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Many charities full and having to turn people in need away, survey suggests

Many charities are at full capacity and having to turn people in need away as both demand and running costs have risen, a poll suggests (PA)
Many charities are at full capacity and having to turn people in need away as both demand and running costs have risen, a poll suggests (PA)

More than half of charities are at “full capacity” amid increasing demand for help amid the cost-of-living crisis and some have had to turn people in need away, a survey has suggested.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which describes itself as acting as a voice of the charitable sector with Government, said a longer-term plan is needed to support organisations which are struggling with lower incomes and higher costs as some grapple to stay open.

Its online survey of 607 charities – ranging from food banks, community groups, support services and homelessness organisations – last month found that 59% saw an increase in demand for their services compared with a year previously, while 31% said the increase was substantial.

Some 53% said they were at full capacity for their services, and of those 41% said they cannot help anyone else.

Some 12% of charities said they had been forced to turn people who needed their services away, the survey also found.

Charities addressing prevention or relief of poverty are the ones struggling most with increased demand, CAF said.

Many have had to recruit more staff or volunteers as a result, the organisation added.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s spring statement this year announced £100 million in funding to support thousands of local charities and community organisations.

But, while welcoming this, CAF said a longer-term plan is required.

Neil Heslop, chief executive of CAF, said: “The relentless financial pressure on charities is continuing. Many are unsure how they will survive from month to month.

“Tens of thousands of charities are at full capacity, and sadly this means many are having to turn people away, people who desperately need their support.

“We can’t afford to have charities facing such uncertainty. The Chancellor recognised their critical work in the March Budget, but now a longer-term plan is required to build the fantastic, hardworking charity sector back up.”

A Government spokesperson said it has “taken action to support people across the country who are facing rising costs”.

They added: “This includes support for charities, who are at the frontline when it comes to supporting the most vulnerable in society. In July we launched the £76 million Community Organisations Cost Of Living Fund to help community organisations and charities to continue their vital work.

“We will soon be announcing details for a further £25.5 million support to improve the long-term energy efficiency and financial resilience of charities and community organisations.”