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					 An Action Planning Research Report on
Impacts and Implications of the Current
           Economic Climate

 Infrastructure Consortium for the
Third Sector in Essex, Southend and
                          Prepared by:

                       George Grayson
                      Research Executive

                         Alex Burrell
                      Research Assistant

                        February 2009

        Waymark House, 19 Cedar Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5DA
                Tel: 020 8642 4122     Fax: 020 8770 2090
    Email:   Web:

1. Introduction .............................................................................................................. 3
2. The impact on the UK charity sector ............................................................... 4
3. The impact of the economic downturn on Essex ...................................... 10
4. Implications for charities in Essex ................................................................. 12
Appendix: Case studies of charities in Essex affected by the downturn
........................................................................................................................................... 14

1. Introduction
This report has been prepared for the Essex, Southend and Thurrock
Infrastructure Consortium (ESTIC). It explores the effect that the current
economic climate is having on the voluntary and community sector in the UK
and what the particular implications are for Essex.

This research focuses on the following:

   The impacts the credit crunch is having on the third sector and the
    implications for charities
   Review of economic data on the impact of the credit crunch on Essex,
    including the role of credit unions in the credit crunch
   Review of the implications of the effect of the credit crunch on both the
    UK third sector and the Essex economy for charities based in Essex

It includes two case studies of the impact the of the credit crunch on Essex
charities (Appendix 1).

The sources used in the preparation of this report were:
 National, regional and local Government websites
 Government departments/ non department bodies (e.g. Office of the Third
 Charity sector periodicals (e.g. Third Sector, Charity Times, Professional
 National and local press (e.g. The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, BBC
 Third sector bodies (e.g. ACEVO, NCVO, CAF)

Primary research such as interviews with key stakeholders or charities has
not been conducted, but may be worth considering at a later date.

In this report, we sometimes refer to small charities. The Charity Commission
refers to small charities as those with an income less than £20,000.
However, the Small Charities Coalition and the Institute of Fundraising
include those with an income less than £1m. We feel this latter definition is
generally used by the sources referred to in this research and best reflects
the situation in Essex.

2. The impact on the UK charity sector

As the recession gathers pace, it increasingly impacts on businesses, the
banking sector and ordinary people. Various studies conducted in recent
months have attempted to show the extent of the impact of the economic
downturn. Based on these studies, various third sector commentators have
made predictions about its implications for the sector. These are varied and
range from foreboding to optimistic. It is thought that it generally takes
between six and eighteen months longer for the impact of the recession to be
felt by the charity and community sector. This is due to a variety of factors,
such as charities being reliant on a mix of incomes from a diverse range of
voluntary incomes to statutory contracts.

This section of the report will focus primarily on the general effect of the
recession on charitable giving, based on the findings of surveys, opinions of
commentators and the effects of previous economic downturns on charitable
giving. The report will then focus on how the recession is likely to affect
different forms of fundraising, such as legacies, statutory funding etc. The
report will then draw together the implications these findings will have for

The effect of the recession on charitable giving

A variety of surveys have focused on how the recession will affect the
attitude of the general public towards giving to charity. The latest UK Giving
Report (2008) released by NCVO and CAF, showed that cash donations are
falling while regular donations (by credit card or direct debit) rose. However,
this data was compiled prior to February 2008, so while it shows that giving
levels rose by 8% (the mean average gift)1, it is not a given that this will
have continued. Other surveys concerning charitable giving have produced a
variety of responses. A YouGov/Gyro survey (December 2008) reported that
approximately a quarter of adults in the UK have reduced the amount they
are giving to charity2, while a Survey Sampling International poll found that a
fifth were planning to reduce the amount of money they give to charity.3

The evidence as well as opinions and predictions on what will happen to the
sector during the recession are rarely consistent and sometimes conflicting.
There is little long term data on the UK charity sector and the sector is
constantly growing and changing making it difficult to formulate predictions.

