4th September 2020

The Community Foundation for Surrey urges local support to alleviate the urgent pressures facing our communities

Voluntary organisations across Surrey have adapted quickly and efficiently to continue supporting our vulnerable local residents, but many are now at a crisis point due to pressures brought on by the pandemic, including severe financial loss and the surge in demand for their services.

A recent report released by the National Emergencies Trust (NET) states that 1 in 8 people living in the UK expect to seek support from a charity or voluntary body in the next 12 months, as a direct result of challenges created by Covid-19. For more than half (61%) of these people, it will be the first time they have ever sought charitable support.

The Community Foundation for Surrey, which brings together local donors with those providing positive solutions to the issues facing Surrey, has been working closely together with organisations across the county, to identify crucial areas where further support from our community is most needed.

The health and wellbeing of local people has been directly impacted, with charities increasingly dealing with severe issues and worsening of conditions amongst their existing clients.

One local organisation informed the Community Foundation:

We support many people with acute mental health and anxiety issues, and the isolation and uncertainty has triggered a worsening of symptoms. There has been an increase in incidents of challenging behaviour and mental health crisis over the last two months.”

 Many local organisations serve the most vulnerable within our communities, including older and isolated people, people with physical and learning disabilities, people with mental health challenges, as well as survivors of domestic abuse. These organisations have seen unprecedented demand for their services, with often up to 3 times as many service users as they would normally experience, and this is anticipated to continue – as the NET report highlights.

One charity reported: “Calls have increased by 30% since lockdown, including a trebling in volume of serious, time intensive safeguarding calls – over the past month there have been a growing number of calls about children’s welfare, self-harm, suicide, bullying, mental health, and domestic violence.”

The Coronavirus Response Fund was established by the Community Foundation for Surrey on the 26th March to get much-needed emergency funding to local charities. To date, more than £2 million has been donated and this has already been used to support over 120,000 local people. However, there is an urgent ongoing need, as without further vital funding, the survival of many vital local community groups remains unknown.

The Community Foundation for Surrey knows continued positive action will make all the difference and is urging Surrey residents to continue to donate to the Coronavirus Response Fund so those who feel the effects of the pandemic more severely and for longer can continue to access much-needed support.


Laura Thurlow, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation for Surrey says:

Funding is still critical to help local voluntary organisations experiencing high demand for the vital support services that they provide to local people. We need to continue to strengthen them.

With the generosity of our community, our Response Fund has already helped hundreds of groups. The issues we have identified call for us to come together once again, to meet the many pressures our communities now face. This is a crisis that continues to require solutions and we’re urging Surrey residents to stay involved and donate.”


The £2 million figure includes £867,281 allocated for Surrey from the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal, and £1,160,514 in donations from generous local donors and partners.

More details of how to donate to the Coronavirus Response Fund can be found here: