Support to help organisations get 'winter ready' is still available
Emergency support to help the voluntary sector respond to Covid-19 has hit a new milestone.
Foundation Scotland has announced the total amount distributed through its dedicated crisis fund now exceeds £6 million to date. This significant level of funding breaks all its previous records and illustrates the continued and growing needs coming from groups supporting those most vulnerable throughout the country.
The community foundation is today stressing that the Response, Recovery and Resilience fund remains open. Foundation Scotland is now particularly eager to support groups to get ‘winter-ready’, so they’re better equipped to deliver essential services through the darker, colder, winter months ahead. For example, to enable groups to extend counselling and wellbeing services remotely, to purchase all-weather protective clothing, to create virtual energising activities through the cold dark months or to offer phone-based companionship for the isolated.
Helen Wray, head of programmes at Foundation Scotland, said: “It’s been a long seven months since the crisis began, we hoped we’d be able to get back to a little more normality by now. However, it looks unlikely that restrictions will ease any time soon and we’re painfully aware the next few months will bring even more significant challenges as the nights get longer, darker and colder. The emotional, physical and financial impacts of lockdown are becoming increasingly problematic, lives have been turned upside down. Sadly, there are even more people in Scotland experiencing extreme hardship, isolation, loneliness and fear.
"However, we’re always encouraged by the resilience and strength we see in our communities. Groups across the country are coming together to urgently deliver essential and critical services to those most in need. We understand our support is needed more than ever. Crisis grants enable dedicated groups to offer vital services in protecting the most vulnerable from long-term impacts. Therefore, our fund will remain open to applications for support where it is needed most.
"For example, wellbeing services like virtual counselling and befriending will be even more important. Volunteers might need all-weather protective clothing to support those in need safely and awnings and heaters to provide services outside. We are, however encouraging groups to apply as soon as they can.”
The community foundation’s Response, Recovery and Resilience fund, delivered in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, has to date supported over 1.3 million people across Scotland. A total of £4.6 million in small grants have been distributed to 1,188 dedicated organisations delivering vital support to some of the most isolated and vulnerable people across the country. A further £1.4 million has been invested in strategic grants to national charities such as Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, Shelter Scotland and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) to deliver higher-level strategic support throughout the pandemic.
With the pandemic likely to impact on services well into 2021, the foundation is now preparing to enter the resilience phase of the fund. From December, the fund’s renewed focus will be on providing support to organisations to look even further ahead, to future proof their services more long term. The continued restrictions will undoubtedly increase demand for many services delivered by small organisations, so it’s vital they’re equipped to continue meeting the needs of their local communities. More details on the resilience phase will be available on the foundation’s website in the coming weeks.
Since launching the dedicated fund in March, the Foundation Scotland team has worked hard to assess an overwhelming level of applications ensuring vital support reaches those most in need as quickly as possible. Recent figures revealed that since the start of the crisis the Scottish funder has received almost the same number of applications in the last six months as it received in the whole of the previous financial year.
The fund continues to welcome applications between £1,000-£5,000 from constituted community groups and registered charities. The funder is eager to distribute funds quickly and is appealing to eligible groups to apply as soon as they can. Unlikely many other funding streams previous applicants are eligible to reapply to access further support needed.
Helping to provide the Wow Factor
Weekday Wow Factor works with local older people with the aim to "awaken the inner child" by using exciting and healthy leisure activities, to enhance health and wellbeing, make and maintain friendships and gain new confidence along the way. The organisation has been providing health, wellbeing and loneliness/social-isolation support online or socially distanced (when and if possible).
The charity's Upasana Sallis said: “Foundation Scotland funding has been incredibly important for our key services helping isolated older people who would otherwise be suffering through the crisis. The support has allowed us to provide new technology to community members who had never used more than a phone before, and we’ve taken the time to train them individually on how to use zoom and whatsapp for example."