Posted on Wednesday 9 June 2021
CEO of Young Lives vs Cancer Rachel Kirby-Rider’s response to Public Account Committee’s report Covid:19: Government Support for Charities
“We welcome and thank the Public Accounts Committee for its report Covid-19: Government Support for Charities. The findings however continue to concern us at Young Lives vs Cancer – particularly the lack of transparency over the allocation of funds and how assessments were made for the level of funding that was needed by the charity sector.
“In a year that was more difficult than ever for children and young people living with cancer and their families, Young Lives vs Cancer did not receive any of the promised £750m relief fund for charities. Young people had to face cancer treatment alone, parents lost their jobs, children were isolated and Young Lives vs Cancer worked tirelessly to continue to be there for them in the face of a dramatic fall in income.
“Young Lives vs Cancer became aware during the pandemic that £360m of funding was allocated by Government departments with bids made to the Department for Media, Culture and Sport. This information or any application process by which to access funding was not made public and we were therefore unable to apply. On May 22, the Department of Health and Social Care announced which charities had been allocated their portion of funding.
“One year on and we are still none the wiser as to how bids for funding were made and would welcome further investigation into how charities were invited to apply. There was no telephone number to call, no website to apply to and no public information on how we could have accessed this particular pot for charities. We tried our best to get information – contacting civil servants, having MPs ask questions in parliament and still received no straight answer from the government. Just radio silence. The findings of this report go some way to echo that our pleas for support were falling on deaf ears.
“The Cultural Relief Fund received nearly three times as much funding as charities. Whilst we welcome such support – we are disappointed this same level of support was not mirrored in the charity sector where there was an increase in demand of services against a fall in income. We couldn’t shutdown our services – they were needed more than ever. Online fundraising was not a match to the opportunities lost from big events such as the London Marathon.
“We share the sentiment of the report that the government should set out clear actions they will take to monitor and understand the financial health and resilience of the charity sector moving forward. We know we are not alone in our concerns and we’re keen to work together with other vital charities to show just how much the charity sector is needed in society. As the leading cancer charity for children and young people in the UK, our fight is far from over during such uncertain times to reach and support everyone who needs Young Lives vs Cancer during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.”
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