Smaller Wrexham charities ‘close to collapse’

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

A CHARITY boss has revealed the startling reality that voluntary organisations in Wrexham are in crisis.

John Gallanders, chief officer for the Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham, believes small local charities will struggle to survive unless they take drastic measures to overhaul the way they fundraise.

He blames the economic downturn, increased competition and the ability of larger charities to hire “professional fundraisers” whose sole job is to drum up support from the community.

According to Mr Gallanders, if smaller charities cannot succeed in encouraging the public to choose them they will face mergers and downsizing in order to stay afloat.

He said: “Charities in Wrexham are really starting to struggle and the future is looking bleak for some.

“I know Wrexham Rotary Club found it a lot harder this year to drum up support for its on-street collections, which are struggling in general.

“Voluntary organisations such as Home Start and Family Friends, which support families with young children across the county, may well need to consider merging and collaborating to reduce their overheads in order to survive.

“Within a community there is only so much money to be donated and with larger charities doing such a good job on drumming up support, smaller charities get forgotten about.”

Mr Gallanders revealed many of the grant-giving organisations such as the National Lottery are experiencing a significant increase in the number of applications resulting in the same amount of cash being spread more thinly among the ever-increasing number of charities which rely on it.

At the same time, charities in Wrexham are seeing an increase in demand for their vital services as Wrexham residents feel the squeeze.

He added: “The grant schemes run by AVOW are over subscribed by a factor of three-four times.

“And large amounts of national funding has gone to the Olympics which has had a knock-on effect on other charities.

“It is hoped that 2013 will see more funding from the Lottery being put into smaller community scheme.

“Until then, times are going to be tough.”

- Mr Gallanders believes there is still hope for charities wanting to drum up fresh support and has given some some fundraising tips.

He said: “Street collectors often do better if they wear fancy dress and create a bit of fun with the public.

“And getting people to take part in activities to fundraise works really well which is reflected in Children in Need’s success, the charity hit a new record with the amount of money donated this year.

“I’d advise all charities to sign up to the Gift Aid scheme as well because it allows them to claim back tax on every donation that is made, effectively giving them money for free.

“On the positive side, people are still giving.

“We ran an appeal for the homeless for the third year this Christmas and we saw a significant increase in food, clothing and sleeping bags from the generous residents of Wrexham.”

See full story in the Leader

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