The UK public has never been under such severe restrictions about when and how often they can leave their homes.
The freedoms that are usually taken for granted in this country are suspended, as social gatherings and events are banned in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Of course, the UK is not alone in facing this global situation, and many countries around the world are under similar conditions. We don’t know yet how long these restrictions will last, but it seems fair to say they won’t be lifted for some considerable time yet.
Even prior to this advice, a number of large fundraising events in the UK had been postponed in order to reduce the risk to those attending. Perhaps most prominent of these is the London Marathon, which has been rescheduled for 4 October 2020.
But the cancellation of events is not the only threat to income caused by the pandemic. The wider economy is also suffering. Already markets have been in freefall despite the efforts of central banks to prop them up. This will have knock-on effects, and not just for those charities with investment portfolios.
As well as the income issues, demand on services is likely to increase for some charities, especially as the elderly and vulnerable are most at risk to the virus.
The government has announced a package of measures to protect the business sector from the economic impact of the pandemic. However, at the time of writing, it has not released details of a similar package for the charity sector. I hope that by time you are reading this, a package will be available. The sector deserves the same unpredated level of government support.
Charities will also be at pains to ensure the safety and health of their staff. Government advice is for all those that can work from home to do so, and many in the sector are doing so. However, for those that provide community services, health care, social care and other services, this may well not be possible.
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Even when the immediate crisis is over, its effects are likely to continue for some considerable time. The environment for charities will remain highly challenging.
In the meantime, I hope all readers remain well and safe.
Tristan Blythe Editor, Charity Finance