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Camden Giving: Help to save charities hit hard by virus crisis

The organisations can help in the coronavirus fightback have lost their income

02 April, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

Natasha Friend

VITAL charities in the thick of the fightback are facing a funding shortfall of at least £4m this year, leaving many fearing they will have to close their doors for good.

Natasha Friend, chief executive of Camden Giving, an umbrella group trying to coordinate fundraising possibilities to save them, said: “It has been quite amazing what they have done and now we need to keep them going, keep their energy levels and resources up. Their quick response has been nothing short of brilliant – but they will need even greater help in the medium term.”

Camden Giving was set up in 2017 to help grassroots organisations raise money, often by encouraging businesses in the area to donate to good causes.

Ms Friend told the New Journal: “Camden has wealthy, successful businesses and wealthy, successful people, and a great voluntary sector. But more than one third of all children here live in poverty – and it has the third largest wealth to poverty gap in the entire country.” Camden Giving has now set up a panel of seven people from across Camden’s communities.

Ms Friend said: “Our groups are facing losing valuable income while having extra work to do. For example, many would have had funds come in from someone running the London Marathon – that’s gone. Some would have relied on businesses to donate, but find those companies are facing a very difficult time.

Partly paid for by the City of London’s charitable fund, called the Bridge Trust, the group are based at Business Improvement District Camden Town Unlimited’s head­quarters in Buck Street. Ms Friend said: “Some have already spent reserves they could not afford to spend, simply to stay open. They have spent money on ensuring people do not lose their homes if they cannot pay their rent. They have sent out food packages. They still have staff costs while income has fallen away.”

Camden Giving will be looking at grant applications in the coming months.

She added: “We do not have a crystal ball. We do not know what may be needed – but we do know there is a big hole left in the charitable landscape in Camden, and it will run into millions of pounds. Some may simply fold – and this is at a time when we need these groups more than ever before.”

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