NICVA surveys show urgent need for financial support and clearer guidance on Covid-19

Thanks to all of you who completed our weekly Covid-19 surveys over the last four weeks. Read here the key findings from the fourth and final survey issued this week. 

The fourth and final weekly Covid-19 survey issued this week highlighted three issues in particular:

- the urgent need to release government support to sustain community and voluntary organisations and their services through and beyond the Covid-19 crisis

- the continued inability of social enterprises dependent on earned income to access government financial support and, 

- the need for clear and specific government guidance on how organisations can move safely beyond lockdown 

Other key findings included that -

  • Over 9 in ten (92.4%) were healthy, compared with 95% the previous week. 0.6% were unwell with suspected Covid-19 and 7% with a non-Covid 19 illness
  • The top three most pressing issues facing organisations remained, as for the previous three weeks -
    • ‘Sustaining the organisation and its activities’
    • ‘Finance/Cash flow’
    • ‘Well-being of staff/volunteers.’
  • ‘Adapting my services to deliver online’ remains the (close) fourth most pressing issue
  • Other pressing issues raised included the following –

“Moving beyond lockdown. How it will work and responding to new or increased needs of mental health and well-being?”  “We cannot ensure social distancing whilst offering services to our members”  “Our charity does not meet the criteria of approximately 99% of funding that has been made available as a result of Covid-19”  “We have been denied access to the small business grant and the tourism sector grant meaning this charity has received no support from government other than the HMRC furlough scheme.”

  • Nearly two-thirds (63.4%) said they felt they that had the equipment to operate safely, while over one in four (27.3%) did not
  • The proportion who said they felt well informed and had confidence in the information and guidance being provided by government dropped from last week for all levels of government (local, NI and UK) 
  • This was most marked in the case of UK government information and guidance, in which only 30.9% said they had confidence, compared with 52.2% in the previous week
  • Nearly half (47.1%) felt they were not receiving adequate funding from new government sources to sustain their organisations and activities, while 29.1% said these funds were not applicable to them
  • Over half (56.2%) reported a drop in available staff and volunteers

When asked what more government could do, suggestions included the following –​

“Release the funds allocated to charities in NI”  “Issue clear guidance about return to workplaces” “Be more specific about the measures as they tend to be vague and can be interpreted in different ways. Keep it simple and easy to follow.”  “We need a commitment and swift follow through of additional funds to help manage the impact of CV-19 on our services”  “Parity and equity for small charities and social enterprises (not eligible for £10/25k grants)”

NICVA will continue to highlight these findings and your issues and concerns in our ongoing engagement with government and others.



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