Voluntary and community groups (VCS) across the city have benefited from a further £50,000 of funding to help them provide crucial services to residents through the coronavirus pandemic.

33 voluntary and community groups across the city have now been awarded funding to provide support to residents in the city affected by COVID-19.

In January, the city council launched a further £50,000 support fund, which VCS organisations could apply to receive financial support in the form of a grant with further match funding to be given by the Community Foundation for Staffordshire. In deciding which applications were approved, priority was given to charities or community groups which are based in the city and delivering services to Stoke-on-Trent residents which address one or more of the following areas:

Provision of food and other essential supplies (particularly to harder-to-reach groups and communities)
Providing support around payment of energy and water bills,
Providing other essential support or services to low income families with children or other vulnerable households who are particularly affected by the pandemic

The initiative followed the previous successful grant scheme where local VSC organisations were allocated £143,480 in grants to support efforts to alleviate the impacts of the first two waves of the pandemic.

Pamela Heraty of Fegg Hayes Residents Association, who were awarded £2,500 of funding said: “It is fantastic news that we have been awarded £2500 to support our ongoing response to the pandemic. Since March we have been advocates for community. We have been supporting local residents with any support they need. We have done shopping, collected prescriptions, provided activity packs for children and offer a befriending service. Many people have said we have brightened their day.

“The money we have been awarded will enable us to further support vulnerable families, isolated individuals, those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs and elderly people within the Fegg Hayes area. This will involve supplying and delivering food, cleaning materials and toiletries to people who are in need. We know this will make a big difference to those struggling.”

Adam Yates of The Hubb Foundation, who were awarded £4,000 of funding said: “The Hubb Foundation are currently providing emergency referral food parcels to families that are struggling. To date we have provided 275,000 meals to families since April 2020.

“We will be using the money to provide fresh fruit and vegetables in the referral food parcels that we send out to families, to ensure that they do not have to survive entirely on processed foods. Families will be provided with a healthier diet, with all the nutrients and goodness that bodies require to sustain good health.

Leader of the city council leader Abi Brown said: “I am delighted that we have been able to provide further financial support to the voluntary sector. I have seen first-hand the impact these grants made previously and know they will continue to. We are blessed with many organisations across the city that do fantastic work to support our residents’ and I’m grateful that we’ve been able to give financial support to 33 such organisations.

“Stoke-on-Trent City Council moved quickly to administer overall £556,552 in funding to the sector in government grants and its own community fund, in response to the pandemic in 2020. The voluntary and community sector have a vital role to play in supporting the response to COVID-19, both locally and nationally. We hope to continue to support this sector further throughout 2021.”

For the latest information on council services and support during the coronavirus, and frequently asked questions, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus. For latest health advice on the coronavirus, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, and for further information on the virus visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.

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