Sad news of the first hospice closure in England due to financial pressures
By Steve Elliott Posted 13 February 2019
It was sad to read this news confirming that St Clare’s, in Tyne and Wear, is the first hospice in England to enter insolvent liquidation -
Our own recent experience helping charities in critical positions, reflects the changing world of charity funding, and the difficult decisions that charity trustees (very often unpaid volunteers), more often now, face. Local Authority support has reduced significantly, and many charities relying primarily on that source, have seen reductions or a total withdrawal of support.
Charitable trusts who are now relied on more heavily to bridge that finance gap, have difficult decisions to make when allocating grants. A charity with too much in reserves may well miss out (as it can be perceived that they don’t need the funding currently), whilst too little may make a donor wary that the applicant charity may not survive – it is a difficult balance for charities to strike.
All of this makes charities, particularly smaller, local charities, more vulnerable to a “one off” event that can push them to “the point of no return”. This happened with St Clare’s Hospice when they were forced to close for 4 months during 2018. Funding shortages had already eaten into reserves, making this “the final straw”.
Poor publicity in the charity sector in recent years has, we hear, made the public wary of donating to smaller charities - we will all have heard about Oxfam, Kids Company and various enquiries into aggressive fund-raising and use of donor data; many local authorities have curtailed street charity collections (so called “chugging”).
When conditions become difficult, it is more important than ever to have advisers that you can trust and turn to, ideally before a crisis arises.
To discuss this or anything else, please contact Steve Elliott on 01793 818300 or send him an email