We Love MCR Charity has released a report to measure the impact in Manchester of the first six months of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, launched in late March.
With over £965,000 already awarded to local groups and charities tackling the problems caused and exacerbated by the pandemic, the report reveals that over 50,000 Manchester people have been supported by the grants so far.
302 grants have been awarded to frontline groups and charities, including £427,000 in food poverty and distribution grants, £180,000 in mental health and wellbeing grants, and £192,000 in engagement with young people grants.
Groups receiving grants from We Love MCR’s Community Response 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.
‘’It was a brilliant, timely grant that kept the flow of food parcels going when we thought we would have real problems, especially in the early stages of the lockdown when our food bank had to run up to 2000-3000% normal capacity,” said Salvation Army Openshaw about their grant.
“It was fantastic to know that we weren’t alone.’’
Manchester South Central Foodbank said that the grant from We Love MCR has supported the foodbank in not only being able to scale-up its services through increasing the number of food parcels they can provide, but also to adapt and respond to the changing environment.
“In response to COVID-19 we had to alter our services to a delivery model only, and increase our operational days, all of which was supported by funds like the We Love MCR Grant,‘’ they said.
Open Kitchen said their grant helped them provide meals for older people who are isolated, people who were street homeless and found themselves in hotels during lockdown, families in crisis and lots more.
“Beyond the obvious nutritional benefits, we hope that the meals helped people to feel safe and cared for, that they’d not been forgotten,” they said.
Age Exchange, meanwhile, said the grant has enabled their organisation to extend the service they provide.
“This has included allowing us to retain a staff member who supports this service, recruit and train volunteers, and increase the hours of support we provide directly to those in need.’’
Levenshulme Youth Project said the We Love MCR grant enabled them to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic.
“We traditionally work face-to-face with young people,” they said.
“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.’’
And Manchester Women’s Aid, one of seven domestic violence organisations funded by We Love MCR, said they’ve provided life-saving refuge spaces during the pandemic, and secured affordable, safe homes for families traumatised by domestic abuse.
“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,” they said.
The Place at Platt Fields eloquently captured the impact of the fund.
“We feel we have been sharing some hope and compassion in a time of great need,” they said.
“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”.
More donations needed
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 Love MCR is asking people and companies who can afford to, to make a donation today to top up the Fund.
Donations can be made in three ways:
Donate online at justgiving.com/campaign/mcr-response-fund
Text MANCHESTER 10 to give £10 (or MANCHESTER 5 to give £5) to 70470
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you can support the Fund