The Third Sector
The “Third Sector” is an internationally recognised term. The Sector is often referred to as the “Voluntary Sector”. It includes:
- Organisations, e.g. WCVA
- Agencies, e.g. WRVS
- Campaigning groups
- Arts and cultural societies
- Community associations based around place and locality.
All of the above have faith group involvement, which may be as individuals, agencies or churches (see Gweini and WCVA, 2008. Faith in Wales: counting for communities).
It is ‘a distinctive sector that makes a massive contribution to the social, economic, cultural and environmental well-being of Wales’ (see WCVA. Third sector statistical resource 2013).
Volunteering not only benefits others, but can also provide benefits to the volunteer, such as social interaction, gaining confidence, health benefits, skills development and work experience (see Rochester, C. et al, 2012. Volunteering and society in the 21st century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
Priority A - Empowering and resourcing the Third Sector
- Affirm and reinforce the independence of the Sector.
- Recognise the Third Sector as an equal partner to the Private and Statutory Sectors.
- Consult regularly with the Sector, recognising and making use of its expertise and grass roots knowledge when formulating policy.
- Facilitate the accessibility of the Sector to every person by providing training opportunities on how to access funding and how to be involved in governance of the Sector.
- Establish local distribution of funding independent of the Statutory and Private Sectors: for example, by enabling, promoting and encouraging Regional Community Chests in which all monies for charitable causes are placed and distributed with local accountability.
Priority B - Sustainability in the longer term
- Recognise and utilise what is already working and sustain what works well.
- Facilitate the free flow of ideas across the Third Sector, enabling the development of best practice.
- Encourage innovation, accepting risk and learning from failure. Use grants as catalysts.
- Help Third Sector agencies bridge the gap into social enterprise.
Priority C - Faith-based contribution to the Third Sector
- Recognise that the faith-based Voluntary Sector is integral to the Third Sector. It has contributed to the Sector’s development and wellbeing and continues to do so.
- Engage with and support organisations and agencies that continue to be expressions of activities based on faith values, e.g. Care for the Family, Trussell Trust (Foodbanks).
- Encourage the many individuals from faith communities, who participate within the Third Sector as employees and volunteers and contribute to society in this way because of their faith-based values.
- Recognise that many people of faith are stakeholders in the Third Sector as recipients of its services. Their views should be taken into consideration to enable expressions of faith to be maintained and developed within the Sector.
"Giving" is an aspect of God’s character and a basic principle for Christian living.
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6v38, NIV).
"The Lord’s Prayer (OUR Father) reminds us that we do not exist in isolation. We need to be concerned for the welfare of the place in which we live"1 (Jeremiah 29v7).
"For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2v10, NIV).
As people of faith, we seek to make a positive and distinctive contribution to a future Welsh Government's policy towards the Third Sector.