Is there a positive side to brexit for charities?

On what should have been the day, we consider: is there a positive side to Brexit for charities that can help the sector leap over any possible hurdles ahead

Raabia Fazil | 31st Oct 19
Brightly lit candles suggesting is there a positive side to brexit for charities?

Brexit has been extended until 31st January. Like all extensions to deadlines, we can collectively breathe a sigh of relief and consider: is there a positive side to brexit for charities?

Having staved off some of the impending doom, we have rounded up some positive aspects of Brexit that could help charities. There certainly is some light in the darkness.

The public are by your side

We reported here that you can count on support from the public for your charity even if times are tough. CAF’s Brexit and its Impact on Charitable Causes found that despite concern about charitable giving, donations from the public remain reassuringly steady and have remained so during unpredictable times including the 2008 recession and 2010 coalition government. Since the Brexit vote, data collected between June 2018 and Dec 2018 shows that donations and volunteering remained consistent and support from the public stayed stable.

More recently, the climate change protest group Extinction Rebellion raised over £800,000 through crowdfunding to support their London occupation. The appeal is close to its goal of £1m by the end of October. This positive news highlights how people will get behind causes that they care about particularly during challenging times.

> See also: Don’t panic: A quick guide to how charities will survive post-Brexit

The show will go on.

Along with your supporters, the government is going to help too. The Government’s Spending Round 2019 provides some more good news. The Chancellor Sajid Javid has raised Charity Commission funding from £24.9m to £27.3m. With greater support, the Commission can keep the sector regulated and resilient during hard times.

The Chancellor announced an additional £2.1 billion for Brexit arrangements. There are multiple areas receiving funding that could filter down to charities and benefit the sector:

£250m will be allocated to the international climate and environment funds
£46m will be given to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2020
£30m will be given to protect children from sexual abuse
£66m in early years spending will assist the government’s free childcare offers
An additional £54m of funding will be allocated to decrease homelessness and rough sleeping
An additional £1.5bn will go to councils for social care
A further £170m in humanitarian aid and help for refugees

By getting informed about funding being funnelled in the general direction of your cause, you should be creative about securing funds that could benefit your cause.

> See also: Brexit: Remote working to avoid international travel disruption

Brexit could give the UK some wiggle room

It’s also heartening to note that the government has pledged to cover any charity funding promised by the EU until 31st Dec 2020. Leaving the EU could open up opportunities by allowing the UK to modify some laws and potentially permit charities to access more VAT exemptions. Brexit could also help the UK to save the estimated £14bn spent on EU membership and distribute such savings to local services. Some areas have already been helped. In March, the government revealed plans for £1.6bn to aid disadvantaged areas. Nearly £1bn is destined for the Midlands and north of England which could support local charities.

Brexit Party MEP Matthew Patten is optimistic about the post Brexit landscape. He calls for charities to ‘shape the social fabric of Britain’ after we leave the EU. The former chief executive of the Mayor’s Fund for London said charities are ideally placed to champion progress and will be pivotal in forging a post-Brexit Britain.

He observed that his work in the East Midlands had revealed the distance between charity leaders and the people they assist. He said that “There is a real opportunity here for the third sector to think beyond our own bubble and try to get more engaged in the everyday lives of people in the towns and regions where they live, particularly outside the capital.”

With continued support from the public and help from the government, you might say that the charity sector will go on despite some of the challenges that Brexit may bring.