Britain’s charities and voluntary organisations urgently require a financial support package from government so they can play their part in the coronavirus fight and help some of the most vulnerable affected by the pandemic.
The call came from Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, today (Tuesday 31 March), which represents tens of thousands of not for profit workers, as charities experience a dramatic slump in funding at a time when demand for their services, from housing to mental health, is soaring because of the virus.
Unite has joined forces with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in calling for emergency funding for the sector. The NCVO has estimated that the sector could lose £4.3bn in income over the next three months.
Unite national officer for the community, youth and not for profit sector Siobhan Endean said: “Our members are keen to play their part in combating the coronavirus which will impact on some of the most vulnerable in society. Demand for charities’ services, from housing to mental health, has greatly increased.
“The voluntary sector is facing a crisis in funding, while meeting an unprecedented demand to support our communities. Our members are working incredibly long hours, with a lack of personal protective equipment and under immense pressure.
“We need urgent action from the government to ensure that the voluntary and not for profit sector and those employed in it are protected amidst the current crisis we find ourselves in.
“That’s why Unite has joined forces with the NCVO to call for a comprehensive financial package to underpin the sector at this extraordinary time.
“Government has rightly identified our members as ‘key workers’ and that’s why chancellor Rishi Sunak must unveil specific measures to assist the sector as a matter of urgency.”
Unite and the NCVO are making these key demands:
• Emergency Mobilisation funding for frontline charities and volunteers supporting the response to the coronavirus crisis in the UK and globally through grants with a swift application process.
• A ‘stabilisation fund’ for all charities to help them stay afloat, pay staff and continue operating during the course of the pandemic which would be administered through the National Lottery.
• Confirmation that charities should be eligible for similar business interruption measures announced by the chancellor for businesses and access to government rescue schemes.