Charities facing an uncertain future under coronavirus – we reveal how some in Peterborough area have been thrown a lifeline

Charities are under pressure like never before and have benefitted from Covid support grants. Photo: Shutterstock EMN-200930-175344001

But with the looming threat of tougher restrictions, charities are warning that they may not be able to meet demand for their services as finances dwindle.

The UK Government said they are providing “an unprecedented multi-billion-pound package” to help them.

There are around 200,000 charities across the UK and many have received a financial lifeline during the coronavirus crisis through grants from a variety of funding agencies.

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Find out which charities in your local authority have benefited from Covid-19 grants during the pandemic. Photo: Shutterstock EMN-200930-175411001

Analysis of 360Giving’s Covid-19 Grants Tracker by the JPIMedia Data Unit found over £123 million (11,632 grants) in emergency Covid-19 grants has been awarded to over 9,000 recipients across the UK.

In Peterborough, 62 grants are said to have been awarded during the pandemic, amounting to £498,620.

Across the East of England, a total of 1,073 grants have been made, adding up to £7,287,957.

The average grant was £10,649.

Find out which charities in your local authority have benefited from Covid-19 grants during the pandemic. Photo: Shutterstock EMN-200930-175358001

The two largest single grants on the UK list were both worth £1million. One was to a charity in London to work with partners to expand nutritious breakfast and lunch provision to reach children from low-income households. The other was for the University of Oxford to conduct research on the mental health implications of Covid-19.

Locally, among the largest grant recipients were Dial Peterborough, which received £49,368 from the National Lottery Community Fund. Dial Peterborough will use the funding to meet an increase in demand for its service due to the coronavirus pandemic. This will cover increased staffing, volunteer expenses, food delivery and collection, minor DIY services and wellbeing calls. They also got a £3,700 grant for Covid costs and DIAL/Disability Peterborough received £5,000 to co-ordinate volunteers to visit 100 isolated people with disabilities and provide essential items such as food and medication, donated by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.

Disability Peterborough also got £20,000 for core costs from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Buglife in Peterborough has received £40,000 from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation towards unrestricted core costs as a COVID-19 fast response grant.

Families First Peterborough Community Interest Company was granted £9,960 from the National Lottery Community Fund to deliver food parcels, recipes and physical activity cards for families and young care leavers during the coronavirus lockdown. The project aims to support their needs while reducing the feeling of isolation. They got another £4,990 from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation to deliver food, toiletries and children’s activity sources to the homes of 75 young people who are care leavers and got £2,800 from BBC Children in Need for activity packs for children affected by Covid 19 and living in areas of deprivation. Activities will increase children’s self esteem, increase positive family relationships and develop new skills.

Though not exhaustive of all grants awarded, the data provides a unique snapshot of how charities have survived the lockdown period. The figures were correct as of September 9. Some local community foundations have not published, leaving data gaps in some areas. This means it is not possible to directly compare grant levels across local authorities.

David Kane, Product Lead at 360Giving, explained, “We know it doesn’t show the full picture – not all local grantmakers have published data about their grants – but it does show the range of projects and charities that continue to help keep their local communities going.”

The multi-million pound grants from the likes of The National Lottery Community Fund and BBC Children in Need have provided essential economic support during the lockdown but as Matt Whittaker, CEO of Pro Bono Economics says, the future looks challenging.

“The combination of economic recession, rising unemployment and the looming tightening of lockdown adds up to a gloomy backdrop for the sector in the run up to Christmas.

“Charities and other civil society organisations play a vital role in the day-to-day lives of many millions of us – and even more so at times of crisis.

“As the Chancellor reconsiders his support for businesses in light of the second wave, it’s crucial that he focuses also on the needs of those charities which do so much to help.”

Pro Bono Economics estimates 60,000 charity jobs will be lost by the end of the year with the largest cuts affecting frontline service delivery and fundraising teams.

Pro Bono Economics is a registered charity which helps charities and social enterprises understand the costs and improve the impact of their work. They match highly skilled economist volunteers with charities.

Matt Whittaker, CEO of Pro Bono Economics, said: “While some parts of the economy are on the up after a tough first half of the year, many charities have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The combination of economic recession, rising unemployment and the looming tightening of lockdown adds up to a gloomy backdrop for the sector in the run up to Christmas. We estimate that 60,000 charity jobs will be lost by the end of the year as funding falls away, with our latest research suggesting the largest cuts will be felt by frontline service delivery and fundraising teams.

“Charities and other civil society organisations play a vital role in the day-to-day lives of many millions of us – and even more so at times of crisis. As the Chancellor reconsiders his support for businesses in light of the second wave, it’s crucial that he focuses also on the needs of those charities which do so much to help.”

According to the Charity Sector Tracker published by Pro Bono Economics, in partnership with the Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Finance Group, one in three charities also say they will be unable to meet the anticipated increase in demand as further restrictions are announced.

A UK Government spokesperson said charities will continue to benefit from financial support schemes in the upcoming months.

A spokesperson said: “We are providing at pace an unprecedented multi-billion-pound package of government support for charities.

“We are working flat out to ensure help reaches those who need it most, with funding being distributed at pace. Charities will continue to benefit from this major investment in the sector and also the wider government financial support schemes in the coming months.”

Financial support, which is not all captured in the data on 360 giving, includes £750 million announced by the Chancellor which includes £360 million direct from Government departments and £200 million via the National Lottery Community Fund.

The Government also matched public donations to the BBC’s “Big Night In” charity appeal, with over £70 million being distributed by Comic Relief, Children In Need and the National Emergencies Trust to charities on the frontline.

This is on top of the £150 million released from dormant accounts to help social enterprises get affordable credit to people who are financially vulnerable and support charities tackling youth unemployment.

Government has also launched the £85 million Community Match Challenge, which invites philanthropists, foundations and grant making organisations to put forward new funding to match funds raised on a pound for pound basis

As employers, charities have had access to the multi-billion-pound Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is applicable to social enterprises and to charities

Many charity shops are already eligible for 80 per cent charitable rate relief, and will benefit from the new enhanced retail rate relief at 100 per cent.

In line with government guidance, charity shops have been able to open from June 15 in England.

Peterborough Telegraph