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Relief fund set up and plans to galvanise volunteers announced as charity sector responds to the coronavirus

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In order to provide care and support to the elderly and the vulnerable, a new disaster relief fund has launched an appeal. The government has also held talks with major charity groups to coordinate help to those who need it most.


A new disaster relief fund is being launched to raise money for charity and voluntary groups providing care and support for vulnerable and older people impacted by the coronavirus.

The campaign will be led by the National Emergencies Trust (NET) charity and the Red Cross will manage donations. NET states, “Individuals and charities should not apply directly to the NET for funds. Grant aid and how to apply to your local community foundation will be available from 23 March 2020.”

This new initiative could be a potential source of support for Irish charities in Britain and those that work with Irish people as our community has an older profile. Food banks and other community organisations are also expected to benefit.

You can make donations to the appeal and find out more here.

Donations will go to local charities in the form of direct cash grants, rather than to individuals and families. Funds will be distributed using the local expertise of the 46 community foundations across the UK.

The chairman of NET, Lord Dannatt, said: 

“The outbreak of coronavirus is clearly both a global and national emergency. Many people are suffering, not just from ill health but also from the economic impact as well as the effects of social distancing and isolation.

In another venture to combat the ill effects of the virus, the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is working with 40 voluntary organisations – including NET, NCVO and the Red Cross – on how to galvanise volunteers and coordinate help to those who need it most.

Oliver Dowden said “We are living in deeply uncertain times, and I know that people across the nation are keen to help in any way that they can.”

The Charity Commission has already announced that they will be more pragmatic approach to regulation during this period.

The government says more detailed plans will be announced as soon as possible.

The NCVO has also released useful advice on charity finance and how voluntary organisations can respond to the current crisis.

 You can see all of Irish in Britain’s online resources and information here.