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Small (but mighty) Charity week


Giving a big shout out to all Shropshire’s small charities and the big impact they make in Small Charity Week, 24-28 June 2024

Small Charity Week celebrates and raises awareness of the essential work of the UK’s small charity sector, which makes an invaluable contribution to the lives of millions of individuals, communities, and causes across the UK and the rest of the world.

What is a small charity?

A small charity is a voluntary organisation with a social or charitable purpose with an annual income of less than £1 million.

However, a small charity does not mean a small impact.

A 2018 study led by Sheffield Hallam University found that small charities have a distinctive social value that makes their work different from large charities and other sectors.

In other areas, although we haven’t been able to find figures specific to the smaller charities, as a whole the UK Civil Society Almanac 2022 found the voluntary sector contributed about £20bn to the UK’s economy, or 1% of GDP. The social services subsector contributes the most, worth £3.7bn, followed by the international subsector with £3.1bn and health with £2.5bn.

The contribution of the sector as a proportion of GDP has increased since 2015/16 and remained at about 1% of GDP since 2016/17.


Small charities in the UK

The Centre for Social Justice Foundation recently analysed data from the Charity Commission, gathered data from government departments through Freedom of Information requests, and commissioned nationally representative polling to determine what the British public thinks about the charitable sector.

It’s report, Underfunded and Overlooked revealed that in 2023:

·        Small, grassroots organisations make up the majority of charitable organisations in Britain. They may not be household names, but their importance to the charity sector is undeniable.

·        In Scotland, just 4 per cent of charities have an income of over £1 million and 56 per cent have an income of under £25,000.

·        In England and Wales just 7,000 of the 170,000 registered charities have an income of over £1 million.

·        The 10 biggest charities spend more on fundraising alone (£243 million) than the combined total income of over 75,000 smaller charities.

·        75 per cent of the sector’s total income flows to just 1 per cent of charities.

Despite this dominance in terms of number, due to size and power imbalances within the charity sector, the small but effective charities are underfunded and their impact under-recognised.

This leaves the grassroots organisations operating with one (or both) hands tied behind their back, despite often being the most powerful social change catalysts.

Small charities in Shropshire

From caring for animals and children's health and education, supporting environmental initiatives, creating opportunities for young people, delivering mental health and other support services, and much, much more, Shropshire has an amazing mix of small charities doing incredible work and contributing to making our community a better place.

For instance, this year alone, our little team has provided over 1000 meals, assisted over 20 people to move off the streets into permanent and temporary accommodation, and over 20 people have been able to benefit from the GP clinics. 

We are currently supporting between 10 and 15 people who are sleeping on the streets and up to 30 more individuals living in temporary or precarious accommodation.

As well as benefitting from the work the charity does, the contribution in other areas to the community cannot be underestimated:

Providing employment

Our team of 10 employees includes a charity director, charity coordinator, day centre manager, support workers, financial admin support, a charity shop manager and shop team leader, and we’re about to employ a professional cleaner!

Great volunteer opportunities

Smaller charities often simply couldn’t exist without the support and goodwill of their volunteers, and a small charity is a great place to volunteer in a field someone is passionate about.

As well as personal wellbeing, gaining new skills and boosting confidence volunteering gives people valuable experience and an opportunity to learn new skills; for instance, we recently ran training sessions on domestic violence, cancer awareness and Basic Life Support (BLS) training for staff and volunteers.

As proud recipients of the Queens Voluntary Service Award, as well as cooking, helping people navigate the complexities of housing and other support services, and lending a listening ear, our team of over 50 volunteers help with food runs, admin support, wrap-around care, take people to essential appointments or quietly support people with their life challenges, giving reassurance, keeping them connected and engaged, and reducing the risk of mental health relapse.

Behind the scenes we have our volunteer Board of Trustees who bring with them a wealth of experience to ensure the charity is run professionally and adheres to all the regulations set out by the Charity Commission.

Opportunities to work together towards a shared aim

Small charities have a habit of bringing organisations and people together who have a passion for making the community a better place and helping others.

Our small charity partners include:

Through these partners we're able to deliver vital support services, activities and training sessions.

For instance, as well as supporting us with food deliveries, the Shrewsbury Food Hub and The Hungry Guy are delivering 'how to cook on a budget' cooking courses; many of the people who we support have not had the opportunities to learn basic life skills such as cooking and budgeting, and these simple sessions, carried out in a relaxed format help make moving into accommodation less daunting.

These courses also include tips on how to cook a meal in a hotel room - several people we support are in temporary hotel accommodation.

This year’s Small Charities Week’s theme is Fostering Resilient Charities for Stronger Communities; please support our local small charities to make our community a stronger and better place for all.

Huge thank you to everyone who chooses to support us!

We never charge for our services and while we are successful in some grant applications, everything we are able to do to support vulnerable people in our community is because of your generosity.

You can support us by:

·        Making a donation via our page on the Charities Aid Foundation. Click here to make a regular or one-off donation online now. (Please remember to Gift Aid your donation – This means we will receive tax benefits and help ensure your donation goes further.)

·        Shop online through the Give as you Live shopping website. Through this portal, retailers agree to give a percentage of your purchase to us, at NO cost to you. More information and sign-up details here.

·        When our shop at 14 Castle Street re-opens in July, call in to make a purchase or donate unwanted items.

·        Give us a shout out and follow us on social media: we’re active on X (former Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


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