Olympic volunteering boost at risk as more charities set to close

Thousands of people have volunteered their time and energy to make London 2012 a success, and one of the legacies of the games was to encourage those volunteers, and others inspired by them, to take up volunteering in their own communities, but this legacy is at risk as some of the charities who’d have hoped to utilise the volunteers have been forced to close as a result of the continuing difficult financial climate.

Parliamentary Questions have revealed that almost a thousand more charities were removed from the Charity Commission’s Register of Charities in 2011/12 compared to 2010/11.

Charities have been hit hard by government cuts, by the loss of government contracts, by the failure of private sector partners for the Work Programme to ensure charity partners got their fair share of income, and by the damage done to philanthropic donations by the recent charity tax row.

Further charities have announced that they will have to close this year as the squeeze on charity finances continues to accelerate, recent examples include:

More than 1 in 4 charities in Norfolk say they expect to close during this year, according to a survey carried out by umbrella group Voluntary Norfolk, the survey also found that half of respondents have cut or will be cutting services because of financial pressures.

Wiltshire Mind is set to close in December due to lack of funding having drawn heavily on its reserves in recent years. The organisation, part of the larger national Mind charity provides care and support to people affected by mental health problems and has been running since 1993.

Shrewsbury based Support, Help and Advice for Relatives and Friends of Prisoners (SHARP) said it faced closure in two months time unless additional funding is found.

The charity helped 3,300 families through its services ranging from a helpline to resettlement support, but has so far received no funding grants for 2012/13.

Its chief executive David Dooner is the last remaining employee, having had to make the six other staff redundant already.

The Bridge has announced it has gone into administration, blaming changes in government funding.

The charity which specialised in the training and education of women of all ages and had centres in Sunderland and Durham also offered childcare services and volunteering opportunities.

Gareth Thomas MP, Labour’s shadow Charities Minister, said: “It’s been great to see so many volunteers giving up their time and energy to make the Games a success.

"So it’s sad to see that hundreds of local charities across the UK – which could have benefited from Olympic volunteers, or those inspired by them, wanting to carry on volunteering in their own communities – are facing closure because of huge funding cuts, poor commissioning decisions and by George Osborne’s disastrous handling of the recent charity tax row.”

This article has been taken from the Charity Times – http://www.charitytimes.com/ct/Olympic_volunteering_boost_at_risk_as_more_charities_set_to_close.php