Posted on June 02 2020

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:

  1. The applicants had to show that financial problems had arisen because of the virus
  2. That there will be a long term health deficit – at least after the virus related financial problems have subsided.
  3. The expenditure stacks up as a viable proposal, and does itself produce a health benefit.
  4. That a maximum of £10k can be given per grantee.
  5. 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.

St Petrocs

Lois Wild, www.stpetrocs.org.uk, volunteer co-ordinator says, ‘I cannot tell you what an incredible help the funds have been to us. Sadly more people are becoming homeless at this time, which is hard to believe and imagine, but it is so hard to find accommodation at this time when the housing market is at a virtual standstill’.

St Petrocs are currently working with approximately 150 people per day. All individuals have either been homeless, and now living in our accommodation, or are homeless right now.

Our services are remaining open with extended opening hours to providing a help to those who are outside and to provide this whilst observing the guidelines regarding social distancing.

In the resource centres, homeless people are able to safely use the toilet, have a shower, see the GP, have some food, charge their phone, change their clothes and use the laundry facilities.

It is hard for someone who has no home to ‘stay home’ or access running water to wash their hands regularly. The challenges have only increased due to the closures of public toilets and public spaces such as libraries and cafés.

Steve Ellis, CEO says, ‘I just want to express on behalf of everybody associated with St Petrocs, that we’re absolutely overwhelmed with this gesture of support from Duchy Health Charity to help us in our work at the sharp end on the frontline with people experiencing homelessness in these unprecedented times. It is truly humbling and will provide a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable members of our society at this time and will help them to stay safe’/td>

 

Love Falmouth

Jennifer Land, Operations Manager writes: ‘Our vision at LOVE Falmouth (www.lovefalmouth.org.uk) is to enable individuals and communities in Falmouth, Cornwall to thrive. To that end, we run local projects seeking to address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of various groups within our town. As a small, local Cornish charity we’ve been so grateful to receive a grant from The Duchy Health Charity. It has been so timely in enabling us to adapt to the changing needs that COVID-19 has presented us with in continuing to serve our community. It will benefit two of our current projects – School Chaplaincy and Family time.
‘School Chaplaincy’ based at Falmouth School

Prior to the current lockdown, the School Chaplaincy project at Falmouth School offered multiple lunchtime drop-ins each week, run by our team of volunteers from various churches across the town. Over the years, these have benefitted hundreds of students. Alex Yarlett, the project’s manager, explains that they provide

 ‘A fun and safe space for students to relax in, meet new people and connect with friends, whilst also offering an extra layer of care to the most vulnerable and those in need of support. It has been immensely rewarding to see students grow, mature and thrive as we encourage and provoke students to fulfil their potential. The Duchy Health Charity grant is enabling us to explore other ways that we can partner with the school to continue to support students at this time’.


‘Family Time”

The heartbeat of Family Time is to create a fun, safe and friendly environment in which families can spend quality time together. Historically, the project has run as a free, once- a- month family fun morning, with additional larger community events run during Christmas and Easter holidays.

‘The Duchy Health Charity grant will enable us to plan ways to connect with and practically resource families, particularly over the summer holidays, when they may not have the same input from schools’.


Cornwall Music Service Trust

Gareth Churcher, www.cornwallmusicservicetrust.org, Head of Service says thank you and explains, ‘Cornwall Music Service Trust (CMST) has managed, due to the support of the Duchy Health Charity and other local charities, to create online support and resources in what is a very challenging time for children, young people and their parents or guardians. This offer of support not only continues to develop children’s music education but just as importantly addresses issues around mental health and wellbeing.’

CMST’s team of music leaders, including early years (0-5s) practitioners and professionally qualified clinically trained music therapists, have adapted very quickly and have also compiled a wealth of on-line materials to help children, young people and even parents/guardians to engage with musical activities whilst in isolation. These new methods and ways of working will long surpass the Coronavirus pandemic and provide an amazing resource for the future.

 


Where next?

In 2021 Duchy Health Charity will be devoting financial resources and time across Cornwall’s health spectrum looking at new ways to deliver clinical, statutory and voluntary sector services, post Covid-19. In the summer we will be publishing papers entitled ‘This is the future which is now passed’ – that will help to inform us all on the way we have to accept health and well-being delivery as we continue to live with this deadly virus.

Nothing will ever be the same again.