In the past week, I have been focused on Huddersfield’s many charities and third sector organisations which provide crucial support to many vulnerable people across my constituency and the country more widely. The Covid-19 outbreak is going to have a profound impact on many sectors and industries – charities will not be exempt from the immense disruption and uncertainty that this international challenge has generated.
I joined hundreds of colleagues in signing Stephen Doughty MP’s open letter to the Chancellor this week. Stephen stated: “Without an immediate injection of money, many charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises of all sizes will soon close. Funds are running out. Crucially, the NCVO predicts that there will be a loss in the sector of £4.3bn in income over the coming 12 weeks. The figure could be far higher.”
From the Forget Me Not Hospice to the Welcome Centre, charities in my constituency do a huge amount to support the people of Yorkshire, often through highly challenging and distressing moments of their lives. I am proud to say that I have worked with many of them for a long time and met many exceptional people as a result. But Covid-19 is threatening these charities and putting their capacity to continue to operate in the long-term at risk.
This week, I have asked third sector workers to write to me with their experiences of how their work is being affected by the outbreak. I also want to know how Covid-19 is impacting the fundraising, profile and general operation of these groups. If you do have any personal experience of this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is my belief that the Government has a central role to play in supporting charities and third sector workers and the financial support offered to businesses should not be at the expense of a bailout for the third sector, should the situation worsen. Many in our communities rely on the work that a third sector organisation does and the challenges that Covid-19 pose will lead to a chain reaction which will profoundly and adversely impact those who rely on them. It is our duty to mitigate the damage done to our country’s charities and I will continue to do all I can to represent the views of Huddersfield’s charities.
The Welcome Centre runs a foodbank service which will be used by many individuals and families adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis in the coming weeks.
Forget Me Not hospice does amazing work supporting children with life-shortening conditions and their families.
The Laura Crane Trust supports children and young people with cancer, many of whom are in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ category for COVID-19.