Penultimate Community Grants awarded as COVID crisis puts pressure on charities

Four of Northern Ireland’s charitable organisations have received the penultimate Grants delivered by retailer Henderson Group to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.

Four of Northern Ireland’s charitable organisations have received the penultimate Grants delivered by retailer Henderson Group to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.

Air Ambulance NI, Make a Wish NI, Action Mental Health and Simon Community have each been awarded a share of the £5,000 available in week three of the Community Cashback Grant.

Almost 4,000 people voted for the charities which have seen their events and initiatives cancelled over the past three months, proving the importance of the organisations and the vital role they play for thousands here in Northern Ireland.

Air Ambulance NI, which was temporarily stood down at the beginning of the crisis to help with the Covid-19 response, is now back and fully operational, providing Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland.

Receiving £2,000 from the Community Cashback Grant, Colleen Milligan, Area Fundraising Manager from Air Ambulance NI says donations like this mean they can continue to provide the critical care still needed outside hospitals during this crisis.

“During this challenging time, our Helicopter Emergency Medical Service is still fully operational. Our crew is responding to some of the most traumatic emergencies across Northern Ireland, and we rely completely on donations to keep us in the air. A majority of our fundraising opportunities have been postponed or cancelled, meaning Grants such as this are our lifeline. We send huge thanks to those who voted for us, and to the Henderson Group for creating the Grant.”

Due to the very nature of their work, Make A Wish NI has had to suspend all wish activity for the foreseeable future. Using their £1,500 Grant, they hope to deliver goodie boxes to put a smile on children’s faces who are under strict isolation as a result of their conditions.

With the pandemic bringing with it a sudden change in our lives, our mental health has never been more important. Action Mental Health has developed online versions of its training programmes for children and young people, however their running relies solely on fundraised income which has been severely impacted in recent months. The charity has received £1,000 to continue to deliver these programmes remotely and ensure the children and young people they work with do not face any further changes and uncertainty which could impact their wellbeing further.

Finally, Simon Community has received £500 from the Grant which will supply isolation packs to provide their hostels with additional resources tailored to its self-isolating clients. Such supplies would normally have been available in communal areas, however due to many service users completely self-isolating, they’re currently closed off. Vouchers are also being supplied for emergency food and toiletries.

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing said; “We’re learning each week just how much of an impact this pandemic has had on all charities and community groups and it is devastating for their service users. We need to help keep them adjusting and changing their services to cater to their users remotely and as best they can so that we’re not facing even further challenges in the coming months.”

The final four charities will go live on SPAR and EUROSPAR NI’s social media channels on Thursday, with voting staying open until midnight on Sunday.

To find out more, visit SPAR and EUROSPAR NI’s new Life at Home platform, which is packed full of community news, recipes, activities for kids at home, mindfulness practice and tips and blogs for hacks around the house.