  UK Giving 2008 shows rise of regular giving as fewer people choose to make cash donations Wednesday
10 December 2008
  YouGov survey finds 24% of Britons already giving less due to credit crunch 24 November, 2008
  Donors giving less, say three new surveys

When considering how these predictions and surveys are translating into
action, it is important to remember that to a certain extent predictions on an
economic downturn can become self-fulfilling, (e.g. people give less as they
read that people have less to give.) A survey by CAF and ACEVO of charity
chief executives in September showed that approximately half are limiting
pay increases and a third are deferring or cancelling expansion or
development plans.4 However it also revealed that three quarters of those
surveyed are increasing their fundraising activities. On the other hand
according to the Charity Commission poll of 500 charities, three quarters of
charities surveyed had not put any new measures into place and had no
plans to do so.5

The debate as to whether charitable giving will be something to fall early to
the wayside in a recession is also unclear. Some remain optimistic such as
Richard Turner (director of fundraising at ActionAid) who claims that when
incomes drop, things like child sponsorship is one of the last things to go.6
The YouGov survey quoted above seems to support this opinion by indicating
that people were cutting back on things like meals out and high end
foodstuffs rather than donations. However Cathy Pharoah (for director of
CAF’s research team, now Co-Director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and
Philanthropy at Cass Business School) has claimed that “modern charitable
giving is a luxury good” and as such it is one of the first things to go when
belts are tightened. “Donors may have less money to spend, but all spending
decisions are questions of priorities and they may not automatically tighten
their altruistic belts first. Charities can help themselves by demonstrating
that contributions are both needed and having a measurable impact. Lapsed
donors rarely claim they couldn't afford to carry on giving, but they often say
they lost faith in the effectiveness of their giving.”7

Others are conducting research to consider how previous recessions affected
the sector. Gemma Ware wrote in Professional Fundraising in February that
“joint analysis by CAF and the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that while
there were small dents in the average amount given to charities during the
recessions of 1981 and the 1990s, the overall number of households that
gave was not profoundly affected and actually rallied against a longer
downward trend.”

The effect of the recession on different forms of fundraising

Much concern is on what forms of fundraising will be affected. The NCVO
report (mentioned above) highlighted corporate giving and statutory funding
as potential areas for concern.8 Pre-credit crunch, there had been a pattern

  Charity donations fall as demand for their services grows 14 September 2008
  Donations 'will survive the credit crunch' but charities prepare for a legacy drop Third Sector, 20 August
  The recession has not stifled the public's giving spirit The Guardian Friday 9 January 2009

of growth in charitable giving by trusts and corporates. For example, the
Charity Market Monitor 2008 reported a 10 per cent increase in trust giving
over the 2006/2007 financial year while corporate donations rose 2 per cent.
They also point out that while donations from the public may change in form
they will not change in amount. The Association of Charitable Foundations
and the Nuffield Foundation have predicted that grant-making trusts and
foundations will be not be affected, at least in the short term. “The key
reason for that is that the majority of trusts' investments are low-risk, long
term investments which are far less susceptible to the ups and downs of the
market.”9 However, some trusts may decide to retain some of their earned
income as a precautionary measure. Based on the economic downturn of the
early 90s growth in the amount of donations stopped in 1991/2 and did not
start to grow again until 1995/6.

Others are expressing worries about trust funding, as was recently discussed
by the Third Sector Recession Watch Panel. “Falling share prices would also
hit some grant-making trusts and foundations,” the panel agreed.
“Foundations and trusts try very hard to make long-term plans and expect to
ride ups and downs,” said Dame Mary Marsh, founding director of the Clore
Social Leadership Programme. "But the severity of the downturn is so great
that, while the current income position is all right, the real test will come
when trusts and foundations meet to decide how much they can release
going forward."”10

Legacies also appear to be a key worry to fundraisers, the thought being that
as house prices fall, so will the value of legacies. Chris Farmelo (director of
Legacy Foresight) believes that a housing market crash will have a “very
significant impact” on the value of legacy income. Legacy growth rates dived
during the recession of the early 90s. However Paul Breckell, finance
director at RNID claimed in a Third Sector article that there has been no
evidence that there would be a drop in legacies.

