A recent survey of the charitable sector in Kent and Medway, conducted by Kent Community Foundation, reveals that help to pay core costs is the key to recovery from Coronavirus pandemic.

During May 2020, we invited charities and community groups to complete a survey about how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected them and their thoughts on the months ahead. Of the 358 respondents, over 68% said the one thing that would most help to recover and sustain over the coming months is funding to cover core costs.

A further 7% said, information, advice and guidance would help most, while, networking and collaboration opportunities, more volunteers and flexibility in commissioned projects were each identified by 14 of the 358 survey participants. 

Kent Community Foundation has already awarded £940,000 to 268 organisations from its Coronavirus Emergency Fund and following the results of the survey the team will assign £500,000 from the remaining balance to support priority organisations with grants of up to £20,000 to cover core costs such as salaries and regular bills.

Other findings included 47% of respondents stating that they had seen an increase in demand for services since 23rd March 2020, with 57% saying their service offering had decreased since that same date. Only 14.5% said that their service offering had remained the same. 

When asked whether they believed they would still be in operation by August 2020, 14% said their level of confidence about survival was 50% or lower.

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “Kent Community Foundation is very concerned about the enormity of the impact of this pandemic on vulnerable communities, and the voluntary organisations that support them. Charities have had to survive three months relying on their reserves or emergency grants. Food-related provision has been under enormous pressure since the end of March and as the economic impact of lockdown continues to be felt with redundancies, reduced hours and extended furloughing, food poverty is expected to peak again. Add to this our prediction for a huge surge in demand during September and October for well-being, mental health, debt advice and money management services and we know many charities are now or will find themselves in an extremely difficult position. We distributed the survey so that we could ensure we directed funding where it was most needed and the results have clearly shown us that core funding is the key to helping charities to survive during this unprecedented time.”

55% of survey participants also said they had not accessed Government COVID-19 funding and support measures, although 47% said they had accessed funding via other national or local funding sources e.g. National Lottery Community Fund, Sport England.

Over 60% of respondents were from small organisations with an annual income of under £100k who make up more than 80% of the voluntary sector in Kent and Medway.

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind