Manchester welfare charity's fears over finances as cost of living crisis bites

The Fed needs to raise a third more from the community to meet its deficit but worries that supporters may not be able to give as generously as in the past


Manchester’s main Jewish welfare provider, The Fed, says it will need to raise a third more annually from the local community to cover its deficit in the wake of rocketing costs.

Yet the charity fears donations may drop as supporters deal with the impact of the cost of living crisis on their own finances.

The Fed’s fundraising director, Raphi Bloom, said that growing demand for its services, coupled with increases in energy and food bills, meant that it now needed to attract £2 million, rather than £1.5 million, from the community. The charity had also committed “to pay our staff the Real Living Wage”.

Mr Bloom pointed out that as The Fed was not a national charity, it received support from just a handful of London-based organisations.

“When we go to major UK Jewish philanthropists and foundations in London, overwhelmingly we are told they are not interested in supporting outside of the M25 motorway.

“The fact The Fed is supporting a staggering one-in-seven Jewish homes and 6,500 Jewish people every year in the UK’s second-largest Jewish community doesn’t seem to sway them. There is a regional imbalance and no ‘levelling up’.”

Mr Bloom anticipated that 90 per cent of the deficit would have to be raised within the Manchester community and he was concerned that donations would fall because of supporters’ own financial circumstances.

The charity helps people dealing with mental health issues, domestic and sexual abuse, poverty and loneliness and “cannot rest for a minute”.

CEO Mark Cunningham added that many of those using its services “have felt the immediate impact of rising food prices and fuel costs.

“We have seen food-poverty referrals increase. The additional impact is on people’s well-being and mental health.

“We are looking at how we can support people with additional advice, warm hubs and developing partnerships with other providers to help create a joined up approach to what is a national problem.”

Implementing the Real Living Wage had increased salaries of employees by an average £1,800 and the timing “had proved critical in supporting our staff and helping to ensure their well-being and family situations.

“We are looking at other initiatives around cheaper travel being introduced in Greater Manchester and advice workshops to help people manage costs.

“Organisationally, we are, of course, being dealt some difficult cards with our own utility costs set to increase by £50,000 a month and rising food and supplier costs.” Although the charity had made every effort to minimise the impact, running its Heathlands complex and wide-ranging support services “comes at a huge cost. It is labour intensive and we utilise a high level of power 24 hours a day.”

Mr Cunningham acknowledged that The Fed was “extremely lucky to have incredibly loyal and generous donors.

“But we appreciate that there will be some who will be affected by the cost-of-living crisis at a time when every pound is precious to us.

“We will keep our donors and supporters informed of the amazing difference their generosity makes and hope this will ensure we can continue to deliver vital services.”

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