28th October 2021 | Lieutenancy News

SMALL SURREY CHARITIES WELCOME TARGETED SUPPORT FROM SURREY LIEUTENANCY

The first ever comprehensive survey of local charities in Surrey, conducted by members of the Charities and Communities Group set up by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey Michael More-Molyneux, has revealed that most have survived the pandemic, but need more funds, volunteers and trustees to continue the valuable work that they do across the county, as they return to normal life.

A questionnaire was sent digitally to a mailing list of most Surrey-based charities, to explore the extent of their needs, after lockdown, and as the County gets back into the new normal in 2021.

The questionnaire prompted 165 individual responses from people within at least 136 local organisations, making it the biggest “deep dive” into local charities ever conducted by the Surrey Lieutenancy. This Group has a membership of five Deputy Lieutenants plus four local action groups within the County, ie Surrey Community Action, Surrey Care Trust, Surrey Youth Focus and Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum. The results startled the Group members and provided excellent feedback.

More than two thirds of the respondents said they were aware of the Surrey Lieutenancy and 63% said they would welcome support from the Lieutenancy; 53% were interested in receiving personal visits from the Lieutenancy, while just under half would like the Lieutenancy to help them advertise for new Trustees, and 59% needed help with advertising for other types of volunteers.

The most popular single area where support was needed was in fundraising, followed by practical help with funding bids, digital understanding, and in being able to tap into new skills.

In further evidence of the good work being done locally, 68 respondents said their organisation was run by volunteers with no paid staff. Most had very few staff and most were small charities. All respondents had volunteers in their organisations, most having between 10 and 60 volunteers.

Some 78 respondents were small charities with a turnover of less than £100,000 per year – many respondents had a turnover of less than £10,000 per year; then 99 respondents said their charity did not own any assets, though 34 respondents said their charity owned buildings, and 28 respondents said their charity owned another significant asset eg vehicles or land.

Asked about their main concerns for the future, 47% worried about the well being of their clients, 44% were concerned about funding post Covid-19, 44% worried about a lack of volunteers, and 39% were worried about recruiting new Trustees to help with governance of their charity.

Other concerns included 38% worried about meeting demand from service users, 33% keeping up to date with policies and procedures, and 29% about work overload at a personal level.

Nick Bragger, Head of Communities & Development at Surrey Community Action, commented that most of the charities in the survey continued to work with their clients during the pandemic. “Many of the respondents listed a number of organisations that they refer onto – which were too many to list – but the type and number of organisations was very varied and many had a very local reach.”

Michael More-Molyneux welcomed the results of the survey. “These valuable results will help me and my Deputy Lieutenants to provide help and support where it is most needed in future” he said.

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