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The Jersey Charities Blog

 

Fifty Years of Giving Local Charities a Voice, and Funds

Tue, 23rd March, 2021

Liz Le Poidevin, vice-chairman and former chairman of the Association of Jersey Charities recounts the history of the Association

This year the Association of Jersey Charities celebrates a milestone anniversary - the AJC was formed 50 years ago on 23 March 1971.

The Jersey Evening Post of the next day carried the headline “Charities’ Co-Ordinating Body Formed”. The concept stemmed from a suggestion made by Lord Louis Mountbatten when, as guest of honour of the Jersey Variety Club, he suggested the idea to his host, Sir Billy Butlin, that with the number of charities active in the Island, there should be a body encouraging all types of liaison between them.

Kenneth Syvret MBE attended that very first meeting and remembers that Deputy Tanguy, at the time the Chief Barker of the Variety Club, was elected the first chairman, with Daphne Minihane, MBE, DSG, as the honorary treasurer and Stuart White was appointed as honorary secretary, keeping “meticulous minutes”.

General meetings of members were held in the Town Hall and were very well attended.

Daphne Minihane recalls that committee meetings were held at Sir Billy Butlin’s home.

Sir Billy was both patron and benefactor, having provided an initial sum of £10,000 with which the Association was able to provide considerable support for local charities. However, while the Association was not known or recognised in its early years as a source of grants, its members, particularly the smaller or poorer ones, became increasingly reliant on its support, both by way of knowledge and funding.

By 1980 the charity sector had developed considerably. The AJC had 52 member charities (most of which are still in existence today), and there were some significant projects in the pipeline involving various charities, which were playing an increasingly important role within the community. These projects included the building of the Leonard Cheshire Home (now the Jersey Cheshire Home); the purchase of a coach for the Jersey Society for the Disabled (now known as Enable) and a new library for dyslexic children.

So, to recognise the 1981 International Year of the Disabled, the Association approached the States of Jersey with a request to receive the net Jersey profits from one CI Lottery draw a year to benefit local charities.

From 1981 to 2019 the Association received Government funds from the CI Lottery for distribution and over these years has become perhaps best known as a grant giver for local charities.

Grant giving is not our only objective, and we continue to provide support to local charities by way of information, training and representation, while still comprising an entirely voluntary executive committee.

Along the way we became a legally incorporated association under the unique ‘Loi (1862) sur les teneures en fidéicommis et l’incorporation d’associations’ and, before the enactment of the Charities (Jersey) Law 2014, the Association played the principal role in encouraging good standards of governance among its members, which currently number 300 local charities.

For my own part I have been involved since 2008 and have seen the Association adapt and change - and indeed we must continually evolve to meet changing needs.

Throughout 2021 we shall be celebrating our anniversary in various ways - notably partnering with Jersey Finance Limited, which itself is celebrating 60 years of the Jersey finance industry and its own 20th birthday.

We shall also be hosting a series of webinars around topics designed to help our local charities and community step towards the future.

In addition, as part of these celebrations we shall be holding the biennial Jersey Charity Awards, which focus on excellence across the sector, so please watch out for further information and announcements!

2020, An exacting year for the Association of Jersey Charities

Fri, 29th January, 2021

A round up of 2020 for the AJC and its members.

2020 – An exacting year for the Association of Jersey Charities

How the year 2020 is looked back upon will undoubtedly be dominated by the arrival in early March of Covid-19, a pandemic which brought Jersey almost to a standstill and which has decimated the income and activities of a large proportion of the Association of Jersey Charities’ (AJC) member charities.

At the year’s end, although the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – mass vaccination – is becoming a reality, it is not unlikely that the impact will be diminished for some months before a point is reached when a reasonable observer or commentator will be able to say that Jersey has returned to a pre-Covid normality. Indeed, it is quite possible, of course, that what has been understood as normality pre-Covid will never return.

