey of children aged 8 to 12 years old and their parents backs up what SU have always known – that children have enquiring minds, big imaginations and an innate desire to reach out to God and, given the right stimulus, will do so naturally.

Data gathered from children’s use of the game will also feed into the largest ever longitudinal study of the faith development of 8 to 11 year olds, in turn helping Scripture Union to create more effective tools for Bible engagement with this age group.

Digital Children: Learning Spaces

Allen Reesor on Learning Spaces at the Digital Children conference:

Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 that we need to become little children but we don’t know who is the child.

Who is a child?  Are we becoming like little children?

Who learns from whom?  As adults we are not the experts, we come knowing that we don’t know.  If you already know everything you need to know you don’t need to do the research!  Children strive to know about God, to understand more about God, and they mistakenly believe adults know more.  Are we learning from them or are we trying to teach them?

Children learn differently

  • Want to access not memorise information.  They don’t bother with memorisation, they bother with access.  Are we giving them the access and avenues they want.
  • They want access to experience not facts.  The Bible doesn’t come at you as a theology text, but as a bunch of people’s experiences.

Children have a new set of values

  • They are creative not rigid – it is why they play the same level of the same game several times.  We have multiple learning styles.
  • They do not like it when the church is perceived as judging rather than accepting and loving.
  • Interested in relationship not position – don’t care on title but on whether the other person is interested in a relationship with them.
  • Children’s engagement related to change
  • What changes are significant
  • It is not about simply entertaining.  Sometimes when you encounter God you’re not always entertained, sometimes meet him in silence, sometimes challenged and browbeaten etc.

Learning Spaces: Messy Research

  • Create a Research Hypothesis
  • Roundtable discussions with theoreticians and practitioners
  • In UK and USA
  • Formulate a theory for testing

Test with qualitative research

  • Focus groups with children (aged 8-11 years old), parents, and practitioners of spiritual formation.

Initial findings

  • Indicators of Spiritual Vitality
  • 3 possible domains shown in the USA and UK: God, myself and others.

Theory of Spiritual Vitality

  • Interdependence of domains
  • What comes first?

Can we quantify pre-teen Spiritual Vitality?

If we were to measure Jesus on this scale we would have three completely over layed circles – completely perfect spiritually.  But on the negative side we would have three circles completely unrelated.

“It is not so much that it is a question of spiritual development but the development of the battle for spiritual vitality.”

Next Steps

  • Define sub-factors
  • Research review – how do other sciences quantifying such factors?
  • Create a prototype based on best practices.
  • Validate assessment results – need to test with children that the model is right.  Children have deep awareness of their spiritual life.

‘The Church in Action’ – latest research report from Church Urban Fund

‘The Church in Action’ – latest research report from Church Urban Fund

Church Urban Fund’s latest research report The Church in Action: a national survey of church-led social action quantifies the scale of Anglican church-led social action in England, explores the types of activities that parishes run and identifies the social needs they help to address.

Our findings show that thousands of parish churches around the country play an active role in their local community, running lunch clubs for older people, after school clubs for children living in deprived areas or food banks for parents desperately trying to feed their families.

These activities, and many others like them, are signs of parish churches quietly serving disadvantaged or vulnerable members of their community.

Latest research from Church Urban Fund

Church Urban Fund report

Survival Strategies: A survey of the impact of the current economic climate on community organisations in the most deprived areas of England

Church Urban Fund’s latest research report examines the impact of the current economic climate on community organisations in the most deprived areas of England.

It follows two reports published by Church Urban Fund in 2011, ‘At the Cutting Edge’ and ‘Holding on by a Shoestring’, which looked in detail at how public spending cuts were affecting people and organisations at a grassroots level. Returning a year later to the same organisations, we wanted to examine the ongoing effects of the economic climate.

We found that the current economic climate is having a significant impact upon community organisations and people living in deprived areas of England. This impact can be seen in the rising demand for services and the difficulty of securing funding.

However, in response to these difficulties, organisations are employing a range of survival strategies in order to meet rising demand with rising service provision.

Boys Hit Puberty Younger

The New York Times recently highlighted researching showing that boys hit puberty younger but it is unclear as to why:

A large study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that boys are entering puberty earlier now than several decades ago — or at least earlier than the time frame doctors have historically used as a benchmark.

The study, widely considered the most reliable attempt to measure puberty in American boys, estimates that boys are showing signs of puberty six months to two years earlier than was reported in previous research, which historically taught that 11 ½ was the general age puberty began in boys. But experts cautioned that because previous studies were smaller or used different approaches, it is difficult to say how much earlier boys might be developing.

The study echoes research on girls, which has now established a scientific consensus that they are showing breast development earlier than in the past.

The study did not try to determine what might be causing earlier puberty, although it mentioned changes in diet, less physical activity and other environmental factors as possibilities. Experts said that without further research, implications for boys are unclear.

Dolores J. Lamb, a molecular endocrinologist at Baylor College of Medicine and president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, who was not involved in the study said:

“This should perhaps set a standard going forward for being very attentive to puberty in boys and being mindful that they’re developing earlier.  Whether the difference is as large as what they say on some papers 40 years ago is not clear.” However, she added, “this is going to be incredibly useful to pediatricians and urologists.”

The new study also found that African-American boys began puberty earlier than whites and Hispanics, a result that other studies have shown also applies to African-American girls. Researchers said that difference is most likely driven by the role of genes in puberty.

On average, black boys in the study showed signs of puberty, primarily identified as growth of the testicles, at a little older than 9, while white and Hispanic boys were a little older than 10.

Several experts said the study should not be seized upon as cause for alarm, but rather as a way to help parents and doctors gauge what to be aware of in boys’ development and whether to start conversations about social issues sooner.

For the study, researchers enlisted about 200 pediatricians in 41 states to record information on 4,131 healthy boys ages 6 to 16 during their well-child exams.