Charity to close after 60 years due to pandemic-related pressures

23 Aug 2022 News

A Bedfordshire-based charity for older people has announced it will be closing, after the Covid-19 pandemic led to a drop in funding and an enduring decline in service users.

Bedford Guild House has operated in its community for more than 60 years, but has announced that this Friday will be its last day.

The charity had served as a meeting place for anyone over 50 years of age, and had a number of activities on offer.

Data for the financial year ending 31 July 2021 puts the total income at £113,495, while expenditure was more than £140,000.

Before the pandemic, for the year ending  31 July 2019, the charity had a total income of more than £241,000, according to the Charity Commission.

A fundraiser started last year had read: “Unfortunately the loss of statutory funding in 2016 and the effect of coronavirus has meant that fundraising and grants have been reduced but costs have remained the same.

“Having re-opened for activities and classes in May, attendances are increasing as confidence returns to our older people, but we are not up to normal numbers and really need help to continue.”

Sonia Minney, chief executive of Bedford Guild House, told the BBC: “It's not just a question of money. After the pandemic people haven't come back in the numbers we wanted, so we have no way of remaining viable financially,”.

Minney added that funding challenges combined with the increase in the cost of living meant it was “just not easy” to continue.

Civil Society News has approached the charity for comment.

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