15 Apr 2020
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland has awarded £622k to over 245 community groups supporting people of all ages and at increased risk as a result of the virus, particularly in relation to poor mental health and wellbeing and vulnerable isolated people, particularly in rural areas will now be eligible to apply for funding. In a mere three weeks the Foundation has received, assessed and issued the funding to these groups to enable them to deliver a wider range of local support and care services within their communities. The fast-tracked assessment process has allowed qualifying groups to immediately start to support their communities and help older people who are isolated, alone or in need of help.
In addition, since its launch, the fund has been significantly boosted by contributions from Ulster Garden Villages Ltd, Department for Communities, The VSB Foundation, ARN Foundation, National Emergencies Trust, Bank of Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Comic Relief and most recent Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Helping us to reach a total fund of £1,090,000 to support communities in need.
Commenting on the Fund, Siofra Healy, Director of Philanthropy at the Community Foundation explains, “We are thrilled to have allocated this money to groups in such a short period of time. This is all about swift support and enabling communities, which is our focus via the fund. The speed and generosity with which bodies have responded to the launch of the Coronavirus Community Fund has been amazing. They fully recognise our close trusted links with community groups and our ability to connect quickly with them and enable them to deliver funding where it can make an immediate impact.
“Funding available with immediate effect enables applications of between £1,000 to £2,500 for organisations providing small scale emergency support, while organisations supporting need on a longer-term basis, and/or are significantly enhancing their services at this time, can apply for grants of up to £10,000.”
Momentum Community Choir based in Derry~Londonderry and Strabane one of the groups to receive funding to support a daily text and social media contact service, and a virtual choir rehearsal and performance programme for its 40 plus members who range in age from 18-82.
Choirmaster Siobhan Heaney who learned about the Coronavirus Community Fund through Derry & Strabane District Council says, “We’re absolutely delighted to have received this funding from the Community Foundation. We’ve already carried out a test choir practice using a video platform and we’ll hold our first proper choir practice on Thursday night. We’re calling ourselves Momentum Community Connect Project.
“Although we had a few technical hitches as we got used to the new platform, afterwards everyone said how great it was to see other choir members. This project is keeping people connected to each other during this difficult time through singing. For our members who aren’t confident with technology, we’re creating a CD-based song and exercise programme and keeping them up to date via a weekly newsletter so they can continue to be involved.
“We have a few NHS workers in the choir and they are finding the benefit in the virtual singing sessions and feeling connected to the other choir members. It’s a piece of downtime. As I tell all my choir members it’s impossible to sing and worry at the same time!’, Siobhan adds.
Groups wishing to apply for funding click here.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Coronavirus Community Fund appeal you can donate online here.