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Gloucestershire Business News

Charities forced into rethink by pandemic

Almost one in five charities are looking at downsizing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research.

The research by Gloucester-based specialist insurer Ecclesiastical showed 19 per cent were considering the move while 17 per cent are looking at closing some or all of their offices.

The Charity Risk Barometer highlighted a shift in how charities are operating due to the pandemic with 95 per cent cent working remotely and 37 per cent considering staff continuing to do so on a full-time basis.

And 43 per cent of respondents said they are considering changing their office arrangements in the future, either through downsizing or sharing with partners.

In January, the Royal National Institute of Blind People announced the sale of its London headquarters as part of a modernisation programme while East Anglia's Children's Hospices said it was renewing its lease on its office spaces as part of a cost-saving programme

Loss of funding has seen a number of charities, including Age UK and Macmillan, making redundancies with an estimated 60,000 jobs lost while Cancer Research has cut pay and reduced working hours.

Ecclesiastical's charity niche director Angus Roy said: "Covid-19 has challenged us in ways we've never experienced before, but it has also given us a chance to be bold and seize on new opportunities.

"Be that moving to all staff working from home, downsizing or sharing space with partners."

He continued: "The sector has adapted to meeting the needs of its users while changing how it works - which is no mean feat and should be applauded.

"It is no surprise that thoughts have been turned to how charities can evolve by adapting the way they operate, including the spaces they work from.

"While the continuing threat of a loss of funding plus huge demand continues to drive much of the sector's decision making - charities have been presented with a unique opportunity to review what works for them and in doing so future proof their organisation."

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