2nd Apr 2020

Picture of the Happy at Home Team taken before Social Distancing

The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland today announced the first round of grants from its recently created Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund. The grants totalling £100,000 will go to groups supporting older people across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.  

The Community Foundation put in £200,000 to kick-start the Fund and following a raft of donations including £100,000 each from Newcastle Building Society and Virgin Money Foundation the fund now stands at over £500,000. 

Rob Williamson Chief Executive of the Community Foundation, said:  

Following the tremendous support of our donors we are pleased to be making the first round of grants totalling £100,000 from the Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund. These grants will go to groups supporting some of the most vulnerable and isolated older people in our communities. 

One of the groups supported in this round is Churches Together South Tyneside who will use the funds to support their Happy at Home project which has had to adapt quickly to new social distancing rules. 

Margaret Stephenson-Gray Project Co-ordinator for the Happy at Home project at Churches Together South Tyneside said:  

"When we saw that lockdown was coming, we knew we needed to adapt our support for older people in South Tyneside. We quickly pulled a range of staff from other projects and had them contact all our volunteer befrienders to ask them to continue the befriending service but over the phone instead of in person and we’ve been able to support over 300 people daily as a result” 

“We’ve also got them checking what other support our service users need and from that we’ve been distributing food parcels, Easter eggs and even flowers! When we heard our users were getting bored, we collected together all the games, jigsaws and other activities we use at our weekly community hubs, which sadly we have had to close. We have added them to the food parcels we are sending out. This grant will help us keep up with the growing need from isolated older people for our support.”  

Williamson added: 

“It’s great to see the work of charitable organisations like Churches Together South Tyneside and their Happy at Home Project. Supporting projects like this to adapt and continue to support the most vulnerable in our communities is exactly why we set this fund up. Over coming weeks we will be supporting more groups to continue such support as well as looking ahead, because our area’s brilliant charities and community organisations will need support to get back on their feet after the outbreak eases so they can keep up their vital work.” 

For more information about the Fund and how to support it click here  

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