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Norfolk’s coronavirus fund reaches £700,000 - now let’s make it a million!

PUBLISHED: 15:03 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:03 14 April 2020

Norfolk Community Foundation chief executive, Claire Cullens, has saluted the county's response to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Picture: NCF

Norfolk Community Foundation chief executive, Claire Cullens, has saluted the county's response to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Picture: NCF

NORFOLK COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

A fund set up to support Norfolk’s charities and community groups during the coronavirus crisis has amassed £700,000 in donations.

Norfolk County Council has donated £100,000 to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Pictured is NCC leader, Andrew Proctor. Picture: NCCNorfolk County Council has donated £100,000 to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Pictured is NCC leader, Andrew Proctor. Picture: NCC

Launched by Norfolk Community Foundation (NCF), the COVID-19 Community Response Fund is designed to help groups sustain crucial activities as the pandemic continues.

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

Just three weeks after creation of the fund was first revealed, around £700,000 has been donated - with £190,000 coming from the National Emergencies Trust and another £100,000 from Norfolk County Council.

More than 100 grants have been distributed to those who applied for funding, and dozens more will be provided in the coming weeks.

Food banks are among the organisations Norfolk Community Foundation is helping through its COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Picture: David Jones/PA WireFood banks are among the organisations Norfolk Community Foundation is helping through its COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Picture: David Jones/PA Wire

Claire Cullens, chief executive at NCF, saluted Norfolk’s “absolutely amazing” response amid unprecedented circumstances.

“We’ve received funding from charitable trusts, from businesses - but about a third has been an outpouring of support from people across Norfolk,” said Ms Cullens.

“More than 1,000 people have donated so far and what this crisis has done is bring together a community. The role of the community foundation at its core is about harnessing community interest and focus, and people giving what they can.

“I don’t think anything has ever demonstrated the role of community like this. That is an unbelievable change in terms of public response in wanting to share a common goal and share a burden.”

MORE: ‘It’s not the whole answer’ - charities say £750m coronavirus cash boost must be start of support

Among those to benefit from the ‘COVID fund’ is Wellspring Family Centre in Dereham, where volunteers are working tirelessly to operate a food bank and base for running essential errands for vulnerable people.

Meanwhile the Pandora Project, a domestic abuse charity in West Norfolk, is receiving funding to buy mobile phones for women should they need to request urgent help.

As donations continue to flood in, Ms Cullens says the next stage of the project will have more focus on long-term resilience.

“That first stage of the fund was about mobilising a rapid response,” she added. “Now the impact of COVID-19 is really starting to bite in terms of issues like homelessness, domestic abuse and bereavement.

“We’ve now launched a grant opportunity for charities that are established in those kinds of fields. We’re moving from the more fragmented, community activity to bigger organisations.”

• To donate, visit norfolkfoundation.com or 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 01603 623958.

• To apply for a grant, email grants@norfolkfoundation.com

For the latest COVID-19 news, visit the Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook page.

Click here to find out more about the EDP’s Here to Help campaign.

You can also subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, providing all the latest from where you live.


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