Some consider major donor work to be less affected by the credit crunch and
even is possibly that it is the driver to ‘drag’ the third sector through. This is
because it concerns a very small proportion of the population and major
donor work is much more intensive in terms of the approach to one person.
According to NCVO/CAF UK Giving 2008, “High-level donors continue to drive
the gift economy - Although relatively few in number, it therefore comes as
no surprise that a small number of ‘high-level’ donors giving relatively large
amounts – £100 or more a month – continue to drive the gift economy. Only
1 in 12 donors gave more than £100, yet their donations accounted for over
half of the total amount given. Charities continue to be dependent upon a
core of approximately 2.1 million generous, committed supporters.”11

  DSC TrendWatch. 28/11/2008
   Losses, uncertainties and opportunities Third Sector, 7 January 2009

However, the recession is hitting the financial and legal worlds much harder
than it did in the 1980s. In previous recessions the impact has been felt
much more by manufacturing and other industrial sectors. This recession is
affecting high income professionals (termed the “Coping Classes” by the
Daily Telegraph) so while the ‘super rich’ will be able to keep giving at a high
level, giving among the ‘coping classes’ may reduce.12

Looking at corporate funding, when a company goes bankrupt it will no
longer make charitable donations or any related activities. It is still unclear,
for example, what the impact of the Lloyds TSB/HBOS merger will be on the
Lloyds TSB Foundation. According to Russell Prior at CAF, “We’re in
uncharted territory as far as CSR goes. It’s hard to draw any historical
comparisons because in previous recessions CSR didn’t exist or wasn’t so
well established.”13 While companies may claim to feel that CSR is key to
their existence, it will remain to be seen whether this stays the case.
Corporate funding is generally more prevalent in the areas of local
community projects (particularly those in an area where a company is
based), sports and the arts, so charities in these areas are likely to be
impacted the most.

The latest NCVO Civil Society Almanac reveals that the third sector has
become very dependant on statutory income, the majority of charity income
is now ‘earned’, with half of that through statutory contracts.14 Many
contracts are stable at the moment. However, in the next eighteen months
as renewals or break clauses come round and government spending is cut,
charities are likely to find it harder to regain or retain funding in competition
with other charities and the private sector. The charity sector provides many
public services, from health and social care to housing and can be cost
effective. Charities that can provide ‘added value’ supported by other income
streams should therefore thrive. As issues such as unemployment receive
more attention, it is likely that public service contracts will reflect these
trends and charities need to be equipped to respond.

Implications for charities

In mid October 2008, a poll of 500 charities from across the sector carried
out by the Charity Commission revealed that one in five has seen a rise in
the demand for their services while one in four has seen a drop in giving over
the last year.15 These two factors along with a rise in the cost of energy and
other goods seem to be the pincer movement surrounding charities. For

   UK recession: how are the Coping Classes faring now? The Daily Telegraph
24 Feb 2009
   Will corporate giving suffer in the crunch? The Sunday Times 15, 2009
   The UK Civil Society Almanac 2008 NCVO http://www.ncvo-
  Credit crunch hits charity giving Tuesday, 14 October 2008

example, Oxfam reported last summer that it expects to be cutting jobs and
closing some of its services during the next three years due to a fall in

How the recession will affect a charity will depend very much upon its
location, size and sub-sector. Anecdotally, larger charities will be much more
resilient than smaller ones. Research from nfpSynergy states that
“Compared with large and medium-sized voluntary organisations, smaller
charities struggle to grow turnovers in real terms …, even in boom times, and
are more likely to actually see their annual incomes shrink during downturns
- according to a new analysis of UK charities’ finances over the last three
decades.” Reserves are another major factor dictating which charities will
suffer during the downturn. The benign economic climate of the past few
years has allowed charities to maintain good reserve funds and an online poll
by CAF in February showed that 41% of charities were operating on less than
they had budgeted for and of those 60% were using their reserves to make
up the shortfall.17

In February 2009, the Government announced its third sector action plan
which pledged £45.5 million “to help volunteers, charities and social
enterprises deliver extra real help to those that need it most, during the
global economic downturn.”18 This includes the following three parts; a
modernisation fund (to help the sector with partnerships and mergers), a
community resilience fund (giving grants in charitable and geographic areas
particularly affected by the recession, e.g. charities working with debt relief)
and Department of Work and Pensions Volunteer Brokerage scheme (creating
volunteering opportunities for 40,000 unemployed people). This appears to
have received a cautious welcome (from NCVO and ACEVO19) and considered
as a ‘good start’ but not sufficient.

