The Charity Commission has found that the proportion of larger charities (those with an annual income over £500,000) with no reserves has more than tripled during the pandemic, from 9% to 28% in July 2021. In a written submission to the House of Lords Committee reviewing the government’s proposed Charities Bill, the regulator said that the full effect of Covid-19 on charities is yet to be seen – echoing Voscur’s informal assessment of the VCSE sector in Bristol.
More positive signs evidenced by the Charity Commission included increased collaboration, better use of digital technology and new ways of working. The commission also found that there is a desire among the public to get involved in and support charitable work. They received more than 8,000 applications to register a new charity during the pandemic.
For emerging groups in Bristol, Voscur offers a Starting Out programme covering all the basics of setting up a new organisation, and a briefing on Setting up a CIC (Community Interest Company). Of course, starting a new charity or social enterprise isn’t always the best approach to addressing the needs of a neighbourhood, or helping a particular community to achieve its ambitions - if an existing group is already working towards common goals. Locally make sure you check the VCSE directory to avoid duplication and make best use of limited resources.