Crisis will see millions turning to charities for the first time - many of them just to be fed #NeverMoreNeeded
The Covid crisis will see seven million people seek the help of voluntary groups over the next year – proving beyond doubt that charities are never more needed.
Research shows that one in eight people in the UK will need assistance from the sector as the societal damage done by the coronavirus deepens.
The impact of the crisis – and the absolute importance of charities – is starkly illustrated by findings which show that for three in five of these people, this will be the first time they have ever had to seek charitable support.
Huge numbers will need charities just to provide the very basics of life.
Shockingly, one in three of those who said they will need help stated they will need access to food.
Research, conducted by Opinium for the disaster relief charity National Emergencies Trust (NET) suggests that demand on the third sector is set to continue as the economic impacts of the pandemic worsen.
Getting help with living arrangements due to financial reasons (58%) and employment support and training due to job loss (51%) are the most common reasons that people expecting to need outside help will seek charitable assistance.
The health and wellbeing impacts of the pandemic also continue to cause damage. Just over half (51%) of those who anticipate seeking external support expect to ask for charitable help with nursing and personal care, 44% with caring responsibilities and 35% with support for their own mental wellbeing.
Gerald Oppenheim, deputy chair of the NET, said: “This pandemic has created new needs on an unprecedented scale, and exacerbated existing challenges.”
The research is revealed as the NET announced it will be distributing £12 million from its Coronavirus Appeal to charity partners offering targeted support to first-time charity users and some of the UK’s most at risk groups. Each partner has been selected for its support for a group that NET believes may have been underserved through the pandemic so far.
The first wave of funding, just over £6m, will be distributed to a disability support network, DPO COVID-19 Coalition, led by Disability Action NI, the LGBT+ Consortium Helpline Alliance, domestic abuse charity, Refuge, the refugee and asylum seekers support consortium led by Refugee Council and Cruse Bereavement Care. The funding will be used to support vital helplines to assist those who are unsure where to turn, as well as other very targeted services.
Since March, the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal has raised £90m and allocated £85m so far. In addition to the £12m allocated to these new national charity partners, £68.25m has been distributed through Community Foundations UK-wide – with £250,000 reserved for BAME charities and infrastructure.
A further £2.75m has been allocated to BAME-led charities and communities through Comic Relief, and £2m more is ringfenced for BAME charities.
More than 4,400 individual grassroots charities and groups have received a total of 9,400 grants.
Lisa King, director of communications at Refuge, said: “Refuge welcomes the opportunity provided by the National Emergencies Trust to collaborate with NEXUS NI, Scottish Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid to increase the support available for survivors of domestic abuse across all nations of the UK.”