Showing up and sticking around: small charity response to Covid

I have just read the most recent report from the Lloyds Foundation*:  Small charities responding to COVID-19 (Summer 2021 update).

This is a really insightful report that summarises issues reflected across the UK, but which also highlight critical issues experienced by the Adavu Project. The report states its findings that “small and local charities showed up and stuck around throughout the pandemic, supporting people facing complex social issues and sustaining communities”.

Here is a summary of the report:

  • The story that emerges is of charities stepping up to the all encompassing challenges of COVID-19, adapting rapidly to the changing needs of the communities they serve, their staff and volunteers.
  • While emergency funding in 2020 ensured that many could keep their doors open, adapt their delivery models to continue to support people and meet the increased demand and complexity in need, many now face an uncertain future.
  • Charity leaders expressed concerns over staff burnout as teams continued to sustain the pressure of a prolonged crisis response.
  • Charities adapted their operations and service delivery to digital models effectively and efficiently. Yet, a number of charities raised concerns over the impact of digital exclusion, particularly among people who could not afford to be digitally connected or those with difficulty in adapting to digital.
  • A greater number of charities are starting to think about the need for additional physical spaces, returning to group work and face-to face provision safely and particularly how to navigate this when not everyone is vaccinated.


Report recommendations

If we are to support our communities to recover from the impact of the pandemic and start to build back better and meet the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, we need adequate investment in small and local charities. This report sets out five key recommendations for funders, local and national government and organisations that partner with or rely on services delivered by small and local charities. These are:

1. longer-term unrestricted funding rooted in trust
2. investing in organisational resilience and staff wellbeing
3. sustaining and building on partnerships formed during the crisis
4. a robust welfare safety net to meet the needs of people
5. suitable resourcing for public services particularly local government funding

At Adavu, we whole-heartedly agree with these recommendations!

*Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales partners with small and local charities who help people overcome complex social issues. Through funding for core costs, developmental support and influencing policy and practice, the Foundation helps charities make life changing impact.  The Adavu Project is a current recipient of its grants programme.