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PCC’s Coronavirus Response Fund awards more than a quarter of a million pounds to local charities

30th April 2020

NEARLY 100 groups including those helping vulnerable young people, domestic abuse victims and community projects throughout Northumbria have today been awarded a much-needed funding boost thanks to an emergency grant scheme set up by Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness.

The Coronavirus Response Fund was launched last month as a redesign of the Commissioner’s annual community fund and brought forward £200,000 of funding to help local charity organisations continue their vital work following the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Inundated with applications from across the region, the Commissioner sourced an extra £100,000 in funding from reserves and underspend, bringing the total funding pot to more than £300,000.

A total of 186 applications were received from a range of services all seeking new ways to work at distance and continue supporting families and helping prevent crime.

Many project ideas have been about looking after vulnerable and isolated people, particularly in the region’s rural communities, including victims of domestic abuse.

Supporting our young people also stood out as a great need during this challenging time, so more than £110,000 has been dedicated to youth projects, helping young people facing the impacts of poverty while schools are shut.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “As Commissioner my role isn’t just about policing, it’s about ensuring support is there in our communities to help improve lives and prevent crime. It’s vital we come together at this time to overcome the challenges this virus has thrown our way.

“Although many community and voluntary groups have adapted their delivery amazingly well, and I’m very grateful of that, there’s no denying it’s a difficult time for them. Being able to help ease some of the financial pressure and help vital services to keep on doing what they’re doing or roll-out new innovative ideas – it’s what this fund is all about. We’ve also increased the funding as the response was so great – It’s not a huge amount but it all helps.”

The Commissioner went on to thank everyone who applied, saying: “Whether successful or not, the fact we were inundated by so many great causes highlights the great community spirit we have throughout the force area with so many people wanting to make a difference, so thank you.”

One of the successful bids was from the Young Women’s Outreach Project in Gateshead who are using the money to help provide access to technology and are delivering ‘well-being’ packs. Project Manager, Julie Scott, said: “We are delighted to have been given this grant from Kim and know it will benefit many vulnerable young women who have experienced abuse and perhaps feel their voices and anxieties are not being heard during the lockdown. Feedback from the support has already shown us how essential this service is. One young woman said she was about to self-harm but then a worker turned up with her care package and that alone stopped her from self-harming.”

Sunderland’s Youth Almighty Project has also been awarded funding, Project Manager Joanne Laverick, said: “We are over the moon. This money will help us equip disadvantaged young people with a range of tools and resources to ensure they stay safe, connected and look after themselves whilst in isolation.”

Trinity Youth Association in Northumberland was also successful with their bid. Youth Worker Debs Hickling-Walker, said: “Some LGBT young people in particular are incredibly isolated and when they lack the funds to maintain a phone they become at risk of exploitation very quickly. Being able to ensure that all of our young people can stay connected with us during this particularly stressful time could literally save a life.  I’m very grateful to the Police Commissioner for recognising the needs of young people at this time.”

A full list of successful applications can be found here. 83 groups are being directly supported with funds, some of which will use the funds to support further organisations.