In order to be effective at what we do, it’s crucial that at Devon Community Foundation we really understand the difficulties being faced by people all over our county. Knowing what obstacles stand in the way of a happy, healthy and fulfilled life puts us in a better position to also understand and support the groups, charities and organisations that are out there offering solutions and help to those people.
The coronavirus pandemic has been no exception.
We have, over the last few months, shared many stories on behalf of a wide range of groups, who have worked tirelessly to respond to new or increased needs of the people they support as a result of the virus.
We have been amazed, but not surprised, to see how quickly they have come to the aid of those who have been isolated- both physically and emotionally, those who needed food, medicine, companionship, guidance, even equipment in order to be able to connect with others and stay safe.
We too had to move quickly at DCF and within 3 days of the government announcing a move to home-working, we had launched an emergency fund to support this work - the Devon Coronavirus Response & Recovery Fund.
We are proud to report that to date the fund has distributed over £700,000 in grants across Devon and supported the incredible work of food banks; youth clubs; schools; hospices; pregnancy, family & elderly support groups; domestic abuse charities; bereavement support groups, charities working with the homeless and many, many more.
At present this fund remains open for those that continue to offer front-line support, though we anticipate that as lockdown restrictions continue to be lifted and therefore people’s immediate risk eases, the need for it will diminish and it will close.
After many weeks of successful grant making that has concentrated on the people directly and immediately impacted by the virus, in June we began to turn our attention to the charities and groups themselves.
It was clear, from direct conversation and our wider research, that some charities anticipated being highly impacted financially by the pandemic.
- Many big funding bodies, on whom some small groups and charities rely for income, closed or changed their usual grant-making activities throughout the lockdown months.
- Other in-house fundraising opportunities and events were unable to go ahead
- Charities faced increasing costs due to extra demand on and diversification to their services
DCF have been pleased to have been able to offer a reprieve from financial pressure for some local groups for a short time with our Core Cost Support Fund that launched in August.
This fund offers groups a one-off grant that aims to mitigate their running costs for four months and enables them to cover expenses like rent, utility bills, insurance, salaries etc whilst they ‘regroup’.
Unfortunately, our limited time and resources have not allowed us to make an open call for applications to this fund. We have however, made careful and deliberate considerations to help as many groups as we possibly can, as fairly as we can, starting with those that already have an established link to us.
Invitations and applications to this fund are still in progress and will be ongoing until such time as the fund is spent.
So far the Core Cost Support Fund has distributed £29,297.
Resilience & Transformation
Whilst the Transition phase of our coronavirus funding is a quick but short-term answer to groups getting back on their feet, phase three will concentrate very much on the longer term of the wider voluntary sector as it moves into a new future, post Covid.
We will be working hard to continue to work with both the groups on the ground and other sector partners to develop a programme of grant-making and support aimed at ensuring charitable endeavour remains strong and connected in Devon after what has been a very turbulent and challenging 2020.
We aim to launch the Resilience & Transformation phase of our coronavirus in January of 2021.
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