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Charities face 'imminent collapse' because of coronavirus lockdown

Charities face ‘imminent collapse’ as coronavirus lockdown triggers £4bn funding crisis with charity shops shut and sponsored events cancelled

  • Charities’ incomes have ‘literally stopped overnight’, according to sector bosses 
  • The impact of coronavirus will be 100 times worse than the 2008 financial crisis
  • Many charities can’t cut costs as they are vital services – such as hospices
  • St John Ambulance said it could go bust in August, its chief executive admitted
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The UK charity sector is facing ‘imminent collapse’ with £4billion in losses due to the coronavirus.

Social distancing measures have shut charity shops and cancelled sponsored events – including the London Marathon – meaning ‘income has literally stopped overnight’, according to sector bosses. 

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) chiefs said the impact of coronavirus will be 100 times worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

Many charities can’t cut costs as they are vital services – such as hospices – meaning their predicted £12.5billion income will take a massive hit, ITV News reports.

St John Ambulance could go bust in August, its chief executive admitted (stock image)

The council’s chair Karl Wilding told a Government select committee today: ‘Charities are facing a real crunch, with more pressure on the services they offer at the same time as losing out on fundraising income.

‘This is something that’s affecting all charities, large and small, and they urgently need answers.’ 

St John Ambulance could go bust in August, its chief executive admitted.

Martin Houghton-Brown said the country’s leading first aid charity has funds to last until the summer but without Government support would then be forced to resort to borrowing to aid the NHS with a potential second wave.

Oxfam has been forced to shut around 600 UK charity shops, which raised £17.3 million last year.

Cancer Research UK will see a 25 per cent cut of donations after also closing 600 stores.

Oxfam has been forced to shut around 600 UK charity shops, which raised £17.3 million last year (stock image)

The hit to finances have meant the charity has partially cut funding for research.  

Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice – which supports seriously unwell children and their families in north and central London and Hertsmere – faces an income shortfall of more than £2 million this year, more than half its projected income. 

Sophie Andrews OBE, chief executive officer of Noah’s Ark, said: ‘We’re concerned about how we’re going to support these children through coronavirus and beyond.

‘Our community has been a bastion of generosity in the past and we’re once again calling on them to rally around for their local children’s hospice.’  

Animal charities will also feel the brunt of the crisis.

PDSA spokesperson said the outbreak ‘will have a very significant and long lasting effect on our income, running into many millions of pounds’. 

Cancer Research UK will see a 25 per cent cut of donations after also closing 600 stores (stock image)

Nora Smith, chief executive of CO3 which represents Northern Ireland charity bosses, said: ‘Charities exist to protect the most vulnerable people in society, so when we struggle it is harder to help them, and when charities close down those that so desperately need them go without.’

CO3 is one of a group of charitable representative bodies including Social Enterprise NI (SENI), the Rural Community Network (RCN), the Community Foundation for NI and Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) that is calling for Stormont to step in. 

Colin Jess at SENI said the Scottish Government had established a £20 million Resilience Fund to help charities. 

He added: ‘We need a similar financial support programme for charities and social enterprises.’ 

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