Covid-19 has forced many charities to make changes to the way they work as they face significant challenges due to the impact of the pandemic, and St Nicks is no exception. A survey of the sector in York shows that 63% of organisations expect to be financially unsustainable within 12 months or less if the current situation continues. 72% of organisations said they have had to close or put on hold at least some of their services due to the pandemic.
In this update Chief Executive Officer, Tom Waring, explains the impact of the pandemic on St Nicks’ staff:
The current situation with Covid-19 has forced us to look at how functions were carried out on a day-to-day basis including the overall management of the Environment Centre, financial management and outreach which support our projects. While we’re looking at a decreasing budget, we must ensure the organisation is running as efficiently as possible and that its structure is aligned to the changing needs of our members and beneficiaries, including the environment. The staffing structure at St Nicks had not been reviewed for several years and over time tasks spread across various roles, creating duplication and blurred responsibilities.
We’ve undertaken a review of the core staffing structure and through consultation with staff have come up with a new one. Going through this sort of process is never easy for anyone, especially when it means losing colleagues. We have now outsourced our bookkeeping and payroll, and four core roles have been replaced with three new posts:
The new posts and services, working alongside the CEO and Caretaker, oversee and are responsible for the core function of the charity. We are very pleased to say that internal recruitment resulted in two existing staff members taking on the new roles: Esther Smith as the Charity Support Manger and Ivana Jakubkova as Sustainability Officer.
Unfortunately, we have had to say goodbye to Fundraising Officer Graeme Dawson and Finance Officer David Shepherd. Both have given St Nicks a number of years of service, which has been much appreciated, and we wish them well in their new life. We are currently recruiting for the Engagement Officer.
As well as being in a better position to meet the needs of the organisation going forward, this new structure offers annual savings on core expenditure of nearly £20,000. As it is increasingly difficult to find funding for essential core support work, this saving will help us carry on into the uncertain future. Big thanks go to all the staff for pulling together in these difficult times and keeping the green heart of York beating.
We also want to say thank you and good luck to Eithne Phillips who has been a great conservation volunteer and has worked as part of the recycling team for many years. Eithne is leaving us to pursue her passion for wildlife by studying at university.