Small Charity Week

​54% of small charities believe Brexit will have a negative impact on their beneficiaries resulting in changes to the way they will need to work

News   •   Jun 19, 2017 09:30 BST

New research released today by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) to mark the start of Small Charity Week shows 54% of respondents believe Brexit will have either a somewhat or very negative impact on their beneficiaries compared to only 3% believing the impact will be positive.Despite this, in the FSI’s Small Charity Index temperature check from Dec 16 – Feb 17, 91% of small and local charities and community groups have little confidence that their voices will be heard during the process of formulating new legislation.

The research from 294 charity respondents with an annual turnover under £1.5 million was carried out to look at how Brexit may affect small charities and how they will fit into and influence Brexit as responses show 64% are still unsure of the overall impact Brexit will have on their organisation, 34% believe the impact will be negative and only 2% believe it may have a positive impact.

Key concerns raised included access to EU funding may stop, uncertainty on the preservation of EU rights and legislation, changes to work content as their beneficiaries require different advice and services, uncertainty on the rights of current employees and future recruitment and decreased value of the pound meaning they may have to scale back services.The most commonly reported anticipated changes were funding changes (75% of respondents) and policy changes (48%). When asked how Brexit will impact their beneficiaries key areas of concern included:

  • Reduction in EU funding may mean some charities will need to reduce the services they provide
  • Government cuts to services/changes to the rights of EU citizens settled in the UK may limit beneficiaries’ access to services, such as health care, housing and benefits, putting more pressure on small charities who may not be able to keep up with demand due to simultaneous funding cuts
  • Potential changes to immigration policy will impact on the status of beneficiaries from EU countries living in the UK. There could be increased demand for charities to provide support and advice, particularly in the short term while their status is uncertain.

37% of respondents feel they will need to make changes to their organisation due to Brexit. These range from identifying new non EU sources of funding, making redundancies’ and reducing services if alternative sources of funding are not found. For those who will need to find new sources of funding, the most commonly reported source of alternative funding was from trusts and foundations (89% of respondents).

Pauline Broomhead, the FSI’s CEO, said

“Like other Sectors, Brexit is a key concern for the Small Charity Sector. Brexit will have an impact, on charities who are employers, on our staff as employees and most importantly whether directly or indirectly on our beneficiaries.

Small and local charities and community groups want to be part of the debate and so we recommend that Government be open, transparent and visible as they debate changes to UK policy and the law. To open clear channels of communication between themselves and small charities to ensure that their voices are heard and listened too. We urge Government to plan for the reduction in funding from the EU by engaging with other public and private funders and their representative bodies to investigate alternative sources of funding post Brexit.

Lastly we urge small and local charities and community groups to enter the debate, representing the views and issues of their beneficiaries. Charities have a long tradition in speaking out on behalf of the most vulnerable in our society, for mobilizing opinion and for changing the law. It is vital over the coming months that we continue this strong tradition to shape the future and ensure that their concerns and opinions are heard.”

Small Charity Week is an initiative organised by the FSI to raise the profile and celebrate the work of the UK’s vibrant small charity sector. Full details of the programme are available on the Small Charity Week website

Read the full report Brexit: Implications for small and local charities and community groups on our website.


For more information and stats from either report, infographics or interviews please contact the Small Charity Week press office -

Notes to Editors

The FSI surveyed 294 people between the 7 March – 12 May

The FSI surveyed 299 individuals in the Temperature Check of the Dec 16- Feb 17 Small Charity Index

About The FSI

The FSI, Charity Number 1123384, supports the UK’s vibrant small charity sector with training, advocacy and support programmes aimed at building sustainability and knowledge-sharing. Charities with an annual turnover under £1.5 million can access free and very heavily subsidised capacity-building services that encompass a full range of fundraising and back-office operations

About Small Charity Week

Small Charity, set up by the FSI runs 19-24 June and is in its eighth year providing a range of initiatives to raise awareness and funds for the UK’s small charity sector whilst also celebrating their work.

Small Charity Week is sponsored by Provident -