Leeds urged to come together to support its charities

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The head of a group representing charities has called for the people of Leeds to come together and support some of the organisations helping keep the city on its feet during the Covid-19 crisis.

It follows worrying claims that a quarter of Leeds-based charities could struggle to make it through the summer, as the financial hit of the lockdown continues to take its toll.

Chris Hollins is the chaimanr of Third Sector Leeds, an organisation that represents not-for-profit (also known as ‘third sector’) organisations in Leeds. He claimed MPs needed to be aware of the situation so they could put pressure on Government over the coming weeks to financially support businesses.

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“There are a number of issues,” he said. “Firstly, all charity shops have had to close, meaning income for has been completely lost, while other charities have social enterprises such as cafes. There has also been a drop off in fundraising generally.

Third Sector Leeds has called on people to support charities in any way they can.Third Sector Leeds has called on people to support charities in any way they can.
Third Sector Leeds has called on people to support charities in any way they can.

“The other big threat is that, up until now, a lot of charities have had contracts with local authorities. But those contracts could be under threat due to the financial situation that Covid has left a lot of councils in.

“The government has supported the sector but it has been nowhere near enough.”

“There are things that can be done,” he added. “People need to make sure their local MP is aware of the problem. They are obviously facing huge problems elsewhere, so the message of the third sector has probably been lost. They need their attention on this.

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“Also, supporting the local resilience fund means money will be spent locally on charitable organisations in Leeds.

“Over the past few months, we have seen the impact that local organisations have had. They have seen an extra 8,000 volunteers in Leeds alone, and they really have been heroes.

“But if there was a recurrence in Covid over the next few months, they may not be able to provide those services.”

Mr Hollins also added that, long term, charities in Leeds are still going to need more volunteers.

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He said: “One of the key things people can do is to connect with local community and voluntary organisations in your area and consider volunteering for a charity, group or organisation, beyond Covid-19.”