The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to set up a dedicated grant for charities during the Covid-19 crisis, following conversations with professionals in the Voluntary Sector.
Writing to the Government, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse argues the voluntary sector will be absolutely vital during the Covid-19 crisis but warned “non-profits have been left in the dark.”
According to discussions the Liberal Democrats have had with professionals in the Voluntary Sector, many charities have been hit financially by the Covid-19 crisis but will only be able to apply for government loans if more than half their income comes from trading activity.
Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:
“The voluntary sector will be absolutely vital as this crisis continues. Charities are able to provide networks of volunteers to reach out to the at-risk who may be self-isolating. They are also a vital source of information and support networks for people who are homeless, hungry, isolated or sick.
“Whilst the Government has been quick to announce measures to support the private sector, non-profits have been left in the dark.
“There are over 800,000 people employed in the voluntary sector across the UK. Income streams are already disappearing and charities are being forced to make hard choices about their workforce. The Government must act urgently to protect this vital sector during this crisis."
James Carlin, who runs 3SG and has amassed a volunteer force of over 1200 people over recent days, added:
“We’ve been so proud of our compassionate community’s response in the current coronavirus outbreak, with over 1200 people registering with us to volunteer.
“Many charities and organisations rely on volunteers already. Some of these will be people who are self-isolating, or who now need to remain at home for several weeks, so it is fantastic to have new volunteers from diverse backgrounds to step into fill the gaps.
“But many local voluntary groups and charities have been fighting for funding to survive and will need financial support if they are to carry on doing the brilliant work that they do.
"We are hoping the Chancellor will make a strong commitment to help our sector very soon.”