Almost £15,000 of funding has been handed out to community organisations and charities who provided essential support to the most vulnerable members of Hertsmere’s community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past month, Hertsmere Borough Councillors have awarded £14,920 of Ward Improvement Initiative Scheme funding to 11 charities and organisations, which saw an increase in demand during the pandemic.
Among the beneficiaries to receive more than £1,000 are Communities 1st (£1,565); Gratitude (£2,870); St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge (£1,440); Homestart Watford and Three Rivers for outreach services (£1,290) and Red Trust Bushey (£1,800), which runs the food bank for the town.
Sixty Plus, Herts Mind Network and Hertfordshire Community Foundation have all received under £1,000.
Councillors are allocated £500 each of WIIS funding to support projects of their choice in their wards. The scheme was temporarily suspended during lockdown but reopened at the end of June.
Councillor Caroline Clapper, portfolio holder for leisure, culture and health said: “I’m delighted that our members have come together in this way to support and recognise the extraordinary work performed by volunteers on the frontline of this crisis.
“The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions affected all of us across the world, but especially those who are elderly, vulnerable and living in deprivation.
“The support provided by these organisations has been a lifeline for so many people in our borough. Without them, many more families would be without a loved one now and we cannot thank them enough.”
Another £57,000 of funding is available through the council’s community grants programme for small voluntary sector organisations facing financial difficulties and projects which will help Hertsmere get back on its feet.
Just under half of the funding, £25,000 is being used to support small charities, voluntary and community groups facing financial difficulties because of a loss of income, while the rest will be used to support projects aimed at helping the community recover following lockdown.
Currently only the first funding stream is open for applications, and the rest will be released later this year.