A number of charities have told of their concerns as donations plummeted. As the cost of living continues to rise many organisations say regular givers are having to rethink how they spend their cash.
With the price of everything from food and fuel to gas and electricity rocketing it is having an impact on what money is available to give away. Latest ONS figures which cover the first three months of the year show that real household disposable income dropped by 0.2% – the fourth consecutive quarter to see a dip.
According to a number of charities donations are falling. One even warned they were "grinding to a halt". At the same time many are facing rises in the number of people seeking help.
Maria Hanson MBE, founder of the Derby-based charity, me&dee said: “Donations, like the economy, are grinding to a halt. Recently we have lost five of our regular monthly supporters.
"This is our only set income, and therefore a massive concern. Our number of applications have doubled and we do not have double the resources."
Rachel Hayward, trustee and chair at Derby-based charity, Annabel's Angels said: "Lower disposable income has seen donations drop off massively. We are volunteer-led and rely on donations from the public to provide a small amount of financial aid to people undergoing treatment for cancer.
"We saw a doubling of requests for help last year but the public is finding it hard to donate as their own costs are rising sharply. Without the intervention of external bodies and the Government to provide much needed funds, like many small charities I fear for our future."
While many charities were hit by the covid pandemic some say the current situation is even worse today. They fear they will not be able to meet the rising demand if the situation does not change.
Marie Peacock, CEO of Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity added: "The current "cost of giving" crisis is much bigger, and is hitting our charity harder, than the pandemic ever did. There has been a huge drop-off in donations since the start of the year, not just in monetary donations but in charity shop donations of items, too.
"At the same time, we have seen a 95% increase in requests for our patient grants as people receiving a brain tumour diagnosis are finding themselves in a serious financial crisis. As a charity, we can't keep up with the demand when our income is 61% down.
"The Government needs to step in to support charities so we can all get through the tough year ahead together, intact and meeting the needs of those we support who have had their lives turned upside down. If something isn't done soon the future does not look very positive."
Faye Jones, fundraising manager at Shepton Mallet-based charity, Happy Landings Animal Rescue agreed. She said: "Since the increased price cap for energy in April, the number of donations we’ve received online has more than halved, and with the price cap set to rise further, things are looking exceptionally bleak.
"We’ve had a handful of people cancel their direct debits in the past month as people just don't have the disposable income. Our supporters are worried about the state of their finances in the coming year due to higher inflation and rising interest rates, and are reluctant to sign up to any new financial commitments.
"The government needs to address the extenuating circumstances in which charities are operating; they have barely had time to recover from the pandemic, before being hit by record levels of inflation. People and communities throughout the UK rely on the critical support and services that charities provide.
"If the Government does not do more to ensure the longevity of the charitable sector and recognise the immense value that charities bring to people’s lives, it is ultimately the people in our communities who will suffer when these key services fall away.”
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