Charities hit by double whammy as costs and demand for services increase

The economic downturn is hurting charities by increasing both their costs and the demand for their services, according to a survey by the Charity Commission.

The poll showed that almost four in 10 charities - 38 per cent - of the 500 charities that responded said they had been affected by the decline in the economy.

More than half - 54 per cent - said they had experienced rising costs, including energy, food and travel costs. At the same time, 21 per cent said demand for their services had increased in the past 12 months.

The survey also showed that one in four charities that collected monetary donations had experienced a decrease in donations and, of those, one in 12 had been forced to make redundancies as a direct result.

Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the commission, said charities were facing a "great deal of uncertainty" and that the collapse of Icelandic banks could make the situation "much worse".

"Our helpline is receiving phone calls from worried charities and trustees and we are continuing to provide advice and guidance to help them cope with the current pressures," she said.

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