The ongoing effect of government austerity policies following the banking collapse of 2008 impacts many of GalGael's participants and volunteers. Moreover, it has put intense pressure on all poverty-related funding sources. Brexit will close down the option of European funding - further constraining funds for social purposes. GalGael are already experiencing a dramatic downturn in the success of our funding applications (only 33% since 06/16). For the coming financial year starting April 2018, we had only secured only £62,000 or 18% of our budget.

A number of multi-year grants have come to an end. Others are subject to changes or cuts in regional or national budgets. Much of our work fits together like a jigsaw - if we don’t get one part in place, the whole becomes even harder to fund.

Did we not see this coming following 2008? Yes, and our response was to try to become more self-funding by setting up a trading subsidiary, GalGael Enterprises. However, business start-up takes time. Our experience has been in community building rather than money-making in a competitive environment. We are working to generate a surplus and see social enterprise as a core part of building self-reliance, but have had to scale things back because so far we have incurred losses.

Taking our financial situation into consideration, the Trust’s Board was left with no option but to move to close all our current programmes by 31 March. For the next twelve months starting from April we will offer basic activity so as to keep the doors open and the benches busy. However we will undertake a significant reorganisation of our work so as to create a more solid foundation from which to rebuild. This is likely to mean a 3-day week. As one of our volunteers put it, “We have to be like a bear going into hibernation, to wait out the winter and emerge again in spring.”

Other changes include reorganising GalGael as a scalable organisation so that we can contract and expand in response to available resources and ensure continuity of support for those we stand with. We see this as ‘future proofing’ our organisation. We also need breathing space to reshape our activities and projects in response to the clarity and passion set out in our CHARTER – something we’ve been calling a ‘curriculum of making’.

GalGael stand with those negatively affected by economic and social policy - yet we have no protection against the current political and economic climate. It seems that there may be harder times to come and those we stand with will need our solidarity even more. We are already seeing greater complexity of needs among those we serve: people impacted by increasing levels of poverty, deteriorating mental ill health and greater social isolation.

We cannot do this alone – we need targeted support of all kinds to manage this transition successfully.

We need:

  • financial resources (to extend our basic activity during transition, fund restructuring, development activity, new work, endowment)
  • expertise & on-going support in key areas such as communications, fundraising & public giving;
  • access to helpful connections & networks;
  • donations in kind to help us keep costs low.

With wide spread support we will not only ensure our doors remain open but will align our work more strongly with our vision and values. Greater self reliance will create the organisational confidence to lean increasingly in to an emergent future – prototyping new ways of organising a fairer society founded on economic solidarity, equal rights and a culture of creative freedom.