The National Emergencies Trust coronavirus appeal raised almost £10m in its opening fortnight, according to the charity’s first set of annual accounts.
The accounts show that over £2.5m raised from the appeal was distributed to community foundations across the UK in the same period.
Mairi Sharp, the chief executive of NET, hailed the organisation’s work to ensure people in need “receive as much support possible, as quickly as possible”.
Need ‘on an unprecedented scale’
NET was founded in 2019 to raise funds in the event of national disasters, in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombings and Grenfell Tower tragedy.
It launched its coronavirus appeal on 18 March last year, five days before the government ordered the first national lockdown.
Writing in the foreword to the report, General The Lord Richard Dannatt, chair of NET, said that starting the appeal “was not a decision we had ever expected to discuss but it was an easy one to make.
“Daily life as we knew it was about to change fundamentally and it was clear that this would create urgent needs on an unprecedented scale”.
The appeal had raised £9.6m by the end of the month, the accounts show, with £2.6m distributed to community foundations.
The appeal total now stands at £97m, including £20m in match funding from the government.
The report said that NET’s strategic focus in the year ahead will include helping build “a fairer and stronger sector”, collaborating more with other charities, and using digital technology to become more efficient.
NET was criticised over the summer, when some members of an advisory group left their work over concerns that money was not reaching the most marginalised communities.
Sharp said: “The NET was borne out of a shared desire by the sector to do the very best by the public when the worst happens. [We are here] to offer those that are able to make a donation a trusted place to do so, and to ensure those whose lives are affected receive as much support possible, as quickly as possible.
“We are currently proving that concept through our coronavirus appeal, which has raised more than £97m for people in need and provided grants to more than 12,000 charities and groups.
“I’m hugely grateful to everyone who contributed their time and expertise to our inception, and to our founding funders. While the scale and complexity of the pandemic wasn’t something we’d ever envisaged responding to, their support ensured we were prepared and ready to activate when we were needed.”
Dannatt added: “Collaboration has been a hallmark of the NET’s journey so far and it will be even more important for us to continue in that spirit.
“The public and UK charities face an extremely challenging period ahead. But by standing together as a sector to share our learnings, knowledge and networks, we will be better able to ensure support reaches those in need.”