Wealden District Council has launched a Covid-19 Crisis fund to provide grants of up to £500 to the volunteer groups which have been helping residents during the current crisis.

“We have set up a £38,000 fund to help as many groups as possible cover some of the costs they may have incurred while helping vulnerable residents and those needing to self-isolate since 23 March,” said Councillor Philip Lunn, Wealden Cabinet member for Community & Public Health.

“Since lockdown began, we have seen an almost spontaneous flowering of support groups across the District. Some were existing community organisations that had to rake on new roles. Others sprang from Facebook groups, parish councils and even local pubs. Everyone realised that in these special circumstances, we all needed to come together.

“The Wealden Community Hub has been contacted more than 980 times to provide help and assistance. It will continue to provide an important safety net. Anyone who is vulnerable or self-isolating and needs support, whether the supply of groceries, medicines or just someone to talk to, can contact the Wealden Community hub on 01323 443322 for help.

“More than 80 volunteer groups have been helping the Community Hub with its work, while carrying out their own localised community support. They all deserve our thanks and recognition. We hope this Covid-19 Crisis Fund will help. It can cover some of the costs incurred in administration, communications, storage and transport. In order to get the money out to the groups as soon as possible, applications need to be completed and sent to by midnight on Thursday 28 May.”

“As some volunteers who were furloughed because of lockdown now begin to return to work, other volunteers may be needed to take their place. We hope the strong sense of community spirit we have seen this spring will continue to grow and bear fruit,” added Councillor Lunn.

The Wealden Covid 19 Crisis Fund is open to those organisations and local groups which have been providing not-for-profit, direct support to residents through the Community Hub during the current pandemic. The maximum amount of grant available for each group is £500.

Completed applications forms must be received by the Council by midnight on Thursday 28 May.  We are aiming to make allocation decisions by 2 June and release funding as soon as possible.

Organisations must have access to a bank account in its own name or have the agreement of another suitable local organisation which can accept the funding on its behalf. Grant payments cannot be made into individual accounts.

Successful applicants will be asked to complete a brief evaluation form, giving information of the number of Wealden beneficiaries, with relevant records and receipts once the crisis is over.