Dorset charities are struggling during the pandemic

Charity Funding

DORSET Charities say it could take more than a year for their funds to recover from the Covid pandemic – with demand for their services hitting an all time high.

Charities across the county spoke about the challenges they faced during the pandemic and the impact it had on their services.

And as we begin to emerge from the latest restrictions, with lives tentatively on the path to normality, groups and good causes are seeing an increasing number of calls for their services.

Sarah Lloyd, Managing Director of Age UK Bournemouth, Poole & East Dorset, said: “Like many businesses, our much-loved community services have had to stop. We very quickly shifted our focus to creating a telephone hub and at the height of the pandemic, we were receiving over 400 calls a day.

The charity is now in the recovery phase and has reopened most of its community services with the reopening of its day centre, activities and food clubs in February.

Sarah said: ‘As a charity we will be fully operational by March 2022 but this has had a detrimental effect on our income over the past two years and we have had to rely on the use of our reserves, we expect it will take another year to fully recover.”

Nathalie Sherring, chief executive of the Dorset Race Equality Council, said: “We have had many more requests for support, many more people who have had problems accessing services.

“Discrimination has a hugely negative impact on people’s mental health, so now we’re seeing a lot of clients who have very serious issues and I think that’s going to continue unfortunately.

“We are working from home and it has become absolutely relentless, like any charity we juggle with funding and demand, which far exceeds the capacity of our charity.”

Alistair Doxat-Purser, chief executive of Faithworks Wessex, said: “The impact of Covid is far from over in terms of the economic challenges so many people are currently facing – the work continues to help people strengthen their personal, food and relational resilience: here at Faithworks, we want to continue to play our part in this area.”

As a smaller charity providing support to families struggling with chronic, life-limiting and terminal illnesses, Amelia’s Rainbow has been forced to review its services and reassess what it offers and how it delivers it. provides. Like many charities, its revenue has been significantly affected.

The charity is 50% down on budget and that has put increased pressure on the team who are still very determined to help the 150 families they currently have on the books.

Farah Batchelor, Director of Amelia’s Rainbow, said: “We have had to cancel so many opportunities and the uncertainty has both financial and mental consequences.

“2022 is our 10th anniversary and we hope it’s a chance for the community to celebrate with us but also to grow and recover as we learn from the pandemic.”

A spokesperson for Access Dorset, a charity for people with disabilities, older people and carers, said: ‘From the start we established how important it was for us to stay connected with our communities, who were already isolated even before the pandemic and were likely to be strongly impacted by the restrictions.

“A lot of people were self-isolating, so we started doing our online activities again through zoom.”

The charity is now looking forward to resuming in-person activities at the community centre, hopefully towards the end of this month.

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