9 April 2020 | Comment | Article by Roman Kubiak TEP
It was reported on Wednesday that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an emergency funding package worth £750m to help the third sector as well as pledging players the minimum £20 million to match all donations to the BBC's Big Night In fundraising event on 23 April 2020.
£370m has been earmarked for small and medium-sized local charities who throughout the crisis have been at the forefront, providing vital help in their communities, including delivering food and other essential items to the most vulnerable.
The remaining £360m is set to be paid directly to those charities providing key services during the current lockdown such as those providing hospice care and supporting domestic abuse victims.
The news has been welcomed by a number of key figures in the third sector, including John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, who comments that:
“This package of measures from the government will bring important support at such a difficult time, although we must recognise that there is still a long way to go.”
While the announcement clearly acknowledges the vital role which charities are playing during these challenging times, the general view is that they do not yet go far enough.
Commenting that charities looks set to lose around £4bn over 12 weeks as a result of the closure of shops and cancellation of fundraising events, Karl Wilding, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, comments:
“Today’s announcement is an important first step, though it will not be enough to prevent good charities around the country from closing their doors. Even many that survive will look very different in a few months’ time, with a severely reduced capacity to provide the support that people rely on.”
Now, charities, whose very existence is perhaps more vital than ever before, will need to rely on alternative forms of funding, such as through online and digital campaigns and legacies in wills.
It remains to be seen whether any further support will be provided to the third sector if the lockdown looks set to continue into May and beyond, as some commentators expect it to do.