14th Dec 2020
As I reflect on UK Charity Week, I feel immense pride and privilege to be working in the charitable sector and playing my role in making a difference to the lives of our communities. I am also mindful that the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the huge challenges that lie ahead in ensuring the most vulnerable in our society continue to receive the help and support they desperately need, a challenge that we all need to commit to overcoming.
2020 has been a year like no other. Our nation has faced what at times has felt like an insurmountable crisis, our NHS has been severely stretched and at times compromised, sectors of the economy have been devastated, self-isolation and social distancing have impacted on our social, emotional and mental wellbeing, and most critically, many lives have been lost, or changed forever.
This has had an undoubted impact on the charity sector, often unduly perceived as a homogenous sector when in fact charities vary immensely in their purpose, beneficiaries, size, structure, service delivery, and the predictability of their income source. As such, the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic will have varied greatly for charities. At KSS, our priority has been to ensure we can continue to deliver our critical service to our patients, adapt to support the NHS in the best way possible while protecting our staff and volunteers, and thinking innovatively about how to raise funds and generate support in what has undoubtedly been a challenging fundraising landscape. However, other charities have been forced to stop all activity or faced severe restrictions to such activity, while others have faced massive demand on their services and been asked to do more given the pressure placed on the NHS and care sectors. Much of this has taken place in an environment of declining income, exacerbated by restrictions on income streams with community, corporate and events fundraising being the most explicit examples.
The fact that so many charities have excelled, is a testament to the true determination, passion, resilience, adaptability and people centred approach that is inherent in philanthropic activity. Charities are masters of dealing with uncertainty, of having to regroup and change path, of applying innovative responses while continuing to serve our beneficiaries. We should all be inspired by what the charity sector has achieved in 2020, and the impact this had had on the lives of so many.
The power of charity is one to be celebrated, and one to be invested in, as we face further challenging and troubling times ahead. We face a new type of reality with many within our society having been hit incredibly hard by this pandemic and desperately needing our support. We need to dig deep and continue to inspire support and commitment from the incredible generosity of our nation who have reacted to the pandemic with a sense of purpose, charitable spirit and compassion. We need to keep reflecting on the lessons learned from 2020 on how we can build a thriving society which breeds kindness and opportunity. The need for collaboration and working together towards a common purpose is paramount in our monumental effort to survive this pandemic.
As echoed by the UK Charity Week slogan, when we support each other, incredible things can happen.