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July update on Covid-19
A July update from our CEO, Jason Suckley
We’ve been very busy behind the scenes at Make-A-Wish UK as we focus on how, where and when we can grant some wishes again. We’ve also been working hard on reshaping the charity to meet the opportunities the future holds for us.
Before Covid-19 hit, we had more children turning to us for a wish than ever before. It was already the case that, in order to grant these wishes in a sustainable way, we needed to establish a larger supporter base and to grant more wishes through the engagement of communities. Covid has since had a huge impact on the finances of the charity sector as a whole. Given the economic outlook, this is not likely to be a short-term hit.
For us, it quickly became evident that we needed to move at speed to ensure that as much money as possible continues to go to the children who are waiting for a wish, and to establish a smaller, restructured organisation to secure the charity's future. To help achieve this, we entered into a consultation process with our colleagues on 21st May. We have now completed this process. As a result of this we are now a smaller team. In February we had 80 employees. Under the new structure there will be 49.
As you can imagine this has not been an easy process for anyone concerned. The way in which my colleagues have approached this says a lot for them as individuals and for Make-A-Wish UK as a whole. During several conversations with people who will be leaving the charity, their primary concern was the welfare of the children waiting for a wish. Some of these conversations have been very sad. It’s very hard to say goodbye to talented, committed people who have been an important part of our lives and have contributed so much to the charity.
We now start the process of regrouping, focusing on the future and, in particular, the children. It’s been a rough few months, but a lot of work has already gone into how we can adapt to the future, so we are now starting to shift our ways of working to meet the different opportunities presented to us by the ‘new normal’.
We are still doing what we can, of course, to grant a small number of possessional wishes and, hopefully, expanding this to include outdoor space wishes over the next few weeks. We’re still fundraising too, through virtual fundraising campaigns and with the help of our loyal supporters.
We’re also starting to contact wish families to see what we can do to help and when we might be able to grant their wish. These can also be hard conversations as they can include the postponement or the changing of a child’s wish. However, over the next few weeks we will be developing a revised wishgranting plan. This will help us to identify wishes that will need the direct support of volunteers and communities in order for them to be granted.
Similarly, we are identifying fundraising opportunities that will help us to grow and sustain income, whilst being mindful that is likely to be Spring 2021 before events are up and running again.
Despite these tough times, there is an exciting future ahead for Make-A-Wish UK. Together, we will once again bring happiness to children with a critical illness. Many of you have asked how you can help. Thank you! As our revised plans become clearer, we will be in touch.
In the meantime, stay safe and please let me know if you have any questions.