Charity chiefs have pleaded with the Government to shore up the sector’s dramatic shortfall in funding, saying such a lifeline is urgently needed if many are to survive the months ahead.
Chief executive of Charities Institute Ireland, Liz Hughes, said her organisation and other charities were “calling on government to follow the recent Scottish example to provide a specific fund to support the sector”.
The scale of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to greater than ever demand, yet incomes will plummet, Ms Hughes added.
“At a time when demand for state services could be overrun, the demand on charities will increase exponentially. And all of this is happening at a time when sources of income, which were once mainstay options, are no longer viable.
“Charity shops are closed, on-street fundraising is cancelled and public fundraising events like the Mini Marathon which funds so many charities has been postponed until the autumn. Many charities have had specific fundraising days either cancelled or moved online.”
There are 190,000 people working in the charity sector in Ireland with international economic research organisation Indecon estimating the total impact of Ireland’s charities exceeds €24bn.
“The next number of weeks and months will see extra demands placed on all charities; from increased access to services to the reality of additional costs on health and safety equipment to keep service users and staff safe. These safety nets are unravelling at speed. Charities need a lifeline from government to get us through the weeks and months ahead,” Ms Hughes said.
It comes as a new national initiative is launched to link and support thousands of community and voluntary organisations who are assisting vulnerable people, including those ’’cocooning’’ under the recent Government edict.
The new initiative, COVID-19 Community Outreach (CCO) is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and will be coordinated by The Wheel, the national association of charities, and Irish Rural Link, the national network representing the interest of rural communities.
It aims to ensure older people, people with long-term medical conditions, and people with additional needs have access to support in their homes.
CEO of The Wheel, Deirdre Garvey said: “We have already deployed a Community Champion in each of the 26 counties. As members of your local authority’s COVID-19 forum, the Community Champions will play a key role in coordinating local community supports.”
[I]For contact details visit www.wheel.ie/covid-19-community-outreach.