The pandemic has seen charity donations fall off a cliff and costs rise, in response the Chancellor recently issued an emergency support package. But as the Women’s Resource Centre tells Marie Claire it’s ‘a drop in the ocean for the tsunami of need we are facing’
It makes for grim reading but the stark fact is shocking, the UK charity sector is facing a £4 billion debt situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So when Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently outlined a £750m support package it was obviously better than nothing but, according to Women’s Resource Centre CEO, Vivienne Hayes MBE, the figures just don’t add up.
‘This financial package is expected to cover the 168,000 charities in the UK, including small and local charities. this is not enough and falls short of the £4.2billion needed,’ says Hayes. ‘Charities and especially local smaller ones are dedicated to people in the greatest need in their communities, providing vital lifelines to those who have nowhere else to turn.
‘It’s high time our government showed it’s compassion for those in greatest need and acknowledged the vital role charities play for millions of people in the UK. Let’s not forget that women’s health charities alone save the Government £500million a year,’ reveals Hayes. ‘Violence against women and girls has increased by a known 25% since lockdown restrictions were imposed; the unreported figure is closer to 50%. Women’s charities also tell us that women’s mental health is taking a toll, with subsequent impact on families and health services. This handout will be a drop in the ocean for the tsunami of need we are facing.’
The Women’s Resource Centre is keenly aware of the increasingly challenging situation as charities try to navigate their way through coronavirus crisis. With its network of over 500, WRC has an incomparable reach and by being non-issue based it has its finger on the pulse of grassroots women’s organisations and an in-depth understanding of the needs of the sector.
‘It’s encouraging that the government have made the first step in the right direction, says Hayes. ‘However, this is far from adequate and we will not be giving up our struggle to have what are often life-saving services properly resourced.’
* Help the WRC right now by donating to their campaign calling for protected funding for women’s specialist charities at wrc.org.uk/tampon-tax-campaign