After launching the Doing Things Differently Fund, the Foundation has supported a wealth of charities across the region, awarding over £872,000 of funding so far.

Following on from the success of the Coronavirus Resilience Fund, this latest designated pot of money is aiming to ensure that community projects can adapt safely to the ‘new normal’, so that they can continue carrying out essential support in their area.

Stretching across the West Midlands and Warwickshire, the Foundation has lent a helping hand to a combined total of 70 causes since it launched the Doing Things Differently Fund, with grants between £3,000 to £20,000 being awarded to support everything from online support groups to funding wellbeing packs.

Birmingham has benifitted with 35 causes receiving a combined total of £469,534 such as Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, which will be using the grant to pay for salaries to increase support via the telephone helpline, supporting women in a time where they need it most.

Commenting on the support that they’ve had from the Foundation, Sally Dennis from Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, comments:

“As COVID and lockdown was happening we knew that our helpline, always an important service for local women experiencing domestic abuse, would become central to women’s ability to seek the help they needed. We didn’t anticipate just how many women would reach out to talk to us.

 

“In June, we responded to over 900 calls from women seeking guidance and support, twice as many as this time last year. We couldn’t have done this without the funding from Heart of England Community Foundation.”

The Black Country has received 10 grants at a combined total of £108,486 from the Foundation, including Loaves ‘N’ Fishes, which will be using the grant to fund a co-ordinator to run their food donation service, recent months have seen a 70% increase in demand in the service that supports Sandwell and Dudley.

Mark Price from Loaves ‘N’ Fishes, comments:

“We’re so grateful to the Heart of England Foundation for their recent funding of our ‘Provision Food Club’ project. The unprecedented circumstances which we all found ourselves in meant that Loaves N Fishes had to adapt very quickly to new circumstances.

 

“The grant has meant that we can take on a new member of staff to run the service which will mean a very efficient, focused service. The staff member will also have a strategic role in planning future provisions now that we’re moving to a post lockdown reality. The funding means we can continue to tailor our provision to an ever-changing picture.”

20 causes in Coventry and Warwickshire have received a combined total of £225,295 from the Foundation, including Voluntary Action Coventry, which will be using the grant to fund a Liaison Officer as their project Chat Central, focusing on supporting those who are isolated, has seen an increased demand since transitioning to virtual and telephone based support during COVID-19.

Sue Ogle from Voluntary Action Coventry, said:

“We’ve been inundated with requests for support by people feeling lonely and isolated during the Pandemic, the Doing Things Differently funding is helping us to connect with many more people, bringing them together both virtually by Zoom, and as lock down eases through outdoor activities and social events enabling them to build new friendships and relationships.”

Since lockdown was enforced back in March due to COVID-19, vital services across the region have seen a spike in demand for those seeking support, which means that community organisations need more support now than ever before in order to carry on operating under the current challenging circumstances.

Tina Costello, Chief Executive at Heart of England Community Foundation, said:

“Following on from the success of the Coronavirus Resilience Fund, which we launched earlier in the year, we have been able to provide support to so many incredible community charities and services across the West Midlands. By launching the Doing Things Differently Fund we have been able to continue providing support to a multitude of community services, which in turn, enables them to help vulnerable people.

 

“We have such a huge passion and drive to do what we can to ensure that these vital services make it safely through this pandemic, and we’ve been inundated with applications from so many communities that need our support during this turbulent time. As an organisation, we are thrilled that we have been able to provide over £593,000, and we are determined to keep doing everything that we can to keep these community afloat as we continue to move forward into the new normal.”

PHOTOS: Top – Loaves N Fishes; Middle – Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid; Bottom – VAC.

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