When on 8 April the chancellor announced £750 million in funding for charities, the reception from the sector was a little more lukewarm than you might expect.
It’s not a figure to be sniffed at, and will absolutely be put to good use by the charities it supports.
But after weeks of waiting for news on the package aimed at supporting the charity sector, there was disappointment – because the proposal will do little more than scratch the surface of what charities really need.
I say “waiting”, but that is not in fact what the charity sector has been doing at all. It has mobilised, innovated, coordinated and responded to the changing needs and contexts within which it is working.
Many charities have acted to meet increasing demand while closing shops and cancelling fundraising events, which will see their income fall dramatically.
An Institute of Fundraising survey found charities are expecting to lose nearly half of their fundraised income.
Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support anticipate missing out on more than £200 million between them.
The sector’s umbrella bodies have been doggedly persistent in their determination to convince Whitehall to deliver a rescue package that will enable the survival of a sector which exists to improve the lives of people and communities, employs 900,000 people and is expected to lose at least £4 billion in the first 12 weeks of lockdown.
Coronavirus business interruption loans are only open to charities if more than half of their income comes from trading rather than grants, investments, fundraising or other sources. That means most are ineligible.
Some charities like National Trust, Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK, Oxfam and my own charity, the Family Holiday Association, have made the difficult decision to furlough staff.