The National Emergencies Trust (NET) is partnering with Age UK, Heads Together and Shelter, who will each receive a share of £12million in Coronavirus Appeal funds that have been ring-fenced to target specific at-risk groups across the UK.
Age UK, the Heads Together coalition and Shelter join the NET’s other new national partners, which are LGBT+ Consortium, disability support network, DPO COVID-19 Coalition, Refuge, the refugee and asylum seekers support consortium led by Refugee Council, and Cruse Bereavement Care.
Each of the new partners will receive funding to help groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with a focus on remote services, including helplines and digital services.
£1.5 million will go to Age UK to help support its national Advice Line, website and telephone friendship services, as well as the services provided by Age Scotland, Age NI, Age Cymru and Age UK’s subsidiary charity The Silver Line helpline. The beginning of lockdown saw calls to Age UK’s Advice Line increase by up to 88%, while demand for its telephone friendship service increased by 290%.
Steph Harland, Chief Executive, Age UK, said:
“Older people are desperately in need during this challenging time, and the money will help us to keep our essential national Information and Advice and friendship services running, making a huge difference to the lives of so many older people.
“The pandemic is not over yet and its impact and the challenges it has created will continue far into the future. Age UK is determined to carry on being there for the older people who need us most, and more than ever during this financially difficult time we are reliant on wonderful supporters such as the National Emergencies Trust.”
Shelter will receive £1.47 million, which will fund 31 new advisers for the charity’s emergency helplines in England and Scotland. It will also help to fund support delivered by Shelter Cymru in Wales, and online advice for Housing Rights in Northern Ireland. Since March, three in five calls to Shelter England’s helpline have been from people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, while in England alone, an estimated 322,000 private renting adults have fallen behind on their rent as a result of the pandemic.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive at Shelter, said:
“We are thankful to be partnering with the National Emergencies Trust to deliver a critical boost to our frontline services during this pandemic. Coronavirus is magnifying the threat of homelessness for thousands of people and families right now. Our services are working non-stop to help people experiencing the trauma of homelessness to find a safe place to stay, and to prevent more people from losing their homes as the economy falters. With NET’s support, Shelter and its partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hope to answer even more calls for housing help.”
The Heads Together Coalition, which includes mental health charity Mind, will use the NET funding for its remote support offering. This will include Mind’s Infoline and web support. Funding will also go towards the upcoming Heads Together Campaign, which will encourage people to seek support around their mental health.
The funds supporting Age UK, Heads Together and Shelter will be drawn from £20million pledged to the Coronavirus Appeal by the Covid-19 Support Fund, created by the insurance and long-term savings industry.
Gerald Oppenheim, Deputy Chair, National Emergencies Trust, commented:
“Our partners are supporting at-risk groups at the frontline. Many have already seen unprecedented demand for their remote services due to the pandemic and this looks set to continue. Our research shows millions of people expect to seek help from a charity for the first time in the coming year. For these people, being able to turn to a well-known name, seek support close to home and use an anonymous service, such as a helpline or webchat, are priority factors in deciding where to turn to.
“By helping Age UK, Shelter and Heads Together to increase or expand their vital Helpline and Infoline services, we hope that more people in urgent need will be able to access essential advice and support.”
Since March, the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal has raised £93million, allocated £87million and provided more than 9000 grants to grassroots charities and groups UK-wide that are tackling urgent needs.
NET’s appeal stopped actively raising new funds from 1 September, however the public can still make donations through the website.