CLAPA welcomes the government’s announcement of funding to help families through the devastating impact of the coronavirus outbreak. But like many charities who have been under pressure for long before the outbreak hit our shores, we’re concerned this isn’t nearly enough.
Worse still, we worry this announcement will give the public the false impression that the charities they care about are safe. They aren’t.
Without urgent, substantial emergency funding, many small charities will be forced to drastically reduce their services or close down altogether. Without help, CLAPA may well be one of them.
The UK-wide lockdown has highlighted the need for a supportive community in all areas of life: people who share a common postcode, a common interest, a common need, or, as with our community, a common experience few others can understand. We know how special the CLAPA community is. We’ve seen it every day, we’ve felt it in every kind message you’ve sent our way, every testimonial from a Residential weekend from a child who found their confidence, every ‘thank you’ from a new family receiving a Welcome Pack. Right now, with NHS Cleft Services forced to postpone much of their work, CLAPA is more important than ever as a touchpoint for the cleft community.
The NCVO estimates charities around the UK are facing a shortfall of over £4bn in just 12 weeks as a result of this crisis. It is absolutely right that emergency funding efforts prioritise charities directly responding to the coronavirus outbreak. But we mustn’t forget this isn’t the only crisis affecting people’s lives right now.
From hospices to helplines, charities work in the background of our society to support vulnerable people through private moments of need, helping them find hope and comfort in impossible situations. Unlike businesses eligible for significant government help, we can’t close up shop, wait out the storm and hope for the best. We have an ethical obligation to keep going, to do whatever is necessary to meet rising demand in whatever conditions are thrown at us, even a global pandemic.
The government’s announcement of funding is an important step towards recognising the indispensable, irreplaceable role charities play in UK society. We look forward to receiving further information and guidance soon, and remain hopeful that this won’t be the only support package made available.
In the meantime, we’ll keep making plans to deliver our essential services until the very last of our funding has dried up. We’ll keep counting pennies and encouraging our community to do what they can to keep us going, even while they struggle through this crisis themselves. And we’ll keep supporting sector leaders as they call on the government to support the charities who do so much to help the most vulnerable in our society through crisis every day.
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We rely on the kindness and generosity of the community to help us provide services beyond the hospital walls and make sure every child born with a cleft can grow up smiling inside and out.
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