Funding Core Costs: At the Core of Person-Centred Care…Especially in a Crisis!

A blog by Erskine's Chief Executive Ian Cumming


Despite its devastating effects upon our society, one good thing that #Coronavirus has done is highlight just how precious a resource our #SocialCare, #Nursing and #NHS staff are. Across the nation, social care and clinical service providers are doing everything they can to preserve, bolster and eke-out their critical staff resource. The clue is in the description: Nurse-Led Care; Person/Relationship-Centred Care. Our people are at the very heart of the life-changing and life-saving services we deliver and we can’t do it without them.


Recruiting, training and coordinating talented, committed and compassionate staff is a costly business, but worth every penny. Under crisis conditions, our people are priceless. But they do come at a cost – which is rising even in routine. And when staff availability levels are impacted by pandemic infection – well, the costs of quality agency staff in backfill goes through the roof. Meanwhile, individual donor’s current financial ability to support us is in question and some Trust & Foundations are pausing to reflect and re-orientate. Judging where their donations will make the biggest discernible impact.

In which case, now might be the time to remind #Trusts and #Foundations, who make #Grants to charities like Erskine, that it is our people who are our most valuable and most expensive resource. That is why maintaining or adjusting your grant-making policy, to positively support the core operating costs of charities, will genuinely make the biggest impact and deliver the best outcomes for the greatest number of beneficiaries and their families.


We are incredibly grateful for the fantastic projects and equipment that donors have in the past so generously supported. But, as #COVID19 has demonstrated, we simply cannot care for elderly, frail, or vulnerable people, such as our #Veterans, without the right staff in the right roles and ratios.


My #fundraising team and I all completely understand why those with an interest in #philanthropy would wish to purchase equipment and fund capital projects.  They are quantifiable and have clear outcomes and performance measures.

However, my Director of Care and I are accountable for the things that can’t be seen and that are only noticed when they don’t happen, because they haven’t been funded. For us, it is about having the right number of expert staff to spend time in soothing conversations with distressed residents who are living with dementia and/or approaching the end of their lives. Staff who help people live with dignity. Staff who can notice changes in mood, appetite, hydration, skin integrity or the early symptoms of an infection. People, who help and care for other people.


This is a challenging time for all Charities, Trusts & Foundations and, indeed, individual supporters. But please, if we need to minimise expenditure, let’s think strategic and keep our focus on funding the really important things at the core of charitable endeavour. I’ll say it again – our people are at the very heart of the life-changing and life-saving services we deliver and we can’t do it without them. We can’t take photographs without them either!


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