Cllr Mimi Harker OBE calls for more support for local charities

Mimi Harker OBE has used her first 100 days as chairman of Community Impact Bucks (CIB) to highlight the huge challenges facing local charities and community groups.

Mimi, who already has years of experience chairing various committees at Chiltern District Council and in other public service roles, says, “The charity sector in Bucks is so valuable yet it is struggling. We know that 8 out of 10 of us benefit from the support of a voluntary or charity group every year but as funding streams reduce many of our local organisations are finding it harder to fund themselves at a time when demand for their services is greater than ever.

“People know me as a vociferous and vocal supporter of causes I believe in. I’ll be working to increase understanding of the value and impact of our local charities amongst local residents and my fellow councillors. These charities do so much, mainly delivered through dedicated volunteers, and support so many lives. There has never been a more important time to support the sector and I urge people to donate their time or money to our vital local charities. They really need you.”

Nick Phillips, CIB chief executive says, “We support over 500 charities at CIB, so Mimi is really getting an insight into the challenges they face. With an elderly population, homelessness on the rise, mental illness affecting so many in Bucks and the state having to reduce services it is no wonder that over 70% of charities are recording unsustainable demand. It is very concerning that with such demand, volunteering hours are falling for the first time. Mimi’s enthusiasm and energy will be a huge benefit to CIB and the sector as she works to raise the profile of the importance and impact of the Buckinghamshire charity sector.”

Mimi’s priority has been to spend time with local charities and voluntary groups, building her understanding of the key issues and concerns of the sector in Bucks. Kicking her chairmanship off to a great start, Mimi hosted a sold-out charity sector conference on digital skills and took the opportunity to listen to the 100 senior staff and trustees who attended the event. Mimi followed this up by launching the latest State of the Sector Report – a detailed examination of the charity sector in Bucks. In her first 100 days as Chairman she has instigated a new interactive website for improved on-line services to community groups and charities and is supporting the launch of a new membership scheme for CIB’s beneficiaries.