Funding drought leaves charities fighting for survival

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CHARITIES across Yorkshire are being hit by a “double whammy” as demand for their services soars at the very time their funding sources are drying up.

A new survey of charities across the region reveals 87 per cent have seen demand for their services rise over the past three years, as people struggle with the impact of cuts to benefits and key support services.

At the same time, charities have seen donations drop, as members of the public and businesses tighten their belts during the ongoing economic squeeze, while the public sector contracts which many charities rely on have become increasingly scarce.

David Cameron has said repeatedly he wants voluntary sector groups and charities to do more to plug the gap left by cuts in public spending as part of his “Big Society” initiative.

But Involve Yorkshire and Humber, the umbrella group for charities across the region which carried out the new survey, said more support from the Government is urgently required.

Chief executive Judy Robinson 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 the Humber cannot forever go on doing more and more for less and less. They want Government to listen and support more.”

The report found more than a third of charities expect their own financial situation to worsen over the next year. Not a single one of the 111 respondents expected economic conditions within the voluntary ector to improve next year, with 81 per cent predicting a deterioration.

The study also found that many charities are now replacing paid staff with volunteers to make ends meet.

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