Where there's a Will there's a way to help
Berwick Community Trust has launched an initiative to promote charitable giving and bequests to local organisations.
The initiative is being conducted in partnership with Berwick-based chartered accountants Greaves, West & Ayre and the Community Foundation.
According to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, charitable legacies totalled £2.04billion in 2012/13 and accounted for 11 per cent of income from individuals and five per cent of the total income for all charities.
Yet the overwhelming bulk of legacies goes to only a handful of big name charities led by Cancer Research UK, the RNLI and the RSPCA.
In 2012, 34 per cent of all legacies by value were received by just ten organisations who shared almost £625million.
Outside the big names, just 8.4 per cent of charities received legacy income in 2012/13, with recipients receiving £169 on average.
The small and micro organisations which are the lifeblood of many communities nationally accounted for six per cent of the sector’s income but less than one per cent of legacy value.
Julien Lake, chief executive officer of Berwick Community Trust, said: “We believe there is a huge opportunity to build the awareness of local people, with the help of professional advisers, to the possibilities of leaving a legacy to local organisations.
“We are now publishing on our website a database of organisations working locally and are supporting professional advisers to talk with their clients about the local impact, and potential inheritance tax benefits, that can accrue from leaving a legacy.
The web link is www.berwicktrust.org.uk/localcharities
Mr Lake continued: “We now need local charities to look at the website, check their entries and give us feedback to ensure that the list remains correct.
“Feedback from local solicitors and accountancy firms has to date been really positive and we are looking at potentially publishing a paper copy for people to consult as well.”
He added: “Our view is that if we can get local people to think about the Maltings or the Youth Project or BARK in their wills instead of national causes there could be real benefits for Berwick.”