More than 40 leaders of public, private and third sectors across the West of England have signed a letter asking the Government for urgently needed financial support to help the third sector.
Their letter to Diana Barran, Parliamentary Under-Secretary DDCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) is signed by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, the Leaders of North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset Councils Don Davies, Toby Savage and Dine Romero, together with business and charity sector leaders.
They are calling on Diana Barran, Civil Society Minister, to support the West of England third sector recovery plan which would see an extra £30 million invested in local charities over the next five years. This comes as latest figures show that without action 1 in 5 charities will be forced to cut services in the coming months.
Sue Turner, Chief Executive of Quartet Community Foundation, 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.
“If charities don’t get financial support now they won’t be here to help our most disadvantaged people through the tough days ahead. This would be dire for the people who rely on them.
“Leaders from all parts of the West of England are calling on the Government to back the four point plan to stabilise the charity sector and put extra support into the communities that need it most. It will cost £30 million to carry out this plan over the next five years. We’ve raised over £1.4m for coronavirus response and there’s a further £1.8m already identified for recovery phase work. We know the generosity of people here will raise yet more but we’re asking the Government to do their bit too.”
Sado Jirde, Director of Black South West Network backs the letter and said: “As the voluntary and community organisations emerge from this crisis, we are all bracing ourselves for even tougher challenges ahead. Black led organisations in particular know about hardship, but the pain from COVID19 takes both demands on services and financial crisis to new heights. We support Quartet’s calls for resources and hope the DCMS will heed this cry, as despite Government measures in the Mini-Budget 2020, people are still falling through the net across our communities.”
Signatory James Durie, Chief Executive, Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative at Business West, says: “Our members across Bristol and West of England businesses and employers understand and recognise the critical role local charities play in sustaining our communities and enhancing people’s lives. Whilst so many businesses and employers are themselves struggling right now, we have no hesitation in offering our full and strong support in exhorting Government to act quickly and substantially to stabilise our local charities. It’s essential at this time of great national challenge.”