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Welcome to December's Charity News Review
As we come to the last CNR edition of the year, looking back on 2022 it is clear that many ACO charities have had to make significant adjustments to continue to support their beneficiaries through what has been a bleak economic landscape.

In this context, we recently surveyed members to identify how they have responded to the current cost of living crisis (CoL), and this provided some critical insights.

Perhaps not surprisingly over 74% of members surveyed indicated that they had seen an increase in the volume of applications over the recent period and over 50% stated they had introduced new financial support measures in response, such as specific energy and cost of living grants. At the same time it was also clear that charities were prioritising highlighting areas of relevant advice/resources to beneficiaries (such as advice on energy bills and debt management) and often collaborating with other external agencies to offer “wrap around” support.

What was also significant was that a quarter of respondents noted that as a result of the CoL crisis they had introduced specific financial/non-financial support for staff, such as one-off winter payments.

The overall survey response made clear that charities are keen to ensure that – within their own financial constraints - they provide the most effective financial (and non-financial) support to their beneficiaries during the crisis. For further details see survey

On a final (and more uplifting) note – on behalf of the team at ACO, can we wish you and your colleagues a wonderful (and relaxing!) festive period. We look forward to working with you all in the New Year and lets all hope that 2023 perhaps provides a light at the end of the tunnel economically speaking!

Donal Watkin
Chief Executive
Upcoming events
CEO Forum: 19th January
Date: 19th January
Time: 14.00-15.30 
Register here on Eventbrite

Grant Makers Forum
Date: 25th January
Time: 11.00-12.30
Register here on Eventbrite
Small Charities: Under Fives group meeting 
Date: 1st February
Time: 11.00-12.30
Register here on Eventbrite

MarComms Group
Date: 16th February
Time: 11.00-12.30
Register here on Eventbrite
More dates for your diary
A free, virtual conference on 6th-10th February to share the latest research and evidence in palliative and end of life care, to improve the end of life experience for all.  More info here
Fundraising Everywhere: Grants and major donors conference: 15th December 12-3pm.
More info here 
ACO News 

We’re thrilled to welcome a new Corporate Partner to the ACO, WRS Insurance Brokers. WRS are a team of experienced and committed charity insurance professionals. They take pride in only sourcing their products from insurers who they believe are financially sound and ethical. 

Pressure on your budgets is now likely to be tougher than ever. As an independent charity insurance broker, WRS will work with you to find the best possible insurance package for your needs.

WRS are offering all ACO members a no obligation review of your charity insurance here .

Dismantling Racism research project – volunteer invitation

In conjunction with a range of other national charity organisations, we are working with a consultancy – New Ways – who have been commissioned to undertake a piece of research on dismantling racism/enabling anti-racism in the sector. 

As part of the project, we have been asked to extend an invitation to black and PoC staff from an ACO charity to volunteer to be part of their Advisory Group. They will be paid for their time and have options on how they participate in providing insight and/or supporting us to develop recommendations. If you would like further information please contact

Bayes Business School – MSc student consultancy project request

The MSc in Philanthropy, Grantmaking and Social Investment is one of five pathways available to the part-time masters students at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass). Their students tend to be in middle to higher management positions mainly in UK charities.

One of the modules students have to complete is a self-guided piece of fieldwork. This option is for the student to carry out a piece of ‘consultancy’ work on an aspect of an organisation’s Grantmaking practice. 

If your organisation would be interested in discussing a consultancy project you may potentially be interested in offering to a Bayes MSc student, please contact for further details. 

(Note the amount of time the student spends with the organisation is around 4 days in total and the work usually has to be done in the late Spring or Summer though students pick topics from February onwards. The project itself should be a relatively in-depth look at one particular issue: for example, evaluation, risk planning or resource planning).

Cost of living response survey results
Thank you to all members that responded to the survey.

Member charities have demonstrated that for many, the cost of living crisis has meant a dramatic spike in grant applications. Charities are having to adapt their grant offers and support to a respond to recent economic uncertainty effectively.
Read more here.
Jobs Board
If you would like recruitment assistance, please get in touch with to hear more about our members' recruitment offering. 
Member Spotlight: The Royal Theatrical Fund  
The story of The Royal Theatrical Fund began in 1839 when four actors came together and decided that something had to be done about the large number of actors ending their lives in conditions of appalling hardship and penury.

The recent development of the railway network had led to a proliferation of theatres throughout the country and an explosion in the number of actors in the profession. The General Theatrical Fund Association, as it was then called, was incorporated by Royal Charter as a pension fund open to all members of the acting profession and its first chairman was Charles Dickens.

The Royal Theatrical Fund is the only grant-making body which has no restrictive covenant applied to the nature and extent of the financial support it may provide to those in or retired from the entertainment profession.
With the passage of time, it became obvious that the terms of the original Charter no longer met the needs of the day.
Read more
Guest Article: Shifting priorities
The 2022 Newton Charity Investment Survey
This year’s survey suggests that 2022 is a year of change for the charity sector. Many charities continue to feel the longer-term impacts of the pandemic, while widespread concern over inflation, a cost-of-living crisis and geopolitical uncertainty have provided a challenging backdrop for investment strategy and performance.

