Gordon Brown announces £42m boost for charities to fight downturn

Charities will receive more than £40m to support families in the most deprived parts of the country through the recession, ministers announced today.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said “a strong and thriving third sector” would help galvanise communities facing economic hardship.

Charities ‘suffering’

The total funding of £42.5m comes after research from the Charity Commission showed one-third of charities were turning people away due to a lack of resources.

The package of initiatives is designed to help charities and social enterprises to strengthen their capacity through programmes in 2009-10 and provide services to people made redundant during the recession.

Voluntary work

It includes £10m to help create 40,000 voluntary work opportunities for unemployed people, in England, Wales and Scotland.

In England only, £15.5m will go to small and medium providers in deprived communities while a £16.5m modernisation fund will help 3,000 community organisations form partnerships with other groups and share back-office facilities.

Brown said it was imperative to make the most of the voluntary sector’s skills and experience of helping people through “turbulent times”.

However, the union Unite called the additional funding ” a drop in the ocean”, given the vital services delivered by organisations in times of need, and the 600,000 staff who work in the sector. Rachael Maskell, Unite’s national officer for the community and non-profit sector, said £200m was needed “as a starting point”.

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