Voluntary and community groups (VCS) across the city are to benefit from a further £50,000 of funding to help them provide crucial services to residents through the coronavirus pandemic.
The initiative follows the previous successful grant scheme where local VSC organisations were allocated £143,480 in grants to support efforts to alleviate the impacts of the first two waves of the pandemic. Stoke-on-Trent City Council has moved quickly to administer overall £556,552 in funding to the sector in government grants and its own community fund, in response to the pandemic in 2020.
Yesterday (Wednesday 20 January) the city council launched a further £50,000 support fund, which VCS organisations can apply to receive financial support in the form of a grant, if they are providing support to residents in the city affected by COVID-19. With further match funding to be given by the Community Foundation for Staffordshire.
In deciding which applications will be approved, priority will be given to charities or community groups which are based in the city and delivering services to Stoke-on-Trent residents which address one or more of the following areas:
- Provision of food and other essential supplies (particularly to harder-to-reach groups and communities);
- Providing support around payment of energy and water bills;
- Providing other essential support or services to low income families with children or other vulnerable households who are particularly affected by the pandemic.
Organisations will need to show in their application how the support that they provide addresses one or more of these priorities. There is no maximum limit for grant applications, however, bids for more than £2,500 will require further evidence and be subject to additional scrutiny and ongoing monitoring. The money allocated during this funding round must be spent in full before the start of the new financial year. Applicants must be able to confirm in their application that they will be able to spend any grants they receive by 31 March.
Leader of the city council leader Abi Brown said: “The voluntary and community sector have a vital role to play in supporting the response to COVID-19, both locally and nationally. In Stoke-on-Trent, there are 371 registered charities and an estimated further 3,000 voluntary or community organisations. These organisations and groups employ staff and provide volunteering opportunities, as well as contributing to the local economy.
“The grants are another boost to help these important groups and I am really pleased that we have been able to make this further funding available once again. I have seen first-hand the impact these grants made previously and I’d encourage groups to visit our website and apply.”
Leanne Macpherson, Head of Programmes at The Community Foundation, said: "Every year the voluntary sector makes an invaluable contribution to the lives of people across the city. We're pleased to have been able to work with the city council on this initiative, and to bring more benefit to the sector than we could have if we'd each worked separately. As many voluntary organisations understand, it shows how more can be achieved by working in partnership."
The closing date for applications is 2pm on Friday 29 January and organisations should apply at www.stoke.gov.uk/voluntaryfund.
For the latest information on council services and support during the coronavirus, and frequently asked questions, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus. For latest health advice on the coronavirus, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, and for further information on the virus visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.