Exeter Covid-19 Action Fund boosts 39 community groups with a total of more than £57,000

More than £57,000 has been awarded to 39 different groups by the Exeter Covid-19 Action Fund to date.

The latest to benefit has been Estuary League of Friends in Topsham which successfully applied for two grants of almost £4,000 to help people in the town, Countess Wear and Newtown.

Cash will be used to maintain the charity’s lifeline Home Help service for 98 vulnerable and elderly people.

It will also help fund the cooking of hot meals in the café at Nancy Potter House which are delivered by local volunteers to vulnerable people who are self-isolating.

Chief Executive Rachel Gilpin said: “In the last few weeks, nearly every client or their family called us because they were worried we would have to stop this vital work and that they would be unable to look after themselves safely in their own home without our support.

“We are getting over 60 phone calls a day to our helpline which is open seven-days-a-week.

“Callers are mostly people who haven’t used our services before who are having to self-isolate and are asking for our help. The grants are a lifesaver.  They will help us make sure that people get help when they need it.”

A grant of £1,000 was the week award to Home-Start Exeter, East and Mid Devon to provide smartphones to volunteers to enable them to stay connected with families.

The Pennsylvania Good Neighbour Group was also given £1,000 to support 88 volunteers helping vulnerable people who are self-isolating with prescription delivers, shopping, poverty shopping, welfare checks and dog walks.

And bthechange CIC was awarded £956.69 to help maintain direct contact with Exeter women who are at HMP Eastwood, many of them in the last weeks of their sentences.

The £1million Exeter Covid-19 Action Fund, which is being supported by the Exeter Chiefs Foundation, was launched at the end of March in tandem with support service Exeter Community Wellbeing.

It enables organisations to get rapid access to small grants to allow them to work on local projects to support people and communities most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

CEDA Exeter [Community, Equality, Disability Action] and the Exeter Community Centre Trust have also been given  grants of £1,000.

Manager Craig Bowman said: “We want to support CEDA enablers to run virtual activity sessions for up to 25 isolated disabled adults and young people at a time.

“As well as continuing to offer learning opportunities, it gives vital opportunities to socialise using online platforms and much needed respite for family members/ carers who are now having to support individuals without break during this pandemic.”

Work continues on £52million Exeter leisure complex and bus station – which could still open in early 2021

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