Foundation extends Covid-19 fund until September

A charitable foundation that has donated more than £4.5m over the past three months to help charities weather the impact of the coronavirus outbreak has pledged to extend its emergency support until September.

In March, the businessman Steve Morgan launched an emergency response fund through his foundation, pledging to donate up to £1m a week for 12 weeks to cash-strapped charities around the Liverpool area to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. 

The fund is open to charities in Merseyside, Cheshire and north Wales.

A spokeswoman for the foundation said the funding had been extended for a further 12 weeks because the emergency situation had not been resolved. 

"Our team has been working round the clock to process the hundreds of applications and whilst the initial influx reduced, this was to be anticipated as the situation evolved," she said. 

"We have already awarded an extension of funding to 50 organisations and are still accepting new applications."

The Steve Morgan Foundation, which was founded in 2001, supports charities that help children and families, people with physical or learning disabilities, people who are socially disadvantaged and older people. 

Morgan said: “We’ve helped more than one million people already, but the needs changed as it evolved. For example, we had 165 applications for money in week one and just 35 in week seven.”

Morgan said he was not putting a set amount on how much the foundation would award to charities over the next few weeks. 

“We’ve already made second awards to some charities, but organisations that haven’t previously applied to us can submit applications," he said.

Morgan added that, although there were no new restrictions on who could apply for the new round of funding, charities applying for the fund should be able to carry out work that was needed during the crisis.

The emergency fund was initially targeted at charities with incomes of less than £1m a year and which deliver front-line services, but Morgan has now identified protecting people’s mental health as a top priority.

“The emergency food banks have done an amazing job and that need is still there for a lot of people," he said. "But there’s also a growing problem of mental health because of the lockdown, and tackling that has to be priority.

“I’m proud of how the Covid-19 Emergency Fund has supported those charities that have stayed open during the pandemic to help the most vulnerable members of society, but the job’s not done. 

“A lot of front-line charities are struggling financially, and that’s why I’m extending the emergency fund until the end of September.”

For more information and to apply, visit the charity’s website.

- This article was updated on 1 July to clarify the reasons for the funding extension

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