The Workers Union has praised charity workers’ ‘relentless commitment’, describing them as the ‘social glue’ that’s helped to hold the country together during the pandemic.
In a statement released today, a spokesman for the organisation said: ‘Charity workers are the unsung heroes of British life. Often picking up where government support ends, they provide vital services to vulnerable people. Those staff that are determinedly holding on to their jobs are operating in difficult, pressurised conditions, the like of which have rarely been seen in modern times. We want to reiterate our support by thanking them for everything that they do to keep the milk of human kindness flowing.’
The statement comes at a time when charity workers – and charities themselves – are feeling the pressure of dealing with COVID. Research published by the Charity Commission, revealed that 90 percent of the charitable organisations it surveyed have been affected by the pandemic, with negative impacts felt in a number of different areas, including staff morale, service delivery and finances.
Crucially, recruitment has suffered a genuine slump. An article by Charity Digital – an organisation set up to help charities use digital tech to enhance their missions – reported that charities are struggling to attract candidates to the sector – despite a surfeit of jobs. At the same time, many others are leaving, citing burnout and low pay as key factors in their decision to move on.
The crisis is not confined to the rank and file, either. A survey of 450 charity leaders compiled by insurance outfit Ecclesiastical, revealed that 44 percent had considered quitting due to COVID-induced pressures. In common with the Charity Commission report, they pinpointed demands on staff and volunteers as the main issues.
The Workers Union Says…
Over the past couple of weeks, this organisation has spoken to several workers in the charity sector. The picture they describe is one of staff desperately trying to keep going while services are placed under severe strain. Some people at larger, more affluent charities have also pointed to a disregard for employees that creates a jarring disconnect between the way end users are dealt with, and the way staff are treated.
As ever, there are no easy answers – particularly when many organisations have had their sources of revenue curtailed or cut-off by recent lockdowns. When the pot is empty, decision-making is rarely empathy-based. The government has tried to help with its Coronavirus Community Support Fund – a vital lifeline that’s stopped many an organisation closing its doors for the last time – but the fact remains that our country needs to completely revise its view of the role of charities and charitable giving. That means more cash, more support and better governance. Failure to get this right will see organisations going to the wall at a time when people need support to stop them dropping through the cracks.