Hundreds of charities back the call
Leading charities are calling on the UK government to create a support fund for the third sector.
Household names including Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief and Samaritans, have signed a joint letter to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, calling on the government to set up an emergency support fund for the voluntary sector.
They say many could close imminently unless ministers bail them out through a dedicated fund.
The third sector faces a £10bn shortfall in income as a result of the Covid crisis, and there are fears that the next 12 months could prove critical for many organisations as funds and reserves run out and demand continues to rise.
Some 600 charities and charity figures have signed the letter warning that the ability of thousands of charities to maintain vital local services will be threatened unless the government steps in with financial support.
The letter says: “Right now, many charities are eating into their reserves, selling whatever assets they have and making staff redundant. That means tomorrow they won’t be able to fund life-saving research, feed struggling families, bring hope to people most at risk isolating at home, tackle existing inequalities made worse by this pandemic.
It adds: “People and communities will go without vital support. Charities make our communities stronger. In the toughest times, they provide support no one else can. We are hugely grateful that your government has helped to keep emergency charity services running – but resources are running dangerously low and services are getting stretched to breaking point.”
Other signatories include: Scouts and Guides, Barnardo’s, the Children’s Society, Shelter, NSPCC, Help for Heroes and Age UK.
The government made £750m in emergency funding available to charities over the past year including grants earmarked for domestic abuse services, health and social care services, food charities, mental health, homelessness, armed forces and loneliness projects.
Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, said: “Together, they [charities] help to feed the hungry, house the homeless, hold the hands of the dying, find a cure for cancer, preserve our nation’s treasures, and so much more. And right now this safety net that is pulled so expertly together by social change organisations is fraying fast.”