The Covid-19 outbreak is and will continue to have a major impact on our communities, the individuals within them and the groups that support them. County Durham Community Foundation’s number one priority for the next three months is to ensure we’re being as supportive and flexible as possible and that includes being open to adapting to new and different circumstances.

This is a situation without precedent, and we are just at the start, but here are some steps we have already taken and are planning to take to try and help.

Firstly, we have made every provision to make sure that our organisation and our grant making continues to run as smoothly as possible and is flexible to meet demand. There will inevitably be times when it doesn’t quite work as planned, but please be patient and get in touch on [email protected].

To reinforce earlier communication, with grant programmes that are under the immediate control of the Community Foundation, we will be as flexible and understanding in our support as possible.

If you are a group in receipt of funding sourced from Government monies, for example ESF 1.4 Community Grants, Tampon Tax, Nationwide or #iwill, we are in the process of talking to key stakeholders to discuss adapting the requirements of these grants. This will take time, but we will communicate an update as soon as it is possible.

We are currently working to develop a funding programme to help charities and groups manage operationally over the period of the crisis, to be in a strong position to resume their activities, and to help support your charities and groups navigate and survive this crisis. We are working to establish a sustainability fund and we’ll bring you news as soon as we can.

To be ready to access this you will need to consider your own organisation and anticipate the challenges you will face so that, once launched and open to applications, we can roll out funding support to you swiftly and effectively.

You will undoubtedly see an increase in fund raising appeals in the North East. Rest assured we are engaged in a coordinated effort to secure funds for the benefit of our communities. More news on this soon.

We are also working with VONNE and Durham Community Action who are constantly publishing support for community groups and to collect intelligence from across the sector so we can understand what is needed. We are also in constant discussion with our national membership body, UK Community Foundations, to ensure the importance of supporting the sector at this challenging time is put forward to Government.

A reminder you can contact us at [email protected] if you have concerns and follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

We are going to do everything we can to find the most effective ways to help you and the communities that you serve.