Charity representatives across the west of England have asked the government for £30m over the next five years to avoid “dire” consequences for local charities.
The group, which includes Bristol mayor Marvin Rees and the leaders of all three local councils, as well as charities and businesses in the region, has written directly to charities minister Baroness Barran, in a campaign coordinated by the Quartet Community Foundation.
The joint letter says that one in five local charities expect to cut services because of income lost due to the coronavirus crisis.
The £30m would back a recovery plan for the west of England, which includes financial projects to stabilise income for local charities and support for mergers of voluntary organisations where that is in the best interests of beneficiaries.
The letter says: “80% of our local VCSE organisations have kept going through the crisis, using great imagination and energy to keep supporting people in need.
“With recovery on the horizon, 22% of our local charities, voluntary and community groups think they will have to cut services, and a further 20% are uncertain what the future holds.
“With income severely impacted and needs increased, it is a dire situation.”
Sue Turner, chief executive of the Quartet Community Foundation, said: “If charities don’t get financial support now, they won’t be here to help our most disadvantaged people through the tough days ahead.”
ACEVO: No signs of finances improving
The bid for regional support comes as the latest data from ACEVO warns there is no sign of improvements to the sector’s financial situation.
The Charity Health Check, which tracks charities' financial confidence and is released each month, found that attitudes overall among surveyed organisations had not changed between May and June, although confidence has improved since the first weeks of lockdown in April.
Working with the Centre for Mental Health, ACEVO surveyed 88 charities in England and Wales. ACEVO says that, while the financial decline appears to be stabilising, a third of respondents reported a decrease in donations or new business compared with last month, and a third reported worsening reserves.
One in four reported cash flow was worse.
Kristiana Wrixon, head of policy at ACEVO, said: “It is positive that the charities we have surveyed are reporting less acute financial health challenges this month.
“However, talking to our members, and looking at data from the previous two months, I am deeply aware that an unchanged picture in June, is still a much poorer, less resilient and more vulnerable outlook than four months ago."