Charities should step up and be a “safe haven” for the vulnerable and “speak up for all areas of society”, charity sector leaders have said following the Conservative Party’s landslide election win.
The comments come as Boris Johnson’s Tories won a large majority with 364 seats.
Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, said the result meant that charities needed to “step up” and make the sector’s case for a long-term strategic approach to the new government.
“The election result delivered a fundamental shift in politics,” she said.
“It’s essential that the charity and voluntary sector steps up to be the safety net, the champions of the vulnerable and to speak up for all areas of society.”
Bradshaw said that details on Brexit and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund were urgently needed, as well as clarity about the direction the country would take post-Brexit.
“Our purpose is redoubled and our case for funding strengthened,” she said.
“Together with our members, CFG will work to see our mission for a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy sector lead the way in securing our future and supporting our communities.”
Vicky Browning, chief executive of the charity leaders body Acevo, also said charities needed to tackle some of the big issues affecting the country.
“Arguably the role of civil society has never been more important,” she said.
“Acevo will support its members to make the biggest possible difference, and we will continue to advocate for an enabling environment for civil society, greater freedom to campaign and more ambitious, values-based leadership from MPs.”
Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the training and publishing charity the Directory of Social Change, called for kindness and respect in the wake of the election result.
“Whether you’re rejoicing or in despair this morning at the result, remember that positive social change isn’t dependent on governments,” she said.
“Charities, social movements and individuals can overcome pretty much anything they face.
“However you voted, be kind and respectful to those who don’t share your views.”
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said the Prime Minister needed to embrace social enterprise.
“This result is an opportunity to take the country in a fresh direction following an election campaign in which voters were crying out for change,” he said.
“The Prime Minister has said that he wants to unleash Britain’s potential, to do that he needs to ditch business as usual. It is time to back the people’s business.”
Elizabeth Chamberlain, acting policy director at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said the expertise of charities needed to be taken on board in the Brexit process.
“Also urgent is bolstering local government funding to reduce the strain that is being felt by charities and the people and places they support,” she said.
“Community cohesion and wellbeing could also be strengthened by using dormant assets to create a community wealth fund to help communities take control of the local resources that matter to them, such as pubs or community centres.”
Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Shelia McKechnie Foundation, said on Twitter charities needed to step up and get more political.
Charities have to wake up and realise that politics is a place where we belong and use our voice, our reach, our heft to speak up for the causes we exist to serve. We’ve been bought, gagged and bound by recent governments. Enough now. Let’s stand up and and speak out. Loudly!
— Sue Tibballs (@Sue_Tibballs) December 13, 2019
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “To truly deliver on the one nation vision the Prime Minister has set out, we urge the government to work in partnership with charities around the UK to tackle the crucial issues we face locally, nationally and globally, helping to unlock even greater generosity from the British public.”
Stephanie Draper, chief executive of the international development umbrella body Bond, said: “The world is facing some of the biggest global challenges of our time – poverty, inequality, climate change and conflict.
“The UK has an opportunity to continue to be a major force for good in the world.”
Carol Mack, chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, said: “The contribution that civil society, including charitable foundations, makes to our country is huge.
“It is vital that its full potential is realised, and I look forward to discussing how we can work most effectively with the new government to ensure this happens.”