North East charities "too busy" to find new funding

Charities facing government spending cuts do not have the resources to find alternative funding, a survey claims.

Research for the grant-making Garfield Weston Foundation suggested two-thirds in the north-east of England had been affected by cuts.

But director Philippa Charles said the expected increase in funding applications "simply didn't happen".

"We were amazed to find the number of applications actually fell by up to 40%."

The survey of 182 charities in the region found more than 40% felt staff did not have enough time or resources to find and apply for new sources of money.

It suggested 38% had lost income in the last year and 57% had seen demand for their services increase.

'Full of holes'

"The charity sector here in the North East faces a 'perfect storm' of public sector funding cuts and an increase in demand for services," Voluntary Organisations' Network North East chief executive Jo Curry said.

"As charities' reserves dwindle and staffing levels are cut, the safety net they have provided to vulnerable customers is now full of holes."

The government said it was investing around £470m to support charities and voluntary groups.

"Over three quarters of charities receive no money from the state and we have an ambitious programme to ensure as many as possible can be self-sufficient by opening up new types of funding opportunities," a Cabinet Office spokesperson said.

"We are also helping charities bid for and win more public sector contracts through new grants, workshops and legislation."

The Garfield Weston Foundation has launched an award to help charities in the region.

Those successful would be given guidance they would not normally be able to afford, a foundation spokesperson said.

Leon Mexter, chief executive of the charity Regional Youth Work Unit North East, said it had realised relying on local authority funding made it "incredibly vulnerable" and had found alternative sources of finance.

"Charities that were used to relying on grant aid are finding themselves in a more competitive world and are having to fight for their place," he said.

"My advice to charities is: don't sit in the bunker and carry on as you were before. We need to be smarter about how we do things and challenge ourselves to be more effective."

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