If you listened to our radio show today, you'll have heard me talking about how we can help our local charities during this strange time, by writing to our MPs to ask for supportive measures for them.
We started thinking about this in particular, because awesome Somerset charity Children's World are in desperate need of funds now that the Glastonbury Festival has ben cancelled. Children's World usually raise the majority of their funding working behind the scenes at the festival, but they won't be able to do that this year, leaving a huge funding gap.
The small team supports children of all abilities and backgrounds in Somerset, using performance, drama, film-making and fun and they've made such a positive difference to many children's lives across the county.
Here is just a tiny snapshot of feedback about the support the team offers:
"We're impressed with (Children's World's) expertise, endless enthusiasm and encouragement which enabled the children to achieve much more than they thought they could".
"Their work has helped different groups of children develop their creativity in stimulating and original ways".
"One boy in my class now relates very well to the people of Children's World, whereas he used to cling to me when any other adult was around. This has helped in his relationship with other staff at school too, and I am sure it stems from our Wednesday mornings with you. I have watched normally expressionless faces come to life with real enjoyment as they participate in your workshops".
The team has given me the email below, which can be sent to your MP to try and help Children's World, and smaller charities like them, bridge the funding gap. If you want to use this as a template to mention other local charities close to your heart too, please do.
I know it can sometimes feel hopeless contacting your MP, but in times like these sending an email is one of the positive things we can all do.
Take good care,
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis we are being told to expect continuing updates about supportive measures to protect the economy and the livelihoods of individuals and businesses. I look forward to hearing more about this.
The issue I'm writing to ask about here is specifically charities, especially smaller ones. Many, if not most, charities rely on fundraising through face to face events, which is clearly not possible at the moment. Events are so good for fundraising as they invite people to give, while enjoying an activity together. While charities may be able to run online fundraising and even online events, it is going to be next to impossible for many charities to survive this way unless help is given at the state level. I believe the state has a duty to protect everyone, including initiatives set up to do good through asking people to give. However, charities are also going to suffer enormously as individuals necessarily cut back in their expenses.
In particular, please remember the smaller charities who do so much important work. For example, Children's World in Glastonbury, which raises most of its running costs from food and drink provision backstage and for the public at the now cancelled Glastonbury Festival. Children's World supports inclusion for all children through drama, performance, film-making and fun - you can read about their work here: www.childrensworldcharity.org . They have only just made it through a fallow year recently and scraped the cash needed together through events they ran all through the year. They will not be able to do that this time. Countless charities will be in this position, and the important work they do - much of which provides necessary help and support that the state does not provide - could be lost.
Please tell me what you will be doing to address this issue, and if you have not looked into it, please do so with some urgency. I hope to hear that the government is working with the Charities Commission, at the very least. Please act on this.