Last updated 18/06/20
Health and care charities facing significant falls in income during COVID-19
The health and care voluntary sector continues to provide invaluable information and support to millions of people with long term conditions as statutory health and care services refocus their efforts on COVID-19. At the same time, with shops closed, events cancelled and the funding restricted, many are also facing unprecedented shortfalls to their income.
To understand this further, we, together with the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA), and National Voices asked its members about the impact of the coronavirus emergency on their services and their funding. 40 charities responded to the survey, which was open between 17th April and 13th May 2020.
The health and care voluntary sector is central to combatting the virus and supporting those facing unique challenges during the pandemic
We found that 77% of respondents reported a slight or significant increase in demand for their services. Yet, 28% of respondents to the survey predicted at least a 40% drop in their fundraising income over the next 12 months. A further 33% predicted between at least a 25% drop.
Respondents estimated approximately a 30% reduction in activities during COVID-19. Key workstreams that have reduced include research programmes, core support services, cancellation or postponement of fundraising events, postponement of NHS service improvement programmes, halting of support worker training and the cessation of peer support groups.
Current Government support fails to meet the unique needs of the health and care charity sector
The Government has developed a number of schemes to support charities. Our survey that many respondents had utilised the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in particular – 45% of respondents had furloughed staff or were about to. Of those who intended to furlough staff or had already done so, approximately 50% of staff were on furlough.
However, furloughing staff may not be possible or appropriate for health and care charities when they are trying to manage huge demand for their valuable services and support. Calls to allow furloughed charity staff to volunteer back for their employer to keep services going have been flatly rejected by the Government due to fear of fraud. In many cases however, this results in health and care charities losing highly trained support staff, right at a time when they need them most.
The Government has made billions in loan finance available too, which charities are able to access, but this is not being utilised by charities. With income so precarious, charities are reluctant to take on finance when they have no idea when fundraising and other funding streams might recover.
Building back better
The health and care charity sector is central to recovering from COVID-19. Of course, the experiences of people with long term conditions must to be central to our efforts to rebuild NHS and care services – after all, people with long term conditions and those closest to them, have felt the impacts of this virus perhaps more so than most. With unparalleled insight into the daily lives of people with long term conditions, the health and care charity sector is central to enabling that to happen.
Read our full briefing here