In a personal email sent to each of the candidates standing in the election, Malcolm Woodhams, chairman of the Association of Guernsey Charities, which represents the voluntary and charitable sector in the Bailiwick, has asked for candidates to remember their importance within the island.
Within the email Mr Woodhams expressed his frustration at the overall lack of substance relating to the charitable sector in candidate manifestos.
He said he had been very disappointed with the manifestos that he had read so far.
‘Most candidates include statements about the main areas such as health, education, housing, environment, etcetera,’ he said.
‘However, these are all sectors in which local charities actively participate – frequently providing indispensable services and facilities – [but] any references to our community seem to entirely overlook the valuable contribution made by the charity sector.’
He said there were many thousands of people in Guernsey who give their time to volunteer their help towards a range of projects and despite this embracing the popular mantra ‘Guernsey Together’ referenced within many of the manifestos he added that the sector had been ‘unexpectedly omitted’.
In addition, there was an absence of ‘any reassuring statements of support for the value of our voluntary sector’.
Along with his email to candidates, Mr Woodhams sent a manifesto for the sector, summarising the key areas in which charities need active support from the deputies elected to the States next month.
‘Candidates are obviously in a very busy period as the election draws closer, so we wanted to provide a brief, straightforward outline of the support needed,’ he said.
‘After the election, we will contact all of the successful candidates so that we can provide some further information to help them better understand the benefits of a strong and healthy third sector and the value
that it brings to the island and our community.
‘We are also discussing further initiatives to brief the new States members on matters that are very important to charities.’
Last year, the Association of Guernsey Charities produced and published a Third Sector Strategy, following consultation with its members – around 350 charities.
The strategy provided focus on the health of the sector, and proposed the five key priorities of leadership, governance and transparency, charitable giving, volunteering, and government commissioned services.