New research out today shows that government spending cuts have affected nearly two-thirds of charities (64 per cent) in the North East, while almost 60 per cent of charities have seen an increase in demand for their services.
The Garfield Weston Foundation has revealed the new research as they launch an award to help small charities in the North East, working in the areas of youth, welfare and community.
The Weston Charity Awards will give charities access to a team of senior business leaders through the organisation Pilotlight, which has been bringing together top business talent with small charities for over ten years.
The Garfield Weston Foundation’s Director, Philippa Charles, explains: ‘As the recession took hold we were expecting to see an increase in funding applications from charities in the North East but it simply didn’t happen. We were amazed to find the number of applications actually fell by up to 40 per cent. By creating the Weston Charity Awards we hope to give charities funded access to senior business mentoring to help them to become fit for the future and ultimately to grow, reaching more people in need.’
The survey of nearly 200 charities across the North East, carried out by the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, found that over 40 per cent don’t feel they have enough staff time to make the most of funding opportunities and have fewer resources. Almost two-fifths of charities (38 per cent) in the region say they’ve seen their incomes fall in the last year and nearly a third (30 per cent) are expecting to see a further decrease.
VONNE’s (Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East) chief executive, Jo Curry, says: ‘This award couldn’t come at a better time as the charity sector here in the North East faces a ‘perfect storm’ of public sector funding cuts and an increase in demand for services. As charities reserves dwindle and staffing levels are cut, the safety net they have provided to vulnerable customers is now full of holes. Welfare reform is hitting the North East hard and charities are fire-fighting with fewer resources.’
Over 85 per cent of charities acknowledged that there was a current need to strengthen fundraising and income generation.
Pilotlight’s chief executive, Gillian Murray, says: ‘This is a tough environment for charities who are suddenly finding that they have to bid for contracts and generate new streams of income. By bringing together business leaders with charities we are able to coach them through the process of planning and help them build a sustainable future.’
Aimed initially at charities in the North East of England, the Garfield Weston Foundation hopes the awards might develop further and eventually cover the country.
Charities working in the fields of welfare, youth or community are invited to apply to receive a year of strategic planning support through Pilotlight and unrestricted funding. Six charities will be selected and following their year with Pilotlight, one charity will be awarded further unrestricted funding to help achieve their strategy.
Applicants should go to the website www.westoncharityawards.org to find out more – the deadline is 28 February 2014.