It appears that the recession will indubitably have an affect on the charity
sector, though it also seems clear that some charities will feel the effects
adversely and it will possibly result in closure or mergers. However, it also
seems clear that those charities that can become more open and efficient, in
the transition from the favourable economic climate to recession, will
succeed. Charities able to demonstrate to their funders that they are using
their funds effectively and transparently are much more likely to attract
money regardless of the funding type, whilst those that have managed to
attract funding so far without providing the same levels of justification for
their services may struggle in the new economic climate. It is ever more

   Jobs under threat as Oxfam expects lower donations
Sector Online, 13 August 2008
   Smaller charities grow at a third the rate of large or medium-sized ones; and are more likely to see
incomes actually shrink in a downturn
   Real Help for Communities: Volunteers, Charities and Social Enterprises
   £42.5m for 'third sector action plan'Third Sector Online, 8 February 2009

important to demonstrate value for money; effectiveness of programmes;
and good funder relations. Hopefully this provides the opportunity for
charities to emerge from the recession stronger and better equipped.

3. The impact of the economic downturn on
Essex’s economy is heavily reliant on London. Its labour market is intimately
linked to the financial stability of London, due to their close proximity to one
another. It is estimated that around 100,000 people (17% of Essex’s total
population) commute daily into the capital, particularly into the east of the
city (the financial district) due to good commuter links and cheaper living
costs in Essex. In addition, a lack of local jobs leaves many people
dependent on London based employment. For example, in 2004, there were
740 local jobs for every 1,000 people of working age. The incomes of those
working in London is around 40% higher than those working in Essex with
this money flowing into the county through commuters’ salaries. These
higher salaries help support local businesses and generate demand for
services which creates an upward multiplier effect for the area. However, this
dependence undermines Essex’s economic independence, negatively
exposing the county to the current economic turbulence present in today’s
economic climate.20

All sectors of Britain’s economy have been hit by job losses, particularly the
financial sector. City news website Here is the City’s Job Loss League Table
puts the number of job losses in the city since August 2007 at in excess of
133,000.21 In addition, job losses have been announced more locally,
including 60 jobs at Stansted Airport, 350 jobs at Ford (Basildon), 80 jobs at
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Witham), and 314 jobs at National
Express East Anglia.22 Many local businesses have also announced job losses
including toothpaste manufacturer Betts (24 jobs)23, Mid Essex Hospital Trust
(200 jobs)24 and Great Leighs racecourse (17 jobs)25. With widespread
redundancies in both London and Essex, the county is at the forefront of the

On the other hand, the proximity to London does mean that Essex has
potential near future business opportunities from the 2012 Olympic Games

   ‘Our Economy: Where we are now’,
   Job Loss League Table
   ‘Airport announces job cuts’,, ‘Car giant Ford
to cut 850 workers’,, , ‘Witham customs
office to close’
Essex: Train operator announces job cuts’, http://www.gazette
   ‘Colchester: Betts announces job cuts’ http://www.echo-
   ‘Mid – Essex: 200 job cuts at trust, http://www.echo-

     Geat Leighs: 17 jobs axed at troubled racecourse

estimated to be worth £380 million.26 This has also lead to £9.8billion of
public investment into the Thames Gateway area of South Essex and East
London.27 According to the Government Office for the East of England, the
East of England region, which encompasses Essex, has relatively high levels
of employment compared to the rest of the UK, though this is not consistent
across the region.28

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has announced a £10
million economic support package designed to combat the effects of the
credit crunch on the East of England. This is funding for their three business
support aims, providing advice and information, business support services
and business grants and loans.29 They have also set up the East of England
Economic Forum (established by the Regional Minister) which is linked to
other bodies like Jobcentre Plus. This is to provide advice focused on keeping
businesses trading and avoiding job losses.

Essex County Council have announced that they feel well insulated from the
impending crisis and have put in place a number of initiatives to protect local
businesses from the credit crunch. One such plan is the establishment of a
£50 million community-based ‘Bank of Essex’ to support local enterprises and
improve access to credit for businesses struggling to win investment because
of the credit crunch.30 The proposal is part of a wider plan to help the local
economy, which includes a new credit union, Essex Savers, and an Essex
Apprentice scheme, which would create 40 new jobs. About 30,000 of the
most vulnerable households in Essex would receive a payment equivalent to
£100 off the council tax early next year.31

Credit unions provide a solution for small business and individuals who
cannot access funds from high street banks. Research shows that credit
unions thrive in times of recession because they present a low cost way for
people to borrow money and act as an alternative to borrowing from loan
sharks. A new All Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions was
established in June 2008.32 Credit unions themselves have been on the
increase over the last decade since entering the recession the number of
requests for loans has gone up but has been matched by a boom in savings,
allowing credit unions to continue lending claims the Association of British
Credit Unions.33

