Northamptonshire Community Foundation boss 'amazed' by 'outpouring of generosity' as donations top £400,000

More than £430,000 has been dished out to projects in Northamptonshire since lockdown started to fund befriending groups, food banks and craft projects for isolated people

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 9:00 am
Victoria Miles is the CEO of the Northamptonshire Community Foundation which is working hard to gift grants to charities and groups affected most by Covid-19.

A grant giving charity in Northamptonshire has been working back-to-back to hand out emergency funding to 110 grassroots projects keeping lives afloat since Boris Johnson declared the lockdown.

Money from the National Emergencies Trust and cash from residents in the county who have been digging deep has totted up to more than £430,000 in less than two months.

This has been used by Northamptonshire Community Foundation (NCF) as part of their Recovery and Response Fund to act as a lifeline for hundreds of projects stretching from Corby to Brackley.

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The funding has been used on hard-to-reach residents to give out craft kits, pay for over-the-phone counselling sessions for young adults, keep food banks afloat and keep befriending services thriving for the elderly - just to name a few.

CEO Victoria Miles has said the community foundation has been giving out grants in the region of £3,000 to £20,000.

This week the foundation has been focusing on the BAME community and has given six thousand pounds to Zimwomen Association Northamptonshire and United African Association.

"It's been the most amazing time in lots of ways, there's been an outpouring of generosity," Victoria said.

"You can imagine we've never been as busy, all of us have become incredibly operational to do the assessments and make sure we get the money out of the door really quickly.

"We launched the Response and Recovery fund just as we went into lockdown. We just started to get the money in and we were able to turn the grants around within 24 hours.

"The speed of the response has been really hailed as community foundations coming into their own because they know their patch."

Examples of how the money was spent in Northampton include Spring Charity - who received £2,531.81 - which will be used to provide care and activity packs for vulnerable families on a low income in Spring Boroughs. And, Live at Home Northampton were given a £2,000 grant, which provided activity packs, shopping and befriending services for vulnerable people self-isolating without support networks.

"The other side of it is we will undoubtedly lose charities over this,” Victoria added. “That’s because they've lost the ability to fundraise in the way that they would normally do at their green counters in supermarkets or at cake sales.

"People run for charities in marathons and their fundraising over this period will absolutely plummet.

"Some will reinvent themselves but I do fear the recovery phase will be far more difficult to help as many as we have helped in the emergency stages."

It's still possible to set up a standing order or make a one-off payment to the community foundation as the charity needs the support of the county now more than ever to make a difference to those affected most by the pandemic.

"Where people are self isolating they really need the support.

"It's not a huge amount but the impact and the scale of it is huge, particularly, I think, around the food aid and making sure people are being spoken to on a regular basis like the befriending service.

""The role of a volunteer has never been as prevalent and the money is just so beautifully used in the way that it's quick, easy and effective."

Click here to make a difference and give to NCF.