This is being published on Local Charities Day, a day designated by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, which gives small, local charities and community groups a chance to sit in the spotlight.
In announcing the date, Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson said:
“On Local Charities Day, I want us all to shout from the rooftops about small, local charities: their energy, commitment, expertise and the benefits they bring to their communities.”
Whilst the names of some charities that comes most readily to our lips, such as Macmillan, NSPCC, Oxfam, Barnardo’s, all do fantastic work and on the national stage, there are a host of small unsung charities and community groups that make a big difference in a small footprint.
Here at SUSTAiN, we reckon there are somewhere about 700 small charities and community organisations in Solihull that do not do their good work outside its boundaries. In some cases, they operate at a district, village or even neighbourhood level.
This year, SUSTAiN undertook a study which indicated that if all of the volunteering work undertaken across all of these small charities in Solihull was paid for at the living wage, it would cost £3.13 million pounds.
Between them they tackle a phenomenal range of really important work, from providing positive activities for kids to running lunch clubs for senior citizens, from supporting those with long term health conditions to helping others through a crisis in life, and from making neighbourhoods better places to live to relieving poverty situations.
They are too numerous to name and too equally important to single out. Some are exceptional and four Solihull charities have won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the excellence of their voluntary contribution to the community this year. But, most deserve more recognition than they receive.
So, on Local Charities Day, and beyond, let us raise our awareness of all of this fantastic work and our gratitude as a society to the efforts of the people who make them tick.