Community Fund helps 20 local groups deliver vital community aid
11 May 2020
Twenty local groups in Derry have benefitted from a special Community Fund provided by Derry City and Strabane District Council to support community resilience efforts across Derry and Strabane.
As part of its £280,000 Community Resilience Programme Council made £50,000 available to local community based organisations leading the effort to protect and assist the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 emergency.
The Community Fund was managed by Community Foundations NI's Acorn Fund. At a virtual Special Council Meeting hosted on YouTube, Council Members received an update on how the fund has been distributed, with grants of up to £2,500 allocated per group to support a wide range of services.
Members heard that to date the funding has been channelled into vital services such as hot meals, kids' activity packs, craft parcels, befriending and social media contact services, a counselling helpline, and PPE.
Community groups and organisations from Derry and Strabane were also eligible to apply for larger awards of up to £10,000 from the wider Coronavirus Emergency Fund managed by Community Foundation NI.
Speaking after the meeting Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, said the funding had provided much needed local support.
"The Community and Voluntary sector response to this emergency has been phenomenal," she declared.
"The Community Fund was aimed at providing groups with the additional resources to offer these support services to all those who need them in their community areas. I have already visited many of the groups who are working on the ground, and I have been so impressed by the innovative ways they have managed to overcome the practical restrictions of this situation to reach out to those who need it.
"From helping older people tune in to religious services and befriending services to children's activities and entertainment, the community response has been unbelievable. It's not just about delivering food and medication, it's about showing compassion, warmth and positivity at a time when everyone is challenged in ways they never expected."
Acorn Fund Development and Support worker Shauna Kelpie, said: "20 local groups have been able to enhance and extend services thanks to the Community Fund. These vital services are now meeting a wide range of needs from the basic provision of food and medication to support for health and wellbeing and keeping people connected, which are also so important at this difficult time.
"The groups are reaching out to both young and old and providing complementary services to those being provided by the Heath Trust and Department for Communities. This network of support is making a huge difference on the ground, and I would encourage any eligible groups in need of support to avail of the residual funding that is still available."
Separately, to date, a total amount of £201,000 has been awarded from the wider CFNI Coronavirus Community Fund to support groups from the DCSDC District. Donors to this fund included Department for Communities, Comic Relief, Ulster Garden Villages, National Emergency Trust and Bank of Ireland.
Any other groups who need assistance can still apply for the local Community Fund, however a limited amount is now available. Any group who wishes to find out more or submit an application for the fund can go to https://communityfoundationni.org/grants/coronavirus-community-fund/