Barclays bank has launched a £100m community aid package for charities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bank said that the package would be aimed at charities working to support vulnerable people affected by the virus, and to help alleviate social and economic hardship caused by the measures needed to combat the spread of the virus.
The £100m package comes as charities await a rescue fund for the sector from government, with many organisations warning that the sector faces ruin unless fundraising and trading income hit by the restrictions is replaced.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has estimated that the sector would lose £4.3bn as a minimum during the pandemic.
The Barclays £100m fund is made up of two components, the bank said.
The first is a £50m donation to a variety of charities working with vulnerable people, principally in the UK but also in the US and India and other international markets.
This programme will focus on helping disadvantaged people, the elderly and vulnerable communities most at risk from Covid-19, and support NHS staff and other key workers.
The second £50m fund will match personal donations made by the bank's employees to local charities of their choice that work to help communities affected by the virus, which means that up to £100m could be raised by this fund depending on how much staff raise.
The chair of Barclays, Nigel Higgins, the group chief executive, Jes Staley, and the group finance director, Tushar Morzaria, have each decided to donate a third of their fixed pay for the next six months to charities that support vulnerable people affected by Covid-19, and this will be matched in full by the company under the matched donations programme.
Any of the £50m matched fund left at the end of the next year would be used for the bank’s charity partners programme, Barclays said.
The bank has already made free banking and overdrafts available to 650,000 small businesses, waived overdraft and other fees for customers, and is helping to implement the government’s support schemes.
Staley said in a statement: “We want to do more to back the communities in which we live and work, and to provide help to those who have been hardest hit by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
“That’s why we’ve launched this community aid package, which we hope will make a positive difference, working with charity partners here in the UK and around the world to deliver help where it’s needed most.”