There has been some help from the Government. But, bluntly, it is not enough.
- Charities and voluntary organisations have been hit by a combination of challenges:
- Sudden increase in demand for what they do, as part of the response to coronavirus.
- Loss of fundraising income as events and activities have been cancelled – from coffee mornings to the London Marathon, and everything in between.
- Loss of income from charity shops, hiring our premises and providing services due to social distancing.
- Regular donors cancelling their giving because they have had their own income cut, through furlough or redundancy.
- And over a decade of having to do more with less following the financial crash in 2009.
In the initial 12 weeks of the crisis, the lost income to the charity sector was estimated at £4.3 billion.
Many smaller charities have already closed for good, and large, household name charities have warned that they are also at risk.
The Government has made some support available to the charity and voluntary sector on 8 April 2020. After five weeks of campaigning by the sector, the chancellor announced:
- £310m is being distributed through the National Lottery Community Fund. The criteria to apply for the a first tranche of £200m from the NLCF were not announced until 21 May 2020 with a second tranche of £110m to follow.
- £60m has been allocated for charities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- £360m is being distributed through government departments. Of this, £200m has been allocated specifically to hospices, leaving £160m to be distributed directly by all government departments. It has been very difficult to identify where this funding has been distributed, and for what purposes.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is available but in many cases charities have made the difficult choice to keep their staff working because their services are desperately needed. Whether they are finding shelter for the homeless, distributing food parcels or making sure people with disabilities or long-term illnesses receive the support they need, these charities are still having to pay their staff. If they place the staff on furlough, they can’t provide the help and support that is, for many people, a lifeline.
- Loans have been made available, but as charities cannot guarantee their income will recover to pre-coronavirus levels they cannot make a clear commitment to repay loans.
- Some grants can be claimed from the Government and/or the local council, but to qualify for help, charities have to meet strict criteria which were designed with businesses in mind.
The #NeverMoreNeeded campaign is asking the Government to:
- recognise that existing measures do not do enough to enable charities to continue to deliver essential services that have never been more needed. We ask Ministers and officials to work with the charity and voluntary sector to address the medium and long-term scale of the financial challenge ahead, and to ensure that the critical support charities provide will continue to be able to meet need and make a vital contribution to rebuilding our society.
- ensure the distribution of funding available is speedy and efficient, and that equality and human rights are designed in from the outset, so that we meet everyone’s needs and that decision making is transparent.
- make necessary regulatory changes to existing schemes to make them fit for purpose for charities and voluntary organisations.