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In This Together - Community Matters Fund

We are stepping up to support communities affected by coronavirus

We have awarded £500,000 in grants from our In This Together – Community Fund to help communities across our region affected by Coronavirus and have pledged a further £250,000 to provide support during the pandemic.

The fund was launched to support community groups and organisations delivering urgent care and support to thousands of families across the region during these challenging times. The first round invited applications from charities, local hospitals, community groups, parish councils and local authorities for grants of up to £10,000 to help those directly affected by the pandemic.

The scheme received 586 applications – half in the last week – and was fully subscribed. In response to an urgent need for direct support, the funding has been split between nearly 300 organisations across our geographic footprint. Between them they have helped deliver vital support and care to more than 400,000 people at the height of the lockdown.

A diverse range of groups have benefited from the funding, including established charities like foodbanks, hospitals, The Salvation Army, AGE UK and several hospices. In addition, a large number of community groups that formed specially to help their local communities through the pandemic have also benefitted including groups that are delivering food parcels, collecting prescriptions or offering online virtual support to those isolating.

The second round of funding, which closed on July 12, invited each of the 180 constituency MPs in our region to nominate charities and local groups that could benefit from a grant of up to £1,500. Grants are currently being made to the nominated community groups, charities, faith groups and businesses that changed focus to help people during the pandemic.

Chief Executive Phil Swift said: “I am proud that we were able to step up and provide support at grassroots level. Most of our employees live in the communities they serve so it was important that we didn’t just write large cheques to one or two charities and walk away.

“Instead we reached out – and it has been heart-warming and humbling to read the applications we received from people who stepped up for their communities.”
 

Support across our regions

East Midlands:

Age UK has received a grant to help support older people in Lincoln and South Lincolnshire during the coronavirus pandemic. The charity, which offers advice through a dedicated phone support line, assistance with shopping, collecting prescriptions and home cooked meals received a £5,000 grant.

Michele Jolly, CEO from Age UK, said: “We really appreciate the donation from WPD, which will be fundamental in supporting us to continue to deliver food and essential supplies to vulnerable older

people across Lincoln & South Lincolnshire, and to support our befriending services, where staff and volunteers make wellbeing calls to those who are lonely and isolated.

“Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire is adapting and innovating in these unprecedented times to support our existing customers as well as respond to new calls for help by providing services for those who need them the most.”

Nurse holding thank you sign wearing mask

West Midlands:

Home-Start Banbury, Bicester and Chipping Norton, a charity that supports young families with children under 5, has been awarded a £500 grant to support its work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Louise Sansom, Grants & Trust Fundraiser at Home-Start Banbury, Bicester and Chipping Norton, said: “We are delighted and very grateful to receive the funding from WPD. During the Covid-19 crisis, our staff and volunteers are providing weekly telephone calls to support the emotional wellbeing of our supported families. The practical and emotional demands of parenthood are challenging enough in normal times, but the current pandemic adds so many additional layers of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation. We remain as committed as ever to supporting parents in the critical early years of childhood and we thank WPD for helping us to do this.”

Parents walking and holding hands with toddler in the middle

South West:

The Hygiene Bank, a charity that provides essential hygiene products to those in need across Cornwall, has been awarded a £1,000 grant to support its work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ali Marsh, Project Coordinator at The Hygiene Bank, said: “We cannot thank WPD enough for its outstanding contribution to our work in Cornwall. The grant has allowed us to buy over 230kg of essential hygiene products which we have distributed to a number of local community projects, charities and the NHS in the area.

“This will provide invaluable support for families who are locked in poverty or find themselves in times of crisis with restricted options and having to make impossible choices between heating their home, paying their rent, feeding their family or keeping clean.”

Hygiene bank

South Wales:

A foodbank charity in Rhymney Valley has been awarded a £400 grant to boost its supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rev Leah Philbrick from the Rhymney Valley Foodbank, said: "Demand has more than doubled in the last month and a half compared to this time last year. With WPD’s support we have been able to stabilise our food supply as we begin to get a handle on what the new reality will look like for us in the coming months. This will not be a short-term response and the funding has enabled us to respond to current need and put food on the table of many individuals and families.”

A woman and a man standing outside van with food parcels

Lady filling crates at food bank


More information

For more information about how we’re supporting staff, customers and communities, visit our Coronavirus page

To find out how some of the fund has been awarded already, see the infographic below.