A Cumbrian charity whose fund-raising has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic has launched a new way for people to donate cash to support its vital work.
People can now donate to Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS) through an easy-to-use text giving system.
It allows people to choose to give £5, £10 or £20 to CADAS, which works with children and adults, with people in the midst of addiction and dependency and those in recovery and with those individuals’ parents, carers and other family members.
The charity also does a huge amount of preventative work by running education and awareness sessions in schools and by teaching professionals, such as teachers, social workers and the police, to increase their knowledge of substances that can become addictive and harmful to health.
“We see on average around 500 people each year for up to 12 hours of individual client time but we also touch the lives of between two and three thousand other people through our events and workshops,” said chief executive officer Leigh Williams.
The charity needs around £8,000 per week to keep operating but is heavily reliant on community fund-raising and support.
“Donations have fallen significantly in the past six months,” said Ms Williams. “Since the start of the pandemic we have not been able to do many of our traditional fund-raising activities such as supermarket bag packs and money raised through collecting tins in retail outlets has fallen because fewer people have been out and about shopping.
“Our fund-raising is down by about £30,000 – the cost of a CADAS case worker.”
She said the new text giving system was a new and innovative way for people who appreciated the work of CADAS to make a real difference to the charity. “They can give while they are sitting on their sofas and using their mobile phones. It is just so easy for people to donate without any fuss,” said Ms Williams.
She added that a £10 donation covered the cost of a call to the charity’s hotline, 0800 254 5658. Every £50 raised covered the cost of a potentially life changing or lifesaving 1:1 support session.
The call for people to donate comes as experts from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) have warned the number of people drinking at high-risk levels has almost doubled since just before the UK’s lockdown.
An estimated 8.4 million people drank “high-risk” amounts of alcohol in June, compared to 4.8 million people four months earlier, said the RCP.
“We see that first hand,” said Ms Williams. “The majority of our callers are ringing about problems with alcohol. We have seen an increase of 25 per cent since the start of lockdown in people getting in touch and asking for support.
“People are drinking more because they are bored or, because of furlough or redundancy, they are anxious about their financial security.
“If people are able to donate to CADAS we can help even more people who are facing real difficulties in their lives.”
To donate £5 text CADAS5 to 70031 or to donate £10/£20 text CADAS10 or CADAS20 to 70039.