Charities being asked ‘to do more with less’

Published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by

CHARITIES across York and North and East Yorkshire are being put under increased pressure for help with fewer resources, according to research.

A survey of Yorkshire and Humber charities has revealed the majority are seeing higher demands for help during the economic crisis.

Involve Yorkshire & Humber has published a report into the experiences of charities over the past three years, with 87 per cent of respondents saying calls for their help have increased.

But Involve’s analysis highlights that as demand has gone up, many charities have seen funding reduced due to a fall in public donations, grants and Government contracts.

A case study of York-based charity Inspired Youth (IY) shows that even inventive social enterprises with a track record of innovative fundraising are finding it increasingly difficult. Founded in 2007 by Chris James and Kevin Curran, they create films and other artistic materials in collaboration with a variety of groups from young carers to recovering drug addicts.

Mr James said: “There are lots of messages to charities in the media and from Government saying ‘you can just turn it all into a social enterprise’.

“At IY we are social entrepreneurs, but if you are not, then that way of thinking takes a long time. You have to tune into the concept that you have to make money out of it.

“You cannot charge the service user, who is the person who needs the service. Usually you would charge the local authority or a third-sector organisation but they do not have the money to pay for it.

“As a social enterprise, there’s a lot of loan finance about, but we do not want to borrow money, and we do not want to be reliant on grant funding and we do not want to be in competition with those services who provide a front line. That does not sit well with me.”

The report also highlights anger among voluntary and community organisations at the Government for failing to support their work properly, and nearly four in ten (37 per cent) said they expected Government departments to have a negative influence on their organisation in the coming year.

Judy Robinson, chief executive of Involve, said: “Voluntary and community groups are passionate about the support they give to the neediest in our communities and that’s more important than ever.

“But charities in Yorkshire and Humber cannot forever go on doing more and more for less and less. They want government to listen and support more.”

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