Dorset Community Foundation’s £1.1million Coronavirus Community Fund has made 328 grants to 220 groups in Dorset in the past year.
The foundation’s Dorset in the Pandemic report has praised the work of thousands of volunteers and charity organisers.
The fund was launched on 19 March 2020, ten days after the first Covid cases were recorded in the county and two days before the first death. Working with the National Emergencies Trust, which was spearheaded by Prince William, the community foundation quickly funnelled money to the Covid response groups emerging in communities, with the first grants made on 6 April.
Jeremy Mills, the community foundation’s chairman of trustees, writes in the report, “These last 12 months have, without doubt, been a time of uncertainty, anxiety, sadness and disruption never seen on such a scale in this country outside of wartime.
“However they have also brought out the very best in us as a people and in Dorset we have seen charities and voluntary groups step up despite losing staff and revenue, people who would never have imagined themselves volunteering coming forward to help their communities and new groups materialising to meet the need on their doorstep.
“I am proud that Dorset Community Foundation has stood squarely at the forefront of this effort.”
Community foundation staff streamlined its grants application and assessment process so that the money pouring into its fund from individual donors, trusts and businesses could be turned round quickly.
Director Grant Robson said, “Our trustees and volunteers really came through for us in helping to make quick decisions without sacrificing the integrity of the process.”
The report details how the money was distributed, including £345,000 to groups providing hot meals and food, £126,000 to those dealing with mental health, £117,000 for youth groups and £106,000 for financial advice and support from groups such as Citizens Advice.
Grants were made in four phases between April and this February, with £197,197 going out at its peak in September.
“We were bowled over that donors we had known for many years, as well as lots of new ones, came forward to help. We reached out to some but many came to us wanting to respond to the pictures they were seeing on TV and in newspapers,” said Mr Robson.
The report includes tales from many of the groups who were funded on how they tackled the crisis. These include Lychett Minster and Upton Town Council who used a £3,000 grant to set up a foodbank and The Crumbs Project in Bournemouth, which received £4,000 to deliver hot meals.
To read the report or find out more about the community foundation go to dorsetcommunityfoundation.org.
Please share post:
Follow us on