Charities forced to axe thousands of jobs

Voluntary sector feels crunch as income from donations and bequests falls

Charities are axeing thousands of jobs to cope with a collapse in donations as the recession deepens.

After years of expansion, the voluntary sector is laying off staff, putting recruitment on hold and scaling back "non-essential" services.

Earnings from investments have also fallen following cuts in interest rates. The value of major bequests has dropped because of tumbling property prices. The redundancies come as charities face greater pressure to help people who have lost their jobs and homes during the economic crisis.

Charities employed just over 500,000 staff in 2000 and the total rose to 624,000 at the end of 2004 and 724,000 last autumn. But new official figures show the number suddenly dropped in the last three months of 2008 to 716,000, the first fall on record for a decade. Voluntary organisations say the trend accelerated in the New Year.

Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office spokeswoman, told The Independent: "These are the first signs that recession-hit charities are being forced to shed jobs just to stay afloat.

"The workload of charities is soaring as the recession pushes more and more people into unemployment and poverty. But at the same time, charitable donations are dropping." Ms Willott, who obtained the figures, added: "Charities are a vital source of support for the most vulnerable people during the recession. If charities fail, we lose yet more jobs as well as losing vital support for the most vulnerable in society."

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) said yesterday that a survey of charity leaders showed one-fifth planned to cut staff numbers.

A spokesman for the NSPCC, which has cut 129 jobs from its workforce of 2,300, said: "It is becoming more difficult to recruit new donors and to upgrade existing supporters. We are also noticing that some individuals and organisations can no longer afford to give as much."

Alan Gosschalk, director of fundraising for the housing charity Shelter, said it had made 20 of its 820 employees redundant. "The economic crisis has meant a fall in income from legacies and corporate supporters," he said, "while donations from individuals have remained steady over the past year."

BEN, a charity supporting past and present motor industry workers, is drawing up plans to trim its 450-strong workforce. It has been hit because it relies mainly on support from the motor industry which is facing its worst slump in sales for a generation.

A spokeswoman said: "Calls from people needing help are going through the roof, but donations are going down. Our income is down around 10 per cent and we expect it to fall further."

Charities working overseas have been hit by the falling value of the pound. Oxfam UK suggested it may cut about 50 posts, although the figure remained "fluid".

The NCVO survey discovered that 50 per cent of charity leaders feared their organisation's financial situation would deteriorate over the next year. However, reflecting the social pressures of the recession, 48 per cent said they planned to expand services for the vulnerable.

Among the worst hit have been medium-sized charities which lack the name recognition of larger organisations, but are too big to survive on the generosity of a few philanthropists.

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Advisor - East Anglia - Field-based

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: To be considered for this position you will n...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: We have opportunities for Cov...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...

Digital Fundraising Analyst/Web Analyst - West Sussex - Permanent - £30k DOE

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?