The Customer Donation Fund distributes a minimum of £5,000 twice a year to applicants with its Community Directplus account and grows in relation to the balances held. Normally groups go through an assessment, with demand outstripping supply. However for the first time the bank scrapped that for the March funding round, topped up the pot and made support available for every organisation that applied.
Fifty-five across the UK got what they asked for and received a total of £50,674 in payments.
“They play a key role in their communities at a time when their contribution is most needed. We recognised the enormous pressure they were under,” explained Co-operative Bank’s chief executive Andrew Bester.
Demand has surged during the pandemic for the services of Feeding Gainsborough, a Lincolnshire-based community of food champions distributing surplus products from supermarkets and growers to more than 500 hard up and socially isolated families and individuals.
“The money we have received is being used to train 12 volunteers so we can expand our reach. It is crucial,” said director Caroline Ralf.
Recent research by fundraising platform Virgin Money Giving found COVID-19 has ripped a hole in the income of charities, aside from NHS ones, with some seeing a 93 percent reduction during lockdown.
Another Co-op fund beneficiary, the Counselling and Family Centre (CFC), covers Altrincham and the surrounding area and has been dedicated to improving the emotional and mental health of the community there for the past 40 years.
Aiming to support anyone over five years old needing help, its services are free to many lower earning households and each year it helps more than 1,600 people.
Coronavirus had an immediate impact on the way it delivered its support, obliging it to close its centre and switch to remote support.
It lost income received from some services and saw an immediate spike in stress and anxiety among the community.
However, after applying for a £1,000 grant from the Customer Donation Fund, it received the full amount.
“The support of the Co-operative Bank has made a huge difference at this difficult time,” said CFC’s chief executive Jo Allen.
“Our qualified counsellors are very experienced in delivering face-to-face support, but not in supporting vulnerable people by telephone or video. We were able to use our funding immediately to deliver training in online assessments and online counselling to our large pool of counsellors so that we could sustain our much-needed counselling service with minimal disruption.”
Since 2003, the Co-operative Bank has donated almost £900,000 to 1,021 organisations. Assessments will be reintroduced later this year.
Published at Mon, 15 Jun 2020 11:24:00 +0000