   Thames Gateway is able to weather the current economic conditions – Minister 26 November 2008
   ‘Helping Essex through the downturn – 13th February 2009’,
   ‘Council to launch ‘Bank of Essex’, ‘
   Credit Union News Dec 2008
   Credit booms as recession looms Third Sector, 10 December 2008

4. Implications for charities in Essex
It is difficult to make a definitive assessment of the implications of the
economic downturn for the community and voluntary sector in Essex.
According to COVER (Community & Voluntary Forum Eastern Region), in the
East of England the voluntary community sector is already a lead provider of
services in: social housing, pre-school learning, health research,
rehabilitation and prevention programmes, mental health and drug and
alcohol programmes.34 The not for profit and charity sector in Essex itself is
largely constituted by small and medium organisations with a local charitable
remit and some regional branches or affiliated bodies of national charities,
such as Age Concern or Mencap. This section of the report draws together
salient points for charities in Essex based on the preceding research.

      As Essex’s third sector is largely made up of small charities, it is likely
       that many will suffer proportionally more than larger charities. Those
       reliant on individual giving for local causes will likely see donations fall,
       particularly from major donors, as the City financial sector suffers.
       Equally, those reliant on local authority grants will need to be prepared to
       adapt for potential changes in statutory funding, such as moving to a
       commissioning based model. Charities over reliant on one source of
       income will need to strongly consider diversifying their income streams in
       order to survive. Mergers may be necessary for smaller charities to
       survive, especially if charities services are ‘doubling up’ in a particular
       area. The Government’s third sector action plan contains a £16.5 million
       modernisation fund to assist with “the cost of mergers, partnerships and
       moves to more efficient sharing of back office functions for at least 3000
       third sector organisations.”35
      Larger and national charities are less likely to be affected by the economic
       downturn, though they may still be making cut backs and redundancies.
       They are also more likely to be reliant on statutory funding, especially
       public sector contracts (almost 40% of their revenue) and therefore will
       find themselves in a more competitive climate when contracts come up
       for renewal.
      Charities whose services are seen as being related to the frontline of the
       recession may see an increase in public sector funding and
       commissioning. These include charities working in fields such as
       unemployment and debt relief or housing and those working in areas of
       deprivation. Essex has 39 small areas that are seriously deprived
       including Coastal Jaywick in Tendring which is the third most deprived
       area in England.36 The Government’s third sector action plan includes a
   Working together for good 2008 COVER
     Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2007 Performance, Planning and Strategy

    £15.5 million Community Resilience Fund providing “grant funding to
    small and medium providers in communities most at risk of increased
    deprivation due to the recession.”37
   Charities need to be aware that there is assistance available in various
    forms. In addition to grants and loans, there is advice available from local
    councils, regional development agencies and other organisations. For
    example, the Compact Advocacy Programme provides advice and in some
    cases representation for charities working on public sector contracts.38
   Efficiency will be a key factor determining whether charities will ‘survive’
    the downturn. Effectiveness and transparency of operation will be
    important in ensuring that the public continue to support charities and will
    be a strong determinant to winning contracts.
   Many organisations may benefit from an increase in volunteers (due to
    redundancy). The economic downturn can have a positive affect on
    volunteer availability. Research has found that during an economic
    downturn more people become involved in volunteering both in their
    community and abroad. With rising job losses and redundancies, many
    people have more time to become involved in charity work. 39 In addition,
    many people, during such turbulent times, feel the need to play a bigger
    role in their communities through contributing to social well being. If this
    can be maximised upon by charities this can be a great advantage to
   ‘Recession sees volunteer numbers soaring’,

Appendix: Case studies of charities in Essex
affected by the downturn
Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society
In January 2009, the Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society reported in
the local press that it had been sharply hit by the downturn and that it was
having trouble raising sufficient funds to be able to operate. They rely solely
on donations and do not receive any kind of government funding. They have
also expressed a need for more volunteers. 40

Fair Havens Hospice
This charity has reported that it fell £70,000 short of its target in a
fundraising drive launched in January 2008 though they have no intention of
cutting back on their service provision. The fundraising drive was launched
in January 2008 after a 30% fall in donations (on which they primarily rely).
If they cannot raise the required amount they will have to start using their

   Essex Horse and Pony Protection Society donations are falling due to downturn Saturday 24th January
   Downturn hits hospice fundraising Friday, 9 January 2009


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