Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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The crunch that stole Christmas

May 23 2009
Homeless charities are suffering funding shortfalls in the current economic climate It‚Äö?Ñ?¥s 2pm and one of Edinburgh‚Äö?Ñ?¥s charity shops is bustling. The phone rings: "The Shelter, Nicolson Street, can I help you? Do you want to donate something? Oh, wicked!" This is an unusual day. Despite appearances, a volunteer tells The Pavement: "People are throwing out less stuff than before so we‚Äö?Ñ?¥re getting less donations, and also people are buying less". Welcome to credit crunch Christmas, which is inevitably having implications on homeless services down the line. But not only people are tightening their belts; so are companies: "We are getting less donations especially from businesses because they need to economise too," confirms the shop assistant. And last month a major survey showed that 32 organisations have suffered a drop of a third in donations. The Bethany shop is another homeless charity shop in Edinburgh. "We have seven shops across the city. They all are still trading, but we are struggling. Homelessness never stops and in the winter it gets worse," a volunteer says. In addition, financial problems are endangering the jobs involved in those projects. Shelter, the UK‚Äö?Ñ?¥s biggest homeless charity, as well as others such as Quarriers, which helps young adults with housing support needs, are being forced to make redundancies due to funding shortfalls. On the other hand, care shelters have been affected by the threat from the meltdown as well, with significant funding cuts making them harder to maintain. In general, the biggest concerns are the prices of food or fuel, which are essential to keeping these kinds of services running. David Todd, manager of the Grassmarket Mission, said: ‚Äö?Ñ??We have been denied food from Fareshare, a national UK charity supporting communities who provide food to the needy, although most of the people who use this service have not been too seriously affected." Due in large part to the economic downturn, an annual report on how much people in Britain give to charity has revealed a significant drop in the numbers prepared to put their hands in their pockets, causing a 3 per cent fall in donations to ¬¨¬£9.5bn. The largest drops in giving came from people aged between 25 and 44. Falling house prices and a slowing economy are major factors affecting the willingness of people to make regular donations, according to the study carried out for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).