Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund awards £67,680 to support the community.

23rd April 2020

Charities battling the coronavirus pandemic have received a welcome boost this week.

Another £67,680 was awarded from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund to support projects tackling social isolation, offering advice and guidance and those affected by bereavement.

Over the past month, £577,450 has been awarded from various funds within the Foundation, benefiting 80 local community and voluntary organisations, including the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund, which was set up to support the increased demand that Cumbrian charities and voluntary groups are facing in the wake of COVID-19 and its related closures.

Cruse Cumbria is offering a telephone counselling service to ensure bereaved people have somewhere to turn. It will provide bereavement support to an estimated 200 extra people who are affected by a death whether as a direct result of COVID-19 or any other death where the crisis affects bereavement. It received £4,860 for additional training for its existing and new volunteers so they can provide specialist bereavement support in these unprecedented times.

Amy Green, Operations Manager, Cruse Cumbria, said: “We are anticipating a huge increase in demand due to COVID-19 and this funding will support us in meeting that demand. Our volunteers provide much needed specialist bereavement support, which is important now more than ever. We are committed to making sure all bereaved people across Cumbria can continue to access support.”

Ford Park Community Group is working with Ulverston Self-Isolation Group to help the most vulnerable members of its community. The commercial kitchen and premises will be used to prepare ‘ready meals’ and hot food. The group received £5,000 to support those who are self-isolating and those who have lost an immediate family member and are struggling to cope and care for themselves during initial period of grief and isolation. At least twice a week, a group of volunteers in Ulverston will prepare and distribute the food to residents who are most vulnerable at this time. Jill Salmon, CEO at Ford Park Community Group, said: “Ulverston Self-Isolation group and its volunteers are leading efforts to support the community during this very challenging period. Using our kitchen and premises, we will work with Ulverston Self-Isolation Group to prepare and deliver meals for those most in need of support.”

Alston Moor Emergency Response Group have set up a local support service run by volunteers for residents in the rural area of Alston Moor. The group received £4,400 to offer services such as prescription delivery to patients who are in the ‘high risk group’. The group have also set up a local helpline, phone buddying, a food delivery service working with local businesses and a newsletter to keep local residents informed.

Claire Driver, lead coordinator, said: “We are hugely grateful for this money which allows us to continue to reach those most in need at this challenging time. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit and neighbourliness shown by our volunteers and the wider community, and Alston Moor continues to be a shining example of what can be achieved when we all pull together.”

Many people will not be able to attend their usual self-help meetings due to the current restrictions. Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (Cadas) received £11,000 to set up a new helpline and campaign to help people address a broader range of addictive and dependent behaviours, including gambling, social media use as well as substances.

Providing advice and information when local residents are needing it most is Citizens Advice Allerdale. It received £10,000 to provide advice, information and support via telephone and email. It is offering support to people needing advice on benefits and housing, household debts, employment advice, financial support for the self-employed and small businesses, as well as supporting people in a domestic abuse situation and advice on relationship breakdowns.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The people of Cumbria have responded amazingly to the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve had some of the highest recorded cases in the UK and it has been a worrying time for everyone.

“Tens of thousands of older people and people with medical conditions have been locked down in their homes for weeks. Funding projects that are adapting and supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is exactly why we set the Fund up. We can only support these groups thanks to the generosity of our donors. As the demand for our grants grow, we will soon expend the funds we hold. That is why we have decided to raise the fundraising target to £3 million and ask everyone who can give to the Fund, to please do so.”