CHESHIRE 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.

In line with other sectors, Cheshire’s charitable organisations are likely to face huge challenges in the coming weeks and months.

Many will face an increase in demand while already under resourced and working at capacity, with some having to completely change the way they operate.

Some charities are reliant upon volunteers and will struggle if these vital supporters become ill, self-isolate or are unable to help due to caring responsibilities of their own. Many charities will also see a drop in their income due to cancelled fundraising events and reduced rental and activity income.

The Cheshire and Warrington 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.

Zoe Sheppard, CEO of Cheshire Community Foundation, said:

“The outbreak of COVID-19 is an exceptional event, already impacting many of the charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups we currently support with grant funding. These groups, already under pressure helping those most in need, are going to be stretched to breaking point without additional support.”

The Cheshire and Warrington 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.

Zoe added: “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.”

In addition to the local appeal, The National Emergencies Trust (The NET) has today launched a national appeal to raise funds to help local charities support those individuals suffering hardship because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The NET will distribute money raised through various charitable organisations, including local Community Foundations, to ensure it reaches those who need it most. It is clear, however, that although very welcome, funding from The NET will be in no way be enough to meet the need in Cheshire and Warrington.

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, visit http://cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk/donate/ or email office@cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk or call 01606 330607.

The Fund will also provide a focus for charitable trusts, companies and other organisations wishing to support the community and charity response.

To enquire about funding, charities should contact the grants team via email at grants@cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk