Times are tough for many local charities

Alison Baxter

Alison Baxter

First published in News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

CHARITIES in Oxfordshire are facing major problems in the current economic climate, it was warned last night.

More than 160 charities have been wound up in the county in the past two and a half years.

But in the midst of Government cutbacks and recession, more than 240 charities have been started in Oxfordshire between January 2010 and August 2012.

Government figures show 61 charities ceased to exist in 2010, 71 in 2011, and so far 34 have gone this year.

Last night it was claimed there had been no more closures or start-ups than usual but charities were facing major problems because of the economic climate with many funding sources drying up.

Alison Baxter, chief executive of Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action, said charities were suffering but surviving.

She said: “Charities are experiencing really tough times but they are not going to give up.

“We should appreciate the amount of energy and creativity that is given by thousands of people completely voluntarily to make things better in their communities.

“It proves that when you are driven by values it takes a lot to make you give up.”

She also said there was no evidence to show that donations from the public had fallen, adding: “Which is amazing really considering the circumstances.”

There are more than 3,000 charities in Oxfordshire.

James Phillpott, who started the Amber Phillpott Trust a year ago in memory of his 18-month-old daughter, said he had raised about £30,000. And he said donors did not seem to have been deterred by any economic austerity.

He said: “People have been extremely generous in the recession. It’s beyond my wildest dreams to raise that amount of money in such a short period of time.”

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The Oxford Young Carers Project Service, in Cowley Road, closed in November last year after it failed to win new grant funding.

And Headington’s ACE Centre for people with communication difficulties almost shut in June after cash dried up.

Andy Buckland, director of 21-year-old dementia charity Daybreak, said money from Government was becoming harder to get.

He said: “It seems there is more competition for the various funding bodies.

“We have noticed a gradual increase in the amount of time and effort you need to put into fundraising.

“We seem to be getting slightly less each when the numbers with dementia are increasing.”

The figures came from the Charity Commission database but do not include groups with an annual income of less than £5,000.

Charity Commission spokesman Ellena Bianchi-Barry said numbers of charities coming and going had been fairly constant for a while.

She said: “Charities close for a variety of reasons. It might be they have completed their charity objectives, they may merge.

“It’s not really representative of any particular economic climate.”

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