Home > Case Studies > Using the Recession Fund: A Case Study

Using the Recession Fund: A Case Study

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 27 Jun 2013 | comments*Discuss
Recession Recession Fund Charity Third

Jonathan Spark heads a charity that provides support and advice to disadvantaged families. The charity relies on voluntary contributions, however, the recession has led to a drop in revenue.

Rather than cut back, Jonathan has been determined to maintain and even improve the service his charity offers. He feels this is particularly important at a time when the number of families that need the charity’s support is growing.


“It’s ironic that when third sector bodies such as voluntary organisations and charities face a recession, income may drop while demand increases. This puts us in a stressful position. Do we reduce the level of our service? Do we turn away existing and new clients who are seeking help? Or do we struggle on and risk the charity collapsing under the strain?

“To be fair to the government, it’s increased its financial help to voluntary groups and charities from £5.5 billion to £11 billion in recent years. But in a recession, we need something extra.

Strategic Plan

“Rather than run cap in hand to the government, though, I and my colleagues came up with a strategic plan for our charity. We felt that we could achieve cost-savings and improve our efficiency. To do this, we needed to change our management structure and merge with a similar charitable body.

“We had this idea at the end of last year. I realised, however, that we couldn’t just make changes to our management structure without guidance from skilled consultants.

“I also knew that a merger would open up all sorts of administrative problems. After all, our priority is providing a service to people struggling to survive, not spending time on internal matters.

“Frankly, I was at a loss how to proceed. We’d already spoken to another charity about a merger, and it responded positively. But it was in the same difficulties as us.

The Fund

“It was then that the government announced its so-called ‘recession fund’ for third sector organisations like ours. The fund’s official name is Real Help For Communities: Volunteers, Charities and Social Enterprises. It consists of £42.5 million aimed at helping volunteers, charities and social enterprises cope during the economic downturn.

“£10 million is for the volunteer brokerage scheme. This scheme helps unemployed people learn new skills through volunteering.

“£15.5 million is in the form of grants for those small and medium-sized organisations that work in areas where the recession is increasing deprivation.

“£0.5 million is an investment in provision to train social entrepreneurs.

“The remaining £16.5 million of the recession fund is what caught my attention, though. It aims to help with the cost of making a charity like mine more efficient through mergers and partnership working. It goes under the name, Real Help for Communities: Modernisation Fund.

“When I came across the fund, I contacted the head of the charity that was interested in the merger. We had a meeting and discussed the financial implications of us working together, the likely timetable, and what we needed. We then sought advice and a quote from a management consultancy firm."

A Positive Step

“The upshot is that my charity, the charity we hope to merge with, and the consultancy firm are putting together a bid for money from the Real Help for Communities: Modernisation Fund. The money, if we get it, will not be available until the summer. In the meantime, we’ll manage as best we can. Nonetheless, I feel we’ve taken a positive step forward and suggest that third sector organisations see what the recession fund can do for them.”

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Cossie
    Re: Grants for Farmers
    Hi, Am looking for an agricultural grant to fund my business idea in farming.
    16 April 2021
  • J.bakes
    Re: Qualifying for the Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES)
    I have some old outbuildings I would like to convert into storage and a kitchen to run a baking/…
    16 April 2021
  • N/a
    Re: Getting Help with Funding for School Trips
    My son Freddy Harbach (10) has been invited to a Norfolk trip ( £375 ) and we can’t afford it . I’m on pension…
    14 April 2021
  • Namnam
    Re: Grants for Farmers
    I need a grant for putting an electric fence round my farm. 2 vehicles to help me with my business and a cold room
    12 April 2021
  • Jamee
    Re: Grants for Farmers
    I am a poor country boy in the mountains of North carolina just looking to make a future for my family in farming I've found a few farms I…
    10 April 2021
  • Thandie
    Re: Grants for Farmers
    hi I'm a young south African citizen who is enthusiastic about life i just embark on farming business as i am already have some 21 Goats, 23…
    10 April 2021
  • Snooksie
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Good evening: thank you for taking the time to read my request. I am 83 & my husband is 84, for years and years my husband was the…
    10 April 2021
  • Snooksie
    Re: Getting a Renovation Grant
    Good evening: thank you for taking the time to read my request. I am 83 & my husband is 84, for years and years my husband was the…
    10 April 2021
  • AHMED O. A.
    Re: Grants for Farmers
    I need grant to farm sesame seed in northern Nigeria
    9 April 2021
  • Sel
    Re: Construction Industry Grants
    Hey everyone. I found myself in a tricky position due to covid 19 and my private business too so i'm now doing a painting…
    9 April 2021