COVID-19 Supports Package a "Lifeline" for Charities, Say The Wheel

Posted on 8 May 2020

The Wheel, the national association of charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises, has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a €40m package of supports for the charity sector that will comprise:

  1. A targeted €35m Stability Fund, distributed as once-off cash grants, to provide immediate short-term cash flow for organisations delivering critical services that have suffered significant income loss due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. A €5m Government contribution to a Philanthropy Fund focused on supporting COVID-19 responses that require innovative and adaptive solutions to existing and emerging challenges.

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel, said that the announcement “is an essential lifeline" for the charity sector.”We welcome recognition by Government of the contribution that the sector is playing countrywide in the battle against COVID-19, and the role it will continue to play as our society emerges from the devastation of the pandemic,” she added.

She noted that charities and community groups in every part of the country have strongly supported government initiatives during the current emergency and will continue to do so: “In tackling the COVID-19 crisis, charities are working alongside statutory bodies and agencies to deliver essential services to the most vulnerable in society, including older people, those with underlying medical conditions, homeless families and those requiring psychological, social and material supports."

“The unprecedented mobilization of volunteers and resources to provide these services is being made possible by the expertise and collective effort of our long-existing community, voluntary and charity sector. Surveys conducted by The Wheel over the last few weeks show the significantly increased demand for the work that our sector does in communities and within families. However, this has occurred at a time when charity fundraising and the possibility of earning income through service fees, for example , has been completely decimated,” she continued.“Many charities have seen their income collapse, and a shortfall of up to €400 million in generated income is being forecast this year. The funds announced today will go some way to protecting the vital services provided by charities, social enterprises and community & voluntary groups at a time when they are most needed, and we will continue to work with government towards supporting the medium to long term needs of the sector.”

“I would like to thank Minister Michael Ring and the Department of Rural and Community Development for their ongoing commitment to see a vibrant and sustainable community and voluntary sector in Ireland. The Wheel will continue to work closely with the Government and the Department of Rural and Community Development to further incorporate planning for our sector in ongoing and future strategies and funding mechanisms as we move beyond the peak of this crisis,” she concluded.