The charity sector in Wales has half the income per head of population than the UK average, prompting the chief executive of the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action to warn that the sector is operating with “one hand tied behind its back”.
WCVA has launched a data hub today at its annual conference gofod3. The data reveals that Wales accounted for just £1bn of the UK charity sector’s £45bn income in the 2014/15 financial year.
Charity income per head of population in the UK as a whole was £700, but income per head in Wales was £350. England and Scotland both have income per head of population of just over £700, while in Nothern Ireland it was £320. Data was supplied by the NCVO Almanac.
WCVA said it was concerned about a decline in Welsh Government grant funding, which has fallen by 30 per cent over five years.
The data also shows that the charity and voluntary sector in Wales accounts for almost 10 per cent of all Welsh employment and that 28 per cent of the population volunteers.
Ruth Marks, chief executive of WCVA, said: “Minor miracles – in education, health, leisure and more – are performed daily by small, local charities, tiny social enterprises and thousands of volunteers in Wales. Their contribution is extraordinary and all the more impressive considering their woeful budgets.
“There is no denying with this data that the third sector in Wales is operating with one hand tied behind its back. The data hub also helps shine a light on the real challenges we face, including government cuts, a post-Brexit world without EU funding, and a failure by Welsh third sector organisations to capitalise on UK-wide funding.”
In an article for Civil Society News, Marks called for a national debate about the issue to “help understand the reasons for our shoestring budget and then tackle them, one by one”.
She said: “We are chronically under-resourced when it comes to finances, operating on just half the income we should be getting.”