Charity leaders take part in cross-sector lobbying push for extra government cash

Voluntary, public and private sector leaders across the West of England have linked up to lobby the government for more funding for charities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The partnership is being organised by the West of England based Quartet Community Foundation and involves local charity sector leaders including Sue Blatchford, a trustee of the Denman Charitable Trust, Ben Silvey, Director of YMCA Bristol and David Hodbey, chief executive of the St John’s Foundation.

The group has written an open letter to civil society minister Baroness Barran calling for £30m to help charities in the region over the next five years.

The letter states: “With recovery on the horizon, 22% of our local charities, voluntary and community groups think they will have to cut services and a further 20% are uncertain what the future holds. With income severely impacted and needs increased, it is a dire situation.”

It adds that the money is needed to stabilise the local third sector through supporting collaborations and mergers and address inequalities, including among BAME, young and disabled people.

The lobbying group also includes Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and the leaders of three other councils in the region, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Quartet Community Foundation
chief executive Sure Turner said: “It’s amazing that 80% of local charities kept going through the crisis but many of them are now running out of money. They responded when our country urgently needed them to coordinate volunteers, deliver emergency supplies and support people in financial trouble throughout lockdown.

“The demand for their services is still enormous. They’re now needed in the first phase of recovery to support those affected by bereavement, mental health issues, domestic abuse and food poverty. But their income from fundraising and trading has been slashed.”

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