The third sector injects nearly £1.9 million into the West Midlands economy, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Research published in the NCVO UK Civil Society Almanac 2012, shows the voluntary sector employs 56,000 people in 11,609 charities across the region.

This makes up 7.1 per cent of all UK charities and provides a vital contribution to the local economy, the NCVO said.

Stuart Etherington, chief executive officer of NCVO, said: “NCVO has a strong and diverse membership of voluntary organisations in the West Midlands.

“It is vitally important that we do not underestimate the immense contribution that the voluntary sector and wider civil society make to the quality of people’s lives in this region, to their local communities and to the UK economy.’

NCVO is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England and has more than 8,400 members, ranging from large national bodies to community groups, volunteer centres and development agencies working at a local level.

Its members have more than 280,000 staff and more than 13 million volunteers, representing almost half the voluntary sector workforce.