Almost half of UK-based aid charities face ruin due to pandemic

Almost half of UK-based international aid charities will be force to close within the year due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Without additional funding from the UK government or elsewhere, 45% of charities in the international aid sector will need to shut their doors within 12 months.

Within six months 15% will be have to close, as charities struggle to cope with the dramatic income losses caused during the pandemic due to charity shop closures and cancellation of fundraising events.

The findings have been revealed in a Small International Charities Network survey of 53 small UK basked charities working overseas.

This also found that three quarters (72%) have seen an increased demand for their services over this period.

“As the COVID-19 crisis continues around the world, small UK charities/nonprofits
working overseas are facing many challenges,” said the Network.

“Despite nearly three quarters seeing demand for their services increase, opportunities for funding are few and far between.”

“They feel forgotten, undervalued, poorly represented and concerned for their future and ultimately for the communities they support.”

Two thirds of charities surveyed are responding to Covid-19 directly, with 23% responding in part.

Only around one in ten (11%) will continue their work overseas as normal and just under two thirds (64%) have found news ways to deliver services, while more than half (57%) have had to postpone programmes or projects.

While collaboration levels have remained the same over the last three months, at 77%, 17% of those in partnerships have developed new collaborations.

The majority (79%) of income raised over the last three months has come from individual giving, followed by trusts and foundations, cited by 45 per cent of those surveyed.

Just 4% of charities have been eligible for government related funding and 68% of charities have received no support from the UK government, while around a third furloughed or are furloughing staff using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

One said: “As we operate overseas, we have not been eligible for many grants,
including the Gov Community Support Fund/National Lottery.

“Many trusts have also adjusted their giving to support work in the UK. Individual giving and generosity of the public has been vital.”

Financial uncertainty

Among small aid charities to announce they are to close is African Initiatives, which supports women in Tanzania. It said it had been unable to find enough income to continue running and warned that Covid-19 will “bring further financial uncertainty”.

Last month the National Council for Voluntary Organisations warned that the charity sector has been left vulnerable through an increasing reliance on public donations.

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