The voluntary sector community in Barking and Dagenham is set to benefit from an injection of £100,000 from the Lankelly Chase Foundation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding, known as the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund will be held by Barking and Dagenham Renew, a charity launched by the council, and will then be distributed by Barking and Dagenham Giving, the borough’s new platform for giving in the community.
Many local organisations are already providing a community response to the coronavirus outbreak. The Barking and Dagenham Citizens Alliance Network (BD CAN), a platform set up by the council in partnership with BD_Collective, is one such example of how the voluntary, community and faith sectors are working together to support the most vulnerable residents.
On 23 April, 63 voluntary, community and faith organisations met to look at how the sector is supporting residents, as well as the new challenges and opportunities brought by the outbreak. These organisations have a deep understanding of the effect of this crisis on the people who live and work in the borough.
The new COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund will use this local knowledge by bringing local organisations together to jointly develop a more transparent, effective and inclusive process for distributing the funds to local groups, to ensure it gets to those who need it most.
Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, said: “I am overwhelmed by how our community has come together at such a difficult time. Local organisations that are working hard to provide food essentials, prescription collections or simply a friendly voice at the other end of a phone, have been key to our response to the pandemic. I would like to thank the Lankelly Chase Foundation, for making this fund available to our borough and I know this will help our local organisations continue the great work they are doing.”
Julian Corner, CEO of Lankelly Chase said: “Responding with humanity and compassion to the crisis is everyone’s priority right now. Even so, many of our partners are already looking to the future and expressing concern that the process of recovery must not repeat the mistakes of the past. We are excited that Barking and Dagenham Giving is working with residents and organisations to create the conditions in which different kinds of decisions can emerge, decisions which have the contribution of a broader range of people.”
Ian Parkes, Chair of Barking and Dagenham Giving said: “We know that the most disadvantaged communities have been the hardest hit by C-19. Many people have lost their jobs or face reduced income. People in precarious employment and self-employment have been badly hit. Some families are facing food shortages and many people are isolated and lonely. There has been a fantastic community response to helping people in need – but this generous emergency response fund seeded by Lankelly Chase will allow Barking and Dagenham Giving to work with the grassroots organisations and the communities most affected to get funding and resources where they are needed most – and for the organisations and residents themselves to direct how the funding is spent.”