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COVID-19 and VCSE organisations responses


This project, from the Centre for People, Work and Organisational Practice at Nottingham Business School in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and NCVO, examines the impact of COVID-19 on voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. In particular, it focuses on providing real-time data about how the pandemic is impacting voluntary organisations working practices and operations as well as their responses, learning and resilience.

This research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s response to COVID-19.

Covid research NBS 2

According to a recent government report (DCMS 06/05/2020) the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector is “fighting for survival”, with increased demand for its services, whilst simultaneously facing funding cuts estimated at £4.3bn (during March-May 2020), resulting in many VCSEs organisations estimated to be insolvent ‘within weeks’. As the report states:

Social distancing is making delivering services harder and more costly. Reserves are running out. Smaller charities, in particular, are at risk of imminent closure.

The outputs from this project are a VCSE vulnerability barometer, providing real-time data of the impact COVID-19 on the sector, lessons-learned reports, enabling innovations to be scaled, a final project report and toolkit for resilience.

Nottingham Business School is committed to excellent research which combines academic rigour with beneficial impact on social, economic and societal welfare, as well as informing the design and delivery of the School’s degree programmes.


Covid research NBS

This exciting and timely research aims to provide insight into the experiences of charities across the UK in real time, particularly looking at how organisations are responding to the pandemic.

Each month we produce a report focusing on a different theme to highlight the myriad activities that make up the sector and how they have been impacted.

Amongst these various themes include how volunteering has changed during the pandemic and some of the lessons learned. From supporting food banks through to being involved in the vaccine rollout, volunteering and community activism have been core to the UK’s pandemic response.

People from all areas of the city have come to help and we have a wider age range. We have had people from range of expertise and racial and cultural backgrounds

Read and use the research

Our reports have already been shared with policy makers and industry leaders. Head to our dedicated project page to read the latest report and discover more. Here you can also access our barometer dashboard for a succinct representation of the data. The dashboard allows organisations to gain further understanding of what is happening within the sector, including learning from those of a similar type and size across the UK. It presents users with an overview of how their experiences compare and are shared throughout the sector. If you have any enquiries about insights from the data, or would like to discuss the project more please email us at

The team

The project team brings a unique alignment of researchers from across institutions and organisations specialising in the VCSE sector, HR and innovation, and provide sector knowledge, guidance and access, through their research and policy team and 15,000 members.

Project lead:

Professor Daniel King

Core Team Members:

Professor Helen Shipton
William Rossiter
Professor Tracey Coule (Sheffield Hallam University)

Research Team:

William Rossiter
Joanna Stuart
Helen Shipton
Nene Ibokessien  
Ghazal Vahidi
David Dahill
Sarah Smith
Steven Brown
Tracey Coule (Sheffield Hallam University)
Adeline Coignet
Juliana Mainard-Sardon
Catherine Spellman


Alex Farrow (NCVO)
Véronique Jochaum
Lisa Hornung
Keeva Rooney
Oliver Chan
Anya Martin  
Sean O’Brian  
Radiya Hafiza

Other projects

Structuring for Voice

Led by Professors Helen Shipton and Daniel King

Turning the spotlight on employee voice, this project uncovers factors that influence voice, in particular why, when and how voice influences outcomes in the conventional workplace and beyond. The report based on the first phase of the research can be found here.

Presenteeism decision-making

Led by Dr Zara Whysall and Dr Maria Karanika-Murray (NTU Psychology)

This research looks into presenteeism – the act of working whilst experiencing physical or mental ill-health. Specifically, it explores the decision-making process that determines whether individuals work or take sick leave when experiencing ill-health. It aims to help organisations and employees understand how they can make the right decisions to maximise health, wellbeing and productivity. You can read more about the project here.


Led by Professor Daniel King

In collaboration with colleagues across the university, a range of methods has been developed that facilitates the evaluation of government and EU funded programmes. This includes:

  • Department for Dgital Culture, Media and Sports 50+ Volunteering.
  • D2N2 Growth Hub ScaleUp
  • ERDF Enabling Innovation.

Gendered Jobs

Led by Dr Val Caven and Dr Stefanos Nachmias

In collaboration with a major regional organisation, we are looking at the psycho-social influences of job choice and the impact this may have on the gender pay-gap. This research will be using both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

Coaching for Creativity – in Context

Led by Professor Helen Shipton and Dr Margarita Nyfoudi (University of Birmingham)

Coaching for Creativity is an innovative framework that optimises creativity and innovation in individuals and teams using coaching techniques. The framework uses in-depth data collection and analysis to identify skill gaps, inform insights with leadership and team members, and enhance defined competencies for organisational development and growth.

Centre Seminars

Date: Presenter: Professor Gary Powell Topic: Gender and Leadership.

Date: 18th May 14.00-15.30pm, Presenter: Tony Dundon, Topic: The challenges for fair employee voice

Date: 26th May 16.00- 17.00pm, Presenters: Helen Shipton and Daniel King, Topic:  Promoting employee voice: insights from the CIPD. This talk is hosted by Engaged for Success.

Date: 18th June 14.00- 15.30pm, Presenter: Nadia Kougiannou, Topic: Self-initiated worker voice as a reaction to managerial driven silence in platform work.

Find out more

Head to our blog to find out more, which will be updated regularly with the latest developments from this project.

Visit our news and events sections to find out more about what's happening at Nottingham Business School and search for upcoming research events and seminars.

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