Guernsey charities call for more government support

Guernsey States
Credit: ITV Channel TV

Guernsey charities are calling on the government to recognise the true value of their.

The Association of Guernsey Charities has raised concerns that charities and community projects in the island are being overlooked, at a time when the island is becoming increasingly reliant on them.

Following a consultation with charities in the island, the Association of Guernsey Charities published a 'Third Sector Strategy' for Guernsey in January 2019 - but they concluded that many priorities are still yet to be addressed.

The Association's chairman Malcolm Woodhams says it has taken too long for recommendations to be implemented.

"We all clearly recognise that there has been considerable additional pressure upon governments over the past two years through the pandemic, and that time and focus has been needed to prioritise other urgent work.

However, the charity sector is feeling the conflicting effects of increasing demand for services, significant reduction in income, greater difficulty attracting people to help, and growing administrative and bureaucratic requirements." Prior to the 2020 Guernsey Election, the Association contacted each Deputy to appeal for greater engagement, and meaningful recognition for the contribution made by charities, and the people who work for them.

Mr Woodhams went on to say that the community must continue to band together to support local charities as they work hard to give back to islanders.

"We must not lose sight that the local third sector is something in which everyone can be incredibly proud, in terms of its size, and commitment to providing help, support, and action in a wide range of sectors throughout the community.

When people work together in this way, there are so many benefits - it is the essence of a healthy community spirit which has, over the past couple of years, been encapsulated in the slogan Guernsey Together."

However, he says support from the government is not being felt by the island's charities.

"Sadly, despite the more positive communications from the current Government and assurances made last year that there would be some progress and concrete support for the third sector, instead of helping the charitable sector the pendulum has swung the other way."

ITV Channel approached the government, who acknowledged the benefit charitable work has on Guernsey's community.

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, Vice-President of the Policy & Resources Committee continued to explain that they will actively provide support on island.

"We're grateful that the AGC recognises the considerable additional pressure upon government in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing to provide services throughout. Despite the challenges faced over the last year, we have had numerous meetings and conversations with charity representatives, including the AGC, about how we can better support them.

The government have since said they have set up a meeting with the Association of Guernsey Charities to discuss these matters.