23 Nov 2016

A strong third sector in Wales has a vital role to play in securing a positive future for our society, according to two new reports.

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However, the reports also warn that action is needed today to prevent the sector becoming weaker and more fragmented in the coming years.

The research, which explored what global trends might mean for Wales and its third sector, reveals an increasingly uncertain and complex future. The aftermath of the UK referendum vote to leave the European Union is a clear example of this. 

More big changes lie ahead which will impact on people and communities across Wales, according to the Shape Your Future reports. These include globalisation, climate change, fast-changing technology, demographic changes and new relationships between citizens, community groups and public services.

A healthy and active third sector in Wales should be at the forefront of responding positively to these big challenges. Whether it's speaking out for the most marginalised, driving local solutions or contributing to a fairer economy, the report challenges the sector to explore how it can shape our future for the better.

'The future wellbeing of our communities will be dependent on our ability to take early action to prepare for these changes, to build resilience for the long term through community-led action,' said Peter Davies CBE, Chair of WCVA.

'We need to become a society that prevents problems from occurring rather than one that - as now - copes with the consequences.'

However, the reports also raise significant concerns over whether the sector will be able to meet these challenges if action isn't taken. Two major concerns highlighted were levels and sources of funding for the sector and people's engagement with the issues.

Wales Association of County Voluntary Councils Chair Richard Edwards said the reports raised some fundamental issues, 'not all of which are comfortable reading'.

He added: 'It's clear that if the sector is to play its full role in improving wellbeing over the longer term, we will need to work closely with partners across all sectors.'

WCVA Chief Executive Ruth Marks said:  'WCVA will connect activity across Wales enabling our members and partners to make a positive impact. Working together we support the strong civil society that is needed to shape a better future for Wales.'

Read both reports, Shape Your Future - Future Scenarios and Shape Your Future - Future Trends, on our research pages.