Unlike most other local charities, the AJC does not, as a matter of course, rely on events, legacies or elaborate fundraisers to acquire funds. Since its formation 50 years ago (and more of that later), the AJC has been principally notable as the body whereby funds received from Jersey’s profits from the Channel Islands Lotteries have been granted to Island charities following objective and comprehensive evaluation of their need and qualification to receive such funds.

At the beginning of 2020, this particular AJC role had not been reaffirmed by resolution of the States Assembly and for most of the year the AJC relied on funds held from previous lottery profits and, having been the beneficiary of several major donations from Island organisations, was able to continue to make grants to local worthy causes.

At the end of 2020 the situation was finalised in the States Chamber that the AJC would receive 50 per cent of the profits of the Jersey 2019 Lottery profits – circa £700,000 – for distribution during 2021.

Registered charities can apply for funding from this resource. However, charities awaiting registration with the Charity Commissioner cannot apply until formally registered. Charities and other good causes that deal with the arts, heritage, culture, sport and scientific research will, in due course, be able to apply to the Jersey Community Foundation that was awarded the other 50 per cent of the Lottery profits.

Liz Le Poidevin, AJC chairman until the Annual General Meeting last September, says: “We were faced with considerable difficulties from the beginning of the year with local charities appealing for support because of cancelled events and fundraisers and we not knowing what funds we might have available to help.  We were also concerned that despite our long record of objective review, applied through well-established procedures for the allocation of funds, we might not have been able to continue to help local charities survive the impact of the pandemic in the manner they required. Notwithstanding, we continued to make grants to AJC members and other local charities, making use of the funds we had available.”

A new Service Level Agreement has now been signed with the States, to receive 50 per cent of the Jersey profits from the 2019 Channel Islands Lottery.

Throughout the year the AJC, as a member of the Jersey Funders Group, has been collaborating with other charity funders to provide a single point of contact for enquiries for grants, from which the funders best placed to meet the need assessed applications.

During 2020, the AJC granted £942,836 to 43 local charities. Kevin Keen, elected chairman of the AJC in succession to Liz Le Poidevin at the September AGM, says: “There will be changes in what purposes we can grant the lottery profits for, but we welcome the fact that the States have agreed that, with its long experience and expertise in making grants to local charities and good causes, the AJC will continue to be the major resource to do so.”

The Association of Jersey Charities was formed in 1971 and is an authoritative voice of the ‘third sector’ and is the representative body of the majority of charitable organisations operating in Jersey. Its 299 members represent a wide and diverse section of Island life and range from large organisations providing essential services to smaller organisations representing the needs and concerns of particular groups within Jersey.

The Association’s objectives are to encourage and facilitate charitable and community work in Jersey; to encourage co-operation and co-ordination of activities between members, prospective members and the charitable community as a whole; to administer the distribution of funds to local charities and good causes, principally made available as a result of funding from the Jersey share of the Channel Islands’ Lottery’s profits; to develop and administer programmes of education, training and information to benefit charitable bodies and, as and when appropriate, to assist and represent its members, both individually and as a whole.

 “The establishment of the Association in 1971 stemmed from a need acknowledged across all sectors in Jersey to recognise the growing importance of charitable bodies as an active element in society, fulfilling needs either not being met or capable of being met by government but also of a requirement for such bodies to speak with a united voice, particularly in dealings with government,” says Kevin Keen. “In the years before the establishment of a Jersey Charities Commission, the Association laid down a series of protocols covering the manner in which charities should operate and applied such protocols to its members.”

While AJC did not have the authority of the Commission, its rules of membership, based on practices common elsewhere, ensured that its members complied, so that the public benefit was consistently served and membership of the AJC was recognised as a mark of probity and integrity.

The AJC is managed by a committee, all volunteers and each with a particular role suited to their skills and background, supported by a professional administrator. It is hoped to strengthen this committee by the appointment of someone with either fundraising or training experience.

