Police charities have potential for growth

27 May 2015

“As police charities, there is huge potential for growth, not just in opportunities to cooperate together but opportunities for increasing people who volunteer.”

That was the message to representatives from various policing charities from Sir Stephen Bubb, guest speaker at a charity summit hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales.

Sir Stephen, Chief Executive of the Association of Chief Executives for Voluntary Organisations, commented: “Charities provide support to people, but they are also advocates and campaigners. Cuts to the police service have an effect on our social fabric and one of the worrying aspects of the election campaigns was how little there was about social fabric – and that is what charities provide. A strong economy needs a strong community.”

But he warned the tough environment was only going to get harder. “Charities will face further cuts and that is going to get worse. The challenge to our role as advocates is so important,” he said. “Half a million organisations operate on a voluntary basis and many charities have unique traditions and brands but I don't think we cooperate enough. This is not just about mergers. More often it is about how we work together. There is huge scope to work to keep your own brand while looking at back office functions such as finance; the scope for cooperation is going to be more important than ever.”

Steve White, chair of the Federation, explained that the event was about seeing how the variety of charities could work together and how the Federation can support them. “There are a wealth of policing charities out there all doing valuable work and providing some essential services to officers and their families. But do those officers or families know they exist or how they can access what they offer? And how can those charities support and refer to each other to help people in need. Now more than ever before our officers and their families are in need of the vital support they provide.”

Delegate Colonel Patrick Cairns, Chief Executive of the Police Treatment Centres, commented: “Police officers are very generous people and brilliant fundraisers but they often forget about supporting their own police charities and end up giving to other charities – charities which may have a very personal meaning for them and are worthwhile causes - but I do want to strongly encourage officers to support their own charities first and foremost, either for the whole amount or a share of any money raised. It is very difficult for us to persuade the wider public to support policing charities for a variety of reasons, so it is absolutely vital that police officers look first and foremost to our own charities. By so doing, they will ensure that they support the excellent work that all these police charities do and by extension help other police officers and police families. So my plea would be to all officers, the next time that you are looking for a charity to support, or that sponsorship form goes round, please consider police charities first and let us ensure that we look after and support each other.”

Steve White added: “It was a brilliant event – an opportunity for like-minded people with the same focus to share ideas about taking charities forward. There is a genuine desire to work together and get our messages out there as to who we are and what we do.”

The event took place on 30 April and 1 May at the Police Federation of England and Wales HQ in Leatherhead.

Guest speakers included: Rt Hon Mike Penning, Police Minister; Sir Stephen Bubb, Chief Executive of the Association of Chief Executives for Voluntary Organisations; Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charities Commission; Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes; Canon David Wilbraham.

Representatives from the following charities took part: The Bluelamp Foundation; Care of Police Survivors; Defence Medical Welfare Service; Flint House; Gurney Fund; National Police Memorial Day; Police Firearms Officers’ Association; Police Arboretum Memorial Trust; Police Dependents Trust; National Police Fund; Police Memorial Trust; Police Pensioners Housing Association ltd; Police Rehabilitation Trust; Police Treatment Centres; St Georges Police Children Trust.