Businesses, families and communities across the globe have been knocked sideways by the staggering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. For the minority, it has created opportunity but for many, the impact has been catastrophic.
We have seen the NHS and support workers soldier on tirelessly to care for the infected, putting themselves in the firing line, neglecting their own health and families for the sake of others. People have lost homes, jobs and loved ones and the vulnerable have become even more so.
These are the people who rely on charities and non-profit organisations for support but these organisations are among those who have been hit the hardest. Both in terms of financial support and people-power. They are experiencing a significant rise in cries for help and an increased need for resource to support.
In a recent interview the Countess of Wessex, patron of both Childline and the NSPCC, references the significant rise in calls for help since the beginning of lockdown with a 32% increase in phone calls from children contacting the NSPCC helpline, averaging one call an hour. Domestic violence, or as described by the UN ‘the shadow pandemic’ has seen an increase in around 20% according to an article by the BBC.
One of our intentions we set as a business at the start of this year was to work closely with a nominated charity so back in January, we partnered with Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby who fund and support children with disabilities and facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland
30% of children living in the UK and Ireland live in poverty and 7% live with a disability. The numbers are growing significantly with project applications rising by 63% but fund raising income down by 69% this year.
Wooden Spoon is an events-based charity and as such we and its many kind donors have been limited in the way in which we can support given the restrictions of Covid but we remain committed to raising awareness for the charity and supporting in whichever way we can.
We spent some time with Sarah Webb CEO for Wooden Spoon to understand the position and direct impact Covid has had on the Charity’s ability to operate and support its projects.
“Our model is simple in that the more we raise, the more projects we can help. This coming year will be reflective of the funds that we have been unable to raise due to event cancellation and our army of over 300 volunteers have not been unable to support in the ways they have previously. As such, less children and young people across the UK will benefit from our projects. This is against the back drop of significant cuts to children’s services and the need for support around mental health being at an all-time high – all due to Covid-19.”
Whilst Corporate partners have been very supportive, they themselves are trying to juggle what their future landscapes look like and we have been mindful of this when working with them. We have been lucky that a handful of our Major Donors have been able to step in and help us get through this current year so we can hit 21/22 on a solid basis but looking ahead we will take into account the shift in donor culture and how people give.”
It’s fair to say that lockdown has exacerbated pre-existing factors that contribute to mental health concerns, domestic violence and abuse and poverty as well as generating new anxieties and behaviours. Charities have had to tailor their approach and become more creative and imaginative with how to engage with donors and generate funds.
In a blog on the Institute of Charities, Sam Boyle writes that “charities which innovate and find ways to reach their audience will still find a public who want to give …despite all the considerable challenges we are facing the public still want to engage with the causes they believe in. Fundraisers have achieved incredible things in trying circumstances and the evidence we are seeing so far suggests that the public will continue to give generously when asked”.
Not every form of giving needs to be financial. Time, equipment, services can all be just as valuable as sums of money. We recently worked with Jami, a charity who provide mental health support to sufferers and carers within the Jewish community.
The projects and initiatives Jami supports are broad, operating four community hubs ranging from cafés to upcycling factories as well as online pre-loved clothing shops.
In the same way other charities have experienced an immediate requirement for addition support, Jami’s support for existing service users has risen by 55% in terms of hours with a 29% increase in the number of people being supported. 100% of all new referrals were Covid related and there has been a 110% increase in referrals from July to August alone.
We designed and manufactured the infection protection screens for their Headroom Café based in Golders Green. This isn’t just any old café! It provides a sense of community and belonging, generates funding from food and drink to re-invest, provides an opportunity to re-skill mental health sufferers and facilitates a steady transition back into society. It’s a safe place for people to visit, to talk to someone and to seek support in times of despair.
Our protection infection solutions aren’t just a physical barrier to be installed in the workplace to prevent the spread of viruses and germs, they are much more than that for some and can provide a sanctuary for those suffering with mental health or experiencing abuse or violence at home.
Working with Wooden Spoon and being a part of the re-opening of the Headroom Café has been a humbling experience. Our faith in human kindness has been restored and as a business we are keen to continue to support Jami and other charities in whatever way we can.
Here at Bluewood and d/vide we specialise in the design and manufacture of perspex infection protection screens and can provide either an off -the-sheIf solution or something more tailor-made to suit you. If you would like to talk to us about how we can help, please get in touch with one of the Team today via dvide.co.uk / firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer discounted rates for all screens and safety solutions solutions for local charities.