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Norfolk-wide coronavirus fund set up to help charities in their hour of need

PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:16 26 March 2020

Claire Cullens chief executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation . Picture; New Anglia LEP

Claire Cullens chief executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation . Picture; New Anglia LEP

New Anglia LEP

The coronavirus pandemic is posing an unprecedented challenge to the grassroots organisations which support some of Norfolk’s most vulnerable people.

Foodbanks are facing unprecedented demand, and need businesses and residents to donate as much as they can to get through this difficult time. Picture: David Jones/PA WireFoodbanks are facing unprecedented demand, and need businesses and residents to donate as much as they can to get through this difficult time. Picture: David Jones/PA Wire

In a bid to ensure those bodies, which are at the heart of the fight to keep the vulnerable safe and well, also receive the support they need, a county-wide Covid-19 response fund has been established.

Set up by the Norfolk Community Foundation (NCF), the Covid-19 Community Response Fund is designed to enable the county’s local charities and community groups to rise to the challenge posed by coronavirus.

The aim of the fund, to which individuals and businesses can donate, is to amass a pot of money from which to distribute grants of £1,000.

Claire Cullens, chief executive of NCF, said: “When something like coronavirus strikes, you realise the people on the ground with our vulnerable people are local charities and community groups because they are already established and working really hard supporting the isolated, those with mental health problems and addiction, coronavirus has added to those needs.”

Age UK Norfolk is expanding its befriending service where it calls older people who might be lonely. It is looking for volunteers. Picture: AGE UK NORFOLKAge UK Norfolk is expanding its befriending service where it calls older people who might be lonely. It is looking for volunteers. Picture: AGE UK NORFOLK

Ms Cullens said the voluntary sector, which is hugely reliant on people giving up their time, had lost a lot of its volunteers because they were either aged over 70 or had their own health issues.

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“When community groups really need to respond they’re poleaxed by a reduction in volunteers... And secondly a lot of the funding has gone,” she said.

Ms Cullens said the organisations NCF hoped to help with the Covid-19 Community Response Fund included the likes of Age UK and foodbanks.

She said the fund was about mobilising a community response in the event of a crisis and the more people who donated, the more groups it would be able to support.

“The benefit of this consolidated county wide funding is that it goes absolutely where it’s needed.

“We’re here for a marathon not a sprint,” she said.

• To donate to the Covid-19 Community Response Fund visit the Norfolk Foundation website or alternatively send a cheque payable to Norfolk Community Foundation (referencing Covid-19 Community Response Fund) to Norfolk Community Foundation, St. James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TN. You can also call on 01603 623958.

• To apply for a grant from the fund email grants@norfolkfoundation.com


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