Famous footballers, rugby stars, actors and pop artists are amongst those lending their weight to the Watford Helps COVID-19 appeal, which aims to raise £250k for the local charities providing vital support to residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Set up by Watford Borough Council (WBC) with Watford and Three Rivers Trust, the appeal has already raised £140k from residents and local businesses.
This funding is currently being distributed to local frontline charities who are getting emergency food to those in need, supporting victims of domestic abuse and those with mental health issues, providing shelter for the homeless, care to those bereaved, advice and guidance to those who have lost their jobs and practical help to young families facing the strain of isolation.
Elected Mayor Peter Taylor said: “It’s a very challenging time for our local charities. Thousands of people rely on them for support every day and even more so since the COVID-19 crisis. We set up the appeal to help them and we have had a terrific response from residents, businesses and the celebrities who are helping to raise awareness.
“This first set of funding will help out charities working on the frontline during this crisis and will make a real difference to people who need help at this time.”
Several charities have already received funding, including: the Watford Women’s Centre, which has been dealing with a 50 per cent increase in demand for support from victims of domestic abuse since lockdown; addiction recovery charity, the Living Room; and Watford Workshop, a skills and training charity supporting adults with disabilities.
Watford Workshop manager Gill Nightingale said: “A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to Watford’s COVID-19 charities appeal. Our income has been badly hit by COVID-19 crisis and your donation will help us to survive through this crisis to enable us to continue with our vital work in the community once this crisis has passed.”
Generous donations to the appeal have been made by local company, Camelot, which runs the National Lottery and Watford based estate agent, Imagine.
The scheme has also had support from local well known figures BBCs Chris Stark, Kelly Smith MBE – England’s greatest ever female footballer and all-time top goalscorer, 80’s popstar Limahl, ex-Watford FC stars Luther Blissett, Richard Johnson, Nigel Gibbs and Tommy Smith, actor Mark Bonnar and Saracens and England rugby favourite Maro Itoje.
Watford residents can get involved by donating what they can to the appeal at www.watfordcovidappeal.org or they can join the ongoing fundraising activities, including the weekly Big Bold Community Quiz hosted by Mayor Peter Taylor and Luther Blissett (pictured) every Sunday evening at 8pm on facebook.com/petertaylorwatford/