Providing funding for those at the heart of the COVID-19 response
4 May 2020Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Community Response Fund has been helping community initiatives across the borough respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
After the Council originally set up the Fund with a pot of £250,000, it was matched by a donation from the Westminster Foundation, meaning a total of £500,000 is now available to community initiatives.
Share, which supports homeless people in the Chester area, is one of nearly 50 community initiatives that have already received a grant, with more than £200,000 in funding handed out so far.
With its charity shop and café currently closed because of the pandemic, Share’s funding from the Council and other streams have allowed it to continue to provide an important service for vulnerable people.
Food deliveries, as well as other things like toiletries, clothing, books and magazines, have helped homeless people cope with their already challenging circumstances.
Caitlin Bold, Operations Manager at Share, said: “We would usually be seeing and supporting around 40 to 50 people each week, but we’re now helping a lot more people because of the current circumstances.
“We’ve been working really closely with the Council, ForFutures and other charities and we’ve got into a good routine over the last couple of weeks, but things have changed a lot since the pandemic started so we’ve had to constantly adapt to make sure we are providing the right support where it is needed.
“Our charity shop and café sales, plus the donations we receive through the shop from our supporters, are our main sources of income so this extra funding has made a big difference to us.
“It’s meant that we’re still able to support all of these people who need us. It’s so important for their health and wellbeing that they continue to receive our help.
“One of the few positives out of this situation is the real community spirit shown across the country.”
Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: “The response by community groups and our services to support homeless people has been incredible.
“Working together, we have been able to protect people from the virus by providing accommodation and helping people with limited funds to get food, reducing the need for non-essential travel.
“The support service Share has provided for homeless people as part of this collaborative initiative has been wonderful and demonstrates exactly why the Council’s Community Response Fund was set up.
“Thank you to Share for playing a key role in the response to COVID-19 in our borough.”
Who can apply
Any grants over £500 will be considered, but it is expected most grants will be around £2,000. To access an application form, community initiatives will need to email: firstname.lastname@example.org. They will then be able to complete the application form and return it to the same email address. If groups do not have their own bank account, they should contact the Locality team for support.
Gary has been delivering food to homeless people as part of Share's response to COVID-19.