In 2007, #HelpforHeroes and #SOUP both became new charities on the UK Registered Charity List with similar aims. Help for Heroes received significant and immediate backing due to its high-profile trustees and ambassadors, including members of the Royal Family. 10 years later the charity’s annual income averages £30m, allowing incredible achievements for a vast number of beneficiaries.
SOUP, which was established by just one individual, was not associated with any high-profile ambassadors and struggled to attain the same level of media attention and funding. The charity had to be grown slowly from the start, by a founder who worked meticulously to devote his time, energy and funding, plus a small number of volunteers that could be rallied.
Over the course of a ten-year period, both charities continued to do amazing work in various communities along with the public’s support. Despite the lack of high-profile ambassadors, SOUP has been able to perform its role of reaching elderly individuals who have become overlooked by society and are suffering from immense loneliness, many of which are ex-service men and women from #WW1 and #WW2. But achieving this has been an uphill struggle.
This year, SOUP decided to contact Help for Heroes to explore the potential of collaborating, seeing as both charities aim to support a similar profile of individuals in the UK. The offer was declined. This is a trend that Darren Rowland, Founder of SOUP charity, sees often. “My frustration is not just for SOUP, but for all small charities in the UK who struggle to survive. We rely solely on volunteers and donations and often cannot afford paid staff. I employ the large charities who have major exposure, significant links and the resources to do such great work to remember their community of smaller charities who share similar agendas. Collaboration of any kind allows more individuals to receive support where it is most needed.”
Rowland claims that some large #charities could reduce their spending on administration costs, which he feels are often inflated and potentially corrupt, leaving a portion of would-be beneficiaries unaccounted for. He continues, “SOUP reaches individuals that have not received any charitable support from elsewhere, often because they are very siloed. Operating manifestos can impose restrictions on who large charities can reach, so there are always gaps and people are missed. Smaller charities do not face the same restrictions and can fill that gap, but the larger charities should recognise this and offer their support.”