Charities join up to fight crunch

By Dana Gloger, August 8, 2008

Charities are being forced to share their resources to save money as the credit crunch bites at the heart of their services - at a time when more people are in need of their help.

More than 70 organisations in London and Manchester have managed to find an extra £500,000 as a result of working together as donations tumble

They are sharing everything from office equipment to IT services. One managed to save £135,000 on mobile phone contracts and a youth organisation cut its spending by 61 per cent.

The effects of the economic downturn have so far meant that some projects have had to be changed or downsized; charities have had to consider scaling back the services they provide while others have had to absorb the increasing costs.

Some have not yet felt any major effects, but with economic forecasters predicting the current financial climate will deteriorate further before it improves, many in the charitable sector are fearing a worsening time ahead.

Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council which launched the sharing initiative three years ago, said more and more charities were joining in order to maintain their services.

The JLC is now expanding its remit to include schools.

Meanwhile, many of the community's leading charities are being forced to take quite drastic steps to counter a fall in giving.

World Jewish Relief chief executive, Paul Anticoni, explained: "A donation of £10 just doesn't go as far as it did. The cost of a family food package, that only 12 months ago would have bought seven days' worth of food, can now only purchase five days' worth. For many, who are sadly dependent on WJR to fill a critical pension deficit, this means going hungry."

Leeds Jewish Housing Association chief executive Sheila Saunders said: "It costs a lot to be Jewish. This puts enormous pressure on the community."

Last updated: 3:32pm, January 5 2011