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Caroline Taylor, chief executive of Essex Community Foundation, says the impact of the pandemic on charities will last for many months, even years
People are being urged to continue supporting their communities, charities and voluntary groups even as Covid-19 restrictions are eased and life starts to return to some normality.
The plea comes from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), which has announced a further £4.5 million awarded in grants over the past 12 months. This money has helped local charities and voluntary groups respond to the pandemic, find new ways of working, recover from months of inactivity and loss of fundraising.
Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “Although we have awarded £4.5 million in grants this year, we received funding applications requesting a total of £6.3 million, so the need is clear.
“Many people relied on local charities during the pandemic, which shows us just how important small charities are in the communities where we live and why we must do all we can to help.
“Restrictions are lifting, and more activities can slowly return, including the ability to hold fundraising events, but the impact of the pandemic on charities will last for many months, even years.”
It is perhaps not unsurprising that ECF saw an increase in the number of applications they received from organisations that provide counselling and support for people of all ages who are struggling with their mental health. Also, extra demand for community transport, befriending services and online activities to help keep people connected and reduce isolation.
A total of £97,000 was awarded in grants to charities and voluntary groups working in Epping Forest District including:
Citizens Advice Bureau – Epping Forest District which was awarded a grant of £9,500 to set up and deliver a pilot outreach surgery for local people within the GPs clinic in Waltham Abbey.
Mind in West Essex which received £10,852 towards their core costs so they can provide a range of therapies for people experiencing mental health issues.
Now, ECF is offering people who care about their community and want their giving to stay local, the chance to have their donation matched under their Acorn Fund Challenge.
The challenge matches all donations on a two-to-one basis and aims to raise a total of £750,000 for local community groups and charities. This means that for every £2 received, ECF will add £1, and if Gift Aid can be claimed, it nearly doubles the value of donations.
Caroline added: “The more we can raise, the greater amount of help we can give so we are asking people to please donate what they can and share this opportunity as widely as possible through their families, friends and colleagues.”
Anyone can give towards the challenge by making a one-off donation or setting up a regular gift. Companies and their employees can get involved in raising money in their local teams. There are also tax incentives associated with gifts to charity so professional advisers may have clients who will want to support this initiative.
You can give online through www.justgiving.com/campaign/ECFAcorn or contact ECF on 01245 355947.
Charities and voluntary groups working in Essex can apply for grants from ECF at any time either for specific projects or for their running costs. Visit www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk.
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