Support needed for charity staff on the verge of burnout, emergency body warns

On the first anniversary of the Prime Minister declaring a national lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, the VCS Emergencies Partnership is calling for additional support for charities

The government must provide additional support to charities to help prevent staff burnout and enable them to continue to effectively support people during the pandemic, a charity coalition has declared.

The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership, which was set up after the Grenfell fire to provide co-ordination among local and national organisations in the wake of crises, has issued the call on the one-year anniversary of the UK lockdown being declared by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The partnership, which said it had supported more than 230 local and national organisations to come together, said the co-ordinated efforts of volunteers, national and local organisations to help people affected by the pandemic had been heroic.

But Jehangir Malik, programme director at the partnership, said the UK faced a “long Covid-19 shadow, with the impact on Britain’s most vulnerable communities set to be wide-reaching”.

He said: “And yet many voluntary staff are on the verge of burnout and concerned for their futures, with emergency funds and resources depleted.

“We are calling on the government to ensure adequate support is put in place for those vital grassroot organisations, which are lifelines to their communities, and to preserve this successful model, so that together we can keep driving systemic change and get the right support at the right time to those who need it most in the years to come.”

Research conducted by the Emergencies Partnership, also released today, found a “trickle-down” impact of the pandemic on marginalised people in the community with complex needs.

Interviews conducted with people at specialist organisations found mental health issues were increasing among more at-risk community members and among volunteers and staff.

Many Covid-19 grants are due to expire in the coming months, leaving finances looking uncertain for many local organisations, the partnership said.

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