The National Emergencies Trust (NET) has announced three more charity partnerships to support people who were most hit by the pandemic.
NET said last week that it would ring-fence a total of £12m for charities working with at-risk groups that have been underserved by emergency funding so far.
It has now revealed that about £4m of that amount will go to domestic abuse charity Refuge, the Refugee Council and Cruse Bereavement Care.
Some £2m has already been awarded to disability support network DPO COVID-19 Coalition, led by Disability Action NI, and the LGBT+ Consortium.
The targeted funding will focus on supporting helplines, many of which have seen an increase in demand for their services since the pandemic started. Refuge has received more than 40,000 calls and contacts since the start of lockdown, and in June its helpline was still seeing a 77% increase on normal demand levels.
Recipients of the remaining £6m in funding for at-risk groups will be announced next month, NET said.
Demand for charity services on the rise
NET also shared the results of a survey which indicates that demand for charity services will remain high over the next year.
Of the 2,000 adults who answered the poll, which was conducted by Opinium, one in eight said they expect to seek help from a charity in the next 12 months because of Covid-19.
One in six (16%) have already sought charitable help as a result of the pandemic. The majority of these people (70%) said it was the first time they had ever done so.
'New needs on an unprecedented scale'
Gerald Oppenheim, deputy chair of the National Emergencies Trust, said: “This pandemic has created new needs on an unprecedented scale, and exacerbated existing challenges. Local grassroots groups have been incredibly quick to respond, as we have seen through our partnership with UK Community Foundations.
“Our new partners complement these efforts by targeting support to at-risk groups who have been harder to reach so far.
“Helplines play a key part in the new partnerships because they offer accessible help to those unsure where to turn, or unable to access other services. Our partners’ helplines have already been oversubscribed because of the pandemic and our research suggests that this demand will continue, as more people seek support from the sector for the first time.”
The NET coronavirus appeal has raised £90m since March and allocated about £85m. The majority (around £68m) was given away by local foundations via membership body UK Community Foundations.
NET is also distributing £2.75m to BAME-led charities through Comic Relief and has ring-fenced a further £2m for them.