Suffolk charities praise £750m package - but warn hard work must continue to prevent closures

Tim Holder, inset, has praised the charity package announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak Picture: SIMO

Tim Holder, inset, has praised the charity package announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak Picture: SIMON LEE/PIPPA FOWLES/CROWN COPYRIGHT/10 DOWNING STREET/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Suffolk-based charities have been delighted by chancellor Rishi Sunak’s package to help keep the sector running during the coronavirus crisis, amid warnings of organisations having to close.

Speaking in the government’s daily press conference on Wednesday, Mr Sunak pledged to £750million to keep struggling charities afloat during the crisis.

While the government would not be able to replace the lost income of charities providing key services, Mr Sunak said they would be able to apply for cash grants to keep income flowing.

The criteria for the grants is expected to be revealed soon.

The news has pleased a range of Suffolk charities and organisations, many of whom have struggled to maintain income while stores are closed and fundraising events are cancelled.

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Bosses at St Elizabeth Hospice were thrilled to hear the news, but have warned the hard work must continue to keep the centre running.

The announcement comes after several fundraising events for the hospice have had to be cancelled or postponed - including the annual Midnight Walk, which generates thousands for those in need of palliative care.

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Judi Newman, development director at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “We very much welcome the chancellor’s commitment to charities. Anything we can get is welcome.

“We are looking forward to finding out what it means for us after Easter.”

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Tim Holder, of Suffolk Community Foundation, echoed the hospice’s sentiments - but urged people: “We can’t take our foot off the pedal.”

He added; “The package is very good news. It will provide a huge amount of support for larger charities.

“But we don’t want people to forget we have work to do in Suffolk.

“We have 5,000 grassroots charities in Suffolk, and £1,000 or £2,000 will make a huge difference to them.”

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Earlier this week, Sue Ryder, which has headquarters in Sudbury, warned its hospices nationwide may be forced to close due to a shortfall of income.

They have been given a lifeline by the chancellor’s announcement, but say they still need to make up costs elsewhere to continue operating.

Heidi Travis, chief executive of Sue Ryder, said: “Whilst this is good news and very welcome, we do not yet have the full details on how much Sue Ryder will receive and it won’t meet our entire shortfall in income.

“This money will need to be shared out proportionately amongst the hospice sector over the next few days, so that we can continue to provide the expert and compassionate end of life care that we are so proud of delivering across England.”

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice (EACH), which manages the Treehouse centre in Ipswich, similarly praised the package.

Tracy Rennie, acting chief executive of EACH, said: “It’s fantastic news and recognises the key role charitable care providers like EACH play in delivering specialist nursing care and wellbeing support to so many hundreds of children and families.

“We realise these are unprecedented steps being taken to support all hospices and, crucially, those who use their services. This funding is critical to protecting and supporting what we do.

“We need to be able to start offering our full range of services to all families as soon as it is safe to do so.

“This, along with the continued public support we still need, will help us do that.”

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