In the last few weeks we have all experienced uncomfortable levels of uncertainty, concern for those we love and a yearning to return to our normal way of life. However, working at In Kind Direct I have also been truly humbled and heartened. We’re the charity connecting product manufacturers and retailers to an irreplaceable network of some 4000 charitable organisations across the UK.
Together, our network supports over 7.7million people each year, all of whom will be touched by the current crisis. Last week I spoke to groups adapting their services, having been recognised by government as key workers providing key services. Those that previously brought people together and provided face-to-face support are now offering telephone and online chats, whilst delivering thousands of care packs to the doorsteps of the isolated, elderly and low-income families. I have spoken to community hubs who have closed their buildings but continued to provide timed slots for people to come and pick up the basics they can’t find in local stores.
We’re seeing a huge increase in demand for our service. We’re getting essential supplies out to those vital charitable organisations still working on the frontline, who are reducing the burden on our wonderful NHS by supporting people to self-isolate. As we get to the end of March, it’s clear that we’ve distributed a huge amount more than we did this time last year, especially of essential products like cleaning and hygiene supplies, store cupboard staples and toiletries.
This amazing network of frontline organisations, some with staff and many led by volunteers have continued to tirelessly support the most vulnerable in our communities. This complex safety net has local knowledge, strong relationships and experienced teams who can direct support where it can have the greatest impact. They are here both during this crisis and will be needed long after most people’s lives have returned to normal.
I’m also a trustee with the charity CXK, which supports young people and adults to find employment. Our Board met this week to discuss the realities of delivering contracts when staff are now working remotely and offering virtual support, having been withdrawn from the schools, prisons and job centres where they would usually be.
Government has indicated they are working on a package of support specific to the charity sector, and I really hope this is coming soon. The welcome concessions for businesses and the self-employed will work for some charities, but many cannot furlough their staff as this means they cannot continue to deliver their key services. Many charities rely on fundraised income rather than trading activities, so are not eligible for business continuity loans and cannot hold events to raise money. Many will be eating into their reserves and drawing on the goodwill of volunteers still well enough to give their time. This is not a sustainable way to ensure their survival. When this crisis is over, and it will be over, charities will be fundamental to helping our nation get back on its feet. They can’t do that in a weakened state and #EveryDayCounts.
How you can help
If you are reading this, and work for a company with goods that will help local communities, get in touch with my colleagues Maya and Chris at email@example.com. The latest list of what is most needed can be found here.
If you’re a charitable organisation (not just a registered charity) that could use In Kind Direct’s help, register for free.
If you want to help us continue our work, please make a donation today.
In Kind Direct is determined to keep helping those in crisis, today and every day. Your support matters.
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