Cork charities hugely impacted by Covid-19 pandemic last year

Cork charities hugely impacted by Covid-19 pandemic last year

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland

A NEW report has found that the charity sector in Cork was hugely impacted by Covid-19 last year.

The Irish State significantly increased its funding to the charity sector nationwide last year, stepping into the breach to support charities in meeting both an increased demand for services in many instances, and a collapse in fundraised and/or earned income in some parts of the sector as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This support was particularly noticeable in Cork, where State support for Cork-based charities grew from €570.6m to €724.4m in 2020, which represents an increase of 27%.

That’s according to a new report published by Benefacts, the nonprofit data analysis organisation.

“These benchmark figures provide a unique body of evidence from year one of the Covid-19 pandemic detailing the status of each charity sector when the first lockdown began in March, as well as the increased State support over the course of 2020.

“They provide the baseline on which we will be able to measure the effects of the pandemic — charity by charity, sector by sector — in the years to come,” said Patricia Quinn, Benefacts founder and Managing Director.

Government support helped to keep Ireland’s charity sector afloat in 2020.

Besides drawing on the hard evidence of charities’ own annual financial statements, Benefacts’ report samples a range of surveys and reports conducted by charity lead bodies, philanthropies, regulators and policy-makers.

Joe Saunders, CEO of the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) representing Ireland’s 49 Local Development Companies (LDCs) stated: “Our own evidence is that there was a rapid, significant increase in need and demand for the services of our members.”

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel, the national association of charities, said: “This valuable report highlights the profound, but uneven, impact of the pandemic on charities and community and voluntary organisations.

“The findings will help funders and policymakers direct resources and support to maintain vital public services provided by charities, community and voluntary organisations in almost every community.”

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive at The Community Foundation for Ireland, said: “Having volunteers, communities, and charities over-reliant on Government support at a time when public finances are under huge pressure is not a viable way forward.

“Our private donors provided more than €15m to communities in the past year but international experience tells us more support is untapped.

“Government must deliver a promised national policy which encourages, nurtures, and grows private giving,” she added.

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