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Friday, 25 September 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

COVID-19 Response Fund hands out £500,000 in grants in 8 weeks

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A major fund launched to help people affected by the coronavirus pandemic has distributed over £500,000 in grants.

The COVID-19 Response Fund was set up by Cheshire Community Foundation in April.

Backed by Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs MBE, new High Sheriff of Cheshire Nick Hopkinson MBE, DL, and previous High Sheriff Mark Mitchell DL, the fund attracted over £1million in donations. The Steve Morgan Foundation agreed to provide match funding for many of the projects.

In less than two months, the fund has provided support to almost 140 different organisations across Cheshire West, Cheshire East and Warrington.

Cheshire Community Foundation has played a vital role in managing the fund and ensuring grants reach the organisations that most need them.

Among charities in Cheshire West to benefit are the Port Grocery, West Cheshire Foodbank, Maggie’s Centre at Clatterbridge and Passion for Learning.

In Cheshire East, successful charities include Transforming Lives Together, Nantwich Foodbank, Cheshire Streetwise, Age UK Cheshire East, The Welcome and East Cheshire Hospice.

Warrington charities to receive funding include Warrington Disability Partnership, Warrington Foodbank, Transformation for Veterans and Warrington Youth Club.

Sarah Riley, Manager of community hub, The Welcome, in Knutsford, said:

“We have been very hectic as we moved the focus from our usual day to day activities and services to establishing an emergency food distribution centre here at The Welcome. Thank you to all our funders who have been so supportive and understanding of these necessary changes.”

Among the services offered by the hub, situated on the town’s Longridge Estate, have been emergency food parcels, a free hot meal service, online and phone counselling and online youth activities.

Nick Reed is an example of someone who has directly benefited from the work of Macclesfield-based Cheshire Streetwise. Nick was homeless when the charity first started helping him, finding him accommodation and supporting him with various health conditions.

Nick said:

“The food parcels have been a godsend to me during the crisis and other times when I’ve struggled with lack of finances. Eighteen months ago, I was homeless and the food parcels and support from Streetwise have been absolutely outstanding and I couldn’t have got through it without them.”

Cheshire Community Foundation will shortly announce a new strategic grants programme, making use of the outstanding money raised, to help charities affected by coronavirus to ‘adapt and survive.’

Zoe Sheppard, CEO of Cheshire Community Foundation, said:

“We are thrilled to have been able to help so many charities in such a short space of time and when their need has been at its greatest.

“This has only been possible thanks to the huge generosity of our donors and to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved at Cheshire Community Foundation.

“We are still to see the full impact on our communities from the coronavirus pandemic and we are looking forward to the imminent launch of the next phase of our response via a new strategic grants programme, helping to match our donors’ money with the causes that most require their support.”

To donate, go to www.cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk and simply click the donate button, email office@cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk or call 01606 330 607.

To enquire about funding, charities should go to www.cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk/apply-for-funding or contact the grants team via email at grants@cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk

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