The government’s levelling up agenda: Have your say

The government is developing a plan for how it intends to ‘level up’ the country, with almost £5bn committed to improving everyday life across the UK. The idea is that people and communities that feel they’ve been left behind get a chance to catch up.

Efforts to level up could include improving physical infrastructure such as roads, transport and regeneration. It can also include social infrastructure, like skills and employment support, community projects, and things that improve quality of life. A white paper on levelling up will be published later this year, which will set out proposals for future legislation.

We’re collecting feedback from organisations for Neil O’Brien MP, levelling up advisor, to make sure the government’s thinking on levelling up recognises the role of charities and volunteers. This is your chance to have your say.

The role of charities and volunteers

These are just some of the ways in which charities and volunteers can support levelling up across four priority areas.

  • Regional and local economies. Charities can bring communities together to influence decision-making, create local jobs and use local supply chains. They can develop initiatives that create inclusive employment while also supporting wider environmental or social goals.
  • Improving opportunity. Examples include either providing or campaigning for, or a combination of both, for inclusive employment, and the support people need to stay in work. For example, affordable childcare, inclusive transport, social care for working disabled people, and affordable housing. For many volunteering provides a route into work and a way to build skills and confidence.
  • Public service delivery. With enough funding and support from commissioners, charities offer effective solutions that really work for communities. They invest any surplus income into improving delivery and often take a preventative and person-centred approach to service delivery. Where charities working locally are commissioned to deliver services, it creates local opportunities.
  • Improving quality of life and pride in place. Charities and volunteering offer a way for people to express local identity and pride. They provide the spaces and support for people to shape their community and make a difference. There are countless examples of charities improving quality of life, from connecting people to addressing loneliness to tackling fuel poverty.

Have your say to influence the government’s plans

Charities and volunteers have a long history of tackling inequality, from national campaigns to local projects. Despite this, we know there are fewer charities in the areas prioritised for the Levelling Up Fund. It’s vital that the voices of charities and volunteers are heard to ensure this agenda really does improve opportunity and quality of life for people and communities.

Please fill in this form by midday 24 May to share your ideas and include:

  • examples of how your charity or volunteers already address inequality between people and between places
  • specific ideas for changes the government can make to level up the country
  • practical ideas for how the government can make it easier for charities and volunteers to play a role.

Charities and volunteers have an essential role to play to make sure economic growth is inclusive of all and build communities we feel proud to be a part of. We look forward to hearing your views on what the government should do to ‘level up’, alongside examples of how your work addresses inequality.

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Avatar photo Rebecca Young is a senior policy officer at NCVO, working primarily on public services and volunteering policy. Before joining NCVO, Rebecca led on mental health, housing and disability policy at the National Union of Students.

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