The story of our own BBC ‘spotlight’ Covid-19 Emergency Fund appearance on 26 March 2020
Tim Guy, Trustee responsible for Communications and Public Affairs
They say that life will never be the same post Covid-19 and charities have been particularly hard hit which means that they will continue to struggle, post virus, with depleted funds and increasing demands on service and staff.
We, at the Duchy Health Charity, are fortunate in not having to rely on public subscription and that we have a strong long-standing investment portfolio. Each year we give around £200k to health charities in Cornwall following their application for funds through our website – see www.duchyhealthcharity.org.
We are the largest Charity in Cornwall solely supporting health matters for all the people in Cornwall so, at the outset of lock-down, we decided to help the smaller charities to keep going with our special Covid-19 Emergency Fund and ceiling of £100k to grant on a first come-first-receive basis.
Normally the Grant Committee meets every 3 months to review applications which are determined by a number of factors including detailed descriptions of benefits to their clients, the sustainability of the charity, and the numbers of our populace that are beneficiaries.
In order to get the word around quickly, on Wednesday 25 March, Carol O’Brien, one of our Trustees, announced our intentions on BBC ‘Spotlight’ and we were of course inundated with requests for urgent support.
A small grant committee established criteria to enable fair and equitable distribution of these emergency funds, meeting each week for 3 weeks, asking for minimal information to speed through urgent grants:
- The applicants had to show that financial problems had arisen because of the virus
- That there will be a long term health deficit – at least after the virus related financial problems have subsided.
- The expenditure stacks up as a viable proposal, and does itself produce a health benefit.
- That a maximum of £10k can be given per grantee.
- That is used exclusively for Cornwall.
We received requests from a wide range of charities from small ‘local’ community groups like Love Cornwall to larger Cornish charities. such as Age UK. A full list of recipients is shown at the end of this report.
The following account has been received from St Petrocs who look after the homeless in Cornwall and aptly describes the benefits that our fund was immediately able to offer – often the unimaginable has reared its head because of the pandemic.