Our MD Bevil Williams has warned that charities and voluntary services need more help to find sustainable funding or we risk losing these resources altogether.
He was referring to the fact that whilst businesses have been hit hard by austerity, the effect on charities has been devastating.
Many will be unable to recover following grant cuts and loss of local authority funding, and these are often the groups that support the most vulnerable people in our society – such as disabled adults, the homeless, young people – those who genuinely need more, not less help.
Bevil, who ran a school teaching and supporting disaffected pupils prior to the recession, said it has become essential that such groups are nurtured by businesses, and given help to set up their own funding streams.
“I think we have reached a crisis point for many voluntary and charitable organisations, who are relying solely on public donations, and there just is not enough money around to sustain them this way,” explained Bevil.
“These invaluable groups, supporting the most vulnerable in our society, need our help, and they need it quickly. If they disappear, so many people with no real voice in our society will just be forgotten, and left to suffer in silence.
“I am not proposing that businesses merely prop up these organisations with hand outs, because this is only a short-term solution, and leaves them in the same position ultimately, when the funding stops or dries up.
“My vision is that businesses work with them, and mentor them, helping the groups to recognise and develop their own income streams.
“Spotting opportunities to turn services or assets into profitable operations is not something that would come naturally to a charity or community group, but it is something I am constantly doing, and aware that many other entrepreneurs also have a great ability to do it.
“For instance, I recently saw an opportunity to take paper which was unwanted by one business, and simply by cutting it into smaller sheets, I made it something many more businesses would want. The money we make from this will be used to help train someone in our business.”
Bevil has been speaking to other business owners in the Midlands about his vision, and is hopeful that he can get many more on board.
“I’d like to hear from anyone who is interested in helping a charity in this way, by guiding them to become self-funding if possible, as I am currently working with, and in communication with so many local associations who desperately need support now.
“I would love to be able to put business people and charities in touch with each other, and watch them thrive!”