Bournemouth and Poole CVS
Supporting Voluntary and Community action in Bournemouth and Poole

Voluntary/Community Sector and the Local Economy

Bournemouth’s voluntary and community sector significantly contributes to the local economy

The sector is not well recognised as a significant contributor to the local economy and its growth. However it does this through:



1. The sector is a significant employer and buyer of local services and goods
  • There are about 400 registered voluntary and community groups in Bournemouth
  • There are about another 1,000  unregistered groups
  • Total annual income of the sector is about £66.5m and national research shows it is exceptionally good at spending this income locally.
  • It employs around 2,800 people, or 3.8% of the local workforce (more than those employed in construction or manufacturing), who are significantly more likely to be part-timers, women, older and disabled workers.
  • In Bournemouth there are about 8,500 volunteers providing almost one and a half million hours per year, a replacement value of about £20.5m per year. They provide a wide range of services including skilled professional roles and critical 24/7 front-line services such as the Samaritans.
  • The sector continues to outperform other sectors in terms of growth and creating jobs (see The People’s Business)
2. Helping people get into work and training
  • 40% of Dorset’s groups work in education and lifelong learning, 21% in training
  • 19% of groups directly assist people into work and training
  • A survey in 2013 recorded that 25 Dorset organisations worked with 4,200 clients per year
  • The government recognises that the sector works particularly well with the most disadvantaged and at a community level (see BIS report)
  • The sector is an effective advocate for those furthest from the workplace (e.g. Keeping Work)
  • Volunteering is a valuable route into work and training (see NCVO evaluation)


3. Making Bournemouth a better place to live and work
  • The sector is active in improving the physical and community aspects throughout the town i.e. health, leisure, culture, housing, heritage, environment
  • Those areas that are more appealing to those living and working in them are more likely to prosper
  • National statistics show that social enterprises are three times more likely than other SMEs to start up and operate in the 20% most deprived communities (see The People’s Business)
4. Leading the way in community led local development (CLLD)
  • Bournemouth has a history of local people organising themselves in the most disadvantaged communities (see West Howe)
  • Bournemouth 2026 Trust is a local charity leading on community based regeneration
  • EU funding has a history of successful support of CLLD (EFN)
5. Bringing in significant funding from outside Bournemouth
  • National research shows that for every £1 invested by the public sector the voluntary sector raises £1.60 additional income
  • In 2008 BCVS research showed that public investment of £7.6M in 118 Bournemouth groups led to an additional £11.3M from other sources
6. Reducing the need for public services
  • Low cost (usually at no cost to the state) early interventions prevent more costly interventions later on
  • The use of volunteers, donations and grants reduces the need for public money
  • The sector is very efficient with the money it uses and creates a lot of added value (e.g. evaluation of a project of Healthy Living Wessex showed that for every £1 invested it created over £5 in social value)


(Read Thriving Places for a summary)


The Dorset LEP


The Dorset Local Economic Partnership (LEP) is a part of an England wide network established by the government with predominantly private sector membership to drive local economic growth (see One East Midlands and South West Forum):

  • by developing and overseeing a  local ‘Strategic Plan for Local Growth’
  • by bidding to a Government single pot that currently is used to fund local transport, housing, skills and getting people back to work projects
  • having a strategic role in skills policy

The LEP Board do not have a dedicated place for the voluntary and community sector but Richard Smith, Chief Executive of the Tank Museum is on the Board. There is also an important sub-committee of the main board, the Employment and Skills Board, on which our sector representative is Martin Hancock, Chief Executive, BCHA.

More information about the Dorset LEP at: .


Strategic plans and reports


The Dorset LEP Business, Strategic, Growth, Skills and EU Funding Plans are all at: 


BCVS working with Dorset Community Action and Poole CVS wrote a report in March 2014 ‘Valuing Dorset’s VCSE’ which sets out how we already contribute to the local economy, how it can help the Dorset LEP achieve its strategic plan for growth and to deliver its £80M EU programme between 2014 and 2020.

EU Funding

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are the European Union's main funding programmes for supporting growth and jobs across EU member states. In England, for 2014 to 2020, the programmes comprise the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). These have been brought together into a single national £6 billion Growth Programme but is delivered across England's 39 LEP areas, each of which has an ESIF Strategy and advised by a local ESIF sub-committee to support local delivery. Most ESIF funds have to be matched, 50:50 but there is some national co-financing from DWP, SFA and the BIG Lottery Fund. To find out more look at the official government webpages HERE or Funding Central has some useful information.

In Dorset the ESIF programme has about £43M of EU funding, much of which will be matched. Tenders have, or will, be advertised to deliver programmes of work as set out in the Dorset ESIF Strategy. The programme is managed by DWP, DCLG and Defra but is advised by a local ESIF committee made up of representatives from local business, higher education, rural interests, equalities, job and skills training, local authorities and the voluntary/community sector. The VCS representative is Steve Place from Bournemouth CVS. Meeting papers (other than sensitive information) will be published on the gov website.

Building Better Opportunities

Dorset has opted into BIG’s Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme. Dorset ESIF is giving £4.4 million to BIG who are matching it to create a programme of £8.8 million which will provide £8.5 million in grants to December 2019.

BIG and Dorset ESIF Committee have agreed the following three grant programmes:

  1. Supporting Young People (aged 15-24) furthest from the labour market. A single grant of £2,704,500 covering the whole LEP area to engage with at least 700 young people. Stated priority groups, although not exclusive, are: young carers, those with mental health / health issues and those in rural areas.
  2. Supporting Adults. A single grant of £5,259,400 covering the whole LEP area working with at least 1,360 participants 25 and over. The focus will be on people who are most at risk of social exclusion. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • people who are not in contact with mainstream services and who are experiencing a range of issues at the same time, including people who live in poverty;
  • people living in areas of multiple disadvantage;
  • people with disabilities or health conditions (including learning difficulties, mental/physical health conditions);
  • people living in rural areas;
  • people who are offenders/ex-offenders.
  1. Supporting Enterprise. A single grant of £579,500 covering the whole LEP area benefitting at least 150 people. This project aims to support enterprise and social enterprise as a route to economic activity and inclusion for those who are unemployed or economically inactive.

You can find out more about the programme on BIG’s website by clicking HERE and in particular Dorset’s programme HERE. Applications have now been assessed and the following three applicants have now been invited to Stage 2 and been given a grant to develop their full application as detailed by BIG Lottery Fund:

Supporting Young People. Ansbury’s Face Forward programme has a grant of £43,200 “to develop plans for a project that aims to support young people in activities to improve their work readiness. Participants will include young people who are marginalised from mainstream activity through personal or circumstantial barriers. The project will use a person centred approach, providing a range of supported activities to address individual needs. The development funding will be used to cover partnership building, project and database development.”

Supporting Adults. Campbell Page UK Limited’s UCan programme has a grant of £50,000 “to develop plans for a project that will offer participants a ‘Personal Champion’ who will co-ordinate a personalised programme including a choice of specialist support, ensuring each person receives help to address multiple barriers to work including mental health, family dysfunction and homelessness. The development funding will be used to develop a monitoring and evaluation programme and associated training for partners, events for partnership work and staff costs.”

Supporting Enterprise. Dorset Community Action’s Supporting Enterprise Dorset programme has been given a grant of £50,000 “to develop a project supporting people to boost their transferable skills and gain employment. The grant will cover staff costs and travel, mapping and research, marketing to identify community enterprise opportunities, professional fees and travel and consultation with housing associations to develop strategies for supporting participants to bridge the gap between benefits and full time enterprise in a high rental county.”

The Dorset BBO Development Programme

​To assist BIG Lottery and the Dorset ESIF Committee with decisions about priorities for BBO programmes, Bournemouth CVS, Dorset Community Action, Dorset Community Foundation and Poole CVS carried out a development programme between January and June 2015, with BIG money. This included the setting up of a short-term website about BBO, delivering a series of awareness raising and partnership development workshops in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole and providing 1-2-1 advice.

​Three introductory workshops were run in January/February 2015 to introduce ESIF and the BBO programme, participants also took part in exercises to identify key barriers and solutions for the five priority theme groups identified in the report Valuing Dorset’s VCSE Sector, i.e. Mental health, Young People, Rural isolation, Long term unemployed, Social Enterprise. Following the introductory workshops 5 meetings were held around Easter 2015 for detailed discussion about the five priority themes and partnership working.

Since BIG were encouraging partnerships/consortia to apply we encouraged organisations to contact each other to discuss coming together. To enable this we published, and updated, organisational pen pictures initially grouped under the 5 priority themes and subsequently grouped around the 3 BBO funding programmes identifying which organisations were interested in being Leads and those as Delivery Partners. To support partnership working we organised a third workshop in May 2015 to introduce some principles of partnership working and for participants to network.


Keeping in touch


BCVS is managing an e-group of voluntary/community organisations who want to keep in touch with economic development issues, employment and training, the Dorset LEP and possible funding across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole. To join this e-group please contact Steve Place by email at or call 01202 466130.


Jargon Buster


Do you know the difference between ESF and ERDF? If not look at our Jargon Buster.