CHARITIES in North and East Yorkshire are laying off staff and struggling for funding as donations and grants dry up in the harsh economic climate.

Organisations of all sizes say they face a weekly battle for money as figures revealed that donations to charities across the UK have fallen by 20 per cent in the past year.

Mental Health charity York Mind revealed it recently had to lay off part-time and full-time staff members because of the crisis in funding.

Operations manager Peter Gorbet said: “We recently had to do a restructure and have had to make three members of staff redundant.

“We had forecasts of £100,000 income this year but we have really had to have that forecast rolled right back. There are a lot of things we have had to put off this year.”

He said: “In the past, one of our main income streams has been through grants, but we have only had a fraction of what we would have had in the past.”

The situation was echoed at York Older Citizen’s Advocacy, where service manager Linda Tester said donations from individuals had suffered as well as grants.

Smaller charities are also being hard hit, according to Marlene Haste, of animal welfare charity Caring For Cats, in Market Weighton.

She said: “We have kind people who donate monthly to us but we also have to raise money through events and collection tins on shop counters too.

“It’s a fight every month and we are down this year. I have been here 12 years and the amount of animals we are getting is going up too. We are finding kittens in bags and it’s getting worse. People can’t afford to look after them or pay for vaccinations.”

The report by the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations found the amount donated to charities nationally fell from £11bn to £9.3bn in 2011/12.