THE country would simply grind to a halt without the so-called Third Sector.

The Third Sector is the one which is made up of volunteers who, generally speaking, support charities.

Their contribution to society is enormous and nowhere more so than in Colchester which has a strong base of volunteers helping a plethora of good causes.

But their rise in numbers can also partially be put down to the impact of austerity.

Cutbacks in public services left gaping holes in care which were, thankfully, filled, at least in part, by these Good Samaritans.

There are occasions, however, when expertise is needed.

Take the homeless bus, for example. A total of £50,000 was raised to buy and covert a bus to offer a sanctuary to homeless people and their pets including one donation of £25,000, an extraordinarily kind gift.

And yet now the bus might have to go in a different direction as the volunteers have discovered their service users have far more complex needs than they had initially realised.

This is where the experts step in, the network of paid professionals who are experienced at helping people with complicated issues.

This situation might resonate with the powers that be considering the future of the county’s libraries. They believe volunteers can run libraries and maybe they can. (Libraries are probably not as complicated as the homeless.)

But matters are never as straight forward as they seem and the importance of the experts should never be underestimated.