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Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Small International Development Charity Network (SIDCN)

SIDCN is an online collective of 1300 members set up to amplify the voices of small international development charities. As a collective 68% of organisations have responded to the COVID-19 crisis directly, by continuing work as normal, or finding new and innovative ways to deliver their projects. 72% of small international development charities have seen increased demand for their services

“Our frontline staff have been working tirelessly to deliver vital hygiene supplies to 2,455 families without access to the basics – soap, sanitiser, disinfectant, face masks and other PPE” - AzuKo Jo Ashbridge

It has been found that the biggest single challenge facing these organisations is funding. These charities are not eligible to apply for the UK Government Coronavirus Community Support Fund, many UK funders have amended their giving criteria to only support UK-based projects and the DFID has ‘paused’ grants leaving charities in limbo.This has meant that 79% have raised their income through individual giving. This is refreshing and a motivator for small charities.

Small charities have a unique advantage in that they are able to create impact at the micro level. 50% of charities that were surveyed are threatening to close within the next 12 months due to funding cuts and lack of available and eligible grants. Without these charities we will see a ripple effect that extends beyond UK unemployment rates but to the hundreds of thousands that each charity impacts globally.

Local community members who run services depend on income to feed their families, send their children to school and provide a steady income for their health and wellbeing within the family and community. What we will see in the next 12 months has the potential of dismantling a large part of our interconnected global world we have worked so hard to build.


DISH was formed in 1991 as a charity offering information, advice and support to people with disabilities. The momentum behind forming DISH and working with other small charities in the area was to ensure the disability community weren’t left behind and that they could live their lives with dignity, choice and independence. Within the last few years and especially since the welfare reforms, the demand for their services has grown exponentially. The team also support older members of their community with attendance Allowance applications. It is a small team who all have lived experience of disability either as a parent, young carer and carer.

It has been a period of uncertainty and has meant a complete full stop on any fundraising events they had planned, but also no more income via Trusts and Foundations which had raised some significant amounts early on in the year. It was understandable that this would happen. DISH had projected a return on fundraising and foundations alone to be in excess of £15,000 -£20,000. It meant huge pressure in trying to obtain emergency funding via various outlets and ensuring they could keep offering their services whilst planning for our post COVID-19 future. They furloughed an office member of staff and the other 3 caseworkers on a rotational basis so they could keep offering the service. This relieved some pressure on the salary bill, but as they don’t pay very much, it didn’t make a huge dent. DISH have come through it and are grateful to all the support we have had both locally and nationally. They have developed new financial processes and also worked on a new risk management strategy to ensure their sustainability.

Claims for disability benefits have slowed (as per DWP) but they have still had requests for help. Appeals were halted or done over conference call. It is anticipated that there will be a tsunami of claims as we gently ease lockdown or when the pause on benefits changes stops. There is a backlog of appeals and they anticipate that their disability community to be hit very hard. DISH have always been needed, but they know they will have to increase capacity to meet the demand.

Young Barnet Foundation

Young Barnet Foundation is a membership organisation for hundreds of locally based children and young people’s charities/community groups delivering to young people across LB of Barnet. They invest in, connect and develop their members in a variety of ways to enhance opportunities, activities and services for the 99,000 young people across Barnet. YBF compliment the other infrastructure support across the borough. They work closely under a ‘Barnet Together’ collaboration with Inclusion Barnet and Volunteering Barnet to pool expertise and resources to support members who serve their communities.

Coronavirus saw great work across the Barnet borough by many community groups as they set out to support and feed the most vulnerable during the crisis. Young Barnet Foundation have and will continue to work to help coordinate and support these groups over the coming months.

Their two key funders are part of London Funders network and they have welcomed the swift confirmation that funders would be supportive and flexible with their funding. Short term funding is secured to support the work they do, but the longer-term future looks more insecure. Many fundraising events, like many other charities, have been curtailed and there is uncertainty about future funding availability. They have started to see members start to struggle. Their services to support and scaffold membership will be needed now more than ever as organisations see an increase in demand for their services whilst finding funding harder to achieve. YBF have seen this as an opportunity to explore different ways of working, how technology can best be used both in delivery and back office, for their organisations to help make tight finances go further as working practices are forced to be adapted.

The small community based charities are deep routed and highly knowledgeable in their communities. Many having built up trusted relationships over many years, and as the full effect of the COVID-19 begins to show, many more will need their support. YBF are calling on everyone at this time to be a generous leader. Supporting charities doesn’t always have to always be financial donations. Individuals and businesses can offer time, expertise and space to your locally based charities.


StreetDoctors educate to prevent and reduce youth violence. As knowledge is power, they equip at-risk young people with the skills to save lives and the knowledge to make informed decisions about how to keep themselves and others safe. StreetDoctors was founded in 2008 by two medical students and a youth worker. They realised the young people most at risk of witnessing or being involved in violence did not know basic first-aid skills to help in an emergency. By putting young people at the centre of emergency first-aid provision, SD empowers them to become part of the solution to youth violence, rather than just being seen as part of ‘the problem’.

StreetDoctors relies on voluntary donations and earned income from delivering training sessions. Lockdown has meant their healthcare volunteers and other supporters were not able to raise money to support the work. They have lost delivery income as we could not deliver sessions until they had developed a digital alternative or until lockdown eases. As a small staff team, they could not risk furloughing staff and suspending operations because there is still a need to be there for young people at-risk of violence, so they managed by reducing income.

Youth violence is a major cause of death for young people in the UK; 1 in 20 young people know someone who carries a weapon and last year had the highest recorded knife crime offences since records began. On top of this, lockdown has exacerbated many of the root causes such as poverty and a lack of support and opportunities. StreetDoctors provides a lifesaving intervention in partnership with local communities across the UK that empowers young people to learn the skills that save lives. Their work is now more important than ever to protect our young people from harm.

Yellow House

Yellow House is a well-established and highly trusted Registered Charity and are recognised for our innovative ways of reaching out to and offering support to young people, particularly those isolated within society. Yellow House activities target those who are normally excluded or considered hard to reach, particularly those with social, environmental, physical or learning disadvantages.

Yellow House takes a holistic approach to working with those young people normally excluded from decision making, enabling them to participate in all aspects of community life, as well as offering young people the opportunity to, not only, develop their own social and personal skills but also to develop as active citizens in today's world.

Their work has changed with COVID-19. The outreach work in schools has ceased, a planned theatre performance around non-violence was cancelled and daily work at The House is on hold. They are, however, doing 3 Zoom Programmes per day, 7 days per week, several run by the young people themselves, including Art, Meditation, Creative Writing. Together with the young people, Yellow House have drawn up a Post COVID-19 Plan for the foreseeable future, including quite definite suggestions on how we wish to live in the, hopefully, brave new world.


1 Comment

Great work.

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