The Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation recognises that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a major event and that many small, local charities and community groups will be worried about its impact on their work and communities. We want this note to help reassure you that we will do everything we can to continue supporting the sector at this time.
First, there’s lots of good advice out there, including from NCVO and Connected Voice, which we encourage you to look at.
Second, we are doing all we can to make sure the Community Foundation can carry on business as usual. Our online systems mean we can work from home if we need to. If a few of us are off work, it might slow us down a bit, but we expect to stay open for grant applications. So, we can concentrate on grant-making, we’re cancelling or postponing events and meetings in the next couple of months. If you’ve booked to come to something we’re running, we’ll be in touch.
Third, we know many of you are supporting some of the most vulnerable people but will yourselves be under extra pressure and uncertainty. So, we’re going to be as flexible as we can be about grants you already have. We know you may have to adapt your activities and that’s fine – just let us know when you can. If you think you’re going to need to extend the timetable for activity we’ve funded, or you need more time to report to us, again, let us know.
Lastly, we’re thinking about ways we might be able to provide extra help to organisations so they can continue supporting vulnerable people and so they can get back to normal when the outbreak eases. While we don’t want to put any burden on you, it would be really helpful to know what sort of work you think could and should be funded for people who may be particularly affected – because they are in a high risk group, or because they are already under pressure from low income, poor housing or lack of support. If you have ideas you can email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our aim is to be as helpful as possible during the coming weeks and months so that our local groups can focus on the vital work of supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. We understand that there will be times when staff and volunteers will not be available, when beneficiaries may need services to be provided in different ways, or when systems need to be flexible to ensure that needs are met.
Listening to you – we are here if you want to talk to us about the situation you’re facing, but we’ll wait for you to call us so that these conversations are at the right time for you.
The Bedfordshire Coronavirus Emergency Fund raises over £640,000 in just 6 weeks!
Since launching the fund on 23rd March 2020, as an immediate response to the UK Government’s Lockdown instructions, we have raised £644K in just over 6 weeks. With the help of our fantastic partners and generous funders, this money has already started to make a difference in our community, as small, local charities respond to the pandemic and upscale and adapt their services to meet the needs of their users.
To date 109 emergency grants have been awarded and a total of £5011K has been distributed across Bedfordshire. Requests for funding include:
The response has been incredible and we are receiving daily feedback on the impact this funding is having. Chris Stelling, CEO for Carers in Bedfordshire said:
“We support over 7,000 unpaid carers across Bedfordshire all of whom have been impacted by the Coronavirus. Without funding from the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation we would not have been able to respond so rapidly. “
The Fund is still OPEN and accepting applications to see the criteria or apply click here.
The Foundation would like to thank everyone involved for the speed and collaborative response to this remarkable time in our history. We are all in this together and the spirit and approach that has been applied to this work is something that collectively we should be very proud of. #NeverMoreNeeded
Take a look at this video to see the types of initiatives we are funding:
The National Emergencies Trust (NET) has today launched an appeal to raise funds to help local charities to support those individuals suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. We are proud to be working with The National Emergencies Trust and our colleagues at UKCF and the wider network to distribute money raised through a number of charitable organisations, to ensure it reaches those who need it most.
Community Foundations are well placed to support local charities to overcome challenges presented by this ongoing emergency.