With its funding largely addressed by the recent States decision regarding Lottery profits, the AJC will maintain its practice of making grants to local charities and good causes.

As the AJC seeks to support the charity sector in numerous ways, one notable venture in this most difficult of years was to set up the Charity Booster Appeal, in tandem with the Government’s fiscal stimulus initiative of SpendLocal, with prepaid cards being issued to every Jersey resident. The Booster appeal encourages the people of Jersey who can afford it to benefit local businesses but also pay the benefits forward by making a donation to the charity sector, to be distributed by the AJC.

Another important activity is the regular information email to members and others. During the year this proved to be an important line of communication between Government (particularly the Covid Hub) and the sector.

In the wake of the impact of the pandemic during 2020, the AJC is also refining its training programme for 2021, designed to help local charities and other bodies to re-establish themselves. These training courses, which are free to members, will include such vital topics as fundraising, trustee responsibilities, constitutional affairs, accounting and reporting. It is hoped that in due course these training exercises will be physical events but if Covid restrictions prevent such activities, even in the short term, preparations are under way to create virtual sessions and make wide use of mainstream and social media.

“The establishment of the Jersey Charities Commission has, rightly, ensured that charities are founded on the basis of good governance for the public benefit,” says Kevin Keen. “While these objectives now have the force of legislation behind them, for 50 years the AJC has sought to fulfil a similar role and during the course of 2021 we intend to commemorate this important anniversary to demonstrate that, alongside the Commission, the need for such a body as the AJC is probably even more imperative today than it was at its foundation.”

Charity Booster Appeal

Fri, 11th September, 2020

How we can help charities as well as ourselves!

As you know, a £100 card is winging its way to you, to spend in our local economy. The aim is to give local business a much needed boost, and at the same time giving every islander a chance to get something in return for that boost. Maybe a treat, towards a stay in a hotel, a special meal out, a beauty therapy, a blokey thing! We are free to spend it however we like (with the exception of the bookies and online shopping!).

When this was announced, we at the AJC were inundated by people offering to give their £100 to a charity instead, as they didn’t need the money themselves, or were just extraordinarily generous! Regardless, we then began to work with Gov.je to see how this could be achieved without undermining the purpose of the voucher scheme - which is to support a whole range of local businesses and give the economy a boost. But of course charities can do this, or they can give to their clients to do so, but we wanted to make something special about it – spend your voucher on you, and then, if you can afford it donate a little of it to a charity from your own cash.

If everyone in Jersey gave just £10 through this scheme then that would be £1 million to charities, who have lost nearly ALL their fundraising for 2020 – the amount lost by all charities is unquantifiable, but it amounts to more than £1 million!

When you think about it, charities are also part of the local economy, in that they are consumers, they employ staff who spend in the local economy and they give funds to clients who do likewise. But most importantly, charities are a massive part of Jersey society, who spend their time supporting many people, who suffer untold disability, marginalisation and poverty (in relative terms), and if the charities fail then their clients will suffer even more.

We support nearly 300 member charities and non-member charities alike, with funding, with training, with information – an A to Z of charities, from Autism Jersey to Jersey Zoo and everything in between. But there are many very small charities that quite often fly under the radar, and it is the smaller ones, often relying on one big fundraising event per year are the ones that are suffering most. Some bigger charities have good reserves to protect them from adversity, but even those will run out soon! And there is only so much funding available to help them with all the fundraising they have lost.

So this is where you come in! The benefit to you personally supporting a charity in this way is many-fold; it will make you feel good! It will benefit those less fortunate; it could benefit you at a later or bad time in your life; it will benefit the economy doubly.

Check out all our member charities here: https://www.jerseycharities.org/members

Check out ALL registered charities here: https://portal.charitycommissioner.je/Public-Register/

You can donate directly to a charity by contacting them, or you can head to our website for different ways to donate, either directly to a member charity, or to a category of charities, or to us, the AJC. All funds received via the categories will be earmarked for use to charities in that category, or donating to the AJC, all charities will be eligible to apply for funding.

