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The Third Sector in the Bailiwick of Guernsey – a one minute guide


What is the Third Sector?

The Third Sector, also known as the charitable or the voluntary sector, is the part of society and economy that is organised primarily around the aim of creating community wellbeing. The organisations it includes are neither public (owned by the state) or private (owned by individuals). It is referred to as a sector due to its distinctive objectives (for the benefit of the community), its governance & regulation (Charities Law) and its workforce (staff and volunteers).


What do we have in the Bailiwick of Guernsey

Whilst being a relatively small island community, the Bailiwick of Guernsey has a diverse charity landscape of 680 registered charities and non-for-profit organisations, spanning from small, purely volunteer led community groups to larger organisations employing significant numbers of staff and delivering essential services. Collectively, the Third Sector supports almost all aspects of community life: sport, health & wellbeing, environment, faith, animal welfare, children & young people, arts and culture and more.  Sport features as the biggest cause with over 100 registered organisations, closely followed by Community Services.

Despite its non-profit nature, the Third Sector plays a significant role in the economy as evidenced in the Charity and Sector Survey, details for which can be found in the infographic.


Why are charities important?

 Charities give a voice to what otherwise remains unheard and address some of the most pressing and ever-changing challenges facing our islands today and in the future. Society and governments aren't set up to support everyone or to provide diverse opportunities to foster strong and inclusive communities, particularly in small islands where scale and limited resources present a real challenge.


From protecting the environment, campaigning for equality or better housing, funding vital medical equipment & care or simply making sure our children have opportunities to grow and thrive – it’s our local charities that are taking on these responsibilities that otherwise would be neglected, making the Bailiwick a happier and healthier place for everyone.  


Data regarding the impact of the Third Sector is not easily accessible, and due to its modest nature, its vital role and impact is not always well communicated and understood.


The Third Sector under pressure

Despite its importance, the Third Sector in the Bailiwick faces several challenges with the cost-of-living situation being only one contributing factor. 

Most charities depend on donations, grants and volunteers, all of which have become harder to secure. In the recent sector survey*, 41% of charities have noticed an increased difficulty in recruiting or retaining volunteers with 29% experiencing an overall funding shortfall. 50% of charities either foresee the need to increase their activities due to a rise in demand or needing to redesign their services to remain financially sustainable.


About the #WithoutUs Campaign

The Association of Guernsey Charities (AGC) is supporting the local Third Sector with an overarching campaign to highlight the value charities bring to the Bailiwick and to educate the public, government, and the business community on how they can best support the sector to become more sustainable.


*based on Charity & NPO Sector Survey March 2024 conducted by the AGC

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