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A heartfelt message of thanks is being given to people in Essex who are helping to provide a lifeline for the community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Essex Community Foundation (ECF), an independent charitable trust, has secured over £1.1million for their Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme to support local charities and voluntary organisations.
Since the programme was launched on March 25, nearly £530,000 has already been awarded in grants.
Nick Alston, chairman of ECF, has paid tribute to the generosity shown in the county after the organisation launched the initiative to give financial support to voluntary and community organisations that are responding to the pandemic and those that are struggling.
He said: “We realised from the outset how vital it was that we make funds available quickly for local charities and voluntary organisations who are supporting the most vulnerable people in our community at this difficult time.
“Over the past 25 years ECF has become a mainstay for the voluntary sector and we have in-depth knowledge of local needs. The launch of our Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme means we have been able to give emergency funding to voluntary and community organisations so that they can respond to immediate needs by providing vital services to help local people.
“We want to thank to all those who have rallied to help so far and I am delighted to say that we have already distributed nearly £530,000 in grants, with priority given to organisations delivering vital services to older and vulnerable people, organisations helping to relieve pressure on public services and those coordinating a local community response.
“Many of our existing fundholders and supporters have been wonderfully generous in making additional donations, or they have agreed to waive the specific criteria of their charitable funds so that we can give as much support as possible at this time.
“We have also had a number of companies contact us to make donations including the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, UK Power Networks, Affinity Water, Anglian Water, East of England Coop and Chelmsford Cricket Club.
“Local solicitors and accountants, including Birketts, have made their clients aware of the programme, released unclaimed balances in support and existing charitable trusts have directed monies to us. We have also received anonymous donations ranging from £10 to £1,000 on our JustGiving page – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/essex-corona.
“The programme really has touched the hearts of local people and they have responded so generously.
“We have distributed funds across Essex to a wide range of causes, including foodbanks, Citizens Advice Bureaux, mental health charities and organisations helping the homeless. These charities are providing a lifeline for those in desperate need during the pandemic.
“We are also very aware that many charities are concerned about sustaining their organisations during this challenging time, as services have been disrupted and fundraising events have been cancelled, meaning that their income has been severely affected. We want to reassure local charities that we will do all we can to financially support them in the coming months and to recover afterwards.
“As well as continuing to give out grants through our Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme, ECF is also distributing funds raised by the National Emergencies Trust (NET) Appeal.
“To date, NET has raised around £20 million in donations nationally and the money is being awarded through the network of community foundations. ECF has already received over £385,000 to award locally from NET and we will be receiving more funds as they are raised.”
For more details about applying for a grant from ECF visit www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk.