Re­lief ef­fort

The Guardian - - National Coronaviru­s - Pa­trick But­ler So­cial pol­icy ed­i­tor

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

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