An unprecedented UK-wide disaster relief fund has been launched to raise funds for voluntary groups providing care and support for elderly and vulnerable people affected by the social and economic impact of coronavirus.
Donations will go to local charities aiding older citizens, especially those confined to home and at risk of social isolation, as well as to charities supporting people with mental health issues, cancer, or chronic disease.
The campaign will be coordinated by the National Emergencies Trust (NET), set up in 2019. Community groups that support people on low and insecure incomes, such as food banks or suppliers of school dinner replacements, are also expected to benefit.
The launch of the fund comes amid reports that vulnerable people are having problems getting food and medicines because of panic buying, and that many frontline charities are struggling to stay solvent and maintain services because of widespread cancellations of fundraising events.
The relief fund will provide a single collection point for public donations; the money will be distributed as grants to frontline charities in the UK using the local expertise of a network of 46 regional community foundations.
The NET was set up after the Grenfell Tower and Manchester Arena tragedies to coordinate fundraising and provide a trusted donations channel.
Lord Dannatt, the chair of the NET, said: “The outbreak of coronavirus is clearly both a global and national emergency. While there is much that government can do, and is doing, there is also a strong desire of the public to help others. There are grassroots organisations that can provide vital support.”
Separately, a national initiative of more than 40 voluntary sector groups has been set up to recruit and deploy volunteers to help vulnerable people.
Donations: nationalemergenciestrust. org.uk. Or via JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving, LaunchGood, MuslimGiving, GoFundMe