Community groups feel cost of living impact

As we head into Christmas, CEO Jacqui Scott takes a moment to reflect on the year gone by and shares feedback from some of the many charities and community groups supported by HIWCF in 2023.

  • Early in 2023, Hampshire charities warned of an unprecedented need for support as a direct result of cost-of-living challenges.  We saw this reflected in grant applications – receiving twice as many requests for funding than we had available to spend in grants.
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  • Thanks to our fundholders and donors, HIWCF has donated nearly £1.5 million to groups supporting some of the most vulnerable in our society. However, while the charity and voluntary sector work tirelessly to support their communities, they are not immune to the cost of living crisis, which is increasing pressure on their day-to-day operations.
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  • Nationally 55% of people report that the cost of living crisis is having a negative impact on their physical and mental health. Community groups are inundated with people seeking support for increasingly complex problems around mental health, social isolation, and debt.

Looking ahead to 2024

Small groups embedded in the community are perfectly placed to meet the emerging needs of their local residents, but now, more than ever, these groups need support to grow their resilience in a tough economic climate that looks set to remain in 2024. With surging levels of demand placed on services provided by the charity and voluntary sector, HIWCF funding will continue to be crucial to ensure they are sustainable.

We are delighted to have spoken with some of the community groups we’ve been able to fund in 2023, and that we can share some of their own reflections of the year gone by…

“HIWCF has helped the Camrose Centre by facilitating contact with a donor willing to commit to donations over three years that will pay for a Support Worker to assist our clients. With a focus on the prevention of homelessness our Support Workers often work with clients who are in a financial predicament that will affect their ability to retain their home. The financial resilience that this donor has offered through HICWF enables planning and reassurance for the future.”

Competition for funding

“Rising costs are having a huge impact on our organisation. Costs for running our office and two charity minibuses have increased significantly, which has led to an increased budget and fundraising target. It has been invaluable to access funding from HIWCF as they are local, familiar to our work and the communication has been excellent. However, wider grant funding is generally less available and more competitive to win. Donations to our work have also been tougher to find, which means we have to work harder to bring in the essential funding needed to be sustainable.”

Funding that supports scaling

“We believe we can bring about long-lasting and impactful change for young people, but we can only do this through the transformational giving that supports our professional support workers and staff. With local authority budgets stretched and costs rising, philanthropy is the only means of scaling at the pace we need to maintain support and to meet this challenge. Our partnership with the HIWCF is key to making this a success – offering an effective gateway to support and a community we can draw upon to share resources, opportunities, and insight which is vital at this time.”

Effects of inflation

“The cost of living crisis presents an additional challenge to the sector as a whole: after ten or more years of a low inflation economy, with long term grants and budgets reflecting those times, our costs have grown in the region of 20% in the last two years, which needs careful management and additional funding to that anticipated. Being able to access funds from HIWCF makes an enormous contribution to Blue Apple’s capacity for resilience.”

Reaching more people

“The support from HIWCF means so much to The Literacy Hubs and to the young learners we support. We are enormously grateful. There is more demand for our work than we have ever experienced – these funds have meant we can support even more children.”

Knock on impacts of anxiety in the community

“HIWCF have provided invaluable lifelines to us in the form of updated funding contributions towards our youth programme, without which we would have had to lay off two youth trainers. We are deeply grateful for their support and interest. The cost-of-living crisis has also had a profound effect on our course participants, meaning that we have had to develop 12-week post-course support and pre-employment workshops to bolster the learning following our five-week intensive intervention, due to increased levels of anxiety and loss of confidence. This has a knock-on effect of delaying our outcomes into Employment, Education and Training, which are still excellent and currently running at 57%, but equally it has put further pressure on our resources.”


Special thanks as we head into the festive season

We are beyond grateful to all our wonderful fundholders and donors who have continued to help meet the needs of these community groups across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, so that more people can benefit from their support.

Philanthropists and companies can work with HIWCF through one-off funding programmes and endowment donations to enable these vital groups to continue helping vulnerable people cope with the ongoing cost of living challenges in 2024.

  • We believe that collaborative working between HIWCF, its donors and the many community groups funded across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, remains an effective approach to reducing systemic inequality and improving the quality of life in our communities.

 

To find out more about HIWCF and request information on how to support communities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, visit www.hiwcf.org.uk

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