Peter Lewis: 'The speech the Prime Minister should have made'

28 March 2020
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Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, has written the speech the Prime Minister should have made at 10 Downing Street this week.

"We are facing the biggest crisis this country has faced in a generation. We have provided emergency support to the NHS, to businesses, to the self-employed. But now we need to support the real heart of our country. The embodiment of people coming together. Our charities.

"Charities are the lifeblood of our country. Stepping in where the state and business fail. People coming together to make this country a better place. They reflect your, the British people's, generosity, through your gifts of hard earned cash or gifts of time volunteering. 

"And, of course, charities of all shapes and sizes have stepped up during this crisis, mobilising extra support to our most vulnerable; and ensuring continued support to people who need that care or advice or support every day.

"From big brand name charities such as the British Red Cross that we all know and love, to small, local charities, known and valued only by those who they support in their local communities, I know you have all stepped up at our time of need. I thank you all for your efforts.

"You have delivered food or medicines to those that need it. Advice and guidance on the changes in relation to your job or your housing. Wise counselling to those who are understandably stressed or anxious about their situation.

"I want to ensure charities play their fullest role in our response. But I also want to ensure that the vital work charities do day in day out, that is less directly affected by this crisis, also continues, supporting children with cancer or people with dementia, for example 

"And I have heard from trusted representatives of charities that as charity shops have closed, as public, community and event fundraising has ceased, that charities of all types and sizes are struggling to continue to deliver their services; struggling indeed to survive.

"I cannot let this happen. I have seen good evidence that over the next 12 weeks charities will lose £4 billion in vital income that they would have received from you, the immensely generous British public. I have therefore instructed the government to act, and to fill that gap.

"This emergency funding package will ensure charities mobilise to help get us through this crisis. It will ensure the vital services they provide are stabilised. We will all see the benefits in our towns, cities & communities. In due course, if needed, we will step in again.

"As Prime Minister of this great country I am proud of our NHS, I am proud of our innovative businesses, but nothing makes me prouder than people coming together through charitable endeavours to make the world a better place. I salute you all."


Peter Lewis
Peter Lewis
Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
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