The news that Age UK Suffolk is to close from 24th July 2020 is stunning and yet sadly predictable. It is not the first and it is certainly not going to be the last charity that has to make the incredibly difficult decision to cease providing services because of the financial effects of lockdown and the financial losses that have resulted.
But Age UK Suffolk is not alone. National charity Cancer Research UK which is the country's biggest cancer charity has announced plans to cut back its research spending by £150 million and to reduce its workforce by a quarter to offset the loss of income brought about by the pandemic.
Cancer Research UK has projected a £300 million loss of fund raising income over the next three years including £160 million this year alone.The effect of cutting back on research is devastating and deeply troubling. The fantastic work and research that Cancer Research UK carry out is not going to be replaced easily or quickly with the effect on the health of many people not being known for many years to come.
All charities are inevitably going to struggle because of the loss of income from donations. Many have had to take unprecedented steps to reduce expenditure including putting their staff on furlough under the staff retention scheme initiated by the government. Coming out of lockdown and dealing with the future is going to be as difficult if not more difficult than the steps needed to reduce activities and staffing levels when lockdown was first announced. The people that Age UK Suffolk have been helping and supporting will still need that help and support but Age UK Suffolk will not be around to provide it.
In the very different "new normal" world that we are now entering the role of charities is going to be crucial. Sadly this is at a time when they are under most pressure financially and struggling to survive. For many charities they are now having to make unprecedented decisions in an unprecedented situation.
At Clapham & Collinge, we have a multi discipline team dedicated to providing legal services to our clients from the charity sector. For more information on the legal services we offer to charities, visit our dedicated charity services webpage, call 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form.
*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.