Guernsey’s strategy for economic recovery following covid should seek to improve the quality of life for all islanders, according to a joint letter from the Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Community Foundation.
Noting that the approved Revive & Thrive strategy highlights the needs of the hospitality and tourism industries, the two organisations are recommending that the States focus on cohorts of people instead of business sectors.
“Rather than design a system that, for example, offers protections to the hospitality sector, the objective should address poverty pay across all sectors," a spokesperson for the foundations wrote to Policy & Resources. "Ultimately, the impact of covid will hit the already disadvantaged the hardest, and we expect to be asked to support the third sector over an extended period – one that potentially extends beyond the parameters of any phased recovery.”
With the third sector being an important part of the Revive & Thrive document, the two foundations hope they will be sufficiently supported in the "significant role" they play in tackling the island’s social issues.
While charities were unable to hold fundraising activities during lockdown, many saw a surge in donations and support from the Social Investment Fund, as islanders felt a "renewed appreciation of the benefits of community engagement".
Pictured: Some members of the community chose to support local charities to keep them running during lockdown.
For this reason, a spokesperson said that it is hard to make a "sweeping statement" about the state of the third sector:.
"Some charities have emerged [from lockdown] unscathed, some have suffered, and some have actually benefitted,” they said. “It’s fair to say, however, that most charities are anxious about what comes next.”
A second outbreak or post-covid recession brings with it a threat of reduced donations from businesses, while members of the public would also have less to give. However, some charities were struggling to drum up the necessary funds even before lockdown.
Some organisations which provide essential services for the island have to run on grants alone, with little or no support from the States. These include charities which deal with domestic abuse, poverty, debt, addiction and homelessness. Their future remains uncertain, especially if they are expecting an increase in demand, which the Revive and Thrive document suggests will be the case.
The letter from the two foundations asks that pre-covid standards be set as benchmarks for third sector recovery, but that there should be “truly ambitious objectives which, if met, will mean that islanders enjoy a higher standard of living.”
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