Local charities and community organisations working with vulnerable people affected by COVID-19 have received a share of more than £1 million.
Cumbria Community Foundation launched the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund thirteen weeks ago to help people during the coronavirus crisis.
£780,000 has been awarded from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund and a further £311,000 from various other funds within the Foundation, to help communities respond quickly to meet the challenges resulting from the pandemic.
The million pounds has been used to support 138 charitable and community organisations across Cumbria to help them continue to operate and provide services, which for many people are a lifeline.
Many of the organisations – most run by an army of volunteers – have had to make changes to the services they operate to ensure they can deliver help to the most vulnerable in local communities in their time of need.
Some have had to move services online while others have had to upscale the help they provide as the number of people needing their support grows.
Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “From food poverty to mental health, we are supporting communities where they need it the most.
“The efforts of local causes to get food and essentials to those that most need them has been one human triumph through the coronavirus crisis.
“Thanks to the commitment of our small local causes and so many people’s generous donations, many more people are getting support.”
For lots of communities, collaborating with other organisations helps them to respond quicker and more efficiently to local needs.
In response to the coronavirus crisis, local authorities are linking into these collaborative networks to facilitate emergency support.
One such network is the Gateway Group in Kendal, which this week received the millionth pound to continue working with eight other community groups.
Together, these groups received a share £43,445 from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund to provide a holistic package of food deliveries, prescription services, volunteer coordination, mental health and emotional support, befriending and online activities to reduce social isolation across South Lakeland.
Phillip Whiteley, Partnership Development Manager, said: “This initiative joins up a number of third sector and voluntary groups from across South Lakeland who are working hard to deliver services and support to those who need it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The organisations involved range from small voluntary groups through to larger registered charities who are supporting a wide group of people including the young, the old and the vulnerable.
“This funding will provide us all with the opportunity to continue to deliver these services during the current pandemic, but it also gives us the opportunity to build on this close partnership working in the future.
“Once again, Cumbria Community Foundation has shown how it is able to provide funding directly to the front line so that those that need support can access it in a timely way, and we now look forward to using this grant to benefit the communities across South Lakeland.”
The COVID-19 national emergency makes the lifeline that charities have long provided seem ever more relevant.
It shines a light on the resourcefulness of charities, particularly when confronted with immense and unprecedented challenge.
Andy continues: “Since the start of lockdown, the Community Foundation and many of the charities we support have been working at full throttle, to offer a support to vulnerable people affected by the virus.
“We’re delighted to have hit the £1 million grants awarded milestone but there is still so much more to do.
“As time goes on, it is clear that the effects of this crisis will be with us for many months, if not years, to come.
“We are now moving into the next phase of our work and supporting communities to recover from the immediate crisis and meet their longer-term changing needs.”
The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund has almost £1.5 million with funds donated by local businesses including BAE, Iggesund Paperboard, Booths and Lakeland Limited alongside donations from the National Emergencies Trust appeal and many individuals.
Cumbria Community Foundation is continuing to raise funds to help those who need support as a result of the pandemic – now and in the future. If you would like to donate, visit: http://www.cumbriafoundation.org