Minister for Civil Society
Coronavirus is the biggest challenge the UK has faced in decades and has had a huge impact on the lives of everyone.
One of the things that has struck me the most in the last few months has been the speed with which the National Emergencies Trust (NET) has responded to these impacts.
The NET has truly hit the ground running in a very short space of time. It was established after the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, to be a single place to donate funds and deliver effective grant making in the event of a major emergency. The pandemic has certainly presented a major challenge and the NET has risen to it. From when they were first set up in early 2019 to becoming the major fundraiser and grant maker they are today, it is remarkable to see how far they have come.
With £20 million of government support, more than £90 million has been raised by the NET appeal and £85 million allocated to more than 4000 charities to help those in urgent need. With the help of organisations like UK Community Foundations, money is getting out of the door to where it’s needed the most. Funds have helped existing charities transform their services so that they can keep providing support in the most challenging conditions. Funds have also helped groups to provide new services to the vulnerable in the community.
Saheliyaan Asian Women’s Forum received a grant supported by DCMS funding to help marginalised and at-risk women in Chorley, North West England. Originally set up to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and vulnerable women, services have pivoted during the crisis to provide additional practical support and a lifeline for their members and others who have previously not required help. £4,470 distributed through the Community Foundation for Lancashire has been used to provide food parcels for vulnerable community members.
Concrete Garden, based in Possilpark, Glasgow is a health and wellbeing charity, focusing on therapeutic gardening, outdoor play and volunteering. Funds from the NET have been put towards equipment and technology needed to create activity packs, online play, crafts and meditation spaces, supporting well over 300 people.
Cwtch Baby Bank based in Taffs Well has used funds from the NET to provide Moses baskets full of baby clothes, blankets, and bedding for those that need them. While in Northern Ireland, Monkstown Boxing Club have paused their usual youth support programmes and used funding from NET to launch a soup kitchen, delivering upwards of 300 meals per week to families and those in need.
The funding the NET received from the Government is part of the wider £750 million package for charities and the voluntary sector. Our aim is to ensure vital services continue to be provided and that the most vulnerable in society do not lose the important support structures which they rely on and which enrich their lives in so many ways.
If you work or volunteer for a charity, thank you for all you do to support your community.