Published: 10:12, 21 April 2020
| Updated: 10:13, 21 April 2020
A council has donated thousands to charities to help them survive the financial downturn caused by Covid-19.
Since launching an emergency grant scheme two weeks ago, Ashford Borough Council has given out £16,500 to 12 not-for-profit groups.
Ashford Borough Council is offering two types of grant, the first being a 'project grant' of up to £200 for groups specifically aiding coronavirus-caused issues.
This can include can include the purchase of goods or equipment, or volunteer expenses.
Already benefitting from a project grant is a new group of volunteers called Coronavirus Community Care Ashford, who are collecting prescriptions and shopping for residents, as well as befriending and providing company to lonely people over the phone.
One was also granted to the Hygiene Bank who are providing basic essential hygiene products - including soap toothpaste, nappies, shampoo, detergent and sanitary products - to Ashford's vulnerable individuals and families.
Rachel Plumb from The Hygiene Bank said: “We are delighted to have been able to receive funds through this new scheme. Reaching the most vulnerable members of our community has never been more important.
"This grant enables us to ensure that those living in poverty have access to the basics and are able to have a dignified life, critical at these most troubling times.”
The second emergency cash injection is a 'support grant' of up to £3,000, which supports an organisation’s survival through closure and loss of income or to aid organisational change to support COVID-19.
Beth Peal, chief executive officer at Ashford Volunteer Centre - which received the full amount of money - said: "This is an excellent scheme. Funding such as this makes so much difference to both larger and smaller community groups at this time.
"Here at the centre, we were thankful for the intervention by the council and are pleased it has taken steps to join forces with the voluntary sector.
"We are glad we can continue to provide support to those who need it most.”
Likewise the Pilgrims Hospices got the maximum sum to provide extra beds and recuperate losses from planned fundraising events.
Kate Duddell, the charity's fundraising manager, said: “Thank you ever so much for this wonderful gift. This will help Pilgrims to support end-of-life care during these challenging times.
"I cannot thank the council enough for its ongoing and incredible support.
"This will go a long way to helping us care for those that need us and a patient’s care at one of our inpatient units for 24 hours is £800. The council’s ongoing support is very much appreciated.”
Speaking about the ongoing scheme, ABC's portfolio holder for culture, tourism and leisure Cllr Matthew Forest said: "This scheme is a lifeline for the essential groups that bind our communities together.
"Ashford has been quick to recognise that without additional funding many of these wonderful organisations could struggle to deliver their vital services during this outbreak.
"The types of work that the successful groups are doing all play their part in helping people through these troubled times.
"This funding provides more certainty for them during a challenging period and we are proud to be able to help them.”
For more information on how to apply for a grant, visit the council's website.
The KM Group is committed to helping the community through the KM Charity team. For more information and to find out what other good causes you can get involved in click here.