Digital and social inclusion charity Good Things Foundation has launched a Response and Resilience Fund to support its network of community centres, many at risk of closure due to the lockdown caused by coronavirus crisis.
Society lacking essential digital skills
With 11.9 million people in the UK lacking essential digital skills and many relying on getting online more than ever before, the issues of digital exclusion have never been more relevant.
The £300,000 fund will offer £3,000 per community partner in the form of a one-off grant to be used for any purpose that ensures organisations continue supporting communities to engage with digital. This unrestricted funding will provide a cash injection to the centres who need it the most.
The grant will allow organisations to put the funding to best use to enable delivery to continue, and ensure they are in a position to reopen once the current challenges subside – although many are continuing to deliver services on a virtual basis.
Many of our hyperlocal community partners are facing very challenging times, with the spread of coronavirus impacting not only the work they do but also the people they support.
One organisation continuing to deliver services during these difficult times is Leeds Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours’ Scheme CIO, a local charity working with older people to reduce loneliness and isolation.
Helping the isolated reach family and services online
Marie is 79 and has been widowed for 18 months and lives alone. She was given a smartphone which she didn’t feel motivated to use, but with support from staff she is now using it to join Zoom calls, virtual coffee mornings and to video call her grandchildren.
“When you live alone it’s hard. When you pull the blinds down at night it’s very lonely and the nights are long. It’s great to have something like these virtual activities to look forward to and to see other people, even if they are on the screen! I feel so much better getting up when I know I have a virtual event coming up because I have a reason to get up and get dressed up for the day.”
Financial assistance to keep organisations from closing permanently
Helen Milner, Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation says:
“ Over the last few weeks we’ve been reaching out to our community partners to find out what we can do to help and to learn more about the pressures they are facing. We’ve listened to their concerns and we hope by acting quickly we can make a difference. The fund will help to alleviate some of the severe operational and financial pressures that organisations are experiencing – and will help them to be able to continue to support the people in our communities who need it most.”
It is hear stories across the country of people helping others in this difficult time and that the funding is already helping those isolated keep in touch with their community and loved ones. This country survives due to the generosity of strangers and each other.