SMALL charities in York have been devastated by the crippling coronavirus crisis - with 40 per cent saying their future is uncertain.

Their plight has prompted the launch of a new online fundraising campaign, Keep the Lights On, to help boost their chances of survival.

It comes after a survey by York CVS (Centre for Voluntary Service) found that 67 per cent of the city’s charities expect to lose £10,000 or more due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The survey also found that 72 per cent of charities have had to close or put part of their services on hold and 40 per cent said their future was uncertain beyond October 2020.

David Kerfoot, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, is now asking York residents to help by donating to the York Small Charities Fund, set up to help ensure local small charities and charitable organisations can continue to support York’s most vulnerable residents.

The Fund will be managed by York CVS and Two Ridings Community Foundation. All of the money raised by the campaign will go directly to York’s small charities and charitable organisations.

Mr Kerfoot said: “The more money we can raise, the more small charities and charitable organisations we’ll be able to support. When it comes to small charities, a little can go a long way and it’s essential that we do not lose any of these valuable services.

“Many of the lesser-known charities support those who have been worst affected by the pandemic, so the knock-on effect due to the lack of funding is devastating to them. We must all take some degree of responsibility, no matter how small, and act now.”

Alison Semmence, chief executive of York CVS, said: “There are so many fantastic small charities in York who support the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“This fundraising campaign is to support those small charities and charitable organisations who do not have the capacity or means to run individual fundraising campaigns but are in desperate need of support to ensure they can continue to deliver their services.”

York Central MP Rachael Maskell, Shadow Minister covering charities, said: “Throughout this crisis charities have reached deep into our communities to meet the needs of people, now we need Government to reach deep into its pockets to help meet the needs of charities.

"With fundraising opportunities lost and bills still to pay, charities have depended on the generosity of the public over the last three months, and many of the staff have also been furloughed. However as furlough is being withdrawn and reserves are drying up, charities are going to struggle to survive without additional help."

Donations can be made in the following ways: Text LIGHTSON 5 to 70450 TO DONATE £5; Text LIGHTSON 10 to 70450 TO DONATE £10. Texts cost £5/£10 plus one standard rate message.

York CVS is a social action organisation, supporting and championing York’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to make positive change and challenge issues to strengthen communities.

Two Ridings Community Foundation is a hub for donors to channel funds directly to grassroots charities.