Community groups and charities working on the coronavirus frontline are already benefiting from two Isle of Wight Council support funds launched just last week.
Within days of the Third Sector Lifeline (TSL) and Community Essential Shopping and Delivery (CESD) funds going live last Monday, the council had received 28 applications amounting to more than £208,000.
So far, over £80,750 has been distributed in loans and grants to charities and voluntary groups delivering essential services to Island communities.
Among them is Citizens Advice Isle of Wight.
Its chief officer, Paul Savill, said: “Right now people really need our services and it’s essential that our staff and volunteers can stay in touch with clients even if they are not meeting face-to-face.
“The money we have got from the TSL fund is making sure people can get in contact with us more effectively by helping us to upgrade our phones and computer equipment.”
The TSL fund provides support to key voluntary sector organisations to help them get through the coronavirus pandemic and be able to restart their wide programmes of much needed community support again.
The CESD fund has been set up to support the army of volunteers delivering essential shopping and medical supplies to vulnerable Islanders.
This fund of up to £5,000 is being made available to community groups in the form of loans and grants to enable them to support residents by advancing monies to pay for and deliver essential shopping.
Council leader Dave Stewart said: “Volunteer groups are now set up across the Island and with the support of many local shops, businesses and chemists, are delivering food and medicines to the most vulnerable in our community.
“Thank you to all of the volunteers in these groups — a real example of the Island community helping its own and we want to provide as much support as we can for these groups so that everyone is looked after throughout the pandemic.
“We also want to make sure that we do not lose many of our outstanding voluntary organisations as a result of the pandemic; they are the backbone of our community and so we are providing funds to help them meet the costs of their hibernating throughout the crisis, so that they can be there when we will need them most when it is all over.
“As a reminder, if anyone is in need of help during the pandemic, please call the council helpline on 823600.”
The council is working as quickly as possible to process the remaining applications and is inviting others to apply .
For more information, including eligibility and how to apply, click here.