Emergency funding is vital but how do organisations move forward from COVID-19?
Last year, Craigmyle Consultants, Siân Newton and Wendy Foreman developed and facilitated a one-day fundraising workshop for Central Southwark Community Hub based in Southwark in South East London. The demand, even before the pandemic, for Central Southwark Community Hub services – foodbank, holiday club, drop in centre was significant. While the team is doing a fantastic job, led by the amazingly energetic and committed Felicia Boshorin, the organisation was so busy with the everyday practicalities there had been no time to plan and think through what was needed for the next year let alone two or even five years. Wendy caught up with Felicia this week to find out how they are managing during COVID-19:
What are the three key issues/concerns facing your organisation at the moment?
We have seen a huge increase in the demand for the foodbank. Since March the numbers of people requiring our support has gone up from 55 to 320 – a rise of almost 600%.
A lack of food. Although people are being very generous with money, food contributions and time – we currently have 100 volunteers (although many will be going back to work soon) – we need a lot more food and are now buying directly.
Thirdly, as we start to recover from the immediate crisis, we need to be thinking about longer term funding and trying to find the capacity and space to plan ahead.
What are you doing now that you had not anticipated doing (before covid)?
We have had to change the way we operate completely and we are now doing deliveries as people cannot come and collect the food themselves. We don’t have a vehicle to deliver so we are reliant on volunteers using their own cars. Also, we have had to ensure much stricter safeguarding arrangements are in place as visiting people at their home addresses.
However, the delivery of food, combined with the need for so many people who are shielding to receive food packages, has had a significant impact in reducing any perceived stigma related to food banks. And younger people and families are more willing to request the help they need.
How have your fundraising plans changed?
We are very thankful for the emergency funding that we have received from Southwark Council and the London Communities Fund, However, this is short term funding for one month or the maximum three months, and we really need longer term funding, up to a year at least. COVID-19 and its impact on society and the economy are not going to go away soon.
We still need to plan and develop a long-term fundraising strategy. Last year for the first time, we took time out from our very busy and immediate day to day life and held a half day workshop facilitated by two Craigmyle fundraising consultants. We created a really clear action plan to develop a fundraising strategy and we need to build on our learning from this year, and take forward.
What are your priorities for post lockdown?
Our move to a new base is still imminent and we have continued planning for this since the lockdown as we know that when this is over, other organisations will return to the current space we are using. Our new venue will be an improvement in terms of space and for the volunteers.
But we need to take time out and take more strategic approach to planning and development. We need to action our action plan that we worked so hard on last year with you.
A huge thank you to Felicia for taking valuable time out of her incredibly busy day to share her very important and illuminating thoughts about the future. No doubt many other organisations will be thinking and saying the same thing. We wish Felicia, her colleagues and all the volunteers the very best.
Find out more about Central Southwark Community Hub
For tips on fundraising during COVID-19 have a look at our latest checklist.