Not every charity can be saved, government minister admits as one in ten say they may close

Helena Horton
·3-min read
Baroness Barran said that some charities will likely go under - PA
Baroness Barran said that some charities will likely go under - PA

Not every charity can be saved, a government minister has admitted as analysis found that one in ten could face closure.

Two in five voluntary sector groups have reported increasing financial difficulties due to coronavirus, and over half of charities (56 per cent)  say they are expecting an increase in demand for their services over the next month as the impact of local and regional lockdowns becomes more apparent.

Baroness Barran, the minister for civil society, admitted that some charities may be forced to close.

She told the Radio Four Today Programme: "I am absolutely worried, and as you may know I used to run a charity myself so I have walked in those shoes knowing how difficult it is to raise money at times, but obviously its doubly worrying at the moment because the services charities provides are so needed and demand has gone up as the same time their income has come under pressure.

"We really have done everything we can to support the sector this year, we won't sadly be able to save every organisation. 2021 will be a challenging year for the sector and the government is drawing up plans to finalise how we can support the sector going forwards."

Research from the new Covid-19 Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer has found that many organisations had been forced to adapt operating practices to continue providing support.

The study also found that 80 per cent of voluntary sector organisations fear the pandemic will continue to disrupt their objectives in the year ahead, and that 60 per cent have already faced increasing costs to implement Covid-secure safety measures.

The study was conducted in a partnership between Nottingham Trent University, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Sheffield Hallam University, and surveyed almost 700 voluntary organisations over the last month.

Researchers found many organisations had changed their services in response to the challenges of the pandemic, including moving face-to-face meetings online and providing Zoom licences to charities.

Over 90 per cent of organisations reported a "digital transformation" in operational methods.

Karl Wilding, chief executive of the NCVO, said: "Not only are charities and volunteers crucial to helping people through crises such as Covid-19, but they also underpin so much of community life and bring people together.

"Whether through falling income from charity shops and fundraising events, or a surge in demand for services from those facing the brunt of the pandemic, charities are under pressure like never before.

"Earlier in the year we saw an incredible community response snap into action, with many changing how they operate or digitalising their life-saving services overnight.

"Now, as a hard winter period looms with more stringent local lockdowns, charities again need to step up their services and support those in need.

"With charities facing an estimated £10 billion funding gap over six months, the charity sector is in serious trouble.

"Public funds are incredibly stretched and the Government must think creatively about where we can find funds to support communities in need."