The Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland has responded quickly to the Covid-19 outbreak, awarding £387,854 in just four weeks to 66 charities battling to support their local communities during this time of crisis.
On the day the lockdown was announced (March 23) the Foundation moved immediately to provide emergency grants to support these charities in a range of activities to benefit those most at risk, including running food banks and delivering food parcels to those in need, domestic abuse support, mental health provision and online employability support for those who have lost their job as a result of the outbreak.
Brenda McMullan, Executive Director of the Halifax Foundation for NI said, “We are truly humbled by the amazing efforts of our charity and community sectors during these very uncertain and unprecedented times. The Foundation is working hard to award additional funding to those that need it most, and we are aware that time is of the essence. We will also help charities post-COVID to rebuild and re-establish their services at a time when they will be needed to help rebuild society.”
One of the first recipients was Crumlin-based charity A Safe Space to Be Me which received £9,625 to help people in rural areas to access their local foodbank, obtain sanitation products, and support those who were self-isolating, particularly the elderly and vulnerable members of their community.
The Halifax Foundation for NI was also the first funder to match Belfast Charitable Society in supporting North Belfast students to continue to learn from home. Its £10,000 grant leveraged a further £40,000, enabling the purchase of 225 laptops and a series of educational resources for five secondary schools with the highest free school meal entitlement. The legacy of this project will live on as other students will be able to borrow equipment for years to come.
The Mid-Ulster Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MACP) is another charity to benefit from a £10,000 grant. Following the outbreak of Coronavirus MACP had to stop face to face counselling and the funding will help it to buy online resources such as laptops, headsets and telephone equipment to enable them to use video conferencing to counsel those most in need, as well as providing clinical support for all of their counsellors.
Life Change Changes Lives in Downpatrick received a £2,500 grant to help them buy supplies as part of a project supporting those with mental ill health or addiction who are resettling back into the community after treatment.
Current grantees were also offered the opportunity to re-profile their grants to immediately respond to the COVID crisis, with the Foundation also providing flexibility and extensions to grants where needed.