Coronavirus: Charities are in crisis and we need urgency, not intent, says CFG chief

Charities are in crisis and in desperate need of 'urgent action, rather than intent' from the UK government, Charity Finance Group's CEO has warned.

CFG chief, Caron Bradshaw has warned the government that charities – large and small – are on the 'brink of collapse' and need 'deliberate and immediate action to avert disaster'.

In a blog post published yesterday, the sector leader warned the government's 'intent is there' but 'the urgency is not'.

She said the lack of reference to, or recognition of, the role of charity and social change organisations in the government's daily briefings has been 'disappointing and frustrating'.

"With the exception of the salary scheme (which, whilst welcome for some charities, is totally ineffective for others), there has been no mention of this sector. No comprehensive package of support. We are left to see whether the schemes devised for business might also work for us. They often don’t," she wrote.

"We are identified as key workers – so it’s not as though government doesn’t recognise the need for us. Indeed, Jacob Rees-Mogg said as much from the floor of the house that we ‘hadn’t been forgotten’. My colleagues across the infrastructure sector are working tirelessly to secure a financial package.

"The intent is there. Of that there is no doubt. However, the urgency is not. I am saying loud and clear to government - time’s up! You must act. It’s time to save our charities."

Bradshaw's plea follows public figures produced by the sector's umbrella bodies, which show the sector could be set to face a loss of £4.3bn in income over the next 12 weeks, although the figure could be 'far higher' in reality.

The findings, published by the NCVO last week, revealed the staggering scale of income set to be wiped from the sector as fundraising events get cancelled, investments suffer and demand outstrips resources.

Bradshaw said despite years of diversifying funding models, monitoring risks and carefully calculating reserves, "no one, whatever their sector, could have predicted the impact of this pandemic – or prepared for it".

"Right now; when fundraising events and associated income has fallen off a cliff [...] when investments have been hollowed out as a result of the collapse in the stock market [...] when income generating spaces have been closed; when restricted funds cannot be spend on core costs and when demand is going through the roof [...] many, many charities are on their knees. We need help," she said.

"The longer it is left the more damage is done. Charities are needed now more than ever and they are stepping up to help. Government cannot leave it to philanthropists, the public and grant makers. Nor can it leave it to the banks to loan cash (which without income is a challenge to repay) to get over this unprecedented period. We need government support. We need it now.

"Please push your MPs. Shout from the rooftops. The time to act it now.”

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