Cumbria Community Foundation has set up a fund to help charitable groups support vulnerable people affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).
As the virus spreads across the county, those who are vulnerable will be hardest hit and in times of crisis, many people turn to charities for support.
Like other sectors, Cumbria’s charitable organisations are likely to face challenges in the coming weeks and months.
There will be an increase in demand for their services while they are already under resourced and at capacity, with some having to completely change the way they operate. Many are reliant on volunteers and will struggle if they must self-isolate, become ill or have caring responsibilities. Many will also see a drop in their income due to cancelled fundraising events and reduced rental and activity income.
The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund will prioritise funding to charitable projects across the county that are supporting people affected by the virus, helping to keep them safe and supported in their homes and reducing pressure on the NHS.
Andy Beeforth, CEO of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: "We recognise that the outbreak of COVID-19 is an exceptional event that is already having an immediate impact on many of the charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups we support with grant funding. We know that these groups already helping those who will be most impacted are going to be stretched thin.
“We have already seen a number of informal support networks springing up around the county to help the significant number of older people who live in our area who have chosen to self-isolate as a preventative measure against the virus. These people are at an increased risk of loneliness and isolation and will miss out on regular social interaction.”
The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund will support charitable projects providing activities that help vulnerable people self-isolating, provide funding to coordinate community response and support volunteers, and increase capacity for organisations providing emergency support, such as foodbanks or benefits advice.
Andy continues: “This situation is rapidly evolving, so we wanted to quickly get a fund in place to support our community and give people who have been enquiring about what they can do to help a place to go. Philanthropy has an important role to play in supporting and enhancing the government response, especially in support of our most vulnerable communities. We have seen through various appeals in the past that local people really do care about where they live and want to ensure that those hardest hit are supported.”
Cumbria Community Foundation has contributed £100,000 to the Fund. The Foundation is aware that many people and businesses will be struggling financially, however, for those that are able and would like to donate to the Fund, they can visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/Cumbria-Covid19-Response-Fund or contact 01900 825760. The Fund will also provide a focus for charitable trusts, companies and other organisations wishing to support the community and charity response.
For groups wanting to enquire about funding, they should visit: https://www.cumbriafoundation.org/fund/covid19-response-fund or contact the grants team on firstname.lastname@example.org