Charities able to secure sustainable income set to benefit NHS and social care

Charity funding NHS

Are you a charity looking to replace traditional sources of income with commercial partnerships that provide sustainable funding, whilst also offering a good social return?

You’re not alone: many charities are no longer able to rely on grants and donations and are reconsidering the fundraising activity they choose to engage in, opting for more corporate social investment that can provide solid returns. 

Nowhere have these partnerships been more crucial at the moment than with charities that support people following serious injury and illness. With NHS capacity overstretched and health and social care budgets facing cutbacks, charities have a big role to play in providing surplus funds and resources.

Child Brain Injury Trust

Rachel Ritter, Head of Fundraising at the Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT), says that over a three year period the charity’s income has been reduced by approximately £300,000 worth of funding. This fall in income has been due to a combination of government cutbacks and a reduction in donations. 

The charity is now concentrating on long-term corporate partnerships, which has given it the financial security and confidence to recruit additional Child & Family Support Co-ordinators, so that its service can be offered on a national basis; for the first time families’ right across the UK will have access to the same level of support following their child’s brain injury.

“As well as doing incredible work with families, the Child & Family Support Co-ordinators often become an integral member of hospital teams and act as an additional resource to already, busy professionals,” explains Rachel.

Pathway Project

At The Rainbow Centre in Fareham, they have used funding provided by two corporate organisations to directly support their Pathway Project which assists families to access services in the wider community. It helps parents to identify and secure funding outside of the centre to ensure that their child’s health, social and care needs are met. 

The charity which receives no central government funding, faced considerable financial pressure last year and may have been forced to close its doors, if it had not received such an overwhelming response from the public. Its fundraising campaign successfully secured more than £200,000 over a four month period. 

The Pathway Project is only one of the schemes that the charity is operating through corporate support. Lara Bull, Centre Director comments:

“Charities are undoubtedly going to be playing a significant role in providing health and social care solutions for people in the future, but in order to do this they must have in place partnerships that can help generate regular income. This might require charities to think about more formal arrangements, rather than one-off sponsorships or donors.” 

Whilst arrangements like the Pathway Project are not unusual, their impact in health and social care is growing. Maintaining the wellbeing of patients following diagnosis and treatment is incredibly important. Without being able to access the right care and services in the community, many people’s health will deteriorate, placing further pressure on NHS resources.

Lara continues:

“Securing corporate support for such schemes is often easier, because businesses can see exactly what their investment will be used for. If there is also a mutual interest in the charity’s initiative, this is likely to promote long-term, strategic investment.” 

About Aspire Law

Towards the end of last year, national spinal injury charity, Aspire, entered into an Alternative Business Structure with the legal firm, Moore Blatch, to create a Social Enterprise Model called Aspire Law. 

Whilst the business model has been heralded for its unique approach, its potential benefits to the charity coupled with its far-reaching effects on health and social care services make it really stand out. 

Under the collaboration, Aspire the charity, will receive 50 percent of profits from the new ABS to reinvest into the charitable work it does. As the business grows this investment will improve and could see the charity benefitting from a sustainable source of income, which can be used for the benefit of people with spinal cord injuries.

Every eight hours someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury in the UK. 40% of these cases will involve a traumatic Spinal Cord Injury and those affected will have the potential to pursue a compensation claim. The majority of those injured will have no recourse to compensation and will be reliant on medical and social care services to help them return to leading an independent life.  

Brian Carlin, Chief Executive of Aspire comments:

“The potential that this sustainable income can offer is incredibly exciting; at a time when resources are overstretched across the board, the extra funds will give us scope to do a lot more to support people with spinal cord injuries.” 

Aspire works with specialist spinal cord injury centres throughout the UK.  The charity’s services are complementary with NHS services and aim to meet the vital needs of spinal cord injured patients, ensuring their health and well-being, allowing them to go on and lead independent and fulfilling lives.

Aspire Housing Programme

Through the sustainable income, the charity will receive under the new ABS, it intends to expand its Aspire Housing Programme. Currently, the charity has approximately 40 homes across the UK, which it is looking to increase to 100 properties. The Aspire Housing Programme provides accessible accommodation to patients being discharged from hospital who would otherwise have nowhere suitable to live.

The charity began the Housing Programme after recognising the difficulties with securing appropriate discharges. More recently, research carried out by the charity shows that around 20% of people with spinal cord injuries are discharged from hospital into nursing homes, simply because accessible accommodation is not available.

Even more will be discharged to a home that has yet to have had essential adaptations carried out, often severely limiting independence as a result.  Aspire’s ability to offer more homes for patients ensures that people with spinal cord injuries progress appropriately along patient pathways and has led to a decrease in delays and a reduction of inappropriate discharges.

Specialist Equipment

As well as this the charity will be investing funds into its grant-giving scheme, which provides specialist equipment to people with spinal cord injuries. This has already seen the charity provide light-weight and powered wheelchairs to patients, helping them to return to work.

This type of equipment is often incredibly expensive and difficult to obtain through the NHS, with patients struggling to obtain equipment that meets their specific health needs. Corporate partnerships and formal social enterprises like, Aspire Law could see many more charities generating sufficient income to provide dedicated resources where an overstretched NHS and lack of care budgets are unable to meet rising demands.  

According to information produced by The Health Foundation, health now accounts for almost £1 in £5 of Government spending. The organisation says that the task facing the next Government will not be just to secure the health service for the coming five years, but also to ensure its longer term sustainability.         

The corporate partnerships that many health charities are now engaging in can potentially contribute to a long term sustainable solution for health and social care and should not be ignored by the political parties as a solution for the future. As well as encouraging schemes like the ones highlighted here, the Government needs to provide corporates with positive incentives that will see more attracted to such collaborations with charities.

For charities, it will be important to identify aspects of their work which could be helped by these mutually beneficial partnerships so that corporates can also see the advantages of working with this sector.

For further information or photography, please contact:

Deepa Carter on 07852 700 844 or email: deepa@cartercomms.co.uk