ACO SHOWS NEARLY HALF A MILLION TURN TO CHARITIES FOR SUPPORT, INCLUDING BASIC ESSENTIALS
Grant-giving organisations, including PRS Members’ Fund, face increased demand for financial and non-financial aid within the music industry
While January often intensifies the difficulties that many people face financially and emotionally, new research has revealed that in 2019 nearly half a million people in the UK turned to charities for help, with PRS Members’ Fund supporting hundreds of its members.
National data from the Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) shows the number of people seeking help from charities and benevolent funds because they have nowhere else to turn following an unexpected change in circumstances has risen over the last four years. PRS Members’ Fund experienced a 13.5% increase in the number of grants paid to PRS members and their dependants, with support including housing advice, debt and budgetary management, crisis grants, mental health support, career change advice, physical health assessment and winter heating scheme.
The ACO represents more than 120 charities which, including PRS Members’ Fund, provide financial support in the form of grants and help thousands of people across the UK. A recent survey of members* showed more than 100,000 people applied for financial help in the last financial year. When extrapolated across its entire membership base, it is estimated ACO member charities will have supported at least 400,000 people in need. In 2015, the charities distributed more than £56million in grants. In comparison, this rose to more than £60million last year – £216million when applied to its entire membership base.
Over the last 10 years PRS Members’ Fund has awarded £5.08m in grants and loans. In 2019 awarded 1,106 grants totalling £450,000 to help PRS members and their loved ones make it through difficult times.
The ACO is highlighting the work done by its member charities across the UK on 22 January 2020 by sharing the stories of people whose lives were turned around thanks to the support they received.
Its campaign, One Day Changes Lives, supported by PRS Members’ Fund, will show how an individual act of support granted by a charity one day can have a huge impact in improving someone’s life. Together, individual acts by ACO charities amount to a colossal positive impact on society.
Nicky Graham, chairman of the PRS Members’ Fund, said: “We receive many emails, letters and telephone calls from members, telling us what a huge difference the Fund’s support has made. Often this is about more than just our financial input. Our services are based on individual need to alleviate stressors and the Fund prides itself in supporting songwriters, composers and their families.”
Donal Watkin, Chief Executive at ACO, said: “These figures show the increasing levels of support needed by people with nowhere else to turn. Today we’re highlighting the big difference our members make to people’s lives through financial and non-financial help, and the role charities continue to play in the UK.”
Those supported by the charities were driven into a crisis for reasons, including them or a family member facing sudden illness or disability, incurring costs for unexpected household repairs or bills, being unable to pay the high costs associated with a health condition, poor mental health, being involved in an accident, family breakdown, or redundancy.
Whilst ACO members are predominantly grant-making organisations, they also provide practical assistance, employment support, befriending services, and mental health and wellbeing support. Members are seeing an increase in supporting applicants with non-financial aid, rising from 60,584 people helped in 2015 to 93,308 in 2018.
Help can include the purchasing of fridges, clothes and food, and support with the costs of childcare, healthcare and household bills. Some of the people supported needed help to buy wheelchairs, hearing aids, medical equipment and respite care. The charities also provide legal, debt and/or employment advice.
Ashley Beedle, songwriter, composer and DJ, shared his experience with mental health and how the Fund helped him get back on track. Ashley has been affected by bipolar disorder since 2013, when symptoms began to impact his work and financial situation. When Ashley contacted the Fund, he was in dire straits, struggling to pay the rent and he had lost his creativity. With the input of our crisis fund and a home visit we stopped the downward spiral Ashley and his partner were in.
“I first approached the PRS Members’ Fund in 2017. I am what is classified as Bipolar 1, which is the worst. I found myself in a very poor financial situation as well.
The Fund gave me back my confidence, which is very important because I was so low and I felt that if you like my musicality, what I did, it was dead! Things are tangible different now because I have regained my confidence, I have got back into making music in a very productive way and enjoy myself again, which is really where it’s at!”
PRS Members’ Fund is encouraging members of the public who have ever been helped by grant-giving charities to take part today and share examples of support on social media using the hashtag #OneDayChangesLives
Notes to editors:
- *Survey carried out by the Association of Charitable Organisations, June 2019, with 33 respondents across a membership base of 120 using data from their statements of the last financial year.
- PRS Members’ Fund, registered charity number 118 17 35, 2 Pancras Square N1C 4AG, London.