The chief executive of The Wheel, the national association of community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises, has called on the incoming government to establish a Cabinet position to support the sector.
Deirdre Garvey told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that there needs to be strong engagement between the government and charities as many have been severely impacted by Covid-19.
If the sector, which employs 180,000 staff and requires €15billion every year, is to survive then it will need “tangible support” from any incoming government, she said.
Ms Garvey called for the appointment of a senior Cabinet minister to ensure sustainable funding. She pointed out that €7.5billion of the funds required by charities come from the government for essential services in health and social care. A further €7.5billion was generated through fund raising and charges for services.
Later today 500 charity leaders will gather online to discuss the impact of the pandemic on communities and the charity sector.
Ms Garvey said that while there had been extraordinary examples of community support and solidarity in recent times, charities had to cancel fund raising efforts and there were concerns about services being maintained.
“How will this be funded, and what can a newly formed Government do to support the sector?”
The online meeting of the charity leaders will discuss the collapse of fundraising income, the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable groups, emerging needs of communities and the policies and government supports needed to sustain the work of the sector.
Charities facing unprecedented social and economic crisis in wake of Covid-19
Charity services are at risk of collapse over the coming months, according to a body that represents the sector.
The Wheel says many are facing an unprecedented social and economic crisis in the wake of Covid-19.
A recent survey by the Charities Regulator has found more than half say they will be unable to continue providing services for more than six months.
CEO, Deirdre Garvey, says the pandemic has led to a perfect storm for charities and voluntary groups.
“There’s been massive increase in demand, on the services and the need for the work that voluntary organisations do," she said.
“At the very same time as a complete and drastic reduction in the fundraise and the earned income of charities.
“And that is posing severe challenges for organisations in the sector.”