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Forthcoming changes at HARCVS

Forthcoming changes at HARCVS

From 1st May 2020 HARCVS will undergo a major change as it restructures to concentrate on the provision of services for older and vulnerable people delivered across the District under the umbrella of the Harrogate Easier Living Project. After 11 years in post Karen Weaver will step down as Chief Executive at the end of April and Frances Elliot, currently Head of Practical Support Services will become the new Chief Executive. The charity will become known as Harrogate and District Community Action. Karen will have a reduced but continuing role in the organisation as Strategic Lead for Community Action.

This move follows a challenging three years for the charity following changes to the way in which NYCC and the NHS fund the provision of support for charities and community groups in North Yorkshire in 2017. Chair of Trustees John Fox explained:

“Since 2017 we’ve worked very hard to continue to provide a range of services to promote and support our fantastic local charities. The board has supported the planned use of our reserves to maintain services, whilst we have sought alternative sources of unrestricted funding to meet the shortfall. However in the ongoing climate of austerity this has been an uphill struggle. We’ve now reached the point where this is not sustainable ongoing and sadly we need to scale back our support for voluntary and community groups and volunteering.

Thanks to continued support from Harrogate Borough Council we will still be supporting local charities and community groups via the provision of the vital and much used online local community information and volunteering directories. Also during the last three years we have taken on the ownership of Harrogate Community House and are committed to ensuring this is a top class home for our charity tenants and a welcoming venue for voluntary organisations and the wider community.

We will no longer be able to run our long established programme of forums and networks and this will reduce our ability to advocate and speak on behalf of the local voluntary and community sector. However we remain committed to supporting communities, charities and volunteers to make the District a great place to live and work. This will include growing THE LOCAL FUND, which we have been proud to be part of since it was launched in 2018.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Harrogate Borough Council for their continued support of HARCVS over the past three years and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them and other local partners on a number of community action projects”.

The Harrogate Easier Living Project will continue to operate unchanged, offering a range of services to support older and vulnerable people supported by volunteers. This includes a befriending service in Ripon and surrounding areas, Here to Help advice and information sessions, the Help at Home Handyperson service and two voluntary car driving services in Harrogate and Ripon. These are part-funded both by North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council and supported by additional fundraising from a wide range of sources.

HARCVS can trace its history back to 1973 when Ann Morris MBE set up Harrogate Volunteer Centre. The Volunteer Centre service grew and began to receive more and more complex requests from local charities so by 1988 the Harrogate & Ripon Council for Voluntary Service was formally registered as a charity. HACVS always worked closely with Ripon CVS which had been set up in 1963 and 50 years later the two charities merged in 2013 to form Harrogate & Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service, serving the Harrogate District as a whole.