News | Published April 08 2020

CEO of Space4Autism: Covid-19 and the concern for charities

Cheryl Simpson, CEO of Space4Autism, has noted the impact of the outbreak of Covid-19 on the operations of charities under lockdown in a discussion with The Parliamentary Review.

Simpson, who supervises the independent Cheshire-based charity states that: “As many other larger charities have highlighted the impact on them and the smaller charities during this time is immense.”

She continued: “As well as us not being able to run the fundraising that we rely upon, we are also having to pay for premises, insurances and furlough most of the staff team and support more people than ever before.”

The furloughing of staff is supported by the government who are offering up to 80 per cent of wages up to the sum of £2,500 for up to three months. It is currently estimated that eight out of ten firms will furlough staff in the coming weeks.

The charity, founded by parents of children with ASC in 2005, have also introduced a range of measures in order to provide remote support for families living with ASC.

Simpson outlines these measures: “At Space4Autism we have put in place lots of remote support from day one. As well as our usual email support we have:

· Set up a crisis help line manned by our clinicians 10am until 3pm Monday to Friday

· Offering online art to adults and children with ASC

· Our counsellor is still offering her one to one appointments through different social media sources

· The adult assessment and diagnosis team are still running our ASC adult hub remotely once a month and offering one to one appointments remotely

· We have set up a private Facebook chat for parents to keep in touch with each other and offer support and resources or just a shoulder to cry on

· We have put together a pack of resources for families regarding home schooling

· We have set up a signposting document so we can share this with our members showing details of our council help and also CWP NHS Foundation Trust 24/7 mental health line support

· We have shared as much information with all our members regarding other NHS mental health support numbers”

A recent Financial Times article has indicated that charities are in need of considerable financial support as a result of the pandemic.

Simpson notes that: “we are doing as much as we can to support our families living with ASC.”

“To enable us to do all this we are reaching out to those funders who have set up crisis funding, however, as you can imagine thousands of charities will be going for these funds so if we are not successful we estimate that we will lose around £10,000 to £12,000 per month from our reserves which for a small charity like ours is a huge amount.”

"We are aware that the government are doing all they can to help most businesses, but the charity sector has not been mentioned – as yet."

Following our discussion with Simpson, government guidelines to charities have been published and can be viewed here.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
April 08 2020

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