Nevertheless, some trends remain unchanged – responsible investing and ethical considerations continue to be important topics for charities as they come under increasing pressure from stakeholders.

The Newton Charity Investment Survey has now delivered nine years of unique industry insight and trend comparisons. It covers diverse aspects of the management of charitable portfolios, and provides an industry benchmark to see how aligned charities’ investment experience and intentions are with those of their peers. Key findings from this year’s survey include:

In 2022, inflation is now the main concern for charities, and by a significant margin.

Over 75% of charities state that inflation is very concerning, and a staggering 99% of charities are at least somewhat concerned about the subject. Rising costs, less generous donations and increasing demand from beneficiaries could present a major challenge for charities.
Read more
Member News
Smallwood Trust discuss tackling gendered poverty by shifting power through grant-making. Read more
Royal British Legion are championing remembrance. Read more
Caba release a report on preventing and navigating burnout: a manager’s guide.
Read more
Family Fund: Latest poll shows day-to-day living spirals down for families with disabled children. Read more
GroceryAid Sporting Lunch raises record amount. Read more
Merchant Navy Welfare Board release that their MCG Covid-19 Redundancy and Retraining Bursary Fund was a resounding success. Read more
Policy and Sector News
IPPR release report: A lifeline for families: Investing to reduce child poverty this winter. 
The UK is in the grip of a living costs crisis. Nearly one in three children in the UK live in poverty – and rates are set to rise to their highest level since the 1990s by the end of this parliament.
Read more
Joseph Roundtree Foundation: Anxiety nation? Economic insecurity and mental distress in 2020s Britain
This study looks at the shaky foundations of material life for many people, and highlights a worrying increase in the markers of mental ill-health. Read more
The Equality Trust launches, the result of over a year of collaborative work with 12 unions and academics. 
This website brings together the expertise of those with lived and learned experiences of tackling equal pay issues in their workplaces to be used by workers across the UK. Read more
Gambling Commission report produced by Ipsos on young people and their gambling behaviour, attitudes and awareness in 2022. This report contains the findings from the Gambling Commission’s annual study, produced by Ipsos, exploring gambling behaviours among young people in Great Britain. Read more 
Charity Today: How to get publicity on a tiny budget for your charity. With the growth of online services, news outlets have changed, local papers are now online, and citizen journalists are more active. Read more
Trust for London: Power sharing as a funder - how can we do better?
Trust for London has recruited eight Disability rights experts by experience to a panel to help make key decisions on how our new Disability Justice Fund will be spent. Read more
More News

Resolution Foundation: Gap in public-private sector pay growth hits widest level ever, as public sector job vacancies hit record high

Charity Commission Blog: Your new charity commission account

Charity Tax Group: Autumn Statement 2022 – implications for charities

Children & Young people now: Attainment gap wider than ever before 

Charities face cliff edge, warns Civil Society Group

The TUC: Disabled people’s struggle for equality and human rights
The State of the State 2022-23 From the pandemic to a cost of living crisis
Reform UK- November 2022

Last year’s State of the State commentated on a ‘new normal’ emerging for government and public services in the UK. After eighteen months battling against the pandemic, the public sector had adapted to COVID’s presence and started to deal with its legacy. But by the end of 2021, inflation was rising and a cost of living crisis had begun.

The UK and devolved governments
launched a range of measures to support household finances, followed this autumn by a series of shifts in fiscal policy and
fast-paced political change in Westminster.
Against that backdrop, this year’s State of the State finds public attitudes to government deeply affected by the economic
situation. It also finds public sector leaders eager for reform after years responding to crises.

Our research interviews with senior
officials heard compelling visions for the future of a sector that better empowers communities, realises the potential of its data
and doubles down on its mission.
Read more
Fabrian Society: Levelling Up- Lessons from Germany 
Luke Raikes
November 2022

In the UK, regional inequality and centralisation are closely related. For 150 years, centralised government allowed regional inequality to accelerate – and this problem has been particularly acute since the 1980s.1 Centralised governments have mismanaged deindustrialisation outside of London.

On the one hand, some large employers in sectors such as automotive and biopharma have had significant state support. But on the other, the capital’s financial sector has enjoyed unrivalled advantages as a result of a range of government policies, from deregulation to investment in London’s transport infrastructure.2 The so-called ›north-south‹ divide in fact describes economic under-performance of most of the south west, the midlands, the north of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 
Read more
Deadline for next edition

Due to the break for Christmas our next Charity News Review will be in February. The deadline to be featured in this edition of Charity News Review is Friday 27th January. Please get in touch with any news and campaigns to be featured, or let us know if you are interested in being a member spotlight!

If you want more staff within your charity to receive our newsletter, please get in touch with to get them added to our mailing list. 
With thanks to our Partners
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