Headlines: December 3rd, 2007

An action plan has been launched in Wales to strengthen the links between the Assembly Government and the third sector as well as increasing support for voluntary and community bodies. “The Third Dimension – A Strategic Action Plan for the Voluntary Sector Scheme” looks at how the sector can work with the Welsh Government to create stronger communities and improve services as well as having an opportunity to shape policy.

The Assembly’s Deputy Minister for Regeneration, Leighton Andrews, said the third sector would be a key partner in delivering the priorities set out in the ‘One Wales’ agenda. Mr. Andrews said it already played a vital role by releasing the energy and skills of ordinary people. Voluntary organisations, he added, also provided services that the public and private sectors often could not.

“The third sector is very broad, covering a range of organisations, from charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises, community businesses, through to housing associations and cooperatives. We believe there is a strong case for viewing bodies with these characteristics as a distinctive sector, one that makes a huge contribution to the social, economic, cultural and environmental well being of Wales,” the Deputy Minister said.

Mr. Andrews said the new action plan committed the Assembly Government to championing the third sector’s interests at the highest level with a particular focus on promoting social enterprise and encouraging greater voluntary and community involvement in the delivery of public services. “We recognise that voluntary organisations must be properly valued and supported and I believe that our action plan in itself is a clear signal of the new importance attached to the role of the third sector,” Mr. Andrews added.