Optimism amidst uncertainty for Welsh charities in 2020

Published : 04/12/19 | Categories: News |

To mark the opening of the Weston Charity Awards to small charities in Wales, the Garfield Weston Foundation is publishing its third annual Small Charity Leaders Insight Report.

The report shines a light on the attitudes and concerns of the ambitious and stretched people at the helm of vital community services around the UK.

The responses of Welsh charity leaders to the UK-wide survey shine a light on some particular challenges faced here in Wales. An overwhelming majority of charities in Wales (87%) say they face more uncertainty now than in previous years. They feel this change more keenly than charities in England and Scotland where 2 in 3 (65%) report rocky operating conditions. In a show of strength, two thirds (67%) of small charity leaders in Wales expect to help more people in 2020. The majority (4 in 5) are also confident they won’t suffer a significant reduction in income next year despite an ongoing backdrop of change and uncertainty.

Garfield Weston Foundation expanded the Weston Charity Awards to Wales in 2017 in collaboration with Pilotlight. They are looking to select twenty charities from Wales, the North of England and the Midlands to benefit from a year of leadership coaching from a team of carefully-matched business leaders through the Pilotlight Programme along with £6,500 in unrestricted funding.

In spite of the challenges posed by meeting rising demand, only one fifth of Welsh charities surveyed (20%) have invested in leadership training this year – they are less likely to do so than their counterparts in England and Wales. However, charity leaders in Wales are actively pursuing other avenues of external support. Nearly two thirds (63%) say they are currently seeking professional pro bono support. There is evidence to show that charities in Wales are less likely than others to apply for funding from UK bodies and the Garfield Weston Foundation would like to buck the trend.

Philippa Charles, Director of Garfield Weston Foundation said:

‘The resilience of small charity leaders in Wales is remarkable and should be celebrated. Smaller charities tell us they struggle to find the time and money to invest in long-term strategy but they also fear the risks of failing to do so. If you run a small charity in Wales please consider applying for a package of leadership support and funding through the Weston Charity Awards to help you to help more people long into the future.’

The package of support is available to even the smallest community organisations with the ambition and commitment to plan for a sustainable future. Previous Weston Charity Awards winners from Wales include Paul Sartori Hospice at Home and the Cardiff City FC Community Foundation.

Gavin Hawkey is Director of Cardiff City FC Community Foundation which offers health, education and employment services to 17,000 people in South Wales. He applied successfully for a Weston Charity Award in 2017. He said:

‘As a relatively small but ambitious Welsh charity we identified the need for external support to help measure our impact, develop robust partnerships and create a more financially sustainable model. Winning the award gave me an amazing blend of challenge and support. My business mentors

helped me to identify key operational improvements such as reducing the number of core programmes and addressing skills gaps. These changes are already making a huge difference to our performance and improving outcomes for our beneficiaries.’

Ruth Marks, Chief Executive of WCVA said: ‘The new Small Charity Leaders Insight Report supports our own findings and highlights the importance of developing good relationships between Welsh Charities and trusts and foundations such as the Garfield Weston Foundation. We know that one of the key barriers to developing sustainable funding here in Wales is leaders having sufficient “thinking time”. It is essential to find time and space for leaders to explore solutions so it’s great that this support is available through the Weston Charity Awards. I really encourage charities in Wales to apply for this support – it is invaluable.’

Applications open today (2 December 2019) and close 10 January 2020. To apply visit www.westoncharityawards.org

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