Go on! You know you want to!

https://www.jerseycharities.org/boosterappeal

All Change - Mind the Gap!

Thu, 20th August, 2020

Jersey gradually moving to a new normal.

As Jersey moves gradually back to a new normal, it’s time to take stock of just how different everything was during the height of the pandemic crisis, and how we all had to change our habits and interactions.

I am amazed at how quickly charities and islanders adapted to the lockdown.

Essential service providers surpassed themselves, despite losing armies of volunteers, adapting their services as required.

Greetings and meetings moved to different forms of communication.

Charities collaborated together to make the most of resources available.

Fundraising dried up as events were cancelled but funders dug deep, meeting weekly (now fortnightly) to deal with emergency funding needs. In turn, charities utilised their reserves and applied only as needed.

Many volunteers found themselves categorised as ‘vulnerable’ and were unable to continue, even if they wanted to, but Islanders volunteered in their thousands  to step up and help, although bringing new volunteers on board in these circumstances is obviously much more difficult.

The needs of Islanders also changed over this period, and continue to change. As food banks and delivering meals become less of a priority, the needs of vulnerable children, and those suffering the side and after effects of lockdown become more critical.

As we move to meet today’s needs it’s worth taking stock of the skills we each drew upon and found most useful in dealing with recent changes. 

How can we put those to good use in the future? How did your organisation deal with the changes it faced? What ‘sacred cows’ had to be abandoned?   Rather than go back to the way things were, what changes could be for the better in future?

 They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and this is our opportunity to learn from this experience and make changes for the better.

We at the AJC have some online training which may be of help, in recruiting and retaining volunteers, and also on fundraising. We are adding to this as we can.

If you have any experiences or ideas you would like to share please get in touch.


 

Pragmatism

Thu, 16th July, 2020

Charities are responding pragmatically: what is the state of play, funding applications, general response (3 months since ‘lockdown’)

As we know, all charities had to close their premises, and curtail their services, just like all business in the island. But charities support the most vulnerable in Jersey society, and they couldn’t just sit back while the pandemic gripped us all. Charity clients needed more support than ever, and charities stepped up to the plate with pragmatism!

Keeping people fed was the one most important issue from the beginning – if people couldn’t leave their house to shop, how would they feed themselves? An army of people stepped forward to help, and Malcolm Ferey of Jersey Citizen’s Advice Bureau was redeployed to Gov.je to set up a task force to harness this outpouring of love for those in need. 

Through the ‘connectme’ pages on Gov.je people who needed it could ask for help with shopping and supplies and collecting prescriptions, walking the dog! However many charity clients depend on home help or meal deliveries, and as the majority fall in to the ‘high risk’ group, they needed that extra help.

So charities that could, diversified to re-engage their volunteer force to cover all these tasks for their clients, and those clients that couldn’t afford it would receive a bag of basic foods, food and supplies from the food bank, a cooked meal daily if they needed it, a phone call or a visit, from a distance, of a friendly face to let them know they are not forgotten. Many charities collaborated with other charities and businesses to provide these services.

Donations to provide food and meals poured in from the private sector and from individuals, and as the charities were using volunteer help, the money went directly to the cost of providing this, no overheads.

With no fundraising events possible, charities were drawing on their reserves, using Gov.je payroll scheme for their staff salaries, engaging with landlords for a ‘rent break’, finding any way possible to get by. The short term is not so much of a problem for many, it will be the medium to long term that will begin to bite without any fundraising money coming in, and the Jersey Funders Group and individual funding bodies are geared up for this situation.

Harnessing digital

Tue, 23rd June, 2020

How are local charities turning to digital technologies to support their activities?

Our first blog!

Wed, 10th June, 2020

Our first blog, this one from our chairman personally!