Over 1000 small charities and voluntary sector supporters have written to the Prime Minister today urging him to recognise the vital role they play in communities across the country.
The letter was delivered to Number 10 on Thursday 22nd June as part of Small Charity Week, which aims to highlight the need for greater support for the small charities which make up 96% of charities in the UK.
The letter warns that small charities are facing cost of living pressures, layered on top of the challenges of the pandemic, following ten years of austerity, while the tide of demand continues to grow.
It says: “If small charities aren’t supported through these difficult times, we risk losing a crucial national asset. Every day, small charities are closing or reducing services. We are exhausted, burnt out and the mental health of our staff and volunteers is suffering.”
The letter calls on the Prime Minister to meet the Small Charities Advisory Board. Co-chair of that board, Ray Coyle, said: ‘We have called on the Prime Minister to meet with us, better understand our challenges, and work with us to find sustainable solutions. Small charities need to be seen as integral for building strong communities. We offer vital services and also fill gaps in public services so communities are kept safe, healthy and can thrive.
‘We cannot be taken for granted and the current situation is not sustainable. For every charity that closes, that’s a lifeline for a community taken away. So we call on the Prime Minister during Small Charity Week this year, to properly recognise and understand the importance of small charities.’
Sarah Vibert, CEO of NCVO – the membership body for charities and volunteers in England – said: ‘The recent crises faced by this country have shown just how important small charities are, and the amazing services they provide in local areas.
‘Millions of people’s lives are positively impacted by small charities every year, and many would be at a loss if that stopped. But we are seeing more and more small voluntary organisations close, and our members are contacting us saying they are facing devasting decisions as the tide of demand threatens to overwhelm communities.
‘Small charities have said they need decision makers and funders to tackle funding contracts ensuring they’re proper and fair. And for the public to help with donations and volunteers. We need to rally behind small charities and give them the support they have so willingly shown us.’
Case study of letter signatory: First Days Children’s Charity
CEO and Founder of First Days Children’s Charity, Emma Cantrell MBE, has signed the letter. She said: ‘We help families who are struggling financially. The last three years has seen the charity grow rapidly in response to ever growing demand. We have encountered crisis after crisis from Covid to the Ukrainian refugee crisis and now cost of living.
‘We have an exceptional team and the work we’re doing is meaningful and changing lives. But we’re running out of time waiting for support or funding from oversubscribed grants. I’m terrified that our work is going to have to stop at a time when it’s needed most.
‘I feel I’m constantly and relentlessly pushing boulders up a mountain and it takes its toll on even the strongest of people. There are so many people like me, who are passionate, dedicated and committed but also exhausted and so disheartened that our work, the things we do to keep society functioning, are not being fully recognised by central government.’
The letter to the Prime Minister has been coordinated as part of Small Charity Week 2023.