COVID-19 Fund

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Sarah Newton (manager of Dobies Charitable Trust) wanted to establish a specific fund to support the local community of West Cumbria, during the COVID 19 pandemic. The £10,000 is a substantial amount for this small Trust and almost doubles the normal annual level of giving.

The fund will award grants of up to £1000 to community organisations and charities, to support the delivery of their services. The Trust does not deliver services itself but financially supports those who are doing that work in the community. The fund will cover West Cumbria only and applications will not be considered from individuals.

Recognising charities and community groups will be seeing increased demand for their services, whilst suffering reductions to income, the fund will support these vital organisations via the grants.

In the short term there are three areas, the fund will focus on:

  • Foodbanks – 1 in 8 households in Cumbria have an annual income of below £10,000. As household incomes are reduced due to furloughing or redundancy, the demand on foodbanks will increase. This is a basic practical need that all households should be able to fulfil without worry or angst.
  • Domestic Violence – there has been an increase in the demand for support for victims living with domestic violence, as social distancing measures intensify their situation. Existing relationship issues will be put under increasing pressures as people are asked to stay at home.
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – all ages are affected. From vulnerable young people, to parents juggling work and home schooling to furloughed/redundant employees and those with learning difficulties self-isolating. Even those not usually affected by mental health will be swept into inc1reased states of anxiety and uncertainty.

The delivery of community services will be addressing both practical and emotional needs and with current social distancing measures, the way in which these programmes are delivered will require extra planning, resources and therefore money. The fund can help with these extra costs.

The Trust has already donated £500 to Mirehouse Residents Group, to back food production and delivery and activity packs for kids under 16, all delivered by volunteers. The work is impacting over 2000 residents. Charlie from the group said:

"We on Mirehouse are very grateful for your immediate assistance and donation as we created our meals on wheels project to feed the vulnerable of our estate. Your support has been very much appreciated as it allowed us to immediately put our plans into place therefore showing support for our community at a very difficult time."

If your organisation has already applied to the Community Fund in the past, this is a separate fund and another application can be considered.