What are charities doing to make themselves heard during the general election?

17 May 2017 Voices

As the General Election draws closer, we take a look at what charities are doing to make sure their policies and causes are paid attention to.

Child Poverty Action

Child Poverty Action is one of many charities to produce its own manifesto. In it the charity has set out the “practical steps politicians can take after 8 June to tackle child poverty”.

Its own policies include: protecting families from rising living costs; making universal credit fit work working families; preventing demand for foodbanks; and developing a visionary national childcare strategy.

Alison Garnham, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Today, children are already twice as likely to be poor as pensioners. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, child poverty is set to soar to 5.1 million children by 2022 – a 42 per cent rise over ten years.

“Unless we tackle the underlying causes of poverty, more and more children will grow up without the essentials every child needs to thrive. Child poverty costs the country around £30 billion a year. Making sure every child gets a fair chance in life is the right thing to do and the smartest investment the new government can make.”

The full manifesto can be found here.


Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust’s chair Eliza Manningham-Buller, and director, Jeremy Farrar, have written to the leaders of all UK political parties with MPs in Westminster ahead of the upcoming general election.

Their letter sets out three areas that they believe the next government should prioritise to sustain Britain’s role as world leader in science and research.

These are: strong investment in research, ideally at the same level as other innovative countries who spend comparably more than the UK; a commitment to securing associate membership of EU science schemes such as Horizon 2020, which encourages collaboration across borders; and a migration system that is straightforward and welcoming to researchers, technicians, innovators, and their families, at all career stages and from all over the world.

The full letter can be found here.



National volunteering charity TimeBank has produced its own manifesto which outlines what the charity wants a new government to do to support volunteering.

In it, TimeBank encourages a future government not to “reinvent the wheel” and instead work with existing volunteering organisations to draw on their skills and experience.

It also calls on government to recognise that volunteering is not free, and that organisations invest substantial resources into it at a time when the voluntary sector is being called upon to do a great deal more with a great deal less. It says that “the existing national volunteering infrastructure must be recognised and supported by government if it is to deliver its full potential”.

TimeBank has also asked government to encourage volunteering’s role in early intervention of social problems; to acknowledge the value that volunteering brings; and to lead the way on employee volunteering.

Its full manifesto can be found here.



Suicide prevention charity Samaritans is calling on members of the public to get in touch with their prospective MPs through the Samaritans website to ask them to make sure preventing suicide is a priority.

Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of Samaritans, said: “More than 6,000 people in the UK die by suicide every year, three times as many as are killed in road accidents. Suicide is everybody’s business and we can all do more to help. The election gives us all a chance to make sure suicide is on the radar of our prospective new MPs – you can do so with a few clicks on our website.”

The campaign can be found here.


CLIC Sargent

Young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent has published some advice and guidance to help young people and their families register to vote. Ahead of the deadline to register to vote, the guidance includes advice on what to do if you are in hospital or away on the day of the election, 8 June, and what to do if you are unable to vote in person.

Clis Sargent’s guidance can be found here.


Papworth Trust

Papworth Trust, the charity which supports disabled and older people, has published its own “easy read” manifesto.

It outlines their views on social care, housing, welfare and work, as well as a guide for voting.

The charity’s policies include ensuring disabled people and their families should get the care and support they need, and that they should be able to live their life in a way that is right for them, including being able to choose things like where they live, and what they do each day.

Other policies include ensuring disable people can choose where they live and who they live with, and that they have the support they need in order to do so; and that disabled people and their families have enough money “to be able to live well” and buy the things they need.

Vicky McDermott, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Papworth Trust wants to make sure that the decisions that are taken by the government mean that disabled people can live in a home that they want to live in. We also think disabled people should be able to go to work, receive the care they need and get enough benefits to be able to live well”.

Papworth Trust’s manifesto can be found here.



International development charity umbrella body Bond has been campaigning to have the Lobbying Act repealed. The Act, which means charities wanting to campaign during the election period must calculate how much they spend on campaigning, has been strongly criticised by many charities.

On Twitter, Bond has written a series of tweets where it highlights what it calls the irony of the Act.





United Response

United Response, which provides a range of support services for adults and young people with learning disabilities, autism, mental health needs or physical disabilities, has produced a set of resources to help increase understanding of politics.

The Every Vote Counts resources are a set of free easy read resources to help people with learning disabilities find out more about what politics is, how it affects them and how they can get involved. They include three booklets, the first of which is called How politics affects your life, the second is How politics works, and the third is called How to get involved. United Response has also produced a Every Vote Counts website, where you can find even more information on how to support people to get involved.

More information on the booklets can all be found here.


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