Charity leaders pessimistic about government help to meet rising demand

A survey of charity leaders has found that almost two thirds (64%) are pessimistic about the level of support government will provide to help them meet escalating demand for their services.

Three in four says that demand for services has already increased amid the pandemic and 86% anticipate this will continue to rise.

The findings have emerged in a report by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) into latest charity sector trends.

Despite charity leaders’ concern for the sector, most (80%) their organisation can meet escalating demand.

The report notes differences among charities across the UK in pessimism that ministers will effectively support the sector.

English charity leaders are among the most pessimistic (74%) than their counterparts in Scotland (42%) and Northern Ireland (57%). These views have not changed since 2019, CAF notes.

The survey also reveals that less than a third (31%) of charity leaders think the government values the sector’s contribution to public policy and a similar proportion (29%) believe charities are seen by ministers as a source of insight to plan for future crises.

This is despite increasing public awareness of charities role to support public services. Seven in ten (71%) charity leaders believe the public is more aware of their contribution to society because of the pandemic.

“The last two years have reminded all of us that charities form the backbone of our society and the contribution they make to our communities and wider society is undeniable,” said CAF chief executive Neil Heslop.

“It’s clear that charity leaders feel unsettled and now is time for charities to take stock about what they need to do to rebuild their finances and reset their relationships with volunteers, donors and the Government.

“With their in-depth local knowledge and on-the-ground networks, charities are in an ideal position to help the Government achieve the 12 missions announced last week to level up the nation.

“Charity leaders will also be concerned about the impact that the strain on household finances could have on demand for their services. It’s vital that charities feel supported as they continue to meet the needs of their communities over the next few months.”

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