The National Emergencies Trust has launched its first appeal to raise funds for UK charities amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The NET, which was established last year to respond to UK emergencies as a domestic version of the Disasters Emergency Committee, launched the appeal last night.
The trust said its appeal would raise funds for local charities and grass-roots organisations “that can provide vital support to people in the quickest way possible”.
The trust said the UK was facing what has become “our greatest public health emergency in living memory”.
It said the appeal would raise and distribute funds “to support communities made most vulnerable by the coronavirus outbreak”.
The trust said it would work collaboratively with a range of organisations to ensure the maximum amount of money was raised and distributed securely, effectively and fairly to the organisations and local charities that could do most to help those in need.
“We have built a partnership network over the past few months to provide you with the reassurance that the funds raised will be channelled only through the most trusted and reputable organisations, so you know you’re giving to those who need it the most,” it said.
The NET said funds would be released to charities through their local community foundations and would be available from 23 March.
The Duke of Cambridge said in a video message that he “dreaded the day when the trust would be needed”.
He said: “Sadly, with the outbreak of Covid-19, that day has come faster than any of us would have hoped.”
He said the NET would ensure that support reached people across the UK who needed it most as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
“And it will help to ensure that all our efforts to overcome this challenge are channelled in the best possible way,” he said.
The charity was created in response to the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London and the Grenfell fire, all of which took place in 2017, when millions of pounds were raised by both regulated charities and concerned people using online donation platforms.
Many people, including survivors of terrorist attacks, argued that a domestic DEC was needed to ensure the money was spent effectively and to prevent fraud.
The NET said it would report back on how the money raised was spent and would work collaboratively with others in the sector to share best practice and improve the nation’s emergency response over time.