To begin with, I’d like to wish all readers a very happy new year. Although we start 2021 with tight restrictions throughout the UK and facing deeply saddening and worrying daily statistics, there are some reasons to hope that this year we can be more optimistic about life starting to get back to some degree of normality. The vaccine programme is probably first and foremost of these reasons.
I go further into this elsewhere in the magazine, so all I will say at this point is that after almost a year of uncertainty, times remain tough but the charity sector has demonstrated how resilient and crucial it is. Finance teams have played a crucial role in that.
Beyond the pandemic, there has been a major change in the UK and the environment that charities operate in. Namely, the UK’s departure from the EU is now complete. A trading deal was finalised in the dying days of the transition period.
Ever since the referendum on the issue, Brexit had come to dominate the headlines and conversations. It had been overshadowed by the events of the past year, but its importance remains the same.
Its full impact will no doubt take time to be felt. For some charities, not being a member of the EU is likely to have little or no immediate effect. Others have been more impacted, or will become so at some point in the future.
Another major political change has taken place in the USA with Joe Biden beginning his presidency. Sadly, the transition period was marred by the violent storming of the Capitol which led to five deaths. One of Biden’s most challenging tasks will be seeking to bridge the divide in the country that has been so evident in recent years.
As we look to the year ahead and the new political landscape that we find ourselves in, charities will remain crucial to so many in society. However, that is not to say they are the only sector that will play a role in helping people to recover from the impact of coronavirus. This month, we look at social enterprises and social investment. Unlike the traditional idea of charity, these models are for-profit as well as being for-good and possibly have a growing role within civil society.
The world is changing and so are the ways people seek to help others.
Tristan Blythe is editor of Charity Finance