Small charities’ 'energy, flexibility and professionalism' amid Covid-19 pandemic praised

Small charities have been at the heart of communities response to the Covid-19 pandemic, a report has found.

During the first month of the health crisis they “demonstrated tremendous energy, flexibility and professionalism to understand the implications of the crisis,” the report by The Lloyds Bank Foundation has found.

This praises small charities ability to “continuously adapt their provision in response to the every changing needs and circumstances of their local communities”.

It adds: “In essence, smaller charities ‘showed up’ and then ‘stuck around’, using their position of trust within communities experiencing complex social issues to support people when they were needed most.”

Boosting access to food, tackling isolation, signposting information and supporting people’s mental health needs were the four main areas of help smaller charities provided to communities in the first wave of the pandemic.

The report particularly praises small charities support to communities and groups that tend “to be less well served by mainsteam provision” based on ethnicity, poverty or pre-existing health issues.

It concludes that small charities can be vital to efforts to support communities amid Covid-19 recovery. However, they are “currently constrained” by local and national policy.

“A thriving and resilient population of smaller charities should be an explicit goal of public policy at a national and local level,” the report states.

Long term funding

It recommends that policy makers focus on offering long term, flexible core funding for small charities.

“In the future, funding that is flexible and supports the core functions of smaller charities over the longer term should be a model of first resort,” it states.

“This will enable smaller charities to focus on what they do best: identifying and responding to complex social issues and supporting and engaging vulnerable people and communities to achieve the outcomes they desire.”

Digital support

In addition, the report calls for support to help small charities to enhance their digital service delivery and address digital exclusion among the communities they support.

The report adds: “Smaller charities and their funders will need to consider the effectiveness of new digital services, how these can be integrated with face-to-face services in the long term and share learning and effective practice about what works across the charity and voluntary sectors.”

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