CAMBRIDGE Council for Voluntary Service (CCVS) has become the 50th local employer accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. CCVS is a charity set up to champion and support community and voluntary groups, and promote volunteering across Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire, and Fenland.
Cambridge City Council, which itself is accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, has been leading work to promote the real Living Wage in the city for several years. As well as the 50 local employers, there are also 32 national employers which are accredited and have local branches in the city.
CCVS has attended council events during Living Wage Week in the past, which have included presentations from the Living Wage Foundation on practicalities of accreditation. The council has also sought advice from CCVS on how to encourage more voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations to accredit.
Following its accreditation, CCVS is directly supporting other local VCS organisations to become accredited. CCVS hosted an event last week on 15 September with Cambridge City Council and the Living Wage Foundation for VCS organisations to learn more about accreditation and about issues associated with low pay in the sector.
In addition, this year the council has set aside some funding to pay for small voluntary and community sector organisations’ accreditation fees on a first-come-first served basis.
Recent research undertaken by the Living Wage Foundation reveals that 17% of workers in the third sector are paid below the Real Living Wage compared to 26% in the private sector and 6% in the public sector.
Councillor Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “CCVS is a wonderful organisation that does so much to support our city’s charity and voluntary organisations.
“It is brilliant to see CCVS become living wage accredited and I also want to thank them for their support in advising and helping other VCS organisations through the process. As we continue to address the impact the pandemic has had in our communities, the voluntary and community sector will continue to have a critical role in safeguarding financially vulnerable households from extreme hardship.
“However, it is important that we remain aware that this work is often carried out by individuals who face chronic low pay and poverty themselves. Making sure those workers are paid the Real Living Wage is the least we can do.”
Mark Freeman, Chief Executive Officer at CCVS, said: “CCVS recognise that in times of growing inequality, it is important staff are paid a wage that allows them to meet basic everyday needs such as their weekly shop, or a visit to the dentist. We are pleased to become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation and hope that other local charities will follow suit.
“We realise that some charities may feel that paying the Real Living Wage is out of reach, but we feel it is important that as many as possible are working towards paying their staff this amount. We are happy to support trustees and managers wishing to find out more about how to become accredited and the benefits of accreditation. If you missed our event last week and would like support and advice, please contact email@example.com.
“We are proud of the role all our local charities have played in looking after our communities during the pandemic, and we urge them to look after their staff and pay the Real Living Wage.”
Other Cambridge city charities that are already Living Wage accredited include Allia, Cambridge & District Citizens Advice, Cambridge Re-Use, Cambridge Cyrenians, Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, Cambridge Women’s Aid, Emmaus, Jimmy’s, and Wintercomfort for the Homeless.
Cambridge City Council has been campaigning for the Real Living Wage and advising employers of the Living Wage Foundation’s accreditation process since 2015.
From this November, the national campaign for the Real Living Wage will have been running for 20 years and the Living Wage Foundation will have existed for ten years. Employers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about Living Wage accreditation and the benefits that accreditation may provide to their organisation.