One in five service charities warn they must close or merge by Christmas – The Sun

One in five service charities warn they must close or merge by Christmas – The Sun

June 9, 2020

VETERANS are facing a bleak midwinter as one in five service charities warned it will close or merge by Christmas.

Gaping shortfalls in donations mean at least half the UK's veterans and service charities are planning to slash their services – despite surges in demand linked to the lockdown.

It is the latest blow to morale after The Sun revealed last month that veterans' groups are getting less money than zoos from the government's bailout package.

One in three organisations expect to run out of cash by Christmas, an umbrella organisation has warned. It comes days after vets were forced to mark the D-Day anniversary with muted commemorations at home because of the lockdown.

A survey of 190 charities found demand for veterans’ services, such as mental health provision, poverty alleviation and family support, has increased during the lockdown. Other work, including home visits, has plummeted as vulnerable vets “drop off the radar” as a result of remote working.

General McColl, chairman of the Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo), said: “The message to veterans is we are doing everything we possibly can to help you and please come forward.”

Gen McColl, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said charities expected a “bow wave” of new cases when the country finally emerges from the lockdown. The spike in demand will coincide with charities closing, merging, or running out of money.

“It is a perfect storm,” Gen McColl added. “Veterans aren’t whingeing. The whole country is in a very difficult situation. People are losing their jobs, people are dying. This is just the situation we are facing.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged £750 million to bail out the charity sector, with £9 million earmarked for service charities.

Cobseo said its members normally raise £65 million a month. Two thirds have seen their incomes fall between 10 to 50 per cent.

Hugh Milroy, head of Veterans Aid, a homelessness charity, said future funding “must be linked to veterans’ needs”.

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