Charities supporting deprived communities face risk from Covid-19

A report published today warns that charities and social enterprises in deprived parts of the North of England are most at risk from the economic effects of Covid-19.

The report, by Tony Chapman, Sarah Longlands and Jack Hunter (published by IPPR North) analyses the experiences of third sector organisations in the region over the last decade.

The new analysis shows that although the third sector is more resilient than generally thought, one in four charities in the North are based in deprived areas, and it was these organisations which were hit hardest following the 2008 recession and subsequent period of government austerity policies.

Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on people already on the sharp end of inequalities. This means that local charities will face difficulties in the coming years due to rising demand for their services but falling income.

Despite the significant challenges posed by the economic effects of Covid-19, today’s report shows that Northern third sector organisations, have a ‘make-do attitude’ are resilient and able to adapt well to change.

Professor Tony Chapman of Durham University observes that:

“Charities and social enterprises are more resilient than generally thought. They tend to be financially prudent and can adapt to circumstance. After the 2008 crash and years of austerity, many showed this flexibility by generating more income from self-generated trading. But now, cashflow is seriously under threat because Covid-19 has limited their scope to run shops and cafes or charge for services.”

The report calls for a new deal for the voluntary and community sector in the North by building support into plans to ‘build back better’ such as the creation of a Northern ‘growth body’ or ‘prosperity board’ which is widely expected to be announced as part of the Devolution and Recovery White Paper in Autumn 2020.

Sarah Longlands, Director of IPPR North argues:

“Third sector organisations provide the foundations for a strong and resilient Northern economy and continue to play a vital role in supporting communities during the current Covid-19 Crisis. “So we simply cannot ‘level up’ from the Covid-19 pandemic unless we ensure these organisations receive the support and the respect that they deserve to help weather this storm.”

The report can be downloaded from IPPR’s website at this address: