Around 10,000 charities could close due to Christmas income losses, research suggests

The Big Give has pinpointed 60 charities that are set to close due to loss of income, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly at Christmas.

Social distancing measures and financial uncertainty look set to mar the festive season is for charities at a time when they can traditionally boost their fundraising income.

But the match funding body says that 60 of the 1,000 charities it surveyed have said they are likely to close if Christmas fundraising is not met. The Big Give says that extrapolated across the sector, around 10,000 charities could be forced to close, with small charities particularly vulnerable.

One London based child welfare charity told researchers that “we are teetering on the edge of collapse if we can’t raise enough funds this Christmas”.

Big Give’s research also found that most years, one in five (22%) charities would usually secure more than a quarter of their annual voluntary income at Christmas. But this year around two thirds (63%) expect donations to be lower than usual.

This comes amid an increase in demand for charity support. This year the Big Give saw a 24% increase in applications for its Christmas match funding campaign and more than half (55%) of charities said they have seen increased demand. Two in five expect to see an increase in demand over Christmas in particular.

“We are experiencing a notable increase in the number of new people accessing our services on a weekly basis,” Cambridgeshire charity Wintercomfort for the Homeless told the Big Give.

“Over 75% of service users reported a significant increase in levels of anxiety and isolation as a result of the pandemic. Whilst demand is increasing, we’ve seen a reduction in income and significantly higher costs in terms of ensuring Covid-19 safety measures are in place.”

Among the worst affected charities are those in the South West, East Midlands and Wales. They have reported the largest drop in income. This week the Wales Council for Voluntary Action told the Welsh Government that the charity sector in the region is set to lose £620m due to Covid-19.

This month has seen the release of mounting evidence that charities’ reserves are set to run out, in a matter of days for some charities.

Big Give trustee James Reed said: “The disruption caused by Covid-19 is hugely challenging for the charity sector. We are approaching an alarming crunch point where many worthwhile organisations might fail for lack of funds. Now, more than ever, both charities and their beneficiaries need and deserve our support.”

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