CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Open letter to Georgia Gould: Charities facing threat to finances

19 March, 2020

Georgia Gould

Open letter to Camden Council leader Georgia Gould

• Dear Georgia,

We are 100 per cent committed to working with our local communities, you, and the council, to help support residents in Camden affected by the COVID-19 situation.

However, we need to let you know of an urgent issue that has and will impact our ability to do this.

Our initial discussions with council officers have been positive, and we recognise the willingness to work with us, and the recognition of the scale of the problems that we face.

Our vulnerable residents in Camden will need support in the weeks and months to come. We need to come together with the NHS, local businesses and all of the organisations that work with vulnerable people to mitigate the worst effects of this crisis.

Camden is a strong borough, we need to pull together and come through this in the best way that we can.

We have been seeing incredible actions and organising from our diverse local communities. The mutual aid networks are an amazing example of this.

We want to ensure that we are working as close to full strength as we can, to work alongside our communities, and continue to support those most at risk.

We have been assessing our organisational risks, and the biggest threat right now to the successful ongoing operations of many charities is financial.

We are facing a reduction and cancellation of all main sources of self-generated income, income grown carefully over many years, the loss of which puts continued staffing and our ability to work closely within our communities in imminent danger.

The following income streams are now slowing to a trickle and may soon stop altogether:

– nursery income (both private and council-funded);

– room hire income, already cancellations are up to 80 per cent of total;

– personal budget payments;

– various chargeable activities, such as after-school clubs, classes and training, all being postponed and cancelled.

In order to survive and continue to support the most vulnerable of Camden residents we believe that the following needs to be implemented as soon as possible:

• Rent and rates holiday.

• Emergency funding ring-fenced, perhaps from Camden Council reserves.

• Reassurance around nursery payments if / when nurseries have to close.

We look forward to our meeting later this week (online, rather than in person) with yourself and VCS partners, who are carrying out vital work locally to discuss our joint approaches, and how we ensure that we are all able to operate a full strength.

Camden Infrastructure Alliance, Camden Community Centres’ Consortium, Volunteer Centre Camden, Voluntary Action Camden, Queen’s Crescent Community Association, Somali Youth Development Resource Centre, Holborn Community Association, Covent Garden Dragon Hall Trust, Kentish Town Community Centre, Abbey Community Centre, King’s Cross Brunswick Community Association, Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre, Swiss Cottage Community Centre, Maiden Lane Community Centre, The South Hampstead and Kilburn Community Partnership, Camden Disability Action, Healthwatch Camden, The Winch.

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