Companies still think of the less fortunate during recession

Steve Cooper, Managing Director of Barclays Local Business, said: “The recession provided a powerful incentive to take an axe to the non-essentials – but that hasn’t happened with support for charities. The research shows that over half of local businesses see their charity work as a responsibility to the community, not a result of boom time generosity, and they can’t and won’t walk away from it. At a grassroots level they are an army working to better our society.
“In this one area the recession hasn’t had a huge impact. The amount of money donated by local businesses has remained pretty constant, whether the business feels it’s recovering from the recession or not. One of the industries with the toughest image, construction, is also one of the most generous, with around 61% helping local charities.”
Stuart Etherington, CEO of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “It is imperative that companies across the country are responsible and play a role in their local community.  It is therefore good to see that, despite the recession, they continue to recognise the vital contribution that voluntary and community organisations make across the UK in transforming local areas.”
The research found that while a quarter of UK businesses said they currently were in recovery, more than half (53%) said they had yet to see any upturn. However support for good causes remained constant across both groups. In either recovery or recession, a third (36%) of all small firms said the amount they give has stayed the same.
Nearly half (42%) said that small businesses have a responsibility to their local area and should contribute where they can. Despite the belief amongst these smaller firms that big businesses had more resources to support charity (51%), almost as many said that charities have felt the recession as well and deserve support (44%).
Some small firms even think they are the best people to help out good causes: one in five (18%) said small businesses can be more focussed in their support for charity than bigger firms and a third (31%) claimed businesses should support good causes, even when times are tough. Looking ahead, 16% said they would give more to charity after the recession as they would have more money to give. Almost three quarters (71%) claim that in 2010 they will maintain levels of giving to charity.
Barclays Money Skills is the bank’s new UK flagship community programme which allows Barclays to use its financial skills and expertise to maximum effect to help predominantly 16 – 25 yr olds work towards financial independence and security.  By aligning community investment to its core business, Barclays believes it can make the maximum positive impact. In 2008 Barclays invested approximately £6million in the UK to support 48 local financial capability projects which included partnerships with Action for Children, Help the Aged, Leonard Cheshire Disability and many more regional initiatives. With Barclays’ help, around 20,000 individuals have already been directly supported through these partnerships, and 160,000 have been supported with group sessions and support materials. This is part of a wider, global community investment programme by Barclays.