HAMPSHIRE-based consultants who helped raise millions for Winchester Cathedral in the 1990s has marked 25 years of helping charities.

Stefan and Anna Lipa have supported charities to raise money for both landmark and community projects of the last a quarter-century.

Over that period, the Stefan Lipa Fundraising Consultancy has helped charity groups raise funds for projects ranging from conservation and development work in Norwich Cathedral to refurbishing Stockbridge Town Hall and building new church rooms for St Mary’s Church in Kings Worthy. They calculate that they have helped raise around £100 million for good causes.

Covid-19 forced Stefan and his wife and business partner Anna to cancel plans to mark their business silver jubilee but they remain upbeat.

They have seen national, and global, economic crises come and go over the years, not least the 2008 credit crunch, but despite the severity of the current recession, Stefan is already seeing green shoots in the voluntary sector, alongside the businesses emerging from economic lockdown.

Stefan said: “I think charities took longer to get out of the 2008 crisis than seems the case at present.

“Furlough helped this time by keeping on essential staff and there’s less reticence now to get going again.”

The landscape for charities will be challenging as many of them relied on running events or renting out premises to raise funds, all of which was suspended during lockdown. However, he also believes that the charity sector is adapting.

“Charities are having to do things differently, said Stefan. “We can see that with the way they’ve moved effortlessly to things like Zoom, but they are also looking at new ways to fundraise and are already starting campaigns. They are also doing this without panicking because they know that it needs to be done; it’s no use bemoaning what might have been.”

That optimism has spread to the Stefan Lipa Consultancy which is taking on new clients, including a theatre which wants to raise money to extend its reach into the community.

“This shows real optimism for the future,” said Stefan. “Charities are looking for new income streams to get going again, but it’s about taking one step at a time and that’s where we can help them.”

This year has thrown up numerous challenges for the business and voluntary sector alike, as well as enterprises which straddle both. However, Stefan looks forward to a positive, if different, future continuing to help charities add to the fabric of the nation and to society.