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Your Later Life Q4 2020

Charities are struggling. Support them with a gift in your Will

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Dobrila Vignjevic

Rob Cope

Director, Remember A Charity

The coronavirus pandemic has had a drastic impact on the finances of charities. That’s why leaving a gift to a good cause in your Will is more important than ever.

Every part of society has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That includes the charity sector, which has struggled financially through this relentlessly grim period. 

The truth is that, over the last 10 months, charities have faced a devastating dilemma. On the one hand, they couldn’t simply stop working during lockdown because poverty, illness and other issues that charities aim to address never take a break. Even before the pandemic struck, charitable services — from food banks to homeless shelters and cancer care — had seen a spike in demand. When the coronavirus hit, that demand increased even further. 

On the other hand, charities haven’t been able to fundraise in the way they did. Supporters can’t take part in marathons, fun runs and other challenge events; charity shops had to close during lockdown and volunteers couldn’t host coffee mornings and other fundraising events in the community. As a result, the sector’s finances have been drastically reduced.  

Why charities are relying on gifts in Wills to survive 

“Charities find themselves having to do even more than before, but with less money than ever,” says Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, a consortium of charities set up to encourage legacy giving. “One in 10 are now at risk of permanent closure. That’s a scary thought.” 

It’s also why there’s never been a more important time to leave a gift in your Will to a charity (or charities) of your choice. “Over the last year, many charities have relied on donations in Wills for nearly all of their income,” stresses Cope. “So, thank goodness for the kindness of those people who decided to leave them a gift in this way, because it’s been a lifeline. Their generosity hasn’t just helped charities. It’s kept them afloat. Going forward, gifts in Wills will be the cornerstone of the sector’s economic recovery.” 

Leaving a gift in your Will is a way to say ‘thank you’ to a charity for its hard work and dedication.

Charities have been there for us – we need to be there for them 

Leaving a gift in your Will is a way to say ‘thank you’ to a charity for its hard work and dedication, particularly if it has helped you in some way during your lifetime. It’s also very easy to do, so Cope’s message is don’t put it off — act now. Even a small gift can make a big difference. “Charities are the foundation of society,” he says. “They act as a safety net in times of crisis.” 

Now that charities are facing a crisis of their own, we need to step up — otherwise the reality is that many will cease to exist. “By supporting charities, you’re actually supporting the people and communities who rely on them,” he says. “Leaving a gift in your Will gives charities a chance to be financially resilient and continue to help the next generation.” 

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Home » Legacy » Charities are struggling. Support them with a gift in your Will

A toddler’s journey to recovery

Jenny Kronbergs

Head of Gifts in Wills, Unicef UK

How including a gift in your Will to Unicef UK can help save children’s lives in South Sudan with therapeutic food.

In the city of Aweil, South Sudan, Akot stirs an enormous pot filled with peeled peanuts.

Nowadays, the world is an exciting place for Akot. Every flower can be sniffed, and every leaf is a potential toy – his world has no boundaries.

Just eight weeks ago, things were very different. For months, Akot had a raging fever and was impossible to comfort. His mother, Anyang, was already struggling to afford food for her family. Now she could no longer work.

Anyang’s family used to own a patch of land where they grew vegetables. The conflict in South Sudan forced them to move. No longer self-sufficient, the family needed more income to survive.

“To get my child porridge I have to go to the market to earn a living. However, I have not been able to do this recently because of my child’s illness. As a result, I have not been able to buy food for my children.”

Click here to join the Unicef UK community
© Unicef/Wilson

Helping to tackle malnutrition   

Concerned for Akot’s life, his mother took him to a nutrition centre, supported by Unicef. There he was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition.

Severe acute malnutrition is a serious condition which often leads to death. In South Sudan, over 250,000 children under the age of five suffered from the condition in 2019. The prolonged food insecurity in South Sudan now means that more than six million people have no idea when or where their next meal will come from.

For children like Akot to grow and develop, they need food with the right mix of nutrients. But when food insecurity is high, you eat what you can get.

Akot was given antibiotics for his infections and special therapeutic food to treat the malnutrition. In just eight weeks, his weight increased from 6.3 kg to 7.3 kg.

The therapeutic food Akot received is designed to treat acute malnutrition among children. It’s based on peanuts which are turned into a paste and enriched with dried skimmed milk, oil, sugar, and a combination of vitamins and minerals. The sugar, as well as adding calories, makes it appealing for children who’ve lost their appetite, which often happens when severely malnourished. With this treatment, children usually bounce back to a healthy weight in six to eight weeks.

Click here to join the Unicef UK community
© Unicef/Wilson

Empowering people by providing support

“My heart is so happy. He wants to stand and walk and play,” Anyang says as she watches her son study a green leaf from the mango tree.

Now I am able to move about freely. I can go to the market to sell some things but before I do that, I’ll prepare porridge for him then go to the market. At two, I come back and cook lunch. Before, I was not able to leave him at home and I didn’t earn any money.”

All the stress I was experiencing is now gone. I’m still so poor that I can’t even buy soap, but I’m just smiling.

“When Akot is old enough I will take him to school. I hope he becomes a nutritionist, so other children can get help, just like he did.”

Thanks to life-saving treatment from a Unicef-supported nutrition programme, Akot put on 1kg in just eight weeks. He is now a healthy 17-month-old toddler.

With a gift in your Will, Unicef UK can continue to support 1,100 nutrition centres across South Sudan – saving the lives of thousands of children like Akot. Join the Unicef UK community today by visiting unicef.uk/giftinwills

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