Charities struggling under financial pressures are set to lose staff as some say they will never recover from the pandemic

The £10 billion charity funding gap created by coronavirus is putting an “alarming proportion” of jobs and services in the firing line in the social sector, according to research by Pro Bono Economics, in partnership with the Institute of Fundraising and Charity Finance Group.

Many charities are relied upon by vulnerable people

The survey of 455 charities found that 19 per cent have already made redundancies, and that 23 per cent plan to make further cutbacks once the government’s furlough scheme comes to an end, rising to 44 per cent among the largest charities.

In the charity sector, 5,400 job losses have already been announced since the start of the pandemic, but the Charity Sector Tracker results indicate that this could be the tip of the iceberg.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Meanwhile, 68 of of charities expect demand for their support to rise in the next six months,

Blood Cancer UK, the recipient of the Yorkshire-based Calendar Girls’ fundraising efforts, said it would have £1.8m less to spend on research this year and will need to cut a quarter of staff.

Gemma Peters, chief executive, said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on Blood Cancer UK’s finances.

“It’s clear that we’ll lose a significant number of brilliant, dedicated, people.

“It is a gut-wrenching situation but it’s what we have to do to be strong for the long haul, to beat blood cancer.”

Matt Whittaker, chief executive of Pro Bono Economics, said: “Charities have been under extraordinary pressure since the start of the pandemic, dealing with the perfect storm of increased demand and constrained resources. To date they have responded with typical resilience and invention, but the coming months look set to prove tougher still.

“With the recession biting and unemployment rising, the social sector has never been more needed. But an alarming proportion of jobs in the sector are now at risk.

“That means many of the charity workers who have provided vital support to millions across the country since the start of the Covid crisis are facing a very uncertain future.”

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of Charity Finance Group, said charitable activities and organisations were the “glue” that keeps communities together.

She said: “The scale of job losses in the charity sector means less capacity to help people survive loss, hunger, unemployment. Charities are vital to help society through the crisis of Covid and will be essential to the effort to rebuild as we go through a deep-rooted recession and a potential second wave.”

Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and external affairs of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, said: “The stark figures on reduction of services and job losses are of real concern and will have a real impact for the people, families, and communities who rely on charities every day.

“At a time where so many people are struggling, we are seeing charities’ ability to help them severely reduced, not just in the short-term, but over the months and years ahead.”