‘We’re here to stay’: Northamptonshire Community Foundation to offer more support following hectic few months

More than 73,000 people have received support during the pandemic thanks to community foundation grants

By Carly Odell
Sunday, 6th September 2020, 9:00 am

In the past six months, Northamptonshire Community Foundation has given out £1.4 million of funding to local projects.

Compared to the average £1.2 million a year, it is clear to see just how much the pandemic has affected the work the foundation completes.

From food banks in temporarily closed pubs, to care package projects, the foundation has provided funds to groups in every corner of the county that provided much needed support for thousands of local people affected by the pandemic.

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Northamptonshire Community Foundation CEO, Victoria Miles.

In a recent impact report, the foundation has calculated that more than 73,000 people have been supported by funds issued during the last six months and more than 6,000 people have volunteered their time.

But the hard work continues as the expected end of 2020 funding figure is £2.3 million, which means there is more support to be offered to new projects and continued support for those that have helped local communities across the county throughout the pandemic.

Victoria Miles, CEO of Northamptonshire Community Foundation, said: “It is clear that there has been an outpouring of generosity from people.

“There is still that action going on and we will continue to support it.

“There is always the issue of accessing funds, but we have bigger pots we can apply to so we can get money out to groups.”

As lockdown eases, some people who relied heavily on support earlier in the year might be back to needing less assistance.

However, Victoria is aware that more issues may arise further down the line.

She added: “I think we will see a lot more issues and challenges around poverty within families as furlough ends and people lose jobs.

“There is a real need for food banks in villages as well as in urban areas.

“There is still funding there and we are urging groups to come back to us.

“We can continue to support wherever it is needed the most. The foundation is here to stay unless something drastic happens.”

The pandemic has not just affected local people needing support and groups that have had to adapt services, it has also changed how the foundation itself works.

“It has been extraordinary in terms of the volume of funds we have managed to get out speedily," Victoria continued.

“It has changed the way we have delivered grant funding.

“Moving forward I can see us having no grant deadlines, so we can respond to people’s needs and get the money out as quickly as possible.

“People can come to us, access an application and get money really quickly and that will be really important in the recovery phase.”

The way that applications are processed and funds are delivered are not the only long-term changes that the foundation is expecting.

Contact and communication with groups and donors will now have taken on a new dimension, after online meetings and phone calls became the only option during the pandemic.

Victoria added: “Our work has changed so much because we’re so used to going out and seeing projects.

“We have really missed contact as we’ve all been sitting behind screens and phones.

“We are in the business of people and relationship building, not least with our donors as well as the groups we support.

“But we probably will be more in contact with groups on Teams because it’s easier. Going out takes time, organisation and it costs money.

“Moving forward I think it will be a hybrid of the two.”

As the recovery phase continues, the foundation is urging groups and projects not to be afraid to ask again for funds.

Victoria also thanked donors for their support and is asking them to continue their generosity.

To find out more about grants and to read the full Covid-19 impact report, visit the foundation’s website.

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