1 in 10 Small Charities in London Fear Closure

18 Oct 2013

London’s Small Charities in Fear of Closure

  • One in ten say they face going under in the next 12 months
  • 14% decrease in voluntary income
  • Around a quarter dipped into their reserves in the last month

One in ten small charities in London fears it will have to close in the next 12 months, according to a new report published today/Fri.

The Small Charity Index – the first of its kind, which was created by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) and launched in June during Small Charity Week at an event hosted by Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd – has collected data from 288 charities across England.

And according to its first quarterly review, which is published today:

  • Around one in ten (9%) small charities in the capital say they fear closure in 2014
  • Nearly two thirds (63%) of London-based small charities are experiencing an increase in demand for their services
  • At the same time 14% of small charities in the capital have seen a drop in voluntary income
  • Around a quarter (23%) dipped into their reserves in the last month

The increase in demand for the services of small charities in London is 6% higher than in the rest of the South East – and while around a quarter of small charities in the capital used their reserves in the last month, the figure drops to 14% in East Anglia and just 6% in the Midlands.

And while around one in ten (9%) small charities in London indicate a risk of closure in the next 12 months, the figure drops to just 3% in the South West, while NO respondents in East Anglia reported a significant risk of closure.

One small charity in the capital struggling to cope with demand for its services is the BIGKID Foundation, which supports young people aged between 11 and 19 from all backgrounds through community and outreach work.  Its team of 50 volunteers work in areas including Lambeth, Southwark, Hammersmith, Hackney and Wandsworth, teaching youngsters about leadership, what it means to be a leader, and the difference between good and bad leaders.

Shaninga Marasha, founder and CEO of BIGKID Foundation, said: “We are seeing a tremendous demand for what we do, and it’s such a shame that we are increasingly having to do this with fewer and fewer resources.

“Like many other small charities in London, we are facing a crunch – every day we face difficult choices as to who we can help and who we just can’t.”

The FSI is the Soho-based small charity that supports thousands of small charities to keep their doors open, giving them the tools they need to support children, young people, men, women and families, both nationally and internationally.  It provides £2.2m-worth of services delivered for free every year, and has an active membership of 2,600 charities and 3,000 individual members involved in the sector.

And according to its CEO Pauline Broomhead, it is vital that small charities in London who are fearful of closure in the current economic climate conduct a self-audit.

She said: “London’s small charities are urged to carry out a life stage assessment. If in fear of closure, book a free advice session at the FSI – these are available each month free of charge, and they will identify the areas at most risk, together with quick wins and longer term goals

“For so many parts of London, small charities are the glue that holds society together – and without them to ‘fill the gaps’ left by statutory and other sources, those who need our help the most will suffer.

“They can thrive in the current climate across the capital, but they need the support, knowledge and tools to do so.  The FSI is here to give them that support, share with the knowledge and provide tools for them to become self-sustaining.

“We can’t let small charities in London fail as they are part of the rich tapestry of the capital’s compassionate and caring society.”


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