DONATIONS to UK charities plummeted by 20 per cent over the last year according to a new report – and the pinch is being felt in Swindon.

The public gave £1.7bn less, according to a survey of by the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The amount fell from £11bn to £9.3bn between 2011 and 2012, a fall of £2.3bn when adjusted for inflation, the study said.

The numbers donating dropped, along with the amounts they gave – from an average of £11 to £10 a month per person.

A spokesman for Wroughton-based Prospect Hospice said: “We have seen a drop in income and with some events we put on we are having to work twice as hard for every penny.

“We anticipated this a couple of years ago and opened more shops to offset a drop in income.

“We are looking for new fundraising ideas to provide for the 1,800 patients each year.”

The drop is the biggest one-year fall since the survey began eight years ago.

John Low, the chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “The drop in giving is worrying for charities which rely on donations to provide vital services.

Combined with public spending cuts this represents a potentially severe blow for many charities.

“We hope the fall in giving shown in our survey is a temporary decline and not the start of a damaging trend.

“If donations continue to fall, many charities will face difficulties carrying on their work and the people they serve will suffer.

“Britain remains one of the world’s most generous nations. But cash is tight for everyone and people are finding it harder and harder to find money to give to charity.

“It is vital that Government, businesses and the public back Britain’s charities so they carry on their work in these tough times.”