We Love MCR Charity celebrates their Covid-19 Community Response Fund, and calls for new donations to the Fund to meet needs from the ongoing Covid crisis. 

We’ve released a report today, Tuesday 17th November, to measure the impact in Manchester of the first 6 months of our Covid-19 Community Response Fund launched in late March.

Click here to read and download our 6 month Impact Report.

Alternatively, click here to read and download the condensed 1 page sheet of the report.

With over £965,000 already awarded to local groups and charities tackling the problems caused and exacerbated by the pandemic, the Impact Report reveals – 

  • Over 50,000 Manchester people have been supported by the grants 
  • 302 grants have been awarded to frontline groups and charities 
  • 98% of recipient groups said the application process was quick enough so they could respond to urgent needs  
  • Applicants received a response-in-principle to their bid for funding within an unprecedented 48 hours 
  • 28% of the groups supported identify themselves as B.A.M.E.-led 
  • £180,000 awarded in Mental Health & Wellbeing grants  
  • £427,000 awarded in Food Poverty & Distribution grants 
  • £192,000 awarded in Engagement with Young People grants 
  • £150,000 awarded in Advice & Protection Services grants 

The potential for immediate and profound adverse impacts across Manchester, particularly to vulnerable communities, was evident as the first Lockdown approached. Groups receiving grants from our Fund are working in many areas of need in Manchester, including domestic violence, food poverty, disability, LGBTQ, homelessness, digital disadvantage, loneliness and special educational needs. 

The Impact Report is packed full of moving quotes from organisations benefiting from our grants. A selection of these are given at the bottom of this story. 

Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Tommy Judge, Chair of We Love MCR Charity, said:

“This is We Love MCR’s biggest ever campaign. My thanks go to everyone who has donated to our Fund. It has not only improved and protected lives – in some cases it has saved lives”.

Ged Carter, Head of We Love MCR Charity added:

“The complex and urgent needs created by the pandemic are huge and ongoing. We’re delighted we’ve been able to address problems around food poverty, mental health, protection of vulnerable people and digital disadvantage. We’re proud of our work to stop hunger spreading like the virus in Manchester. And we’re especially proud to fund seven organisations tackling domestic violence locally. We want to do more, but we need more donations to continue our vital work.”  

The Fund was launched on 25th March 2020, and invited community groups and charities to apply for funds to tackle problems caused or exacerbated by the pandemic. Many of the needs were urgent, so we designed a process where applicants would receive a decision in principle on their bids within 48 hours. This meant our voluntary Trustees were working on bids 7 days a week to keep to this bold offer. 

The feedback in our Survey of grant recipients shows that the Covid-19 Community Response Fund has supported community groups and charities to respond quickly to the needs in their communities, and with the flexibility they needed at a time of great uncertainty. The application process was seen to be simple and straightforward, and grants were paid out rapidly.  

The fact that funds were made available quickly has enabled many groups in Manchester’s voluntary sector to Continue, Grow, Adapt and Plan, in the face of the immense challenges. Groups and Charities have benefited from over £965,000 of urgent funding. They have contributed immeasurably to the quality of life in Manchester. We’re proud to have created and delivered this Fund, and are delighted to report on the countless ways it has improved and protected lives across our city.  

RESPONSE FUND EXHAUSTED 

The Covid-19 Community Response Fund is down to its last £5,000, but the problems created by the pandemic will only grow as we endure a second lockdown. We’re asking people and companies who can afford to, to make a donation today to top up the Fund. We promise that all donations will be used to make a difference on the “frontline” urgently. Donations can be made in 3 ways: 

The groups receiving cash grants from the Covid-19 Community Response Fund have expressed what it means to them and their communities: 

From the food poverty & distribution grants, Gateway M40 said:

The Grant has literally been a lifeline – without it we wouldn’t have been able to run our food pantry or keep our advisers working from home, offering telephone advice to our service users. It quite literally means we have been able to ensure our clients have food and fuel and much needed advice to deal with the growing financial issues they face.’’ 

On the mental health & wellbeing Caritas Salford St Joseph’s befriending service told us:

“We Love MCR was one of the first emergency grants we were awarded and was ever so simple – it was a blessing at such a scary/uncertain time – to be able to access funds without a tricky form to complete! And you let us know and paid us the funds within about 48 hours. That was truly amazing and meant so much to us to be able to support our clients.” 

Manchester Women’s Aid are one of 7 domestic violence organisations funded by We Love MCR, they said on their grant:

“We’ve provided life-saving refuge spaces during the pandemic, and we’ve secured affordable, safe homes for families traumatised by domestic abuse. Thank you for responding so quickly. This has been an amazing project and without your funding so many more families would have been left locked in with their perpetrator, living with fear of domestic abuse.” 

One of our advice & protection grants went to Greater Manchester Law Centre who told us:

‘’The Grant funded two laptops that have allowed us to work remotely during lockdown on Homelessness and on Employment Protection over the past 6 months. 84 cases were dealt with directly by these two individuals. The laptops have allowed us to offer a full advice service to clients via video and email at a time when face-to-face support has been impossible.’’ 

Levenshulme Youth Project were one of our grant recipients supporting engagement with young people, they said:

We Love MCR enabled us to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic. We traditionally work face-to-face with young people. The Fund helped us to develop an online presence, where we could maintain contact with our members and create innovative ways of working that enabled young people to flourish both during and hopefully after the pandemic.’’ 

The Place at Platt Lane captured the overall impact of the Fund quite eloquently :

“We feel we have been sharing some hope and compassion in a time of great need. When this is all over, we will have started the building of a new community spirit and understanding, that we can come together to do things to support one another. We have always been here to empower local people to improve their health and wellbeing, and feel that your Grant has helped us to demonstrate this to our community”. 

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