National Emergencies Trust gives £1.5m each to three charities working with Covid-19 at-risk groups

The three organisations are all supporting people who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic

(Photograph: Darren Staples/Getty Images)
(Photograph: Darren Staples/Getty Images)

The National Emergencies Trust will give £1.5m each to three charities because of the work they do with people who are at elevated risk during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The grant-maker said it had named Age UK, Shelter and the mental health charity Heads Together as new partners to receive a share of £12m funding that has been ring-fenced to support people disproportionately affected by the outbreak. 

The funding, generated by the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal, will be used with a focus on remote services, including helplines and digital services.

The three charities will join the LGBT+ Consortium, the disability support network DPO Covid-19 Coalition, Refuge, the refugee and asylum-seekers support consortium led by Refugee Council, and Cruse Bereavement Care as the NET’s national partners. 

Age UK, Shelter and Heads Together have all seen “significant increases in demand” since March, in particular from those seeking charitable support for the first time, according to an NET statement. 

Age UK will receive funds to support its advice line, website and telephone friendship services, as well as the services provided by Age Scotland, Age NI, Age Cymru and Age UK’s subsidiary helpline charity The Silver Line.

The funding for Shelter will pay for 31 new advisers for the charity’s emergency helplines in England and Scotland, as well as support delivered by Shelter Cymru in Wales, and online advice for Housing Rights in Northern Ireland. 

The Heads Together charity coalition – which includes Mind, Campaign Against Living Miserably and Young Minds, among other mental health organisations – will use its share of the funding for Mind’s remote support offering and the coalition’s upcoming campaign, which will encourage people to seek mental-health support.

The three organisations were chosen after the NET conducted a detailed gap analysis across June and July to identify underserved groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

This study took into account analysis of more than 5,000 previous NET-funded grants, data provided by the British Red Cross, the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, and the National Police Chief Councils, and the recommendations of Future Foundations UK and the campaign group Charity So White, an NET spokeswoman said.

Gerald Oppenheim, deputy chair of the National Emergencies Trust, said the unprecedented demand for the frontline services offered by NET’s partners looked set to continue. 

“Our research shows millions of people expect to seek help from a charity for the first time in the coming year,” he said.

“For these people, being able to turn to a well-known name, seek support close to home and use an anonymous service, such as a helpline or webchat, are priority factors in deciding where to turn to.

“By helping Age UK, Shelter and Heads Together to increase or expand their vital helpline and infoline services, we hope that more people in urgent need will be able to access essential advice and support.”

Since March, the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal has raised £93m, allocated £87m and provided more than 9,000 grants to grassroots charities and groups across the UK. 

Although the appeal stopped actively raising new funds on 1 September, the public can still make donations through the NET website.

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