A Second Birthday Thank You
Richard Dannatt, Chairman of the National Emergencies Trust
Today the National Emergencies Trust marks its second birthday, and it’s been quite the journey to get here.
Just four short months after we launched as a charity with a staff of two, we activated our first emergency fundraising appeal in response to the global pandemic. The Coronavirus Appeal quickly had us running at full speed as a fundraiser and distributor, raising nearly £100million for those in need and supporting more than 14,000 charitable projects UK wide.
But I strongly believe that building the Trust through the pandemic has meant it has grown into a far better two year old, and far faster, than had our first appeal been in response to a more localised national emergency.
Because the pandemic touched the lives of everyone, we have had the opportunity to quickly build relationships and networks that will mean we leave no-one behind when the next emergency arises. At a very early point in our journey, we have had to consider at speed how to create the most equitable outcomes for all communities, giving consideration to a whole host of needs and protected characteristics. As a result, we find ourselves well-placed to deliver on our founding mission: to be fast and fair when the worst happens.
We have been carved out of the incredible corporate conscience that shone through during the pandemic. Not only did more than 40 percent of donations to the Coronavirus Appeal come from private companies, but so many of them did far more than fund us. They promoted our name to their customers and colleagues on their channels, standing our brand in stronger stead for the next disaster. In fact, our research shows that a third of UK adults say they now know our name.
We are also stronger today thanks to the incredible sector solidarity that Covid created, showing what is possible, and how quickly, when we stand together and trust one another in the darkest of times.
In weeks, not months or years, we had the chance to collaborate with sector peers to create UK-wide funding consortiums, including with Disability UK and Cruse Bereavement Support. And to listen to those with lived experience to launch innovative new services like Ubele’s new Bayo initiative, the Global Majority Fund with Comic Relief and Barnado’s Boloh helpline for Black, Asian and minority ethnic families impacted by the pandemic. These collaborative projects will all create positive learnings and legacies on so many levels.
And of course as we move forward, our ways of working have been shaped for the future of work by socially distanced working conditions. Today we cannot justify a costly office space when we look at what we have achieved without one – and with people who had never met one another. We are also intensely focused on digital innovation, having had a taste of how this can create transparency and drive efficiencies right through our operations
Above all, growing through and out of Covid has given us perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to do what the UK Charity Commission called for back in 2017: to be a national charity that acts fast, acts for and stands by the UK voluntary sector, to make a difference to those in great need when the worst happens.