On the 16th March 2020 Devon Community Foundation issued a statement promising its grant holders flexibility and understanding during the uncertain events that were unfolding in relation to an outbreak of coronavirus in the UK.
The following day, 17th March 2020 following advice issued by Public Health England, we announced that our work would continue, but that our office doors were temporarily closing to allow our teams to work safely from home.
On the 18th March 2020 The National Emergencies Trust, a relatively new body, formed with the aim of providing a means to collect and distribute funds in the event of a national emergency and in conjunction with Community Foundations all over the country, announced the launch of its Coronavirus appeal.
The next day, on 19th March 2020 we started our own fund that would concentrate on support based here in Devon, via our own Devon Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund, and a platform for donating was launched together with an appeal for donors.
On the 23rd March 2020 the UK was officially placed into lock down by the government.
On the same day the Devon Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund was opened for applications from local charitable groups supporting the most vulnerable people affected by the outbreak of coronavirus.
One week later, by the 2nd April 2020 we had received 106 applications totalling a requested amount of £395,068
By this time we had also launched a several pages on our website for groups and individuals to find other sources of help, including other outside funding, information and advice on a range of topics, how to volunteer help, and the services that are available locally.
We had also launched a weekly briefing, using our community insight and contacts to give other public sector bodies and partners a general oversight by theme of the impact and response to the coronavirus. Read our Weekly Briefings here.
During the beginning of June 2020 we began to contact groups we had worked with so far about the next stage of funding and what we could offer them that would be of most benefit to them moving forward from the pandemic.
On the 4th June 2020 we announced that funds distributed from our emergency fund had topped half a million pounds.
On the 10th August 2020, having processed these conversations and put them together with wider research, we launched the Core Cost Support Fund to provide a short respite for groups from the financial burden of their running costs whilst regrouping from the impact of the virus on their services.
By the 26th August the Devon Coronavirus Response & Recovery Fund and the Core Cost Support Fund had distributed £734,550 and £29,297 respectively. Data about our grant-making can be viewed here on the grant-publishing body 360 Giving's website.
In September we announced that the third phase of our funding strategy in response to coronavirus would be launched in early 2021 to wider support the charity sector in Devon post Covid.
On the 17th September with funds granted us by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) we launched our Advice and Support Programme concentrating on supporting organisations working with individuals facing financial hardship or unemployment as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Visit our Devon Coronavirus Response & Recovery Fund stories page for a snapshot of the groups we have supported so and the work they are carrying out.
Read our article that focuses on homelessness and the pandemic, as seen through the eyes of Alabaré Christian Care and Support.
Read our article about Pete's Dragons - A charity whose passion for the support of people bereaved by suicide won't be dampened by the coronavirus outbreak.
Read our article about The Nest - A CIC that formed late in 2019 and were due to launch its services supporting pregnant women this June. The pandemic, rather than put paid to their planned activities, only served them to bring them forward - albeit modified - to help Mums and Mums to be during the crisis.
Read our article about Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE), and their counterparts who are continuing their support of domestic abuse survivors through the crisis.
Find the full list of briefings written by our Communities Teams in response to the pandemic here.
What some of our grant recipients have said
"To all at the Devon Community Foundation, Thank you so very much for your wonderful email this morning. This is absolutely incredible news, thank you so very much from all of the volunteers. This really will help the vulnerable community at this difficult time." Basics Devon
"Thank you all so much. You are simply amazing and we are astounded at the speed with which you have helped us and made a HUGE difference to our beneficiaries and how we are able to support them. You have also given the team who are working in very hard and worrying times a real boost. We genuinely can not thank you enough." Pete's Dragons
"WOW! Once again DCF have come to the rescue. On behalf of so many isolated vulnerable members of our community a BIG THANK YOU! Your support will help make a huge difference to those people classified as high risk during this period of uncertainty. We are proud of our service and even more proud to have the support from DCF." Young at Heart Club
"Thank you so much. We are incredibly grateful and will ensure that the grant makes a difference to vulnerable children and young people in our area." Balloons
"Just a little email to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU for supporting Trevi at this time through the emergency funding. We received the news yesterday and were all jumping for joy virtually on Facetime!" Trevi House
"Thank you so much for such a prompt response and the excellent news - we are grateful for your support." Exeter Communities Together
"We are absolutely thrilled to receive your email, on behalf of everyone at Cruse Devon, thank you so much for your generous support. This support will enable us to continue providing vital support to those who may feel overwhelmed by their grief. Thanks again, we are incredibly grateful." Cruse Bereavement Care
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